Drugstore Makeup Our Editors Love Just As Much As The Pricey Stuff

I'll be the first to admit that, thanks to my job as a beauty editor, my makeup routine has historically been a bit highfalutin. Think: triple-digit BB creams, piles of prestige lipsticks, and countless eyeshadow palettes that cost more than my weekly lunch budget. (Hey, someone has to test them.) But I try the drugstore formulas, too, and recently more and more of them have been taking up the precious and typically expensive real estate that is my makeup bag.

And for good reason. A few years ago, the mass market was missing some key innovations (see: highlighters that don't make you look like the Tin Man and brow-pencil shades that actually resemble human hair). These days, drugstore brands are churning out quality, on-trend products every other week — and the innovative formulas are leading the industry.

So, in the spirit of navigating the drugstore like a pro, the R29 beauty team is sharing the drugstore picks that most closely resemble their prestige favorites. One thing to know: The products ahead are not dupes; rather they're meant to direct you to the best drugstore options based on the higher-end things you already know and love.

Bonus? We even snuck in a few skin-care buys...we got you like that.
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If you love La Prairie's cream blush...

La Prairie
Cellular Radiance Cream Blush in Rose Glow, $70, available at Nordstrom.
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...you’ll also love E.L.F.’s complexion duo.

“I alternate between using St. Lucia and La Prairie's high-end blush (which couldn't be farther on the price spectrum from each other). I absolutely love cream blush, and this $4 version gets cycled in and out of my makeup bag as much as my go-to prestige formula. It's incredibly blendable and soft, with a pretty coral color that warms up my olive skin tone without looking jarring." — Cat Quinn, Beauty Director

E.L.F. Contouring Blush & Bronzing Cream in St. Lucia, $4.00, available at E.L.F. Cosmetics.
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If you love Benefit's liquid highlighter...

Benefit
High Beam Liquid Highlighter, $26, available at Benefit Cosmetics.
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You'll also love L'Oréal's lightweight highlighter.

“This is close to Benefit High Beam in color and shimmer level. They're both wonderful highlighters, but High Beam tends to be a bit more user-friendly thanks to its more liquidy texture and blendability. This version is creamy and just as believable, but it sets fast — so either blend like your life depends on it, or mix it with your foundation for a more seamless application." — Quinn

L'Oréal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Rose, $12.99, available at L'Oréal.
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If you love Givenchy's mascara...

Givenchy Phenomen Eyes Mascara, $32, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love CoverGirl's latest.

“I love Givenchy's mascara because the ball-shaped end really gets into your inner and outer corners — which is key for that wide-awake look. I love that CoverGirl incorporated that on the tip of this wand, too. This new mascara has a bomb applicator — plastic, stiff bristles with a ball-shaped end. The result is a dramatic lash application, but without clumps.” — Quinn

CoverGirl
So Lashy! Blastpro Mascara, $10.49, available at CoverGirl.


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If you love Surratt Beauty's refillable brow pencil...

Surratt Beauty
Expressioniste Brow Pencil Refill Cartridge, $15, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love Nyx's formula.

"I was downright shocked the first time I tried Nyx's brow pencil in Ash Brown — it defined and darkened my naturally dark (but not as full as I'd like) arches and stayed in place all day. I still love Surratt's formula in Raven, but it's a bit darker, so it offers more drama. Both have an attached spoolie, which is clutch for blending. I typically opt for Nyx for day and Surratt for evening." — Lexy Lebsack, West Coast beauty editor

Nyx Cosmetics
Micro Brow Pencil, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Stila's Convertible Color...

Stila
Convertible Color, $25, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love Circa's cream blush.

"To be honest, a lot of cream blushes at the drugstore are pretty great nowadays, but it's the tone of this Circa Formula that I love (in the color Portofino). It looks killer with liquid liner. Both formulas are creamy, blend well, and can be used on the lips, too!" — Lebsack

Circa Beauty
Ultrasuede Cream Blush, $13, available at Walgreens.
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If you love The Naked Palette...

Urban Decay
Naked, $54, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love CoverGirl's Nude palette.

"This palette has fewer shades than the cult Naked Palette, but the hues are just as universal — albeit a little cooler in tone. I just tried this guy, but it's already become a daily staple. The last three shades from the right are great for defining your crease, while the first and third on the left can be used as highlighter. And the fifth shade from the left? Heaven when paired with a red lip." — Lebsack

CoverGirl
Nudes TruNaked Eyeshadow Palette, $11.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Fresh's tinted lip balm...

Fresh
Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15, $24, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love Revlon's tinted lippie.

“The throwback scents of these tinted balms — strawberry, coconut, cherry, peach — were the initial draw for me, but they earned their keep in two of my bags and on my desk for the perfect balance they strike between balm and lipstick. I use all six shades, but Berry Burst is my number one.” — Alix Tunell, senior beauty editor

Revlon Kiss Balm, $4.99, available in fall 2016 at select retailers and Revlon.
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If you love Tom Ford's creamy eyeshadow...

Tom Ford
Cream Color for Eyes, $45, available at Tom Ford.
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You'll also love Maybelline's range of colorful cream shadows.

