The Best Drugstore Makeup For Every Skin Tone, Picked By Top Pros

We don’t have to tell you why drugstore makeup is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s an affordable way to try the latest and greatest trends and fill in your makeup wardrobe without spending a lot. It’s also widely available, making both shopping and replenishment a breeze.
Unfortunately, it’s also a mixed bag: For every crazy-good product, there are two more that are downright lousy. (Sorry, but it’s true.) And without testers or a staff of professional makeup artists on hand, navigating between the breakthrough products and the bummer ones is far from straightforward. So, we’re bringing in the pros.
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To help you navigate the latest selection, we challenged three top celebrity makeup artists to curate a complete makeup bag for three different skin tones. Think of this guide as the next best thing to hitting the drugstore with one of the top makeup artists in the world — seriously. From the exact blush shades they use on their clients with similar complexions to the best foundation ranges to shop, they're telling all. Who knows? You may never have to buy prestige again.
Ahead, three of the most in-demand makeup artists in Hollywood put together a complete drugstore makeup bag update for every skin tone. Let’s get started...
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Skin Tone: Fair to Light

The Expert: Allan Avendano

Clients: Ashley Graham, Kate Upton, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Sarah Hyland, Lucy Hale, Chrissy Teigen, and more.
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Skin

"This new foundation is amazing because of the amount of colors offered," Avendano says. "You can find one that will match your skin, but in the case that you can't, the dropper makes it really easy to mix your custom color — and you can afford to buy a couple because it's so inexpensive."

NYX Total Control Drop Foundation, $14, available at NYX.
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Avendano recommends two different concealer ranges for fair to light skin tones, both also from Nyx. This first option, here, is slightly more sheer and better for correcting and brightening under the eyes...

NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand, $5, available at NYX.
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While the next option is a full coverage concealer better for correcting on the rest of the face.

"I love the textures of both of these concealers — and the range of colors is a big deal," he says. "Gone are the days of not being able to find a concealer that matches your skin tone in the drugstore or one that will help brighten under the eyes."

NYX Gotcha Covered Concealer, $6, available at NYX.
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"I love this blush because it works well for most skin tones," Avendano says about the shade named Rosy. "For fair skin, it gives a sheer, flushed look when applied with a fan brush from the apples of the cheeks to the ear."

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blush in Rosy, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"This contour product is the perfect shade for fair to medium skin," he notes. "It's the right color for shading, without looking too orange or muddy for fair skin." Apply in the shape of the letter 3, starting at the temples and sweeping under the cheekbones and then onto the jawline, he instructs. Then, simply dust the highlighter on the high points of the face.

Maybelline Facestudio Master Contour Face Contouring Kit in Light to Medium, $12.99, available at Maybelline.
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"This is such a great product to spot highlight all the high points of the face," Avendano says about Moon Glow. Apply on the bridge of the nose, top of the cheekbones, and on the temples, then blend with your fingers or a damp sponge, he says.

NYX Away We Glow Liquid Highlighter in Moon Glow, $7, available at NYX.
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Eyes

"This palette is a great universal option for different skin tones because you can create anything, from a no-makeup makeup look to a smoky look on fair skin," Avendano says. Pro tip: Sweep a hue a few shades darker than your skin into the crease to create depth and "add life to your eyes!" he says.

Covergirl Nudes TruNaked Eyeshadow Palette, $11.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Brows

"For fair skin, [over-defined] brows can be too bold if you wear little to no makeup," he says. The solution? "I love this micro-fine point to mimic the look of hairs, so you can shape the brow and define it without looking like you went overboard."

NYX Micro Brow Pencil, $10, available at NYX.
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Lips

"This couldn't be an easier find!" Avendano says. "Julianne Moore is one of the most beautiful fair-skinned women in the world and this red is named after her for a reason." He notes that he also works well on medium skin tones, but is the most flattering on fair individuals. "It really makes the face come alive!"

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Red Lipcolor in 401 Julianne's Red, $5.99, available at Target.
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"I love a dark, burgundy lip color on fair skin!" Avendano says. "It really gives a dramatic look, especially if it's matte." He notes that this shade is foolproof, in both color and texture.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss in 107, $4.99, available at Target.
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For a good nude shade, he recommends shopping Maybelline's expansive collection.

