Good Drugstore Brands!! Must Read! forums

Help Support forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Feb 17, 2004
Reaction score
Strapped for cash? The Makeup Diva is at it again. I found her article here. Check it out!

[with bracketed notes from yours truly]

Drugstore cosmetics

Heather Kleinman The Makeup Diva is taking your questions! This time she tells you about some great products you can find at the drugstore.

The question

Department store cosmetics are so expensive, and sometimes I just don't see the results they promise. Are there any products from the drugstore that really work and won't drain my wallet?

The Makeup Diva responds

Let me just start by saying that for the most part, cosmetic companies often make pretty lofty claims about what their products can do. So many of them promise the sun, moon and stars, but those results often are just not possible like "re-training" the skin to act differently, making pores physically smaller, and magically erasing wrinkles, just to name a few). We all want to look our best, so we get sucked in and start to believe that a miracle cream or potion might really exist - it doesn't
[Note:But it sure as heck sounds good in theory, eh?!]

Having said that, there are plenty of good quality skin care and makeup choices at the drugstore that are just as effective (just ignore the hype) as department store brands for a lot less money. Here are a few of my favorites [and Cali's too!]:


Foundation can be a little tricky if there are no testers to try the colors on your skin, but there are still some great products to be found at the drugstore. If there are no testers, try to shop somewhere that will let you exchange your purchase for another color if necessary.

You can also bring a favorite foundation you currently use from another brand to the drugstore and compare colors. I've done this several times and find it can really help narrow the choices down. [good idea, Diva!]Of all the drugstore foundations available, I've found Maybelline True Illusion and Great Wear liquids, Almay Amazing Lasting and new Skin Stays Clean liquids, Revlon New Complexion One Step cream-to-powder makeup, and Jane True to You liquid all have nice texture, good wearability, a nice range of colors, and work well for a variety of skin types. [Note: I highly recommend Almay Amazing Lasting foundation- it's tops]

Mascara is one of my favorite products to get at the drugstore. It's so reasonably priced, I can afford to replace it every three months (good for preventing eye problems caused by bacteria) and not feel like I'm throwing my money away.

When most women think drugstore mascara, they think Maybelline Great Lash; it has been touted for years as a favorite in the business, named countless times as magazine beauty editors' favorite, but I honestly have no idea why. I find it to be thick, gloppy, overly wet, and it smears like nobody's business. This is one of those "like it or hate it" products, so I can understand if you strongly agree or disagree with me. Here are a few drugstore mascaras that I recommend: Maybelline Lash by Lash and Volum' Express, L'Oreal Voluminous and Le Grand Curl (compares to Lancome Extencils), Max Factor 2000 Calorie, Lord & Berry Dramateyes, and Jane Flashes. [Note: Max Factor's 2000 Calorie is so nice that I've used it for the past 5 years!]

Lipstick is another easy winner at the drugstore - the prices are so much lower than dept. store brands that you can afford to try new colors and textures. Of the brands I've tried, Nat Robbins Stay Put, Maybelline Great Wear, *Wet 'n Wild Mega Colors, Coty 24 Hour Creme, and Revlon Velvet Touch are among my favorites. Changing your lipstick is one of the easiest ways to update your makeup, and these drugstore finds make it affordable, too.

*[Note: Calif does NOT agree with the Wet 'n Wild Mega Colors. They are not good. I suggest Avon's Lip Plumping Retinol lipstick- gives long, shimmery, beautiful color for cheap!]

Skin care

With the prices of fancy treatment creams at the department store counters skyrocketing, it's no wonder we want to find something comparable at the drugstore. Many of the products are even practically identical to department store brands; for instance, Lancome and L'Oreal are owned by the same company and have many similar skin care products. If you have a Lancome favorite but hate spending so much money, L'Oreal just might have a similar product for less.

Of all the drugstore products I've tried, here are a few of my favorites that I think perform as well or better than those at the expensive cosmetic counters:

[*]Biore: I particularly like the non-foaming cleanser, the self-heating mask, the daily scrub, and, yes, even the pore strips.

