I have done quite a bit of drugstore testing, as well as beauty blog scouring over the years in search of products and dupes I might like as much as or better than an equivalent higher-end makeup item in my kit. These are the items I buy on repeat, and love so much that I packaged them up in a “favorite things” Oprah-style gift for my sisters for Christmas. Here are 10 drugstore items that would make a perfect on-the-go kit.
This seriously dewey foundation comes in warm, neutral and cool tones as well as a lot of shades. I wear N1-2 Classic Ivory. It’s is like your skin but better, not heavy and lets you shine through and look fresh.
The Voluminous mascara comes in regular black, but make sure you get the one that says ‘Carbon Black’ on the tube because there’s a difference. If you already have long lashes, but want to make them fuller, look no further. The formula is long-lasting and buildable. Also, this is the only mascara I wear that I get asked if I am wearing false lashes when I wear it.
This lip pencil is a pretty, universal color and has been in daily rotation after a certain Housewife revealed it as her secret, favorite lip color that she wears with a gloss on top. I think it really is a great everyday color when worn with nude lipgloss over it. It’s getting harder and harder to find in the drugstores, so I just stockpile it from Amazon. Also, the pencil itself is as long as a ruler so I usually snip it in half for easier purse-toting.
The internet has unanimously agreed that this blush is a near-perfect dupe for Nars Orgasm blush, which I have had and loved for years. It’s just sliiiiightly peachier and I am ok with that because for the price it can’t be beat. The slight shimmer, smooth formulation, and perfectly flushed color have me sold.
Just when I told myself I would not buy another eye palette, Maybelline goes ahead and creates the loveliest collection of flattering greigey-pink tones and my restraint goes out the window. This palette has become my travel favorite since it’s a lot more compact than my assembled MAC palettes, and has pretty much any shade I could want for day or evening. While these shadows are not as pigmented as my higher-end shadows, I think they are pretty close, and more importantly, buildable so you can still get the tone you see in the pan. Plus, this palette has a taupey shade I can use to fill in my brows.
This powder is a dupe for Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder, and I think that Elf wins without question. The finish is that of a true translucent powder – your skin but airbrushed, whereas I feel the Make Up Forever powder gives a whitish and flat cast that is especially evident in photos.
My long-standing favorite lipstick is MAC Crème d’Nude but this is a near-perfect drugstore dupe with lovely texture. If differs from the more matte application of the MAC version in that it imparts a bit more sheen with a little more pink.
In application, I treat this more as a highlighter than a concealer, because the consistency is stunningly close to the Holy Grail of all highlighters – YSL Touche Éclat. All it’s missing is the clicky pen-style applicator and you would easily be fooled.
This concealer is widely-accepted as being a dupe for NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and for less than a quarter of the price, I happily agree. What’s so great about this formula is that it’s moisturizing and plumping so it makes my under eye circles virtually disappear, as well as conceal finer lines. It’s on the heavier-end of coverage, yet doesn’t feel heavy or look overdone. I don’t know how it does it, but I am never without.
I have a steady hand and love calligraphy, so I naturally do not shy away from any type of liquid liner pen that is out there, but this has got to be the easiest applicator I have ever used. If you have ever had a bad experience with liquid liner, I would recommend you give it another try with this one. Plus, the actual liner formulation of any liquid liner is usually hit or miss, this formula is richly pigmented and does not require several tracings over your line to get true black, just a single, steady swipe.