The Best Drugstore Dupes For Expensive Makeup

Makeup is fun, but it can also be irrationally expensive. Last week, I dragged my boyfriend to Ulta to grab a new tinted moisturizer and concealer, and it totaled $85 for the two. We both mumbled “what the f*ck”, I paid, he cringed, and life went on. 

While I was playing myself by getting products recommended by my favorite MUA on Instagram, it dawned on me that I should do some research and find the best drugstore dupes for my favorite products. Why pay $45 for foundation when I can pay $13.99? Am I paying more for better ingredients? No, turns out most luxury brand ingredients have the same sh*t in them as the drugstore stuff, you’re just paying for the name. Cringe. 

So if your New Year’s Resolution is to save money, here are the best drugstore dupes for your favorite luxury products.

Primer

 

It’s been said more times than once that primer is pointless, yet we still continue to use it. There’s heavy buzz around Tatcha’s Silk Canvas Protecting Primer, which retails for a whopping $52. I’m not knocking you if you’ve purchased this in the past, but I am here to introduce you to e.l.f.’s Poreless Putty Primer, which retails for a whopping… $8! At one-sixth of the price, with great reviews, and the seal of approval from Allure, I’m gonna go ahead and deem this the dream dupe.

Foundation

When it comes to foundation options, the limit does not exist. We’ve got matte finish, silky, luminous, full-coverage, tinted moisturizer, you name it. Following the “glowy” trend, made popular by Instagram-famous MUAs such as @nikki_makeup, I decided to find a dupe for the ever popular ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Foundation ($64). My choice drugstore dupe is L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup ($12.99), which still gives the hydrating, luminous glow effect at an affordable price.

Setting Powder

Liquid foundation needs to be set with a powder (don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules here) and any makeup lover will tell you that Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder is THE holy grail. It’s $45 of pure greatness, but, it’s $45. So, who can match up to this flawless powder? None other than Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder Makeup ($7.79). This has been praised by beauty YouTubers and regular people alike, at a price I am deeming unbeatable.

Concealer

When it comes to concealer, there are a few staples in the beauty world, one being NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. My friends have RAVED about this product for some time now, and I was always a Tarte Shape Tape cult user, but I finally tried NARS and have not been the same since. It has a more natural finish, but still covers my “I haven’t slept in years” under-eye dark circles. This bad boy retails for $30, and its dupe, NYX Professional Makeup HD Concealer retails for $3.99. Yes, you read that correctly, $3.99. The reviews are as good as the price, so this may be the most valuable dupe yet.

Blush

My first non-drugstore blush purchase was none other than NARS Orgasm, much to my parents’ dismay. It is the perfect blend of peach and pink, and gives your cheeks a flawless glow. The blush retails for $30 and has become a staple in the beauty world. So much so that there are multiple dupes in the drugstore world for this iconic shade. After some personal investigating and using my own skin as a test subject, I can say with confidence that Milani Baked Powder Blush in shade Luminoso 05 is the closest to the real (expensive) thing. It retails for $9.49 and is praised by all those who use it.

Bronzer

If you’re like me, meaning you’re so pale it scares people, it can often be difficult to find the perfect bronzer without looking Oopma Loompa orange (this should be a crayon name). The Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Coconut Perfect Tan is kind of amazing because they somehow managed to make only two shades that work with a wide range of skin tones. The bronzer retails for $49, which is a bit of a splurge in my book, so I often go with my favorite drugstore dupe, NYX Professional Makeup Matte Body Bronzer. This one retails for $9.59, has three shades, and gives a natural/healthy bronze. Given that you can buy five of these for the price of one Marc Jacobs, I would say this is a steal.

Highlighter

If you’re extra like me, you know that no two highlighters are the same, and you must always proceed with caution prior to purchasing one. I think I have over 100 highlighters (literally, why?) and use maybe two of them religiously, one being BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector® Pressed Highlighter. It retails for $38 and makes my skin look like glass. Worth it? Yes. Is there a dupe for it? Yes. Wet N Wild MegaGlo™ Highlighting Powder made waves this year and was on the radar of major beauty influencers, including Jeffree Star. At only $5.29 (!!!!!) this highlighter is everything and more. 