[*]Pond's: The new makeup remover towelettes are a great find, as is their Cleansing Lotion & Moisturizer In One.

[*]Neutrogena: Their Extra Gentle Facial Cleanser, Fresh Foaming Cleanser, Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream (compares to Estee Lauder Diminish Retinol Treatment), and Norwegian Formula Hand Cream are among my favorites of this brand. [Cali's Note: This line rocks!]

[*]Oil of Olay: You can't go wrong with the original beauty fluid, and I also love the sensitive skin cream. [Note: Cali agrees]

[*]Alpha Hydrox: Don't be fooled by department store AHA creams that claim to work better just because they cost more. Alpha Hydrox has a range of strengths to suit everybody to effectively make a difference in the texture and clarity of your skin. [Note: Yup. Also check out Kitty's recommendation for "Peel of Dreams" by Enhance Me!]

The basic rule

Remember a basic cosmetic rule - you don't always get what you pay for! With a little comparison shopping, you'll find some great, inexpensive products at the drugstore that work just as well or better than high priced department store lines. [Note: try the Mut Swap Center too!]

Yours in beauty,

Miss Diva

...and a little extra "help" from Cali, hope you don't mind, Diva

This article was great! I have to agree that many drugstore products are comparable to the high-end stuff and they work just as well. I just to buy nothing but department store stuff and now I'm a huge drugstore person.

Hi Cali, that is a wonderful article especially for divas like me!!


OMG! I didn't know Coty still made lipstick. It's been at least a decade since I've owned one, but if I remember correctly, the lipstick came to a bullet-like point?

And on the subject of drugstore makeup, I'm a big fan of Maybelline Full n' Soft mascara, Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin and Cover Girl AquaSmooth foundation!

Thanks for the article!
It was a very interesting read, no doubt! ITA with finding good things at the drugstore... I can be a high-end snob at times, but there are a few things that I will always buy at the drugstore like mascara and nail polish. I've also found a few skincare faves like Olay Complete, Equate Gentle Skin Cleanser (Walmart's Cetaphil knock-off that's better than the original!), and C&C Persagel-10.

If you ever have the chance, so try Gosh. That is the only drugstore brand I use when i can not afford the more expensive stuff. The eyshadows are a dream too put on the lids and the pigmentation are comparable to MAC. And there their Effect Powders begins, is where my english fails to put that in to words. Lovely!

Originally Posted by KittySkyfish /img/forum/go_quote.gif OMG! I didn't know Coty still made lipstick. It's been at least a decade since I've owned one, but if I remember correctly, the lipstick came to a bullet-like point? i havent seen coty l/s in any stores in forever either, and now i suddenly remember i did have some and loved them and the case they came in.i do always see their loose powder in stores. i think the one i own is over 10 years old, i started using other stuff, but i still like the little yellow mini hat box it come in

interesting indeed! i've always been skeptical of drugstore foundation, but i LOVE drugstore mascara!

Most of those have been discontinued for years! This is a 4yr old thread lol. I don't even remember some of those.

Thanks for posting. I also think there are some great skin care finds at the drugstore (such as Olay Complete). There are a few makeup products that I like to get cheap too.

LOL! I just noticed this thread was four years old! I really miss those Coty Lipsticks though.

Yeah amazing lasting used to be my HG foundation, until they decided to discontinue it, and Le grand curl was the best curling mascara I ever tried.

As an "I buy makeup from walmart and I love it" girl, I lurrrve this article.
I think that theres gotta be something thats better/equal and cheaper. I used to use department store products, but i've replaced them with my drugstore collection lol.

Like, I don't have endless pits of cash for shelling out on beauty items, so I don't even bother with department store makeup any more! Maybe if I was filthy rich I would try some out, but as of right now as a 15 year old who's just on her first job I highly doubt I'm gonna be spending 30 bucks on mascara. :/


Latest posts