7 Cult Drugstore Beauty Finds

By Tara Thompson Rasmus
botanics beauty products

There’s a time and a place for a good beauty splurge, for sure—think your fail-safe foundation that costs more than a few bucks, or a pricey lipstick that makes you feel like Wonder Woman. But for your everyday staples, the offerings at your local drugstore are better (and cheaper!) than ever.

Drugstores are where are I cut my beauty teeth, so to speak (my Dad still jokes about the CVS shopping sprees of my adolescence—or, as he calls them, CVS-stas. Like fiestas). I was never the girl who read Vogue and dreamed of Chanel No. 5; instead, I liked to try anything and everything out there, which required that I shop at a lower price point. Quantity over quality was my game—but, thankfully, I encountered many products over the years that proved to me that drugstore makeup was way more than it was cracked up to be. You just need to know where to find the good stuff!

And, that’s where I come in. I am a veritable Drugstore Cowgirl—and, I assure you, after years of trying the best and most expensive beauty products for free (!) as an editor, my makeup bag is still a veritable mix of low- and high-end products. The following are products that are tried and true, by me and by others—click ahead for your ideal drugstore shopping list!


Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain

This product is one of my favorites of all time, price tag be damned. It’s a minty balm in a convenient crayon with just a hint of shine that leaves just enough color behind as a stain even as the balm factor has worn off. There are so many great shades for any season or mood, but I especially love the darker, moodier tones for fall and winter. 

LashBlast Volume Mascara Black by CoverGirl

So, I wouldn’t say that the fat, bright-orange tube is very aesthetically pleasing, but the product inside has gotten rave reviews since it launched for its ability to provide thick, dark, voluminous lashes with its neat defining brush. A cult classic for sure.

L’Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Liquid Makeup SPF 17

If you’re afraid to ditch your expensive foundation for an affordable version, you need to take L’Oréal’s amazing True Match line for a spin. The dizzying array of shades are easy to shop by simply holding the clear glass bottle against your forearm or face, plus they’re all organized into cool, warm, and neutral undertones for even more ease of selection. Beyond that, the formula itself is silky and easy to blend, not too opaque nor too sheer, and it’s packed with SPF to boot. It’s kind of the perfect foundation, all for around ten bucks a pop.

NYC Liquid Eye Liner

Liquid eyeliner for five bucks? Believe it—and the thin brush and opaque yet easy-to-apply formula will further blow your mind.

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Face Powder SPF 16

If you think you hate face powder, well, it probably wasn’t this one. This mineral-based, talc-free formula has zero chalkiness and applies smoothly and evenly, leaving a naturally matte, smooth finish. I’m always bummed when I find myself without one of these compacts in my bag.

Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara

Perfect, natural-looking brows in less than a minute, and for less cash than you’d probably drop on a matcha latte. That’s what awaits you in this clever little tube of sheer, non-sticky tinting gel. Run, don’t walk.

Milani Baked Powder Blush

True, many drugstore blushes are a strange, muddy mocha color—yes, even today. That’s not the case with these sheer, shimmery shades, many of which have a hint of golden shimmer to bring an extra bit of light to your cheeks. (P.S.: Word on the street is that the shade Dolce Pink is a dead ringer for NARS Orgasm…but you didn’t heat it from me!)