Brows

Brows were arguably one of the biggest/most important trends of 2019, and I hope they remain so in 2020. Thin brows are dead and gone (please never return) and fluffy, healthy brows are in. Due to the fact that I have five blonde hairs sticking out of my face claiming to be my “eyebrows”, I’m always in search of the perfect brow products to give the illusion that I have them. My Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil has always been a go-to, and at $23 it’s definitely worth the price. Still, in the words of… me, there’s a dupe for that! At less than half the price ($10.49) I give you L’Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Definer. It looks and operates the same way as Brow Wiz and has over 800 five-star reviews, confirming I am not the only one who thinks it’s great.

Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow trends have come and gone, but the classic nudes and browns have always stayed in style. One of the most sought-after palettes in the industry is Natasha Denona’s Biba All Neutral Eyeshadow Palette, but it retails for… $129. Yikes. TBH, I don’t think any eyeshadow palette on this earth that could possibly be worth spending so much. Who buys this? World’s youngest billionaire, Kylie Jenner? Idk. Anyway, there are a million and one dupes that are at a much better value, but I specifically enjoy Milani Most Loved Mattes Eye Shadow. This retails for $19.99, a mere $109 less than ND, and is just as pretty IMO.

Mascara

I have fake lashes because I happened to find the most amazing lash extension place in New York (Iconic Lash Lounge if you live in Westchester), BUT, I am still all too familiar with the quest to find the perfect mascara. Prior to my lash extensions, I was hooked on YSL Beauty’s Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils – The Curler, but $29 for mascara adds up quickly. If you are a living, breathing human, you’ve seen over one million Maybelline mascara commercials, and for good reason. Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara is an amazing dupe for almost any luxury mascara, and it seriously is volumizing. Again, as a pale blonde, I looked like a naked mole rat prior to mascara application, but this one always held me down.

Lipstick

Last but not least, lipstick. Lipstick can make or break your look, and I am all too familiar with a bad lipstick ruining my night (dramatic, but relatable). My favorite lipstick at the moment is none other than Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance™. It comes in over thirty shades, my personal favorite being ‘Christy’. The formula is hard to explain because it feels a bit dry when going on, but it looks SO GOOD on the lips and literally does not budge. I’m talking multiple-vodka-sodas-in-drunk-still-looking-flawless level good. So, if you have $40 to spare on a lip, this is your moment. However, its dupe is $6.99 with the same matte no-budge finish. I present you with yet another Milani product, Milani Bold Color Statement Matte Lipstick (Milani, sponsor me?). The 16 shades are all matches for Pat McGrath, and are also vodka soda proof.

If you’ve made it to this point, congratulations, and thank you for listening to my TED talk. Enjoy your beauty on a budget, and feel free to drop all dupe recommendations in the comments below!

Images: Unsplash

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6 Drugstore Mascaras That Are Better Than False Lashes

If you want my honest opinion, there’s no bigger beauty faux pas then false lashes that look super fake. There’s something challenging about making eye contact with someone that has a row of thick black lashes that look like ginormous curtains over their eyeballs (*glares at Geles from Are You The One?*). What’s even worse is when you can see the applicator glue on the eyelid. To help you avoid all of that, I’ve rounded up the best (and cheapest) voluminous drugstore mascaras that look way better than false lashes.

1. L’Oreal Paris Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara

If you can’t afford a trip to paradise, you can at least enjoy the thick, full lashes you’ll get from this mascara. That’s kind of like paradise for your lashes, if you think about it. The trick to getting lashes that look like falsies with this waterproof mascara is to apply multiple coats before the mascara dries. That way, you can easily lift and shape the lashes.