“Whether you use a brush or your fingers, this cream shadow goes on smoothly, covers the lid in metallic color with a single stroke, and stays in place while still looking shiny and dewy all day.” — Tunell

Maybelline
Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Laura Mercier's face oil...

Laura Mercier
Infusion De Rose Nourishing Oil, $62, available at Laura Mercier.
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You'll also love Yes To's formula.

“A cold-weather must, this gentle oil calms redness just as well as the most expensive soothing creams — and smells even better than most.” — Tunell

Yes To
Miracle Oils Primrose Oil, $12.99, available at Target.
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If you love Bobbi Brown's classic mascara...

Bobbi Brown
Smokey Eye Mascara, $30, available at Nordstrom.
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You'll also love Maybelline's popular formula.

"If I'm looking for a quick, no-fail lash look, this is the mascara I pick up. It's simple, basic, and the results get even better as you break it in." — Sam Sasso, beauty editorial assistant

Maybelline
Volum'Express The Rocket Mascara, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Caudalie's micellar water...

Caudalie
Micellar Cleansing Water, $28, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love Simple's offering.

"There's not much to say about micellar water except that it has become the easiest way to wash your face for the lazy set. It basically replaces my cleansing towelettes, but always gives me a deeper clean— no matter how much makeup I have on. This one is cheap and I can find it at the drugstore, so if I'm traveling or heading home for the weekend, it's easy to pick up if you forget your remover." — Sasso

Simple
Cleansing Micellar Water, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Charlotte Tilbury's shadow palette...

Charlotte Tilbury
Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita, $52, available at Charlotte Tilbury.
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You'll also love L'Oréal's single shadows.

"I waited a long time for these eyeshadow monos to come to the U.S. I heard so much about them from U.K. bloggers and knew I had to get my hands on the rich and smooth formula. And boy, did they live up to the hype." — Sasso

L'Oréal
Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow, $4.99, available at Target.
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If you love Elizabeth Arden's cult Eight Hour Cream...

Elizabeth Arden
Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, $22, available at Elizabeth Arden.
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You'll also love Maybelline's colorless balm.

"This is one of those products that has a million different uses. Sure, the clear is a clutch lip balm. But I also pop it on my eyes and along my cheekbones for a touch of dewy glow. Even though their delivery systems are completely different, I use it the exact same way as my Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. They have similar textures and can be used in myriad ways." — Maria del Russo, beauty editor

Maybelline
Baby Lips Lip Balm in Quenched, $4.49, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Peter Thomas Roth's mud mask...

Peter Thomas Roth
Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask, $58, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love Shea Moisture's mud mask.

"Whenever my skin is feeling especially clogged or oily, I slap on this mask. The mud and tea tree mix together to clarify my skin, instantly deflating whatever inflammation I have. It reminds me of Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Purifying Black Mask. They both rely on mud to purify, but PTR's mask gives a heavy dose of activated charcoal to help battle acne, too." — Del Russo

Shea Moisture
African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask, $14.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Diorshow...

Dior
Diorshow Mascara, $28.50, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love L'Oréal classic Voluminous mascara.

"If you're like me and you love clumpy, rock-'n'-roll mascara, this one is for you. It adds volume in a cool, smudgy way. Both this and Diorshow have those fat brushes that cling to every damn lash in your set." — Del Russo

L'Oréal
Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara, $8.49, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love Too Cool for School's bronzy shadow...

Too Cool For School
Dinoplatz Eyeshadow on Flatiron in Bronze, $18, available at Sephora.
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You'll also love Maybelline's shadow in Bad to the Bronze.

"This cream shadow is my go-to when I'm rushed and need to add subtle definition to my eyes in a hurry. I simply dip my finger into the long-wear formula and blend it all over my lids.

"Too Cool for School's Dinoplatz Shadow in Flatiron is a very similar hue (albeit, slightly less metallic) and lasts a long time on my lids. I pretty much use this and the Maybelline interchangeably." — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

Maybelline
Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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If you love SK-II's essence...

SK-II
Facial Treatment Essence, $99, available at SK-II.
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You'll also love Pixi's formula.

"I freaking adore this toner. It has a host of skin-loving ingredients, including glycolic acid and aloe vera, which smooth and soothe my skin. The fermented Pitera in the SK-II formula makes it a powerhouse skin smoother, just like the glycolic acid in Pixi's Glow Tonic. It makes my skin feel smoother and brighter when I use it." — Chan

Pixi
Glow Tonic, $29, available at Pixi Beauty.
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If you love Better Than Sex mascara...

Too Faced
Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara, $23, available at Too Faced.
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You'll also love Catrice's lash-boosting formula.

"This is the mascara currently in my makeup bag. I love it because the fat, natural-bristle brush gives my lashes a lot of fluffy volume. Plus, the waterproof formula holds a curl all day.

"While Catrice's formula is less wet than Too Faced's (read: Too Faced's deposits more product, resulting in a clumpy look that I personally love), Catrice's offering gives a great amount of volume and hold just like Better Than Sex." — Chan

Catrice
Luxury Lashes Waterproof Volume Mascara, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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