20 Under $20: Drugstore Makeup

This post was a request from Sara and Stephanie in Germany. I've been posting some of my favorites from the higher-end makeup lines and they were looking for something more affordable. I hope they can find some of these products in Germany but those of you in North America shouldn't have much trouble. If I missed something you really like, please write about it in the comments section. I've decided to use ULTA.com as my main source for links and pricing (in US dollars) since ULTA lets you find both drugstore and higher-end lines. Also, ULTA has more products in stock than the corner stores do...I know mine does! Drugstore.com and CherryCulture.com are used when ULTA doesn't have the product. These are not affiliate links!

With warm, neutral and cool shades in a wide variety of colors, L'Oreal True Match brings medium coverage in an oil-free formula with SPF 15. If Dita Von Teese recommends it, you know it's good. I never experienced breakouts or reactions from it, so it's definitely a drugstore favorite.

Despite the "powder" smell most of the CG products including the blushes have, the colors are pretty, natural and give you a healthy glow. Skip the applicator it comes with and use a good blush brush to get the best effect.

Their TLC pressed powder is great for oil control but shade range is limited. The Almay line is great for sensitive skins, just get Translucent if you're not sure about the color.

*Cover Girl's revamped powders are a cheaper alternative at $5.99

If you don't want to pay for MAC Fluidlines (which are amazing) then check out the funky colors L'Oreal HIP provides.

Their Infallible lipgloss is very similar in texture to Lancome's lipgloss, triangular applicator and all…but a lot cheaper. Colour Riche is also a great formula. Gorgeous colors!

Forget spending tons of money on brow gel…just get this clear mascara for the same effect.

Make Up For Ever, MAC and Shu Uemura make great lashes, but Ardell is the perfect drugstore solution. They make demi lashes, accent lashes, full lashes and even individual lashes. Glue is usually included. For funkier lashes look at NYX's lines.

Might have to go to a beauty supply store or an Ulta for these, but they are still drugstore priced and worth every penny. Great color payoff and selection.

Amazing blush. I would choose these over the Cover Girl ones if you can find them.

Smooth, not sticky, great colors and formulas go from sheer to opaque. NYX is one of my favorite brands for color at a great price. 

You'll see this one mentioned in magazines a lot and with good reason. 

Good luck taking this off, even with an oil-based makeup remover. Amazing mascara for extreme heat or emotional situations. It will not budge! 

e.l.f. Studio Brushes- $30.00 but there are usually sales where you can get them 50% off!

e.l.f. usually has great sales on their website www.eyeslipsface.com. If you're looking for great brushes check out their studio line set! It will get the job done.

Great for cleansing the skin in the morning when you don't have makeup to remove. Rinse off with water or use a dry washcloth to remove excess and leave a bit on if your skin is on the dry side. Avoid the "Oily Skin" formula because it is LOADED with fragrance and will do nothing good for your skin. 

Seriously. Get fragrance-free baby wipes and remove your eye and face makeup before using your skincare products. If they're good enough to be used down there...

Drumbeat Red is one of the prettiest drugstore reds I've seen. Though L'Oreal lipsticks have that dreaded lipstick smell, the colors are worth it. Try Maybelline lipstick if you really can't stand the waxy scent lipstick sometimes has.

Not as many colorful shades as the L'Oreal HIP line, but the brush it comes with is great for applying liner and the formula is long lasting. This is my fav new drugstore product.

Amazing color range including pretty neutral tones.

The runner up to the e.l.f. studio brushes. I would recommend the e.l.f. brushes over these, which are only found at CVS. Get these if you don't want to order online, but the e.l.f. brushes are A LOT better!

Long-lasting if you can use pencil liner and has great colors including white and a gorgeous sapphire blue.

Well, there you go! I'm sure there are things I've missed but it was a challenge to come up with this list. Drugstore prices are on the rise and sometimes it's not worth paying something close to MAC prices when you can just buy MAC and get a better product. Let me know what your drugstore favorites are in the comments. If they're international products, please provide a link where they can be purchased!


  1. Hi! Super post, thought I would add a word or two for any other readers from outside the US (I'm in Germany so I can only speak of availability there but if we have it, most other major Euro countries should have it)

    L'oreal is available, but there isnt the same range as in the US. I had to order the gel liners from Drugstore.com and have them shipped. The liners are truly beautiful in color, but they go on choppy and thick. Its very hard to get a smooth, straight line (and the brush that comes with them is terrible. Hard, plastic and hurts your skin).

    Germany has their own e.l.f site and the prices are reasonable. I've loved everything I've gotten from them, with the exception of their eyeshadow which I found a little too sheer.

    Maybelline is called Jade here and you have pretty much the same products as in the US.

    The other brands mentioned you cant get here but there are super US websites like Bridget's Boutique which has brand names and low shipping costs as well as several good German and British sites (feelunique.com, cambree.de for example).

    And never underestimate the power of Ebay! :)

    Again, super post!

  2. Since I'm in Europe like the 2 girls you mentioned I thought I should give my 2 cents!

    L'Oreal True Match foundation doesn't last on me (I have oily skin) :( If I apply Elf's Face Primer underneath then it lasts longer, but still not that great! Revlon Colorstay foundation paired with Elf's primer = great combination!!

    Elf Studio Line blushes and Maybelline Dream Mousse Blushes are great too!!

    For cream eyeliner, I looooove Elf's Studio Line cream eyeliner, it's great and it's cheap!

    Revlon Super Lustrous and Rimmel Vinyl Lip lipglosses are great!!!! I've heard great things about NYX lipglosses! ;)

    Maybelline and Rimmel mascaras are great! I'd love to try L'Oreal Voluminous!!

    NYX Round Lipsticks are fabulous!!! So moisturizing! :) And many fun colors to choose from!

    NYX Lipliners are nice too!! :)

    Elf Studio Line brushes are amazing, especially the powder brush, which is a flat top one!! :)

    Zoeva (German brand) makes nice brushes too and they also carry palettes like Coastal Scents (for example 88 shimmer palette, 88 warm palette etc. )

    Cambree.de mostly carries Sigma brushes and makeup (I have some of their brushes and so far they're really nice)and NYX products! I've ordered from them twice and they're excellent!

    Don't forget Ebay, just make sure to buy from trustworthy sellers (aka sellers with a lot of positive feedback) ! ;) And for products that don't exist in your country simply check out youtube for swatches and reviews! ;) Oh my, very long post! lol


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