Best Beauty Buys- Drugstore Brand Exclusive- Part 1

I’m a girlie girl and I love most things beauty. I love reading beauty books and magazines and learning new and different things I can do to look better. However, there’s one thing I don’t like. Most, if not all, of the books, have lists of recommended products. And the beauty magazines often have spreads listing their best beauty products. The problem is that most of their recommended products are high-end and expensive and many of us civilians cannot afford them. Sometimes they do list inexpensive drugstore brands, but other times they don’t.

If you feel that a higher-end brand of any beauty product does work better for you and you have the money for it, then it’s worth it. But many of us are on tight budgets and cannot afford to spend $25 on a lipstick or $60 for a microdermabrasion kit. So I crowdsourced on social media asking people for their favorite beauty products that are available at places like CVS, Rite-Aid, and Target. And I got a lot of great recommendations. It’s good to know that I’m not alone on this one.

I’m going to start by listing the products I use. I’m a die-hard drugstore gal and I love these. I’m aware that my beauty needs will change over time because that’s true for everyone and I’m prepared to adapt. I’m just not planning to spend a fortune. I also love saving even more money by using generic versions of name brands, but I’ll list the name brand too. Here goes:

Facial Skin care

Cleanser: Neutrogena oil free anti-acne cream cleanser or deep clean cleanser or Clean and Clear deep clean cream cleanser- generic.

Acne treatment: Neutrogena anti-acne cream- generic

Lip balm: Blistex ointment (in the red and white tube). I can’t understand how this one hasn’t made any best beauty buy lists because NOTHING works better to really moisten the lips (maybe I just haven’t seen it).

Blistex ointment

I use this every night. For daytime, I like Blistex balm with SPF. I’ve never found a generic version of the ointment.

Daytime moisturizer: Neutrogena oil-free daytime moisturizer with SPF 15- generic

Eye cream- L’Oreal anti-aging and firming eye cream- generic

Overnight firming cream

Nighttime moisturizer- L’Oreal firming cream- generic

Exfoliation: I use either a clean washcloth or some plain white granulated sugar mixed with a drop of my cleanser and enough water to make a paste. I do this microdermabrasion once a week plus dermaplaning once a week.

I came late to skin care and it left me with pink blotches and dark acne scars. Once I started using the right products, my skin started looking much better. I just wish that the magazines and beauty books would show women with skin like mine.


Primer: ELF. I like either the tone correcting primer or the illuminating primer.

Brows: Tweezers plus brow scissors and brush by Revlon.

Eyeliner: Wet N Wild pencil in dark brown. I like that I can sharpen it as needed.

Green eyeshadow palette

Shadow: CoverGirl TruNaked Palette in The Goldens and Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow palette in Emerald Smokes. I apply with brushes that I bought at a drugstore many years ago.

Mascara- Maybelline Volume Express, The Falsies in Blackest Black or Very Black

Trublend foundation

Foundation: I always loved CoverGirl Ultimate Finish 3-in-1 makeup, but I haven’t found that in most drugstores lately. I recently started using CoverGirl TruBlend foundation and powder and I like the results.

Powder- CoverGirl TruBlend powder or Clean Powder foundation.

Blush- CoverGirl Cheekers in Pretty Peach. I apply it with a fluffy brush.

Bronzer- CoverGirl Cheekers.

Lipstick- Maybelline Color Sensational lip color in Touchable Taupe

Lip gloss- CoverGirl Colorlicious in Give Me Guava

This is a basic face of makeup that I wear for work or for dressy casual situations. I just defined my eyes, evened out my skin, and added subtle color on cheeks and lips. I always do my eyes first because I can easily clean up any fallout. Other women apply face makeup first so that they can work with a more even skin tone and see what they need beyond that. It’s your call.

While I agree that most women can look good without makeup (if they have the right skin care), I also firmly believe that no woman really looks her best without a little makeup. It doesn’t take much nor does it cost much.

Here I am wearing a special-event makeup look. I’m using evening light here. I just took my basic makeup look and added a little extra eyeshadow, powder, blush, and layered lipstick for staying power.

Hair care

Cleanser: As a curly girl, I don’t use shampoo. I like VO5 conditioners for cleansing

Conditioner: Suave Essentials, Garnier Fructis Color Shield, Herbal Essences Color Me Happy.

Gel: Garnier Fructis curl activating spray gel.

Hair color: Clairol Natural Instincts.

Body care

Cleanser- Suave body wash plus a clean washcloth.

Body lotion- Vaseline Intensive Care- generic. My favorite is the one with aloe

Vaseline hand lotion

Hand lotion- Vaseline Intensive Care for hands and nails.

Continuous spray sunscreen

Sunscreen- Any generic brand of continuous spray sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that’s water-resistant. If it’s labeled for “sport,” that’s good. I find this easier and less cumbersome to apply.

Even if I have to change some of these over time, I don’t plan to spend a fortune. And it’s good to know that I don’t have to.

Next blog post will feature the products recommended from my crowdsourcing on social media. If you have anything you recommend (that you can buy at drugstores or Target), say so. Remember that you can look your best without spending too much time or money.