For the longest time, buying high-end makeup was a point of pride for me. In some cases, high-end makeup really is the best option. There are instances when the quality is better, and it lasts longer. But, after experimenting with quite a few drugstore products over the last few months, there are a lot of instances when budget friendly alternatives perform just as well, if not better than their high-end counterparts. And, let’s be honest, if I can save a few bucks on makeup here and there, that leaves more money for the important things in life. Like shoes 😉
When I shared the drugstore foundation I’ve been using lately (and loving!) on Instagram stories last week, you all LOVED it! So many messages rolled in with requests to share all of my drugstore faves immediately. So, I’m excited to share a whole round up here! I’m giving my honest opinion on the best drugstore makeup dupes and also letting you know what products I think are worth paying a bit more for.
All of my drugstore to high-end dupes are in the graphics below separated by categories! Click on each image in the photo or product name below to shop! I’ve detailed my top finds at the bottom as well as the items that didn’t make the cut!
Let me start off by saying, I am FIERCELY loyal to my Estée Lauder foundation. Or, I was. Prior to trying the L’Oréal Infallible, I had been using the Estée Lauder foundation for 2 years and had raved about it more than once on the blog and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good foundation. It’s mattifying, long wearing and doesn’t oxidize (turn orange throughout the day). But, the L’Oréal foundation is also just as mattifying, long lasting, doesn’t oxidize, AND it costs $13 as opposed to $43. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this was literally the same product in different packaging. And, I think the L’Oréal is more mattifying over a longer period of time!
A few things to note: First, I have very sensitive, acne prone skin. Neither foundation broke me out. Second, both foundations have a range of shades to cover any skin type. I am neutral toned and, although the Estée Lauder definitely has a greater range of shades, I feel the L’Oréal foundation is neutral enough it can work for yellow, red or neutral undertones. (Foundation Pro-Tip: when in doubt, always go with a neutral shade!). I am currently between shade 106 and 107 of the L’Oréal depending on how tan I am and am shade 3N1 in Estée.
EYE BROW PENCIL
NYX is like high-end makeup disguised in drugstore packaging. The quality is hard to beat! Before trying their Micro Brow Pencil, I had been using various Anastasia Beverly Hill pencils (the Wiz then the Definer). Both are great, but rather pricey. One thing that always turned me off from drugstore brow pencils was that I felt they were either always too warm toned or not pigmented enough. The NYX pencil is a different story. Ever since I tried the NYX pencil in Ash Brown, I haven’t even considered picking up the more expensive, Anastasia alternative. It is a true dupe and saves you about $10 dollars. In my opinion, Ash Brown will work for most dirty blonde – darker brown tones as it’s easy to build upon to make it darker and is a true “ash” color (more cool v. warm toned).
One of my first posts on the blog detailed my foundation routine, and translucent powder is a big step for me. I use it to set the concealer on my under-eye as well as on my lids before applying eyeshadow. Many people use it to set their whole face; however, I use a powder foundation for that. Now, I still have the same pot of Kat Von D powder I featured in this post. A little goes a long way, and it lasts forever. So you do truly get a lot for what you pay for. But, that being said, NYX works just as well and lasts just as long. It also does a great job at keeping you matte throughout the day. So, when I know I’ll be in humid conditions, I’ll often apply the NYX powder to my t-zone to avoid any excess oil.
Although I don’t often do a full winged eyeliner look anymore, I often like to line my upper lid with liquid liner. Given I have lighter colored lashes, I find this makes my eyes pop a bit more and accentuates my lashes. A girlfriend of mine, who is a pro at winged eyeliner, recommended Stila to me. She’s a med school resident and swears that Stila lasts all day. And, my thoughts are, if it lasts for someone who works as hard as med students do, it’ll probably work for the average Joe! But, the price tag always got me! When I discovered the L’Oréal dupe, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it lasts just as long as the Stila but costs only $9. I’m on my second L’Oréal Eyeliner and don’t plan on going back!
Here are some items that I didn’t find a good drugstore alternative for:
I tried, but always go back to the Becca Aqua Luminous Concealer I’ve been using since last Fall. The reason being that it’s super hydrating and provides great coverage. So it works for both under-eye and blemishes. If you’re looking for a drugstore option, I suggest using Maybelline Instant Age Rewind for under-eye and Maybelline Fit Me for blemishes. The Age Rewind is great for covering dark circles but not pigmented enough for blemishes. Whereas the Fit Me I found to be too drying on the under-eye and can leave you with a “cakey/creasy” effect.
I have tried 3-4 different lash primers but ALWAYS go back to Benefit Tinted Lash Primer. It’s the only one that separates and lengthens lashes but doesn’t cause your mascara to clump. Although L’Oréal makes a great Lash Primer, I found that it caused my mascara to become very clumpy over time. It’s as if some of the primer rubbed off on my mascara wand and ruined the product. Plus, the Benefit primer is tinted and is great for giving you that “no makeup makeup” look on days when you’re trying to look put together but don’t feel like going the whole nine yards!
I am sticking with my powder Benefit foundation. It lasts forever, so I’m okay paying the price because I know I’ll have it for years. Like I mentioned above, I like to use a powder foundation over my liquid to really help set everything in place. I found that a lot of the drugstore powder foundations I tried gave me a very cakey appearance and weren’t flattering. The Benefit is very natural yet pigmented. Something that’s hard to come by. This one is worth paying a bit more for!
My favorite brow gel from Anastasia Beverly Hills just can’t be beat. It’s like super glue for your brows. After you fill in your brows, you apply this overtop to hold the hairs in place and make sure the product doesn’t smudge. I’ve tried other more budget-friendly products but they fail to keep the hairs or product in place. This is another one that I’m happy to pay a bit more for. Luckily, it lasts a long time. The last tube I picked up in October 2017 is still going strong!
And, lastly, I’m still loving the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick. It’s the only one I’ve found that lasts literally all day – no matter how much you eat or drink – without getting flakey or dry. If you’re looking for similar shades at a better price, I suggest trying out NYX’s line of liquid lipsticks. However, they do not last nearly as long and you have to reapply after eating or drinking!
Phew! That got quite lengthy, but there’s so much to share I didn’t want to miss anything! I hope you all found this helpful! You can find most of these products at Sephora, Ulta (they have both high-end and drugstore products) or Target!
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