The good news is that drugstore brands have heard our cries loud and clear. Maybelline, Nyx Cosmetics, and E.L.F., to name just a few, have seriously upped the ante on their formulas and color ranges, creating quality products that give their much pricier counterparts a run for their money. Not only that, they're redesigning packaging to create products that you'll want to display on a vanity — not relegate to a side drawer.
Ahead, shop the cheap highlighter we're reaching for over our $40 pan, the lipstick we love that costs less than a movie ticket, and more of the crème de la crème of drugstore beauty.
Want the wear-time and pigment of a liquid lipstick but can't stand matte formulas? