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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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!
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If there’s anything I love more than plopping myself on the couch while eating my weight in carbs, it’s giving my face some TLC with a good face mask. Face masks are fucking awesome. I mean, you literally just slather some bright-colored shit on your face and bask in the glory that your face will look and feel flawless after just a few minutes. There’s like, an overwhelming amount of choices sitting in our nearest Sephora, but the only thing stopping me from buying them all at once is that they cost more than a handle of Tito’s. My savior often comes in the form of CVS or Duane Reade (any fucking drugstore works) when I need a quick chaser or like, a face mask that works just well and costs twice as less. Praise be. Here are seven tried-and-true drugstore face masks that won’t make your bank account hate you.
1. Bioré Charcoal Self-Heating One Minute Mask
If you didn’t already know, natural charcoal is bomb for your skin. It’s not the charcoal you see at BBQ’s, fucking obviously. This thermal mask rids stress and excess oil from your face to reveal unclogged pores and cooler, smoother skin. Mix with water to feel twice as much heat and rinse off after just a minute.
2. Beauty 360 Detoxifying Antioxidant Tissue Facial Mask
Beauty 360 is exclusive to CVS, so unfortunately, if you don’t have one by you, you’re SOL (and should probably consider moving to civilization). Their face masks accommodate different needs, but if you’re like rest of us on the east coast, chances are you probs need something to moisturize and firm your skin. This has tons of vitamins and proteins to hydrate, soften, brighten, and firm sagging skin.
3. Soap & Glory What A Peeling! Purifying De-Clog Mask
So long as you don’t rip your face off, peeling masks are v convenient for getting rid of fugly shit ASAP. Packed with Vitamin C, fruits, and mood-boosting oil (so you can feel zen af), this pretty pink liquid gel turns into a strip you can peel off to remove dirt, greasy oil, and T-zone triggers.
4. Olay Regenerist Luminous Overnight Mask
I honestly love overnight masks, simply because I’m too lazy to wash my face before bed. This Olay mask absorbs into your skin as you catch up on beauty sleep, so it brightens, hydrates, and evens out your skin tone by the time you wake up in the morning.
5. Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Treatment Mask
I feel like most people don’t realize Burt’s Bees makes other good stuff besides overpriced Chapstick. They have a pretty decent foundation line tbh, and a skincare line that actually produces results. You can use this up to twice a week for super hydrated and tighter skin before bed. You don’t even have to wash it off because its absorption is *that* good.
6. St. Ives Nourished And Smooth Oatmeal Scrub And Mask
From my personal experience, this scrub actually works and doesn’t irritate my skin. It exfoliates with gentle beads to smooth out uneven skin texture and remove dry, flaky skin. Feel free to rinse off afterwards if you want to use as a scrub, or leave on for a few minutes before rinsing to use as a mask.
7. L’Oréal Pure Clay Mask Clear & Comfort
This shit is so good, it’s even in the skincare routine for a few celebrities and models we stalk via social media. After 10 minutes of using, this clay mask infused with natural seaweed offers cleaner, relaxed, and refreshed skin. It’s v creamy, so it’s def perfect for those extra sensitive areas winter has ruined for your skin.
Images: Noah Buscher / Unsplash; Biore (1); CVS Pharmacy (1); Ulta (2) Target (2); Macy’s (1)
IDK about you but I feel like I’ve aged 20 years this week and it’s barely Thursday. There’s something about America’s impending doom and a racist Cheeto in the oval office that’s making me feel v v old rn. It’s either that or the 3-5 glasses of wine I chugged last night in order to cope with the state of our country and also the icky feelings I had while watching BiP address sexual assault allegations to a crowd of reality TV rejects in casual beachwear. It’s honestly 50/50 at this point. I mean, just looking at Twitter gives me crow’s feet. CROW’S FEET. Nope, I won’t let a man the color of a Halloween peep and Chris Harrison do this to me and my selfie game. You won’t get away with it, you bastards! And if I can’t combat the signs of aging with sheer force of will then I guess I’ll resort to
throwing money at my problems anti-aging beauty products.
Now, we’ve already given you a v important guide to anti-aging beauty products for every stage of your life (you’re welcome btw) but, like, some of that shit is expensive. If I’m going to accept the fact the I won’t be young forever I need to do so by pretending those feelings don’t exist with
massive amounts of alcohol a decently priced bottle of wine. At the very least. But that’s not going to happen if I’m shelling out $80 plus for a tube of eye cream the size of my index finger. So here are the best drugstore anti-aging products that will keep you looking young AF.
