Beauty on a Budget: Top 6 Drug Store Products that Beat Sephora!


Growing up watching beauty bloggers and makeup tutorials, I can definitely be kind of a makeup snob. I am a Sephora addict for sure, but my part time job on campus can only pay for so many tubes of $30 mascara and $40 foundation. That’s why this past summer, I made it my goal to only purchase drug store brands to save money. After much exploring, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite products that are affordable and efficient!

1. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara (Washable and Waterproof $8.49 from CVS)

Both of these mascaras are staples in my makeup collection. The formula is amazing. After one or two coats, my lashes are so long and voluminous that everyone thinks I have lash extensions. There is absolutely no clumping, and it lasts all day. The waterproof formula is especially tenacious. This mascara survived 9 hours at Six Flags and the water park. It didn’t smudge or budge one bit. My lashes looked so good that I decided to do an impromptu photoshoot after coming out of the water. (Fair warning, it does take a good micellar cleansing water to take this mascara off.)


2. Cantu Shea Butter Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream ($6.99 from CVS)

I absolutely love this leave in conditioner! I have naturally curly, frizzy, and dry hair. I apply to damp hair from root to tip and wrap it before going to sleep every other night. It always leaves me with noticeably softer and smoother hair. My curls are bouncy and defined the next morning. It’s also great as a daily styling cream. Sometimes I work it through my hair after showering in the morning and use it to define my curls before I blow dry with a diffuser. My hair looks amazing all day. It’s the best!


3. Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation ($5.49 from CVS)

I was blown away by this foundation. There are limited shades, and the formula cannot compare to my favorite Estee Lauder foundation, but this is definitely a product that gives you the most bang for your buck. I mean it costs less than a venti Frappuccino at Starbucks! This foundation is full coverage and a true matte. I use this with a good setting spray, and it definitely lasts all day.


4. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All in 1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover ($9.69 from CVS)


This is my favorite micellar cleansing water ever! It lasts so long because it only takes a little to take off a full face of makeup. It always leaves my face feeling clean, refreshed, and ready for bed. Normally, I use Neutrogena makeup wipes or the Sephora brand eye makeup remover to take off my makeup at the end of the day, but after starting my beauty on a budget project, I noticed that neither of those removers could take off my waterproof Maybelline mascara. I tried this cleansing water, and it all came off within seconds!


5. Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99 from CVS)

Maybelline is one of the best drug store brands, which is why this gel liner is another staple in my collection. This no smudge formula is so incredible! This dramatic liner definitely lives up to its name. The brush is easy to use and makes any look bold. It’s perfect for a night out. I wore this waterproof liner to winter formal my sophomore year, and it stayed put after a whole night of dancing and sweating.


6. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($4.99 from CVS)

I’ve been using Burt’s Bees for years, but this is definitely my favorite in their line of products. I use this tinted balm every day. The Red Dahlia (picture above) is my favorite shade. It has a sheer, sheeny red tint. It gives my lips just the right amount of color, and it’s casual enough for everyday wear so I wear it to class all the time. Liquid lips are too dry for me to wear all the time, so this is a great substitute. My lips feel moisturized for hours!