A Collegiette's Guide to the Best Drug Store Makeup

As a makeup enthusiast, I spend a lot of time researching products before I actually go and purchase them because I think that if you’re going to spend the coins on them then they better work, and they better work well. Growing up, my mother taught me how to bargain hunt. She taught me how to get the best products at the best prices. After going to college, I found myself bargain hunting for makeup. We all know that makeup is expensive. We also know that as college students we’re all broke. One of the biggest lies that I've heard since starting my relationship with makeup is that it’s only going to look good if you use expensive products. And while yes, sometimes the more expensive products do come out on top, that's not always the case. Drugstore brands have really stepped up their game lately when it comes to their cosmetics. So, I’m going to do a little drugstore breakdown for everyone who wants great products without breaking the bank.

Disclaimer – Everyone has different experiences with makeup. Just because something didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.



One primer that I've been loving lately is the Catrice Cosmetics Prime and Fine primer. Catrice is a brand that you can find at Ulta. This primer claims to smooth invisible pores and lines and let me tell you, I have some pores. This primer does a great job of filling in your pores without it feeling like you have clogged them.

Price Point: $6.99

Courtesy: Ulta Beauty



I have a couple of foundations that I want to mention. The first one is a foundation that I personally wear: the Maybelline 24hr Super Stay Full Coverage Foundation. I have oily skin so this foundation does give me a nice matte finish. It's not the type of matte foundation that makes your face crack, but this is something to keep in mind for those with dry skin. The coverage is also pretty full and buildable.

Price Point: $8.99-$11.99

Courtesy: Maybelline New York


The second foundation that I want to mention is the Wet and Wild Photo Focus Foundation. This foundation doesn't smell good, but it gives your skin a better look. The finish is matte but the coverage is about medium. This foundation does wonders in pictures and helps give you a photoshopped finish.

Price Point: $5.99

Courtesy: Beauty Bay



One of the biggest concealers on the drugstore market right now is the Maybelline Age Rewind. It has a great color range and the coverage is incredible. Not to mention, the concealer is lightweight under the eyes.

Price Point: $7.94-$9.99

Courtesy: Nomadic Hijabi

One concealer that I feel doesn’t get enough hype from the drugstore is from LA Girl Pro Concealer. This is the concealer that I personally use. However, if you aren’t a full coverage lover or a thick concealer lover then this probably isn't for you. This concealer is high coverage for the price point which is something I value because of my eye bags. Concealer Tip: Before blending out your concealer, let it sit for a couple minutes to help build up the coverage.

Price Point: $4.99

Courtesy: eBay


Setting Powder

A great drugstore setting powder is the Coty Airspun. I would recommend using this powder for setting concealer under the eyes. I wouldn't recommend powdering your whole face with this powder because it can produce flashback if you go too heavy-handed all over your face. However, it's perfect for under the eye and you get a large amount of product for the price.

Another powder I want to mention is from Milani. Their pressed powder foundation is perfect for setting all over the face. It's great to set the face or to just do touch-ups and add a little extra coverage to your look.

Price Point: $10.99

Photo Courtesy: Milani Cosmetics



The Physicians Formal Butter Bronzer is one of the best bronzers I have ever used. The formula is so soft and blends out perfectly on the skin. I find myself reaching for this product over my MAC bronzers. This bronzer isn't going to turn you orange and its amazing smell is an extra plus.

Price Point: $8.89-$14.99

Photo Courtesy: Amazon


The Milani Baked Bronzer is another great bronzer from the drugstore. The baked bronzer does look like it has a lot of glow, but the glow is minimal. This product works great as a finish to add a little extra hit of tan to your makeup look.

Price Point: $8.99

Photo Courtesy: Walmart



You can’t go wrong with a L’oreal blush. They blend beautifully and they're pigmented. I'm a blush lover, so I like more than just a kiss of color. You can build these blushes up and they have a great variety of color. My favorite lately has come from the peach collection that does have a perfume scent to it.

Price Point: $8.89

Photo Courtesy: Musings of a Muse


Another great blush comes from Milani. They have a great selection of baked blushes. These blushes have a sheen to them. Luminoso is one of my favorite shades from this range. These blushes are great if you aren’t a huge fan of highlighter but you want a little glow.

Price Point: $7.99

Photo Courtesy: eBay



The Maybelline Master Chrome highlighters are awesome if you want a good glow from the drugstore. I personally am not a highlighter gal just because I think it exaggerates my texture, but I do enjoy this collection.

Price Point: $9.99

Photo Courtesy: The Beauty Journals XO


If you want a highlighter that isn’t going to break the bank and, like me, you don’t wear them that often then maybe look for a less traditional route to achieving a glow. Use a shadow as a highlighter. I enjoy the single shadows from Maybelline as highlighters. The shade that I use is The Glo Down and it’s perfect for just an extra touch, plus it’s so cheap.

Price Point: $3.99

Photo Courtesy: Buy Me Beauty



The best eyeshadows that I've seen from the drugstore come from Milani. I haven’t tried one of their palettes and not enjoyed it. I think that the pigmentation there is good for the price point of the shadows.

Price Point: $8.99-$10.99

Photo Courtesy: Beauty Bay


Another eyeshadow that surprised me was Elf Mad for Matte 2. Elf has recently expanded its brand, and I feel like their quality has gone way up. These eyeshadows are easy to blend, and the colors are beautiful.

Price Point: $10.00

Photo Courtesy: Youtube @ChristineChachi



Do I even need to say it? L’oreal’s Lash Paradise kills the game every time. I honestly believe that this is the best drugstore mascara out on the market right now. When it first launched, I wasn’t even able to get my hands on the product because it were sold out everywhere. I love this product because it gives my lashes volume and length. I'm a false eyelash wearer all day, every day, but I feel comfortable in my own lashes using this mascara.

Price Point: $6.99 -$8.97

Photo Courtesy: L'oreal Paris USA


I hope that this short guide was helpful to you. Happy saving!