Fashion magazines are always blabbing about wearing a mix of “high and low” clothing, like maybe you pair your $$$ boots with an H&M dress. It’s become quite a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some merit. I’m a big fan of expensive, fancy makeup and haircare, but I also love spending an afternoon at Target and wandering around their beauty aisles, discovering new products and grabbing refills of my favorites. I’m basically Indiana Jones in the drugstore at this point, but I like to share! Here are a handful (OK, it’s more like a cartful) of the best gems I’ve found thus far.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice
This is about as classic a buy as you can get. It’s an iconic bright, retro red that’s been sold for decades. Your grandma probably wore it, which is just another reason why you need to get your hands on a tube.
Maybelline Color Tattoos
Take it from someone with oily eyelids: these babies STAY ON. I generally don’t wear eyeshadow because I find it slides around too much, but Maybelline’s highly-buildable Color Tattoos really do stick around. I’ve collected several shades and been impressed by each one’s longevity and pigment.
EOS lip balms
We call these our “orbs” at work because each of us has at least one rolling around her bag. They’re adorably futuristic in shape and come in a variety of scents and colors. I prefer the mint or lemon.
Neutrogena Triple Moisture conditioning mask
Have bone-dry hair but not a ton of cash to drop on a fancy conditioner? If you have $7, this will do the trick. Load up your hair, wrap some Saran wrap around your head and let it soak in for a half hour or so.
Goody Spin Pins
What a crazy world we live in, one where two tiny corkscrews can hold even the thickest of hair all day long! They’re a less-damaging version of a hair tie and are my go-to when I’m doing a messy, Bardot-style French twist.
Revlon Lip Butters
Every drugstore cosmetics brand has a version of these now, but Revlon’s are the best. They impart a sheer wash of color along with a moisturizing sheen. Pink Truffle is the perfect “my lips but better” shade.
imPRESS Salon Manicure
I’m addicted to these press-on nails. I wear them pretty much every day and they last me about a week, even though I’m constantly typing or doing various retail duties. They come in various lengths and sizes so you can match them easily to your own nails and they’re shiny and bright enough to masquerade as a gel manicure for only $7. You can get them in basic reds and nudes, but also in neon leopard print and peacock feather designs.
Maybelline The Falsies mascara
I am a certified Lancome mascara snob; my mom raised me on it and I can’t find anything I like better than Hypnose Drama. However, I like to keep a drugstore cheapie in my bag in case of impromptu sleepovers, and the Falsies is the one I’ve liked the best. It gives me long black lashes, almost as good as what I get from Lancome for $20 less.
AmLactin body lotion
Do you have keratosis pilaris like me? (That’s those pesky little red bumps on your arms, legs, where have you.) This is how you get rid of it. I’ve tried everything and this remains my only guaranteed cure.
Psssst! Dry shampoo
Please don’t spend $10+ on dry shampoo when you get the same results (volume, a blast of clean fragrance to cover up smoky/greasy scents) from this gem. My old roommate and I wished we could buy this in bulk because neither of us liked washing our hair and went through cans like crazy.
Trader Joe’s All-in-One cleanser
This isn’t quite a drugstore purchase, but it’s in the drugstore price range at a whopping $6! My bestie in LA says she’ll never use another cleanser/moisturizer again, she loves this one so much.
Get rid of your Cetaphil (it’s full of bad stuff) and use this dermatologist-recommended, extra-gentle but effective cleanser instead. It’s what I used before I jumped ship and started on oil cleansers.
Eylure false eyelashes
I’m so glad these are carried at Target now! Eylure is my favorite brand of false lashes for their various lengths and styles and their comfortable wear.
CoverGirl Clean whipped foundation
This $7 beauty made me give up my more expensive foundations, which is really saying something considering I’ve worn NARS and Armani in my time. I am obsessed with its lightweight texture that still covers even my darkest acne scars. And the best part? It stays put all day!
L’oreal Lineur Intense liquid eyeliner
A fellow “fancy bitch” friend of mine says this is her favorite liquid eyeliner of all time. If someone who buys most of her beauty products from luxe lines endorses it, you know it’s good.
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail polish
Put down that bottle of $25 Chanel polish. It isn’t worth it when you can get better quality at your local CVS for way less. Sally Hansen’s premier line boasts a wide color range, built-in shine and a great, easy-to-use brush.
Seche Vite topcoat
If you add this nail-world favorite to any polish, it will shine bright like a diamond. Just trust me.
Revlon ColorBurst matte balms
I was not a huge fan of Revlon’s balm stains but that’s a personal “I don’t like lip stains” preference. These, however, I can get behind. I love that you sharpen the crayon with a twist at the bottom instead of a wasteful sharpener and I adore the minty scent, which doubles for gum in a pinch … you never know when you’re gonna get kissed.
Coty Vanilla Musk perfume
I mix this sweet, simple vanilla scent with coconut lotion in the summer and use it as a layering base for spicier scents in winter. It doesn’t last very long, but it’s cheap enough that you can spritz to your heart’s delight.
Love’s Baby Soft
If you want a blast of nostalgia, this classic soft fragrance is all you need. We all wore a Love’s fragrance when we were kids! I use the jasmine scent as room spray by spritzing it on lightbulbs.
Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap
Dr. Bronner’s can be used as body wash, shampoo, a gentle cleaning product for your home … the list goes on and on. I like to add some of the lavender to super-hot bubble baths in the winter.