2. Revlon Ultra Volume Mascara

The design of the short and long bristles on this brush head comb every lash, which eliminates clumps and injects maximum volume. Plump up the lashes with multiple coats to get your voluminous lashes courtesy of the drugstore aisle.

3. Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Big Shot

Maybe you have limp lashes (ew), maybe you need Maybelline’s Volum’ Express to give each lash lift and separation. It requires minimal brush strokes, yet creates arguably the thickest lashes out of all of the drugstore mascaras on this list. (I said arguably, don’t @ me.)

4. NYX Worth The Hype Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara

NYX’s volumizing AND lengthening mascara is buildable. That means you can layer on the coats to make lashes darker and fuller and very hype-worthy. The brush tapers at the end to help with separation, which also makes sure the mascara is applied all the way to the end of each lash.

5. E.l.f. Volume Plumping Mascara

If your poor financial decisions have left you scrounging for coins in old jeans pockets, your lashes don’t have to suffer thanks to E.l.f’s $3 mascara. Apply a few layers and get to batting your lashes at that hottie at the bar. Your drinks aren’t going to pay for themselves, after all.

6. Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

If you’re wondering what retro lashes look like, think Twiggy’s circa the 60s. The hourglass shape of the brush head coats the lashes for a plump, bold, fanned look without clumping. In true retro fashion, the mascara is only available in different shades of black for the boldest look out of all of the drugstore mascaras listed.

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6 Drugstore Mascaras That Will Stay On All Day

When we have issues with mascara, we’re having general issues in life. Is your mascara running? Must be crying over too much Taco Bell. Is your mascara flaking? Too many hours spent ignoring work emails. Is your mascara becoming soft, sad rings around your eyes, making you look like a trash panda? Must have spent hours binging documentaries about gluten intolerance on Netflix. Whatever your mascara problem, we have the solution, and it isn’t spending $60 on a small tube full of black eyelash glue. Some of the best mascaras can be found right behind the magical doors of your local drug store, so thank us later when your lashes STILL look flawless.

1. L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Mascara

This isn’t SUPER volumizing, but it does make your lashes look significantly longer AND keeps your lashes curled (if you’re taking this extra step during makeup application … bravo).

L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Mascara

2. Maybelline Volum’Express The Falsies Mascara

Adds volume (as evidenced by its super creative name), fans out your lashes, and keeps em curled—this shit is great for thin lashes that need a little weight to them.

Maybelline Volum’Express The Falsies Mascara

3. L’Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara

Wanna look like you’re sporting falsies without actually gluing them on? Grab a tube of this, which also will make your lashes look SUPER dark… like, more so than the majority of other mascaras. Black like our souls is a good thing in this case.

L’Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara

4. Jordana Cosmetics Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara

It’s cheap, it doesn’t flake, and it gives your lashes a boost—all things you should be packing in your makeup bag. Plus, at like $4 per tube, it’s INSANELY affordable. Shit, even if you hate it, you didn’t waste $10 on it. That’s like, a cup of coffee.

Jordana Cosmetics Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara

5. CoverGirl LashBlast Plumpify BlastPro Mascara

Jesus Christ, can you just read the name of this mascara out loud for me? Who sits in these mascara naming meetings and comes up with this shit? Anyway, the thick brush lets you wrap every lash in mascara, leading to a stellar and fake-looking (in a good way) lashes.

CoverGirl Mascara

6. Almay One Coat Multi-Benefit Mascara

Almay is great for people who are allergic to everything, and this mascara is included. It has a totally normal-sized brush, plus just a good all-around mascara that’s good after two coats AND buildable for more drama.

