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Best Beauty Products to Buy at the Drugstore

Farnoosh Torabi

One of the most popular sections at your local drugstore is the beauty aisle. From makeup to shampoo to skin care, prices tend to be far lower than those found at the department store, in some cases up to 80% less. And rest assured, you won't be sacrificing quality. In fact, products sold at the drugstore are often on par with you those found at high-end beauty counters, says celebrity makeup artist Nicole Williams. Much of the cost of expensive makeup and beauty products is tied into fancy packaging and marketing, she says.

We asked Williams for her favorite drugstore beauty buys. Here's what's on her shopping list:

Eye Shadow

If you like bold eye shadow, the local drugstore has many colorful, rich options for much less than designer brands like Nars and Mac sold at the department store. Williams likes to stock up on Milani "Baked" eye shadow, known for intense metallic pigments that last. It costs about $7.49 and can be found at CVS, Walgreens and other major drugstore chains.

Eye Liner

One of William's best bets at the drugstore is Wet 'n Wild's Mega Eyes Crème Liner in black. "It's easy to apply, long lasting and even comes with a brush," she says. It costs just $2.99. After testing this product, 85% of those surveyed at beauty blog MakeupAlley.com said they'd buy it again.

False Lashes

Red carpet beauty wouldn't be complete without false lashes and your local drugstore is the where to find them for less. While Madonna and J.Lo don mink lashes, we can find more affordable options at Rite-Aid, CVS and Walgreens. Williams is a big fan of Revlon's Fantasylengths Eyelashes which retail for about $6. "With no messy glue to worry about, they're super easy to apply and reusable. I love them," she says.


Nuance by Salma Hayek is a new line of beauty products sold exclusively at CVS pharmacies. The lipsticks from this line offer great bang for your buck, says Williams. "My favorite from the collection is Perfect Lips Quad for just $9.99. I go through a lot of lip color, so I can vouch this definitely a steal," she says.


While you may not need to splurge on shampoo, Williams suggests trying new sulfate—free shampoos, available at your local drugstore, which range from $5 to $15. "They're a gentler alternative to traditional shampoos that may dry out your hair or damage your color," she says. Keep in mind, she says, "salon quality" hair products from Redken and Paul Mitchell should only be sold at a salon. "If you see them on the shelves, take caution. They might be diluted, counterfeit or even expired." In fact, on Paul Mitchell's website, the company notes that products with his name sold in drugstores or on the Internet are 'gray market,' counterfeit or tampered with."

Make-Up Tools

Beauty application supplies like eyelash curlers, tweezers and sponges can be found for much less at your local drugstore, usually at $5 or less each, says Williams. Brushes, however, are best purchased at an arts and craft store, such asMichaels and Pearl Paint, where they sell for less than pretty much anywhere else.

Cold Cream

"Good old-fashioned cold cream or witch hazel is my go-to cleanser," says Williams. These are both very basic, all-natural cleansers and toners available in generic form for around $5 at your local pharmacy.

Finally, while shopping at your drugstore, make sure to ask about the 100% Beauty Guarantee which allows you to return a product if you're not satisfied, even if the product has been opened or used. Most drugstores offer this policy now, as long as you hold on to your receipt.

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