14 of the Best Drugstore Makeup Products, According to Reviewers

by Caitlin White

14 of the Best Drugstore Makeup Products, According to Reviewers

You don’t have to splurge to feel like a million bucks with these budget-friendly makeup products.


We’re all about makeup that looks and feels great. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: We’re not always splurging for prestige or luxury brands—and you don’t have to, either. If you do a little digging, you can find drugstore makeup products that feel like you spent a fortune, but really you spend less than $20, often less than $10, and sometimes even less than $5. (We’re looking at you, mascara!) We’ve curated a list of the best cheap makeup you’ll be able to buy again and again for the price of one product at your high-end store. You’ll want to write down this list, because we know your friends will be asking for your steals. Or, just pull off a killer makeup look with these affordable items and buy the next round of mimosas at the girls’ brunch with all the money you saved.


Check out our list of the top picks below, and click through or scroll down to get all the info on why each one wins.



Best Foundation: Maybelline New York Fit Me!


Nearly anyone can fall in love with Maybelline’s Fit Me! Liquid Foundation, because it comes in a whopping 40 shades to match your skin tone and two formulas: Matte + Poreless for normal to oily complexions and Dewy + Smooth for normal to dry. You can head to the Maybelline website to take a Fit Me quiz to find the exact one for you. The sheer number of people who love this foundation is astounding (and count us in that number!). More than 21,000 people have left a review for this drugstore foundation on Target, and around 8,000 on Ulta, and both average over 4 stars. “I just think this foundation is magic,” says one Ulta reviewer. Yes, you can get magic for less than $9.



Get it! Maybelline New York Fit Me! Liquid Foundation, $7.99; Ulta


Best Bronzer: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter


If you want to get that glow all year ’round and you can’t afford luxury tropical vacations (or even luxury makeup products), you need the now-iconic Physicians Formular Murumuru Butter Bronzer. People keep coming back to this drugstore item, and some swear that it’s one of the best bronzers at any budget! With more than 1,500 reviews on Ulta (far and away the most reviews for any under $20 bronzer on the site), it averages 4.5 stars and has reviews as glowing as your skin will be. “Literally the best bronzer. I wear it everyday and it’s perfect. Lasts long, smells amazing!” writes on reviewer. Seriously, it smells like a pina colada, so you’re really doubling down on the summer feels.



Get it! Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer, $15.99; Ulta


Best Liquid Eyeliner: NYX Matte Liner


Makeup artists swear by NYX’s matte liquid liner, and it’s a major steal at only $5 to $8, depending on your shade and where you shop. We love the tapered brush, which lets you get a thick or thin line and makes for much easier cat-eye looks. Plus, this stuff sticks around even through some cry sessions, so don’t worry about wearing it to your girls’ night movie date. “Coming from someone who has been using liquid eyeliner for more than 25 years I can say this is one of the best!!” says one reviewer on the brand’s website. Consistently across retailers, this liquid eyeliner hovers around 4.5 to 5 stars with hundreds upon hundreds of reviews, so you know it’s legit.


black nyx matte liquid liner in best drugstore makeup


Get it! NYX Matte Liquid Liner, $6.99; Walgreens


Best Eyeliner Pencil: Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal


Rimmel Scandaleyes won’t irritate your eyes like some other cheap eyeliner options. Kajal and kohl, now essentially used interchangably, are ancient eye cosmetics that are created to be used on your waterline without harm. But that’s not the only benefit: This pencil gives seriously intense pigmentation, and it basically was created for a killer smokey eye. But don’t take our word for it, just look at the nearly 1,000 reviews on Walmart—almost 800 of them are 5-star, and only about 70 give it less than 4 stars. (Ratio-ed!) “What a deal this is! It goes on smooth and never smears. Lasts ALL day long and doesn’t bother my sensitive eyes,” says one review, noting it’s the one makeup product she buys over and over again.



Get it! Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner, $3.47; Walmart


Best Mascara: Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect


Want sky-high lashes that feel like falsies? Oh and want that look for (wait for it) less than $5? Let us introduce you to your new mascara obsession. While we love Essence’s original Lash Princess, it got a serious upgrade with the False Lash Effect version. The conic-shaped brush lifts those lashes even better than $25+ mascaras, say reviewers. “I love this mascara! Ever since I discovered it, it’s the only one I use!” says one Ulta reviewer. “It makes my eyelashes so long and every time I use it I get compliments and get asked what mascara do I use. Thanks to this product I don’t even need to wear false lashes.” Plus, it’s cruelty-free, not tested on animals, so you can feel good about wearing it, too.



Get it! Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara, $4.99; Ulta


Best Eyeshadow Palette, Bold: Juvia’s Place The Zulu


Let’s be honest: Each of Juvia’s Place palettes are incredible in their own way. Nigerian-born Chichi Eburu created the brand with the aim of creating pigmented eyeshadows for melanin-rich skin, and now makeup artists everywhere use them on celebrities and influencers, though they’re affordable enough for everyone. When you want to go bold, you must have The Zulu palette, an Ulta exclusive. There are six matte shades and six shimmers, all in blendable shades like tangerine orange, aquamarine, electric purple, and other pops of color. “So blendable, so buildable. I am truly ecstatic about the quality and the looks I’ve created only having it a week. The pans are freaking HUGE!” says one reviewer.



