Our Unfiltered Opinion On These Best-Selling Drugstore Buys

Raise your hand if you used to sneak makeup into your mom or dad's shopping cart at the drugstore. Now raise your hand if you still do. (No shame.) The fact is, the drugstore has always hosted an amazing beauty selection of affordable buys — from pigmented, sparkly eyeshadows to high-quality, creamy concealers — and it's only gotten better in recent years.

The only downside? No swatching or testing allowed. Plus, since most items are encased in a sheath of plastic packaging, it's even difficult to discern a product's actual shade or finish. This makes recommendations clutch. But instead of digging through dozens of online reviews to find your perfect shade or dream lippie color, we've done the work for you.

Ahead, we've reviewed 12 of CVS's best-selling products, all in hopes that this may guide you on your next shopping endeavor. Sneaking them into your parental unit's cart, however, is up to you.
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"I've been using Tresemmé Tres 2 hairspray since high school — even as I graduated to greener, Oribe-filled pastures. It's great at holding curls and waves in place all night without giving them that awful sticky feeling or making them fall flat. I also use it to smooth down frizz and broken strands at my hairline when I'm styling a sleek ponytail or updo. Just be sure to really follow the instructions and mist it six inches from your head. Any closer and it gets the hair too wet and you could fall into crunch-land — but you really brought that upon yourself.

"The floral, hairspray-y smell isn't for everyone — but I love it for all the high school memories it brings back. Most hair types will find it performs well, but if you have dry or coarse hair, I would point you in the direction of a more moisturizing, less alcoholic choice for holding your style." — Cat Quinn, beauty director

TRESemmé
TRES Two Extra Hold Aerosol Hairspray, $1.99, available at CVS.
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"Will this top coat actually make the regular polish underneath it last as long as a gel manicure? No — and I don't believe any others that claim to, either. But I can usually get a good six days without a chip when I have this on, as opposed to three or so with other top coats, so that's a win. I reach for this one at-home and bring it to my neighborhood salon because of how glossy and thick it is — it makes your polish look more gel-like and substantial." — Alix Tunell, senior beauty editor

Sally Hansen
Miracle Gel in Top Coat $9.99, available at CVS.
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"I'm not picky when it comes to oil blotters, so I always go for affordable options. Why spend upwards of $10 on a sheets designed to sop up oil then get tossed? CVS brand's oil-absorbing sheets tick all the boxes: one sheet is big enough to cover my entire face, each pack comes with a whopping 50 sheets, and they cost around five bucks. No complaints here." — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

CVS Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloth Towelettes, $5.49, available at CVS.
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"If you're looking for a pigmented, no-frills eyeliner, this is it. The twist-up packaging makes it easy to apply (no sharpening!) and the formula glides onto the eyes without much tugging. I'd definitely wear an eyelid primer under, however, as my oily lids have a tendency to break down most liners after a few hours." — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

Revlon Colorstay Eye Liner, $8.99, available at CVS.
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"This is another no-frills pencil liner that does the job. This one has a few more bells and whistles, including a smudger (which works well, but I don't use it often) and a built-in self sharpener to keep the tip super precise. The formula is smooth and pigmented, but like the Revlon liner, I'd definitely recommend reaching for an eyelid primer with this fella!" — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner in Black Onyx, $6.79, available at CVS.
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"This formula doesn't last as long as my beloved Essie Gel Couture Top Coat, or deliver results that are as thick and glossy, but it does make your polish look crazy shiny. I prefer it as a touch-up topcoat a few days after a manicure, because it bumps up the shine without adding a ton of weight/thickness." — Lexy Lebsack, senior beauty editor

Essie Gel Setter Top Coat, $9.99, available at CVS.
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"Pantene, in all its shiny hair and TV advertisement glory, was my first hair product love. Specifically, the Pantene Pro-V Blonde Expressions, a now discontinued (RIP) color-enhancing shampoo for light hair. I fell in love with the smell and softness that the shampoo gave my hair.

"So when I dove back into the Pantene pool with their Classic Clean 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, I was blissfully reminded of my teenage years. I am a fan of the Pantene formulation, soothing scent, and love how hydrated it leaves my hair. This product was no exception — although it didn't give the full-on glossy finish of a traditional conditioner, it left my hair smoother than my usual shampoo does on its own. I'd definitely opt for a hair mask or separate conditioner when my ends are frizzled and cold temps have zapped by hair dry." — Michaela Rollings, marketing coordinator

Pantene
Pro-V Classic Clean 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner, $4.99, available at CVS.
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"Makeup removing towelettes are a holy grail product during my evening skin-care routine. The only problem is that they are a tad expensive. The CVS Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloth Towelettes, however, are a more-affordable option. Strategy is key for CVS cloths because they are less saturated with product than others on the market. That means it's best to start around the eyes first, with moderate pressure, to ensures all of your mascara and eyeshadow is completely removed.

"Unfortunately, I find they dry out before I can get to the end of the pack, but dampening them a bit allows you to somewhat salvage the last few cloths." — Simedar Jackson, freelance beauty writer

CVS
Health Oil Absorbing Sheets, $5.49, available at CVS.
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"I know most brands claim their micellar waters are gentle, yet effective, but I’ve definitely tried a handful that are way too harsh for my sensitive skin — and don’t do squat against long-wearing makeup. This one from Garnier is the perfect balance: It’s non-irritating (really), but potent enough to wash away my waterproof, liquid liner, earning a permanent spot in my nighttime routine." — Kelsey Castañon, beauty news editor

Garnier
SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All in 1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover, $8.99, available at CVS.
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"I'm a huge fan of Wet n Wild lipsticks (the brand's MegaLast Lip Color in Cherry Picking was a go-to for years) so when I discovered the Silk Finish lipsticks for the first time I wasn't at all surprised by the great quality. The satin finish is insanely pigmented right out of the bullet (seriously, you won't have to layer it to achieve opaque color payoff) and the formula is creamy and hydrating. This shade, Dark Wine, is CVS' top lipstick shade. It's a deep plum hue that's perfect for this time of year. Plus, it costs a dollar! Win-win!" — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Dark Wine, $0.99, available at CVS.
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"I'm not normally a fan of silicone-based primers, as I find that many feel heavy on my skin and pill under foundation. Surprisingly though, this one doesn't do either of those things — and actually feels silky and lightweight on the skin. I'd personally recommend using a small amount (no more than a pea-sized drop) on areas you need smoothing, rather than all over your face, as as I prefer to avoid adding unnecessary layers to areas of my face that don’t need help." — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

E.L.F. Poreless Face Primer, $6, available at CVS.
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"NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream was my first introduction to liquid lipstick. The formula is incredibly smooth and velvety — a texture and finish I personally adore. Although I originally loved the brighter shades, my go-tos have become the neutral shades, particularly London and Stockholm. Stockholm is a beautiful rose nude that’s flattering on a wide range of skin tones. However, it doesn’t have the staying power that some of my other liquid lipsticks do. " — Jennifer Anderson, assistant to the editorial director

Nyx Cosmetics
Soft Matte Lip Cream in Stockholm, $5.99, available at CVS.
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