^^Honestly, high compliments
1. Aveeno Positively Radiant
If you want to do the absolute least with your skin then invest in a good AF daily moisturizer, particularly one with a good SPF. Your skin does not have time for you and your day drinking for the Insta antics. So if you, like, want to avoid fucking up your skin I’d start making moisturizing a bigger priority than backwards stalking your ex. I’ve repped Aveeno before but that’s because this shit is amazing. I use it every day and it is the reason I still look damn good in my selfies
underneath the dog filter and manufactured lighting. Fucking duh.
2. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
If people say the eyes are the windows to the soul, then my soul must be saying “spends 2-3 hours googling ‘Kardashian kids’ outfits’ a night.” Seriously, guys, I’m available. Don’t all line up at once. Obviously, I need all the help
my money can buy I can get from the clearance section of a CVS. Neutrogena’s eye cream is more legit than your last boyfriend’s job as an influencer *cough* Robby Hayes *cough* and it’s cheap AF. Retinol-packed eye creams are the only way to banish wrinkles from your face, and Neutrogena’s is fast-acting so you can look younger by Friday’s happy hour.
3. L’Oréal Hydra Genius Water Cream
Getting old also means your skin starts to retain less water and my younger self is literally rolling her eyes at me and all my wacky self-care ideas *internally sobs*. If your skin needs some major hydration before the age of 30 then I’m guessing it’s 40 percent age, 60 percent the fact that your daily liquid intake consists of coffee and wine (hi). I suggest drinking more water, which is v boring but will make you look less like a dehydrated monster. I also suggest incorporating L’Oréal Hydra Genius Water Cream into your daily beauty routine ASAP. Mixed with aloe water, this product feels like you’re getting a facial every damn day without the sketchy Groupon. You should use it before you put on any makeup and at night for amaze results.
4. RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream
Investing in a good retinol product is going to be the key to everlasting youth. And here I thought is was actively not acknowledging the passage of time. Huh, the more you know. Though retinols have amazing anti-aging benefits, sometimes the retinol-based creams can be harsh AF on your skin. The RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream contains a milder concentration of retinol, so your skin won’t look ratchet while your cells work to erase your fine lines. Plus the hyaluronic acid in it helps hydrate and plump skin, so you can look like a college freshman again (sans the sign on your forehead that screams, “I AM BEGGING TO BE GROPED IN A FRAT BASEMENT DANCE FLOOR BY SUPER SENIORS!”).
5. Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum
This is the shit you’ll need in your 30s when you’re
wishing it was still socially acceptable to bong beers on a Tuesday reminiscing about your youth. Beauty serums like this one are super important because it stimulates the production of collagen AND protects you from you and your shitty life choices environmental factors. This serum in particular has vitamin C and glycerin in it, which will leave your skin looking softer, brighter, and dewier—and it works faster than Donald Trump crafting a racist tweet.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yah, maybe you had a shitty morning. Maybe you partied a lil too hard on a Tuesday night. I know it was Taco Tuesday, but the bags under your eyes from lack of sleep and the chin zit that’s forming from sleeping in makeup and drooling on yourself (thanks, tequila) are not doing you any favors.
A betch needs an ally, and concealer is just that. It hides our deepest darkest secrets, be they zit, cold sore, or bruise from tripping and falling into a bar. Because we’re amazing, we rounded up the best drugstore concealers for you to dab on your face without breaking the bank.
1. L’Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Concealer
This shit comes in about a billion shades ranging from warms to neutrals to cools. You can dab on a teeny bit for a zit or you can slather on lots for dark under eye circles. It’ll hide all your secrets.
2. e.l.f. Concealer Pencil Brush
If you haven’t bought into the e.l.f. line yet, get on that shit. They don’t test on cute fuzzy animals and their products are actually legit. The concealer pencil brush is neat since it isn’t a liquid and works really well for concealing redness around your nose from snorting Adderall, discoloration near your eyes from all the shots you took, etc. Plus, it’s only $8, so, win.
3. Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser
Check the interwebs and you’ll find this shit on every list detailing amazing concealers. Why does it rule? The haloxyl (lol wut) helps de-puff your under eye circles and the micro-corrector smooths over fine lines without settling in. It’ll literally make you look bright and full of life AND it lasts for about 6 hours.
4. Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer
If getting “the London look” is on your agenda and diminishing large red pimples is part of that, grab this eight-hour concealer. It lasts all day and works especially well on acne and scars. It does a bitchin’ job on under eye circles too, if you suffer from that issue.
