7 Products That Made Me Reconsider Drugstore Makeup

How I learned to stop being an elitist and admit that drugstore makeup can be just as good as the expensive stuff.
Publish date:
November 23, 2014
maybelline, Revlon, smoky eye, drugstore makeup, blue eye shadow, L'oreal, NYX Cosmetics

I’m the first to admit it, I can be a total snob when it comes to beauty products. I have no idea where it came from--my mother has never washed her face with anything other than a bar of Dove and her moisturizer is the same Lubriderm she uses all over her body, so I certainly didn’t learn it from her.

When it comes to makeup, though, I don’t think my bias is based in snobbery alone. When I was first getting into makeup, I’d try to buy things at the drugstore with my friends, only to find that half of what I bought looked crazy on me since it wasn’t made for my skin tone. I quickly got frustrated with wasting money on stuff that didn’t work and moved on to department store beauty counters, where I could test things before handing over my allowance or babysitting money.

For many years I didn’t even look in the makeup aisle at drugstores, but all that changed last year when I discovered Revlon Balm Stains through my fellow beauty proselytizer Alle. Once I accepted that the best lip color I’d ever used was a drugstore brand, I wondered what else I’d been missing. Turns out a lot has changed in the world of drugstore beauty since 1995.

I decided to see what kind of results I’d get from a look done with only drugstore products. I’d recently picked up a Revlon palette that I quickly fell in love with, and I also thought this would be the perfect chance to try out NYX Cosmetics which I keep hearing amazing things about from my fellow Vainers.

I went for a blue-gray smoky eye with peachy-gold cheeks and lips. It ended up being really pretty, and I was delighted by how well each of these products performed.

I applied Revlon PhotoReady Makeup in Cappuccino all over my face and filled in my brows using the darker color in the NYX brow powder. I’ve been pretty enamored with the Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow, but this was super easy to use and gave natural results. I love that it comes with an angle brush and a spoolie, too! With my face at beauty base zero, I was ready to get cooking.

I applied shade #1 from the Revlon ColorStay 16 Hour Eye Shadow Palette (a beige-y taupe) on my mobile lid up to the crease. Then I added shade #3 (a vibrant blue) to the bottom part of the lid and used a clean, big fluffy brush to blend the blue into the taupe shade and fade the color into my crease.

I mixed shades #2 (a soft black) & #3 together to create a navy color. I used that to shade in my crease and the outer corner of my eye, blending well.

I mixed Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Eye Shadow with shade #4 from the palette (a light blue) and used it on the very center of my lid, inner corner of my eye, and a tiny bit on the brow bone, blending all of it with the shadow I’d already applied.

I went back to the color I made by mixing shades #2 and #3 and used a damp angle brush to line my eyes on the upper and lower lash line. Then I used shade #3 to smudge out the line on the outer corner of the lower lashes. Add some L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara, and the eyes have it.

I used NYX Illuminating Bronzer to highlight my cheekbones, down the middle of my nose, forehead, Cupid’s bow, and chin. I’m pretty ride-or-die for the Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Powder (and I still think it’s one of the best products ever), but this highlighter was awesome. It gave me a great glow and the larger pieces of glitter went away once I blended. After highlight I applied NYX Powder Blush to the apples of my cheeks and cheekbones. The blush was super pigmented, very blendable, and reminded me of NARS Seduction Blush both in texture and color. I blended the two products together with a big fluffy blush to create an overall peachy glow.

To finish, I applied the NYX Lip Cream in Sable (a dead ringer for my beloved NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Het Loo) to extend the peachy theme to my lips and the look was complete.


  • So are there any other beauty snobs out there?
  • Have I convinced you to give drugstore makeup a try?
  • Can we talk about drugstore/beauty counter dupes? Because I need some.