4 Underdog Drugstore Brands That Deserve Some Shine

Let's hear it for the little guys: Jordana, N.Y.C., L.A. Girl, and Black Opal.

I love a good drugstore beauty product, and many of the bigger drugstore brands (Revlon, Maybelline, NYX, et al.) are constantly stepping up their game and producing some truly excellent quality cosmetics. However, it’s not only big brands that are doing good work, some of the smaller guys, the below four in particular, deserve a minute in the spotlight.


Jordana as in the middle school staple? Yes, THAT Jordana. I can't live without the brand's Fabuliner Liquid Eyeliner. It goes on inky black, stays put all day, and makes cat-eyes a cinch. I'm also in love with Jordana's 12 HR Made To Last Liquid Liner Pencil, which is perfect for lining the waterline or smudging a smoky eye. What I especially like is how smoothly the color glides on and doesn't budge. It actually reminds me of Urban Decay's 24/7 Pencil, only way cheaper. The 12 HR Made to Last Eye Shadow Pencil is similarly impressive, with stay-put color that's perfect on its own or as a base shade.


I vaguely recall purchasing one of my first eyeliners from this brand back in middle school. It came back on my radar about a year ago, when I was searching for a matte bronzer. I bought the N.Y.C. Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny and immediately fell in love with it. At $3, it doesn't pull orangey or muddy and it blends out really easily. I’ve actually used this product on a good variety of skin tones, but with a lighter touch, as well for a few weddings.

I’ve also become a fan of N.Y.C.'s Mosaic Color Wheel Powder in Pink Cheek Glow for my blush and highlight. I apply the lightest shade in the mosaic for that. I think it gives a good amount of color without being over the top. It’s great for everyday wear!

L.A. Girl

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal H.D. Concealer is the first drugstore formula that has come close to my beloved MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. The L.A. Girl formula isn't as thick as MAC's, which makes it easier to blend. The coverage is also excellent and long lasting (read: all day long).

Where there is zero creasing with the MAC product, there is some very minimal creasing with L.A. Girl's concealer, but only on days when it's especially blustering. The biggest selling point is that each tube has only slightly less product than the MAC counterpart (.25 oz. vs. .3 oz.), but for a small fraction of the cost ($18 vs. $3).

Black Opal

Thanks to a recommendation from Anne-Marie, I'm totally sold on Black Opal's Color Splurge Luxe Cream Lipsticks. Drugstore lipsticks are hit or miss for me. Some brands have some really consistent winners (like Revlon), but others are harder to work with. These lipsticks are super pigmented, smooth, creamy, and comfortable on the lips. Normally I'm a straight out of the bullet kind of gal, but I do find that these need a liner. They feather ever so slightly. That's my only critique, though. They last most of the day and fade slightly after a meal of, say, a very large carne asada burrito.

Below I'm wearing one of EVERYTHING you see in this post, plus my regular brow product, foundation, and mascara.

Have you tried any of these brands? Tell me your favorite under-hyped drugstore brands and products in the comments.