Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Budget-Conscious Beauty: My 10 Favourite Drugstore Items!

Even though I've been known to splurge on fancy department store makeup from time to time, I'm no snob when it comes to shopping at the drugstore for cosmetics. Living on a student's budget is the ultimate motivation to be frugal, even when it comes to makeup, and this has led me to find some true gems at affordable prices. Here are my top 10 drugstore picks! As with other lists, they're not ranked in any particular order. I've just organized them by category.

1) Revlon Colourstay Foundation (Combination/Oily skin formula)
Finding a suitable foundation for my skin has always been a struggle because my skin is pretty oily and needs decent coverage, but also is extremely prone to breakouts. Revlon's Colourstay foundation ($21.99 CAD at Shopper's Drugmart) has been the answer to all of these issues, and I've been using it for years as a result. It comes in 2 formulations (one for Combination/Oily skin and one for Dry Skin), offers moderate-full coverage with a natural finish, and does not break me out. I've tried other foundations over the years, but always come back to this one!

Revlon Colourstay Foundation Combo/Oily skin formula Shade 150 Buff

2) GOSH Extreme Art Liner
This liquid liner comes in a wide array of shades, from classic black to vibrant turquoise. It's waterproof and smudge proof. It really lasts all day! You can find it at Shoppers Drugmart for $17 CAD.

Revlon Colourstay Liquid Eye Pen in Black and GOSH Extreme Art Liner in #11 Aqua Art

3) Revlon ColourStay Liquid Eye Pen
This is my go-to every day black eyeliner. It's a liquid formula, so it offers a true deep, dramatic black shade. For those who like a more subtle look, it also comes in soft black and brown. My favourite thing about it is its sturdy, felt-tipped applicator, which makes application incredibly easy. Much simpler than liquid liners that come with a flimsy brush. $11.99 at Shoppers Drugmart.

4) Revlon Colour Burst Lipstick
This line of lipsticks was released last year and offers a wide range of shades. They have a rich, creamy, opaque finish and have pretty good lasting power. I find them comparable to Chanel's Rouge Allure lipsticks, but they're about a third of the cost ($11.99 CAD at Shopper's Drugmart). I recommend Rosy Nude, which is a perfect pinky-beige shade that's neutral to wear on a daily basis.

Revlon Colour Burst Lipstick in Rosy Nude

5) Bonne Bell Lipsmacker- Dr. Pepper Flavour
When I was 12 years old, I had a huge collection of Lipsmackers. So many yummy flavours! A few years ago I was feeling nostalgic and I picked up a Dr. Pepper lipsmacker for old times' sake. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this flavour actually left a nice rosy shade on my lips! It's super moisturizing and offers as much colour as a gloss, and for only $2.99 (at Shoppers Drugmart)! It's the cheapest item on my list, and I wear it every day :)

Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper Lipsmacker and Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Raisin Glaze

6) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss
This gloss is just over $10 ($10.99 at Shoppers Drugmart) and it rivals all of the department store glosses I've tried. A completely non-sticky finish and rich colour. Completely comfortable on the lips. Try it out- you won't regret it!

7) Quo Cosmetics Brushes
Even though several high-end brands make fantastic brushes, I've never been able to justify paying upwards of $40 or $50 on a single brush. Luckily, I've discovered Quo's cosmetics brushes, which generally cost between $12-$22 CAD, at Shoppers Drugmart. I own about ten of them and I've never been disappointed with their quality. My favourite is their Bronzer Brush (pictured below). It's perfect for sheer application of highly pigmented blushes and bronzers.

Quo makeup brushes (top-bottom): Blush Brush, Bronzer Brush, All-over Eyeshadow Brush

8) Ecotools Makeup Brushes
I more recently found this line of eco-friendly brushes at Zellers (also available at Wal-Mart). I purchased their Bamboo Bronzer Brush (pictured below) and I was instantly amazed at how soft it was! I believe I paid about $15 for it, and it's one of my favourite brushes for applying mineral foundation. Can't wait to try other brushes from this line!

Ecotools Bamboo Bronzer Brush

9) Marcelle Oil-FreeMultidefense Lotion SPF 15
For the same reasons that finding a good foundation is difficult, finding an appropriate moisturizer for my skin has always been a challenge. Personally, I need one that wears well under makeup, doesn't leave an oily finish, and doesn't break me out. SPF protection is also a nice bonus. Marcelle's Oil-Free Multidefense Lotion meets all of these requisites, and has been my staple moisturizer for years. The bottle is a generous 120mL ($19.95 CAD at Shoppers Drugmart) and lasts for over a year when used daily!

Marcelle Multidefense Oil-free Lotion SPF 15

10) TRESemme Conditioner
After years of splurging on high-priced conditioner, my wallet started to complain so I turned to the drugstore. There are very few hair care lines at the drugstore that are cruelty-free, so I turned to TRESemme, which claims no animal testing. And I was in luck! TRESemme makes fabulous conditioners that my dry hair loves. Their bottles are huge, and at only $7.49 (at Shoppers Drugmart), I can't complain. I've tried a few of their formulas, and right now am loving their Thermal Recovery conditioner.

TRESemme Thermal Recovery Conditioner

And here I am, after using 6 of the 10 products from my list:

After using Marcelle Multidefense Lotion, Revlon Colourstay foundation, Revlon Colourstay Liquid Eye Pen, Revlon Colour Burst lipstick in Rosy Nude, Quo makeup brushes and TRESemme conditioner

I hope you enjoyed reading my list! What are your favourite drugstore cosmetics items? Let me know! :)


  1. I love reading about products that are less expensive than big-name brands, but are still very effective!
    I agree that Tresemme hair products are great! I use the smoothing cream on my hair every day and it is great for taming flyaways. I also like that it doesn't have an overpowering scent; it's very neutral.
    Another favourite is the Aussie hair spray. I use the 'ultra shine' one and it works great! It doesn't weigh my hair down and it's not sticky. And the best part is that it only costs around $4 or so!

    Karen :)

  2. It's crazy how inflation works! I've known you for 22 years (wow we're old!) and have bore witness to the various trials and tribulations you've had with moisturizers and foundations. I remember when you first discovered the Revlon foundation and Marcelle moisturizer; they were around the $12 mark! I can't believe everything has nearly doubled in price in the past several years! I used to buy Tresemme and it was around $3. Geez.

    This is a testament to how truly needed blogs like yours are to help gals on a budget look beautiful and still pinch their dollars!

  3. It's funny that you posted this, because I just left a review on Amazon for one of my favorite drugstore purchases: Glysomed's Face moisturizer. It's really hard to find, but sometimes Shopper's stocks it; if not, thank goodness for Amazon.

    Also awesome and inexpensive: St. Ives Mineral Clay Mask, Burt's Bees lemon butter cuticle cream, and for nails, Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure (I've got Midnight in NY, but all the colors rock).

    I've got a question for you: any thoughts on Philosophy's The Present Clear Makeup? I've read some good things about it, and I'm looking for something that's kind of a primer, kind of a moisturizer, and kind of a skin evener. This, however, is definitely not a drugstore product.

  4. Oh, and what eyeshadows are you wearing in your picture above? I like.

  5. Hey, Erin! Thanks for all your drugstore recommendations. The Sally Hansen manicure set sounds intriguing!

    I haven't tried Philosophy's The Present, and I've read very mixed reviews about it. Some people say it leaves their skin greasy or that makeup doesn't apply well over top of it- but if your skin is more dry and you're wearing it on its own, it could be ok! And if you buy it at Sephora, you can always return it if it doesn't work out.

    As for my eyeshadows in the picture, I'm wearing Bourjois Begie Rose on the lid and as a highlight, and MAC Mulch in the crease and outer corner. Love both of those shadows! Thanks for asking :)

  6. And, Sheri- you're totally right about inflation! Both the Revlon Colourstay and the Marcelle Multi-defense were under $15 when I started buying them. Luckily, they both go on sale pretty frequently, so I try to snatch them up then :)

  7. Favourite post by far!

    I could spend hours in the isles of Shoppers...lol

  8. A great post Jen! You certainly worked hard on this and gave lots of good info. I really enjoyed it.


All of your lovely comments make my day! Thanks for taking the time to share your musings, ideas, and opinions. Feel free to leave a link to your blog- I'd be happy to check it out :)