Maybelline Color Sensational Inti-Matte Nudes Lipcolor, $5.59, available at Target.
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Skin Tone: Medium and Olive

The Expert: Carissa Ferreri

Clients: Gina Rodriguez, Bailee Madison, Annette Bening, and more.
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Skin

"This line has a major range of colors, from the lightest porcelain to the deepest of mochas," Ferreri reports, noting that the lightweight, buildable texture makes it a win-win, and finding a medium shade in a yellow, pink, or neutral undertone is easy.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation, $7.99, available at Maybelline.
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"When dealing with dark undereye circles, it's important to color-correct using a peach tone like this one from Nyx," Ferreri says.

NYX Dark Circle Concealer in Medium, $5.99, available at Target.
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"The best concealer to go along with the matching foundation!" Ferreri exclaims about this expansive line. "It conceals redness and blemishes, all while creating natural coverage in a range of skin colors."

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, $6.49, available at Maybelline.
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"Matte powders are the best for contouring," Ferreri says. "I'm a fan of this product for the perfect way it blends into the skin while shading."

Pixi Natural Contour Powder Shape & Shadow, $20, available at Target.
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"This liquid highlighter gives the perfect look for natural, glowing skin," Ferreri says. She notes it's "easy to apply and blend onto cheekbones, under the brows, and into the inner corners of eyes."

Circa Beauty Magic Hour Illuminating Glow in 02 Sun Ray Beach, $12, available at Walgreens.
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"I love tan skin to be radiant and healthy, so I like to emphasize the complexion with this pigmented blush," Ferreri says about the shade Rose D'Oro, which she calls "a warm tone perfect for various medium skin tones."

Milani Cosmetics Baked Blush in 02 Rose D'Oro, $8, available at Milani Cosmetics.
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Brows

"I like this brow pencil because its so easy to use," Ferreri says. "One side has a mechanical tip, so you'll never have to sharpen it, and on the other side has a grooming brush to tame hairs and brush through product [to soften it]."

L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Eyes

"I love these warm, neutral hues for medium skin tones," she says. "There are 10 rose gold colors curated to create any look, from subtle to bold."

e.l.f. Eyeshadow Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette, $10, available at e.l.f.
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Lips

"This product is not only super-pigmented, but it has just the right amount of sheen for lips to look their fullest,"Ferreri says about shade #10. "It's the perfect red for all skin tones, but I love it best on tanned skin because the color is so bold."

Rimmel London Lasting Finishing Lipstick by Kate Moss in #10 , $5.49, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"I love this shade of deep plum, especially since it's combined with a creamy matte texture," Ferreri notes about the shade and texture of Deep Era.

NYX Matte Lipstick in Dark Era, $5.99, available at Target.
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"This shade has it all!" Ferreri says about Berry Brown. "It's slightly rosy, with brown and beige undertones. It gives lips a moisturized look and feel without looking too glossy.

Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Berry Brown, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Skin Tone: Dark to Deep

The Expert: Carola Gonzalez

Clients: Kerry Washington, Uzo Aduba, Leona Lewis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and more.
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Skin

"I love this foundation because it adds radiance and makes skin look healthy," Gonzalez says. "It has great coverage and feels light on the skin. The two shades I suggest for darker skin tones are Cocoa and Chestnut." (Fun fact: Washington's shade is Cocoa.)

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20, $14.09, available at Neutrogena.
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"I love the texture of this concealer and how well it blends and lays on skin," Gonzalez says, noting that she recommends both Medium and Medium/Deep for dark to deep skin tones. "It’s a full-coverage, high-resistance concealer that camouflages dark circles."

Maybelline FaceStudio Master Conceal in Medium and Medium/Deep, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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When it comes to concealing on the rest of the face, Gonzalez recommends picking from LA Girl's line. Most with dark to deep complexions will find a shade match between Almond (the lightest she recommends for dark skin tones) and Mahogany (great for deep complexions).

"It's easy to blend and helps with masking imperfections without creasing or caking," she says. "Whatever shade you need, they've got it!"

LA Girl HD Pro Conceal, $5, available at LA Girl.
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"This is a very unique raspberry shade that complements dark skin tones — and one that’s not likely to be found in other brands," Gonzalez says. "Apply lightly and build color if desired." One warning: This shade is highly pigmented and is best applied with a fluffy brush for a natural flush, she notes.

Black Radiance Artisan Color Baked Blush in Warm Berry, $4.74, available at Walmart.
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"This is a very blendable blush and one of my favorite shades from the line," Gonzalez says about Apricot Kiss. "It’s a dark apricot that complements darker skin tones and gives a healthy glow."

L’Oreal True Match Blush in Apricot Kiss, $10.95, available at L'Oreal.
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When it comes to contour, Gonzalez notes that it's very important to opt for warm, not cool, tones — like this formula. It works on all dark to deep complexions and is very easy to blend, she reports. "I prefer to contour the face with a cream rather than powder because I feel it blends better with the foundation and skin," she notes. It prevents blotchy patches on the skin, plus, if skin is dehydrated or dry, the cream will lay much better."

NYX Cream Highlight and Contour Palette $15, available at NYX.
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"This liquid illuminator is the bomb!" Gonzalez says. "It comes in three colors, but I recommend the Golden shade because it reflects very nicely on dark skin."

For the perfect application, heed her advice: "After makeup application, at the very end, rub a bit between your fingertips then dab it on cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead, and center of the chin."

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Golden, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Prefer powder? Gonzalez thought of you, too, noting that this E.l.f. duo in Medium Multi Color is perfect for dark to deep complexions. It comes with one warning, however: "The highlighter application should be light, because a little goes a long way."

E.l.f. Highlighter Medium Multi Color, $4, available at Target.
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Eyes

"If you're looking for a quality, blendable, everyday neutral eyeshadow palette, this is a great one to have in your kit," Gonzalez says. " I love all the shades."

Maybelline Eyeshadow Palette 20 The Nudes, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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This palette is great for darker skin tones because it provides diversity and most of the shades are warm, which those with dark skin tones will find very flattering," she says. "You can create a natural look, a smoky eye, or a funky look with the vibrant shades. It’s the best palette for your money."

E.l.f. Eye Set All About Eyes, $10, available at e.l.f.
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Brows

"This is a 3-in-1 eyebrow pencil, so you can draw, shape, and set the brow for a perfectly-styled look," she says. "The pencil goes on smoothly with no clumping and the color is deep, so the key is to apply it with a light touch."

L’Oreal Brow Stylist Sculptor, $7.99, available at Target.
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"This formula is soft, but not too soft, so it has the perfect consistency, which makes it really easy to blend with the comb," Gonzalez says. "For a more natural finish, always pencil the eyebrows in the direction the hair grows."

Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil, $3.49, available at Walmart.
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Lips

"Reds are very tricky [for dark skin tones]," Gonzalez says. "However, I find this matte red to be universally flattering. It’s highly pigmented, glides on smoothly, and stays put."

Nyx Matte Lipstick in Perfect Red, $5.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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"For those who prefer a high shine lip color, I recommend Flower Beauty's Rose Bud," Gonzalez says. "It’s a true, bright red — and looks stunning on dark skin."

Flower Beauty Kiss Stick High Shine Lip Color in Rose Bud, $6.49, available at Walmart.
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"This is one of my ultimate favorite lip shades," Gonzalez says. "I love it so much that I have one in my personal kit and another one in my professional one. The formula is creamy, lightweight, and long-lasting. It’s the perfect burgundy and it’s mega flattering on dark skin tones."

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen, $6, available at NYX.
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"Mauve tones are a big trend now," Gonzalez says, noting that this shade is the pick to get in on the action. "It’s a dark nude with a punch of mauve that looks stunning on dark skin tones."

Maybelline Color Sensational The Loaded Bolds Lipstick in Coffee Addiction, $7.49, available at Maybelline.
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"I love this new lip shine line," Gonzalez says. "This shade is definitely the one to get; it’s a neutral that complements all skin tones. Long-lasting, hydrating, and non-sticky."

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Shine in Berry Brown, $8.99, available at Neutrogena.
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