5. Neutrogena Skinclearing Blemish Concealer
What’s better than a concealer with zit meds literally in it? Nothing, betch. Neutrogena is a fave of dermatologists for a reason. This shit goes on smoothly and is amazing for dabbing on a zit so you don’t feel like you’re making it worse by adding makeup for the day.
Now go forth and hide thy zits.
We all know that feeling. When it’s 8am and you’re already late and probs gonna have to take the late train with every other
psychopath commuter living in New York City and you realize it’s the end of the line for, like, every beauty product you own so you have to pull an Alicia Keys and tell everyone at work that your no makeup look is a political statement and not an act of karma for sleeping with that fuckboy last weekend? Oh, that was just my morning? K. But seriously, buying beauty products is the fucking worst. It’s time-consuming, emotionally draining, and if I have to see that sales lady at Sephora give me one more smug look at the checkout counter while I mentally calculate how much money I just spent, I will lose my goddamn mind. I did not sign up for this shit. But lucky for us that’s why drugstores were invented because someone somewhere realized that this betch literally needs someone to take her credit card away from her. Seriously. I cannot be trusted. So whether you’re a betch on a budget or just don’t want to give the check out lady at Sephora the satisfaction here are the 8 best drugstore beauty products that won’t have you breaking the bank.
1. CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara
Tyra Banks has been repping this product for the last 12 million seasons of America’s Next Top Model, which means it has the potential to make you look like a D-list model on a CW reality show, which is all I can really ask for in this life. #Blessings. Plus I trust any and all products endorsed by a woman who told me to “make hoe fashion.”
2. Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner
If you’re anything like me, then you know you’re nothing without your eyeliner. It’s the key element to my RBF game and also in discouraging people from asking me for directions on the subway. And while I want my eyeliner to look good I also want it to be easy enough for a toddler to use because tbh my tolerance for learning new things is really fucking low. Like, right down there with my standards for men (just trying to make you proud, mom!). So thank God for Revlon because this eyeliner is perfect for lazy betches like myself. Not only does it look good on every eye shape but it’s also long-lasting.
3. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Eye Shadow in Amber Rush
If you’re one of those who wakes up every morning and whispers to your reflection “WTF am I doing with eye makeup RN” then this eye shadow is about to become a staple in your morning makeup routine. It’s a soft, blendable eye shadow that leaves a major impact with minimal effort. Plus this rose gold shade is V popular right now and looks high-end AF even though it’s barely $10. And they say you can’t have it all.
4. NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen
Supposedly it’s spring and
my mother people are trying to tell me that it’s time to retire my dark vampy lip color in favor of lighter, more neutral shades; to which I’d just like to say:
As if this much pretty is designated to one fucking season. BYE. And there’s no lipstick I love more than Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream. First of all, it costs less than a shot of (bottom shelf) vodka so you know that’s a fucking steal. And second of all, this shit could outlast an apocalypse. Seriously. It could outlast me getting drunk on my couch after work watching morons
make love connections fuck up on Are You The One: Second Chances or me tossing back vodka sodas like my life depends on it at the free corporate happy hour. So blessed. So moved. So grateful. Can’t believe this is my life.
5. Jordana Glow N’ Go
Finding the perfect highlighter is like trying to find a boyfriend on a dating app, which is to say, good fucking luck. But unlike on a first date when someone thinks that asking you to “split the bill” will actually get them laid (see, girls? Prince Charming really is only one swipe away!), being cheap when buying a highlighter can actually pay off. At under $5, Jordana Glow N’ Go is creamy, long-lasting, and subtle enough to make people think maybe you’re born with it.
6. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Concealer
Normally, I’m not crazy about concealer sticks but this is the creamiest, most-natural looking concealer I’ve used. It may or may not also be the only reason why people at work think I “stay home” and “act responsible” after 5pm because this shit is key to hiding hangovers from the attendance Nazis in HR. It’s the hydrating core that erases those four vodka sodas from the night before because no one, especially not that snitch Sharon, needs to know your fucking business.
7. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expert Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo
I’ve said it before, but dry shampoo save lives and L’Oreal Paris’ new clay dry shampoo is next fucking level. It uses clay to help absorb excess oil and is the reason I get up in the morning. Literally. It helps me to know that I can put off showering another day for a few extra minutes of sleep. It’s really the little things.
8. Essie Gel Couture Top Coat
Ugh. As if I needed one more reason to give Essie all my money, they just released a gel couture top coat and I am all about it. It gives your nails some extra shine while also extending the life of your at-home (probably shitty) manicure. But like, if you’re actually good at nails then this product is about to save you tons of money and from any awkward AF small talk with your nail technician.
Read: The 5 Best Long-Lasting Lipsticks