The Drugstore Makeup Guide


Many people are truly surprised when I tell them that I love drugstore makeup. I think the drugstore gets a bad rap …

“I used drugstore makeup in High School”

“I don’t trust drugstore makeup”

“You get what you pay for”

…and so on.

But in the last 10 years, drugstore makeup has dramatically changed. Gone are the days of foundations that always oxidize (change colors throughout the day), the powdery shadows that aren’t pigmented, and the “grandma” lipsticks (believe me these products fully exist in higher end brands too!). Take the brand Wet & Wild.

Wait, wait! Don’t stop reading! I PROMISE Wet & Wild is now a major player at the drugstore. Their eye shadow palettes and some of their singles are some of the best pigmented shadows out there! They come in beautiful colors that are often complete dupes (makeup slang for duplicate) of our favorite higher end shadows (hint, hint: a certain three initial brand that is high in $$$ and small in size compared to most brands).


Some other favorites include Milani’s blushes, Revlon’s Just Bitten Lip Stains, Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo 24Hr cream eye shadows, L’Oreal Paris Infallible Shadows, and ELF (especially their professional line of brushes and prism eye shadows).


Mascara is another product that I almost exclusively buy at the drugstore. My favorite for my professional makeup kit is L’oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara in Waterproof. I love the formula and it wears beautifully. For my personal collection, I use Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator Endless mascara, but I change it up all the time!


Because you need to replace your mascara so frequently (every 3 months or so), buying drugstore mascara is a great option. Not only are drugstore mascaras virtually identical to most high end brands, you can also get them for a much lower price point and often on sale.  There are so many varieties to choose from: lengthening, volumizing, extra drama, etc!

I think the most frustrating part of shopping at the drugstore is the lack of testers, especially for foundation. But thankfully, most drugstores have excellent return polices and will take back opened products no questions asked. If you find you buy the wrong shade, you can always try mixing different shades to make your custom color or keeping one for winter/summer. L’oreal True Match liquid foundation has a versatile shade range that can complement warm, neutral, and cool undertones.  Other products to keep in mind are Revlon Colorstay or Revlon Age Defining and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Foundation, but don’t be afraid to experiment to find the perfect fit for your skin type, color, and coverage needs.

There are blogs specifically dedicated to these drugstore dupes that will help you figure it all out.  My favorite comprehensive list is by beauty blogger Temptalia.  Pinterest and YouTube also have plethora of ideas too. Not only do these resources help you figure out the similarity in colors, but also pigmentation, texture, and opacity.

Good luck mamas and until next time, stay beautiful!


[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Written By: Beatriz Jarvis[/typography]

BeatrizI am a self-taught free lance make-up artist serving the Burlington area. I have a strong passion for helping people look and feel their best.  I am constantly on the prowl for how I can bring both the latest looks and styles, as well as classic standards of beauty, to my diverse clientele.  You can find out more about me on my Facebook page here.



  1. Thanks Beatriz! I’m always wondering which type of foundation is good for my skin type…oily…any thoughts on that? Definately going to have to check out temptalia.

  2. Thanks for this very informative post. I just went over to Temptalia and found a drug store match for my favorite color of lipstick. Can’t wait to try it at 1/2 the price.


  3. I love this post! I was just thinking the other day about how much I love drugstore makeup! The prices are low enough that I can really experiment with colors and textures!

    Most of the time, I will find a set of high-end eyeshadows that really catch my eye. Then I just bring them to the Wet & Wild or NYC sections to match the color in a cheaper shade. I’ve bought both the expensive and cheaper brands of makeup and have rarely noticed a difference!

    Of course, there are some brands that I will be loyal to. I have a favorite shade of lip gloss that I just can’t seem to find in any other brand, so I’m willing to pay more for it. But, for all other makeup needs, bring on the less-expensive products!


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