Life·8 min read

11 Drugstore Beauty Products That Actually Work

Design: theSkimm | Photo: Hero Cosmetics
Dec 12, 2022

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We all have that one drugstore beauty product we’ve been using since our teenage years. And for good reason. Sometimes the best makeup and skincare products don’t cost a fortune (hello, under $35). Whether you’re trying to keep your skin hydrated for the winter, or save a trip to the salon, we’ve found the best cleansers, concealer, and makeup remover you can grab with your groceries. Your teenage self is beaming right now.

An award-winning acne patch to take your beauty sleep to the next level…

Say ‘see ya’ to those pesky came-outta-nowhere pimples with this nighttime acne patch. It’s full of a chemical-free, medical-grade gel that gently absorbs and traps gunk. Plus it helps protect against picking and prodding. The best part? You’ll see results in six to eight hours. Just pop (no pun intended) it on before bed and wake up to a smaller, barely-there zit. You’re welcome. ($12.99, Hero Cosmetics)*

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A micellar water that’ll remove every ounce of makeup…

Believe the hype about the best drugstore makeup remover, in our opinion. The solution attaches to makeup, dirt, and debris, gently lifting them away, all while maintaining the moisture barrier of even the most sensitive skin. It’s great for travel and can periodically stand in for your daily cleanser if you’re really tired. But you didn’t hear it from us. ($10.99, Amazon)

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A drying lotion that makes a pimple disappear overnight…

Ask around and likely every skincare obsessive you know will sing the praises of this drying lotion. It’s formulated with three acne-clearing ingredients — salicylic acid, sulfur, and zinc oxide — that start working as soon as you apply it to dry up a surface pimple and absorb excess oil. Rest easy knowing you’ll wake up with better skin. ($11.90, Amazon)

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A Maybelline concealer that works better than most of the fancy ones we’ve tried…

This stuff is seriously magic. In shades sure to match every skin tone, this concealer features a sponge applicator that makes it so easy to apply under your eyes. It’ll virtually erase any signs that you enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine last night. It also works well for covering redness and can last for up to 12 hours. Color us impressed. ($8.80, Amazon)

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A lip gloss that doesn’t feel sticky…

A nonsticky lip gloss? We’re listening. This NYX butter gloss feels featherlight, is buildable for sheer-to-medium coverage, and hydrates to make lips soft and smooth. It also comes in so many shades we can hardly choose. Your old gloss could never. ($4.97, Amazon)

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A salicylic acid cleanser we use religiously…

There’s a reason this drugstore beauty product is often sold out. The hero ingredient, salicylic acid, was likely the main ingredient in the acne cleansers of your youth. But it’s still incredibly effective against adult acne, especially when paired with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to soothe. It really doesn’t get better than this when dealing with stressed-out skin. ($11.47, Amazon)

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A Revlon Colorsilk box hair dye that’s salon-quality…

If you’re like us, you watched your mom use this to dye her hair when you were growing up. Years later, this is still the best permanent hair color we’ve ever achieved outside the salon. It’s infused with keratin and silk amino acids to leave hair soft and shiny post-treatment. It’s also almost foolproof to use and comes in over 30 natural shades. ($7.87, Amazon)

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A daily cleanser for sensitive skin…

We keep coming back to this one since it’s extremely effective at giving us that squeaky-clean feeling, without any tightness. With ingredients like glycerin and vitamin B, it’s gentle enough for even the most reactive skin. No brainer. ($8.79, Target)

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A retinol serum that won’t make your skin flaky…

If you’re a retinol novice, or are restarting after giving yourself a little break, ease back into it with this serum that also contains ceramides to keep your skin barrier intact. It absorbs quickly and has licorice root to soothe sensitivity and redness. The result is smoother, more radiant skin. Obsessed. ($16.99, Target)

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NYX Brow Glue that holds ’em in place all night…

This clear brow gel gave us perfectly placed brows for a marathon night out. Need we say more? It dries without being sticky and doesn’t flake off, even if you’re sweating on the dance floor. Plus, all NYX products are cruelty-free. We love to see it. ($8.99, Target)

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A liquid eyeliner that’s super easy to use…

When we began our journey of achieving the perfect winged look, we turned to this drugstore eyeliner we’d heard was great for beginners. It did not disappoint. The tip is fine enough to leave room for error, and glides easily over our lids without clumping. It comes in brown, black, and ultra-black. Meow. ($11.49, Amazon)

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*This denotes a sponsored section.

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