5 Drugstore Products I've Been Using Since Grade School

I haven't stopped using these drugstore finds since I was a kid, and I have no plans to.
Publish date:
August 19, 2013
fragrances, retro, favorites, lip balms, shampoos, neutrogena, salves, Lip Smacker, love's baby soft

My love affair with cosmetics and curling irons has never wavered. Even in my ultra-sporty middle/high school days (roughly 1997 to 2004), I managed to balance geometry homework, volleyball practice and eyeshadow application with the kind of time-management skills worth mentioning on your resume. Straight A's? Check. Quality team bonding time? Check. Compliments received on my lip gloss du jour? Check.

From grades five through graduation, my collection of beauty magazines grew at an impressive rate. Also impressive was my dedication to online beauty forums and websites. I was part of the old school-gang on MakeUpAlley, when it was still a mostly private website, as well as another old website you may remember called Laundromatic, where I frequented the beauty trading forums and partook in makeup swapping.

Ahh… swapping beauty products online. Something I had to ask my parents permission for, lest I trade my Urban Decay lip gunk with a mass murderer. Those days of trading cosmetics online are still some of my most favorite. I loved coming home from practice to a pile of packages waiting for me on the dinner table. All those hours spent trading are also how I discovered many of the brands and products I continue using to this day, over 10 years later.

Today, I'm highlighting five of my since-grade-school favorites. The best part? They're all drugstore finds under $10.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

Any time I get a chance, I talk this one up to friends, family and readers. It's a whopping eight ounces of blackhead-busting goodness, all for under $5.

I discovered it many, many years ago when swapping with a Canadian who couldn't find it locally. And because she was willing to trade a high-end eyeshadow for such an inexpensive product, I knew it had to be good. When I went to pick up her tube of Queen Helene, I nabbed one for myself, as well.

Angels sang and pores shrunk. And my house has never been without a tube since.

As for application, I typically wash and dry my face, then I slather an even coating across my cheeks/nose/chin. After it's dried (about 10 to 15 minutes), I rinse away with warm water and follow up with my usual moisturizer.

It's like an exfoliator-meets-Biore pore strip. You feel clean, you feel radiant, and your skin glows for days afterward. I also use it for spot treating as necessary.

Love's Baby Soft Body Mist

I don't care if this product is marketed to junior high students; it's one of my staples and that isn't changing any time soon. It's just so light, powdery, feminine and clean. And it never ceases to earn me, "you smell so good!" compliments.

Before you pass on Love's Baby Soft, know that, unlike other "young" or "girly" scents, it isn't cloyingly sweet or obnoxious. It's perfect for those days when you just want to smell freshly showered and wholesome.

Smith's Rosebud Salve

I've been using this cult-classic salve since even before middle school, thanks to my dear mother. She purchased it for me on a drugstore shopping excursion and explained that Rosebud Salve has always been one of her favorites. Now that I think about it, this was actually one of the first "makeup" products that got the 'ol approval from her and I've used it religiously ever since.

Seriously, if we're ever in close proximity and you look through my purse, you'll find a very well-loved tin of Rosebud Salve in an easy-to-access pocket.

This one is such a cult favorite, so I assume a lot of you are familiar with it. If not, it's a super-sheer balm with a slightly oil-like/petroleum consistency. It also has a super delicate, rosy scent that'll hook you the second you give it one whiff.

I usually apply it to my lips with my fingers and then massage the excess into my hands.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

This is another one I discovered in my swapping days. Again, it was a product I purchased for someone who couldn't find it locally, and I decided to buy a bottle for myself after reading beaming review after beaming review.

For over 10 years, I've used this shampoo once weekly to nix product build up and restore my hair's original, healthy shine.

For those of you who have home-dyed your hair, you know how amazing your hair feels that first day after dying and deep conditioning? How it's sort of light and just feels really clean? That's what your hair feels like after using this product (only without the chemical damage).

On days I use this anti-residue shampoo, all I want to do is run my fingers through my gunk-free hair and take Instagram selfies.

Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker

So what if I'm a 27-year-old who pulls out a tube of Lip Smacker from my purse? I say, don't mess with a good thing, and Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker is certainly a good thing. If it was good enough for geometry class, movie theater dates with cute boys, tree fort meetings and soccer practice, it's good enough for symphony rehearsals, errand-running and movie theater dates with a cute husband, no?

I love Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker because it's the perfect shade of barely-there red/pink you could ever dream up. And also because it smells like carefree childhood days. And also because it's $2.

Those are my five favorites. What about yours? I want to hear about all those amazing drugstore products you've been using since way back when.