15 Underrated Drugstore Beauty Buys

by Claire Gillespie
Oct 23, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. ET

If you're like us, you might only be running to your local drugstore for a bandage or middle-of-the-night cough syrup, but it's worth spending your time in the store's beauty section. The difference in price between drugstore and high-end beauty products isn't always reflected in the quality. You can get lovely hair, glowing skin and the latest makeup trends without having to empty your wallet.

It's time to save a few bucks and still look positively gorgeous. If you look carefully, you'll find some of the best beauty buys around, from a lipstick that rivals the most prestigious brand to self-tanning lotion that's made with the same technology as its luxury competitors.

Yes, you really can do beauty on a budget. Start with these 15 underrated drugstore hair, skin, makeup and body products, and then report back to us what other under-the-radar products we missed.

This post was sponsored by Carmex Comfort Care.

1 /15: CoverGirl Total Tease Mascara

1/15 :CoverGirl Total Tease Mascara

This mascara is polymer-enriched, meaning it thickens lashes, boosts volume and gives amazing definition. The little comb at the top of the brush makes it easy to separate lashes and get rid of clumps. (Amazon, $7.54)

2 /15: Revlon 4-in-1 Blending Sponge

2/15 :Revlon 4-in-1 Blending Sponge

Forget about spending big bucks on a makeup sponge when you can get one that does everything you could possibly want — application, blending, contouring and correction — for under $8. Gone are the days when all you could get at the drugstore was one of those flimsy triangular makeup sponges. Revlon's 4-in-1 Blending Sponge has enough edges to rival the Beautyblender and can be used with any cream or liquid makeup for a flawless, airbrushed finish. (Ulta, $7.99)

3 /15: Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish

3/15 :Sally Hansen Color Therapy Nail Polish

You can't beat Sally Hansen for great nail care (your mom and grandma will agree), and the brand has just become cool thanks to one of the trendiest manicurists in New York City. Madeline Poole consulted on the Color Therapy Nail Polish range, and the result is multipurpose nail care at its best. Choose from 38 nude, pink and jewel-tone polishes infused with argan and evening primrose oils to nourish your nails while giving them fade-proof, chip-resistant color for up to 10 days. (Amazon, $8.81)

4 /15: NYX Dark Circle Concealer

4/15 :NYX Dark Circle Concealer

NYX concealers regularly make the beauty editors' "best of" lists, and for good reason. The NYX Dark Circle Concealer may be specifically formulated for the under-eye area, but it can be used anywhere on the face, its subtle hint of orange working with skin-toned pigments to counteract darkness with a natural finish. (Amazon, $5.99)

5 /15: Aveeno Positively Radiant 60-Second In-Shower Facial

5/15 :Aveeno Positively Radiant 60-Second In-Shower Facial

Does Aveeno Positively Radiant 60-Second In-Shower Facial live up to its name? You bet it does. The steam from your shower softens your pores. Then the glycolic acid, lemon peel extract and soy exfoliate away dead skin cells and debris. Use it once or twice a week instead of your usual cleanser for softer, brighter skin. (Amazon, $18.81, pack of 3) 

6 /15: Rimmel London #InstaFlawless

6/15 :Rimmel London #InstaFlawless

For a skin tint that gives subtle coverage and a natural glow, add Rimmel London's #InstaFlawless Skin Tint to your drugstore cart. It also protects from sun damage (SPF 15) and keeps skin moisturized for 24 hours, meaning it really is the only thing you need to put on your skin if you're the low-maintenance type. (Amazon, $5.75) 

7 /15: e.l.f. Daily Moisture Stick

7/15 :e.l.f. Daily Moisture Stick

e.l.f. Daily Moisture Stick is light to apply but has impressive moisturizing powers. If you have certain areas of your skin that are prone to dryness, it's convenient to use throughout the day, and it's small enough to keep in your purse. Apply it before your makeup to ensure a smooth finish. (Amazon, $12.49)

8 /15: Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion

8/15 :Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion

Regularly voted by beauty editors as one of the best drugstore self-tanners, Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion works just as well as far more expensive brands, creating a natural color (not an orange streak in sight!) without making skin feel oily or clogging pores. (Amazon, $6.64) 

9 /15: Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Liner

9/15 :Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Liner

For the perfect flick, line or wing, you need an eyeliner with a super-skinny tip. Competition is fierce, but Maybelline New York Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Liner is up there with the best. (Amazon, $5.64)

10 /15: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

10/15 :CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Ask dermatologists to name their all-round favorite cleanser, and CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is guaranteed to be in the mix. The formula is gentle, hydrating, non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types, and you can use it without water if you prefer a wipe-off cleanser. (Amazon, $9.92)

11 /15: Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50

11/15 :Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50

If retinol is part of your skin care regimen, it's even more important that you protect your skin from sun damage. Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 is the perfect solution. Despite offering maximum protection, it absorbs well into the skin. (Amazon, $16.26)

12 /15: Olay Total Effects Eye Brightening CC Cream

12/15 :Olay Total Effects Eye Brightening CC Cream

If sleepless nights are the bane of your life, you won't regret investing in Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Eye Brightening CC Cream to keep your eyes looking miraculously fresh. Devotees swear it brightens the under-eye area and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Amazon, $13.92)

13 /15: Thayers Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner

13/15 :Thayers Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner

Made from soothing, natural ingredients to cleanse and tone the skin, Thayers Alcohol-Free Toner Cucumber Witch Hazel With Aloe Vera won't dry out your skin like alcohol toners can. Use it immediately after washing to help minimize pores, get rid of any last traces of makeup and reduce redness and irritation. It can even be used as an aftershave. (Amazon, $11.55) 

14 /15: CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick

14/15 :CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick

You don't have to splurge on lipstick to get creamy, luxurious, lasting color — you just need CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick. Choose from 44 shades infused with silk protein to help sustain moisture levels. (Amazon, $6.99)

15 /15: Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes

15/15 :Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes

Where would we be without facial wipes? When removing your makeup needs to be a two-second task, your best friend is a pack of Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes. They leave the skin feeling soft, not stripped — and do exactly the same as more expensive alternatives. (Amazon, $6.57, pack of 2)