We live in a world where finding quality, cheap cosmetics has become something of an internet sport. The $5 contour stick that rivals Kim Kardashian’s, the $9 foundation that’ll cover just about anything — millions of makeup lovers flock to magazines, YouTube, Reddit, and the like in search of those few products that make a beauty shopping problem a little easier on the wallet.
The good news is that drugstore brands have heard our cries loud and clear. Maybelline, Nyx Cosmetics, and E.L.F., to name just a few, have seriously upped the ante on their formulas and color ranges, creating quality products that give their much pricier counterparts a run for their money. Not only that, they’re redesigning packaging to create products that you’ll want to display on a vanity — not relegate to a side drawer.
Ahead, shop the cheap highlighter we’re reaching for over our $40 pan, the lipstick we love that costs less than a movie ticket, and more of the crème de la crème of drugstore beauty.
Want the wear-time and pigment of a liquid lipstick but can’t stand matte formulas? Milani’s new Amore Matte Liquid Lip Color will be your new go-to. Thanks to the lip lacquer’s gloss-like finish, it feels comfortable on the lips for hours (and yes, it does last for hours).
Milani Amore Shine Liquid Lip Color,$5.39, available at Ulta Beauty.
We can’t get enough of these easy-to-use, two-sided eyeshadow creams, which were finalists in our Beauty Innovator Awards. Not only are they pigmented and long-lasting, but they come in a variety of natural and bold hues.
L’Oréal Infallible Paints Eyeshadow,$8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Essie’s nail polish collection is all about ’90s nostalgia, so naturally the brand included a powdery blue lacquer called “As If.” We love pairing it with minimal nail art.
Essie Nail Polish in As If, $9, available at Ulta Beauty.
This potted eyeliner takes all the fuss and confusion out of traditional liquid formulas. Simply press your brush against the sponge; it will pick up just the right amount of pigment for an even, crisp line.
Catrice Liquid Gel Cushion Eyeliner, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
E.L.F.’s Holy Smokes eyeshadow palette is everything you want in a shadow — soft, creamy, and oh-so-pigmented.
E.L.F. Mad For Matte Holy Smokes Eyeshadow Palette, $10, available at E.L.F.