Almay One Coat Multi-Benefit Mascara

Read: The Best Liquid Eyeliners For People Who Suck At Applying Liquid Eyeliner
 
6 Amazing Drugstore Mascaras That Cost Less Than What You’d Spend On Wine

Summer has barely started and I’m already calculating how much I’ve sabotaged my bank account with my swimsuit online shopping habit obsession. Spoiler: it’s not pretty. And because I’m an adult my parents refuse to fund my lifestyle, I now need to save money in other areas of my life by, like, cutting out regular meals, stealing toilet paper rolls from work, and buying my mascara at the drugstore. I really lead a charmed life. But luckily for us, there are actually tons of cheap mascara options out there so we can save money for something that really enhances a person’s beauty: alcohol. Blessings. So here are six drugstore mascaras that will please even your cheap ass:

The Best Mascara For Volume 

You may recognize this brand from middle school when you stayed up late watching wannabe aspiring models butcher the English language in an attempt to win over Tyra Banks in their commercial shoot. Aside from giving me valuable life hair lessons via the traumatizing makeover episodes, ANTM also brought CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara into my life and it really fucking works. Who knew. It’s a go-to for anyone who wants clump-free voluminous lashes (so everyone). Plus it’s v cheap, like cheaper than my $8 Uber Pool last night. Blessings. 

Covergirl LashBlast Mascara

The Best Mascara For Length

So this one is sort of a good news/bad news type deal. On the one hand, Butter London Lengthening Mascara will give you lengthy, voluminous looking lashes from roots to the ends, but on the other hand it’s kind of pricey. Like more than I’d pay for a shitty bottle of rosé so it’s probably not that expensive pretty fucking pricey. That being said, it’s life changing for anyone with short lashes as it adds 20% more length in two coats. But, like, it’s fine. I’ll just cut my gym membership for this month because we all know I wasn’t using that shit anyway.

Butter London Lengthening Mascara

The Best All-In-One Mascara

If you’re looking for a mascara to switch up your look depending on if Mercury is in retrograde your mood, then Revlon Ultimate All-In-One Mascara is the best in the game. While it doesn’t look like much—the brush head is fucking tiny—size (apparently) doesn’t matter here because this mascara does it all. If you’re going to make out with your ex’s best friend for a more dramatic look, it can do that. Of if you’re asking for me to unfollow you on Instagram looking for the perfect #nofilter #sonatural selfie, then it can do that too. 

Revlon Ultimate All In One Mascara

The Best Mascara To Fake Eyelash Extensions

If you’re poor fiscally irresponsible but you still want your lashes to look like Ashley Iaconetti’s after three beach meltdowns and one sad makeout session with Jared (I assume), then you’re going to want to invest in a mascara that fakes eyelash extensions and Physicians Formula Eye Booster Instant Lash Extensions Kit is seriously the best one out there. It’s ideal for those who love false lashes but suffer from rage blackouts lack the patience for falsies and the sugar daddy money for extensions. The kit comes with two tubes, one that contains a lash-boosting mascara and the other that contains cotton fibers that attach to your lashes to add length and fullness. If that sounds like a process, that’s because it fucking is but that’s the price we pay for optimal Instagram selfies beauty. 

Physicians Formula Eye Booster Instant Lash Extensions Kit

The Best Mascara For Nourishing Lashes

For anyone who fucked up their lashes last weekend by sleeping in their makeup and/or burning the shit out of them with an eyelash curler (hi), then L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lash Extension Effect Mascara will be key to restoring your lashes to their former glorious state. At one end of the wand is a base coat infused with nourishing agents to strengthen and protect, and at the the other, a top coat that covers lashes in a blacker-than-your-soul pigment.

L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lash Extension Effect Mascara

The Best Mascara For Lash Growth

Almay One Coat Extreme Mascara is the best of both worlds because it makes you look good AF while also promoting lash growth. It’s sort of like that Nice Girl in your sorority who constantly tried to prove that she could be an athlete/sorority woman/faithful community volunteer/”fun time” at the bars but, in this case, we’re actually buying the bullshit hype. It’s a serum-mascara hybrid with a dark AF pigment that adds depth and drama to make lashes appear longer and more defined. Plus it defends against damage and prevents breakage all while growing your lashes. You really can have it all.  

Almay One Coat Mascara

Read: 6 Drugstore Foundations You Should Be Obsessed With