Get it! Juvia’s Place The Zulu Eyeshadow Palette, $20; Ulta


Best Eyeshadow Palette, Neutral: NYX Ultimate, Warm Neutrals


Move over, Urban Decay Naked, because this neutrals-loaded palette from drugstore brand Nyx delivers the shades and pigments at a fraction of the price. (Ahem, $18.) For 16 matte shimmer shadows that can go from everyday to sultry night out, the price is crazy worth it. “For the price range I would usually expect something a little lower quality. But this palette knocked it outta the park!” says one Nyx reviewer.



Get it! Nyx Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette, Warm Neutrals, $18; Walgreens


Best Face Primer: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot


Women with oily skin swear by this drugstore primer, and with hot summer days coming up, it’s a perfect budget purchase. “I have very oily skin and have tried a million different primers, powders, cleansers and foundations to combat my extreme shine,” says one Ulta reviewer. “Nothing has worked as well as this primer at keeping my face matte all day.” Though it works great for oily skin, any skin type can wear this face primer. The Vitamin E nourishes your skin and helps it from UV and free radical damage, and the One Heck of a Blot formulation also works to reduce pore size.


Get it! Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Instant Perfecting Power Primer, $14; Ulta


Best BB Cream: Burt’s Bees


Burts Bees affordable BB cream is made with 98.9% natural ingredients, so you can feel good putting it on your face. Not only does it work as a great, light foundational makeup, it has great skincare elements, too! The SPF protects your skin from harmful UV rays, and it’s formulated with essence of the noni plant, which is rich in antioxidants and moisturizes your skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Reviewers love the dewy, but not oily, look and how easy it is to apply.



Get it! Burts Bees BB Cream with SPF, $6.99; Target


Best Highlighter: Colourpop Super Shock


While maybe not originally drugstore makeup, Colourpop’s incredible Super Shock highlighter is a steal at $8—fans claim is a great dupe for Kylie’s wet set highlighter, which is more than double the price. This “blinding” cream highlighter goes on super smooth, and as one reviewer says, “It looks like my cheekbones are made of glass when the light hits them.” It comes in loads of shades, and Ulta has our favorite: a pearly pastel lavender that is giving us serious Fenty Beauty vibes.



Get it! Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter, $8; Ulta


Best Blush: Flower Beauty Flower Pots


If you haven’t heard of the under-the-radar drugstore makeup brand Flower Beauty, you need to get on board. A massive 97 percent of reviewers on Ulta would recommend the Flower Pots blush to a friend, and it’s only $10. “This is my favorite blush of all time,” says one reviewer that goes on to gush about the pigmentation and how buildable and blendable they are. Ulta has four peachy and rosy shades so you can choose which best matches your skin tone.



Get it! Flower Beauty Flower Pots Blush, $9.99; Ulta


Best Lipstick: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream


At any given time, I personally have a dozen or so NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream tubes in my makeup stash. They’re insanely affordable, so soft and creamy, and don’t dry out your lips, plus the 40-shade color selection is bananas, ranging from easy pinks to purples to nudes across the skintone spectrum. One Nyx reviewer agrees, loving these lipsticks so much it necessitated caps lock: “I am BLOWN away by how smooth these are, and the color payoff is PHENOMENAL, I am in LOVE with these lip products,” the review says. “I wasn’t expecting much but this FLEW past my expectations and now I am ADDICTED!!! I cannot express in words how much I love these, I want every color!!!! And even though they couldn’t get any better, they also smell like CAKE BATTER!!!” My personal favorite shade is the violet Seoul, though fan-favorites are pure red Amsterdam, plum Copenhagen, and cranberry Monte Carlo.


Get it! NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream, $4; Walmart


Best Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment


Say buh-bye to your dark circles with this affordable under-eye concealer from Maybelline. The sponge pen applicator makes it so easy to apply, and it’s not just color that covers your dark circles. The concentrated formula has goji berry and haloxyl, which help erase fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. “I have the worst dark circles and this is the only product that covers them completely. I instantly look refreshed!!” says one reviewer on Maybelline’s site. Bonus: The twisty packaging means you use every drop, so you truly get your less-than-$10 worth.



Get it! Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer, $8.49; Walgreens


Best Setting Spray: E.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set


Once you do up your face with the best drugstore makeup products, make sure they’re all set in for the long haul with a setting spray. This e.l.f. mist is only $4 to $6, depending on the size, and it does more than double duty. Apply it to your beauty sponge instead of water to help you apply your makeup, spray it on afterward to set your makeup and give a color boost, or just mist at any time to revitalize your look! The mist is infused with soothing and hydrating aloe, green tea, and Vitamins A, C, and E, so it works like much more expensive options. And bonus: it’s cruelty-free! “I put on my makeup around 3:00pm and went out for a very long time. I came back around 1:30am and my makeup was still perfectly in place!” says one e.l.f. reviewer, who also noted that it never made her face look shiny or oily.



Get it! e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set, $4 or $6, e.l.f. Cosmetics