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9 Drugstore Beauty Buys That Actually Perform

There’s no feeling quite like walking along the narrow rows of your local drugstore’s cosmetic aisle to find an assembly of color-coded clones. When every product is spread out x organized among the categories of house-hold names, which end up sounding the same once you get home, how does one make a decision? It should not be that hard to find a match, and yet you may as well be picking with your eyes shut. 

That’s where we come in. 

Staying true to our efforts of bringing you the best buys on a budget, we tapped on our resident beauty insider x contributor April Martin to do the digging for you. As a beauty expert, specifically in the field of trend + product development, she’s been there x tried that. Now, we’re pleased to offer you her rundown on the budget-friendly finds that so often go overlooked in the game-time decision. From the staples we’ve kept on hand since the last millennium to the newbies fresh on the market with little to no press, we’re here to spill the best kept secrets of the drugstore beauty aisle. . .

01 | e.l.f x Jen Atkin Collection

“I’m always a fan of anything that makes my life easier, and this makeup line does just that. Beauty boss  Jen Atkin has partnered with e.l.f cosmetics to create a line of quality beauty products that are accessible to everyone. My pick? The lip duo. With a lip liner on one end + a lipstick on the other, this product has taken the guesswork out of having to find the perfect lip shade pairing. The formula is vibrant, swipes on easily, and comes in three wearable shades.”

02 | Maybelline Cheek Heat

“Our whole team at Aisle 9 is smitten with this colorful x easy-to-use blush. It glides on, giving you a soft, natural, sslightly dewy finish. The texture is a water-based gel cream, so it feels fresh when applying.

03 | Native Body Wash

I first discovered this fresh body wash while staying over at a friend’s house + immediately purchased it for myself. The combination of fragrances are perfectly curated + it’s sulfate x paraben free. My personal favourite for summer is the energizing cucumber + mint.” 

04 | Revlon SkinLights Prismatic Bronze

“If you want glowing skin with depth, dimension, and a zero-powder finish, you must buy this bronzer immediately. A prestige product on a budget, this bronzer packs a sophisticated punch. Add a subtle touch of warmth to skin or layer it for more contoured effects. Plus, they have a fantastic range of shades that include more highlighter friendly hues.

05 | Amlactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

“Even in the summer, I struggle with dry skin on my legs. This is my go-to daily lotion for body, since it’s packed with lactic acid, which helps to gently exfoliate + renew the skin. It’s not heavy or greasy,  just leaves skin soft x supple.”

06 | Vichy Liftactiv Peptide-C Ampoule Serum

Vitamin C is one of those miracle ingredients that really has the power to change your skin. It promotes collagen production, diminishes fine lines and acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin. The flip side of being a miracle ingredient is that it’s hard to stabilize in formulas, so finding an effective one that is price-friendly can be tough. This one from Vichy contains 10% Vitamin C, plus Hyaluronic Acid, and comes in individual ampoules to guarantee that the formula stays fresh and effective.

07 | Milani Keep It Full Nourishing Lip Plumper

“This gloss is the ideal, balanced combination of being just tacky enough, while still leaving lips feeling nourished x hydrated with the oils inside. It also has a slight cooling sensation that gives a feeling of plumped lips, while the super shiny finish adds to the optical plumping effect.”

08 | Alba Soothing Sunscreen

“I just spent three weeks in Malta for my yoga teacher training, and this gal was my BFF. I was in the sun on the beach for 4 hours a day, and this sunscreen gave me enough protection from the sun without sweating or washing off. I love the lavender scent + that it applies more like a lotion than a sunscreen.”

09 | Almay Micellar Makeup Remover Towelettes

“Sometimes after a long day [or night], I’m looking for an easy way to take off my makeup. These micellar water soaked towelettes gently remove your look of the day. Micellar water is made using purified water + is not only gentle for sensitive skin, but effective to remove dirt, makeup, and cleanse pours while toning the skin. Bonus: they’re 100% biodegradable.”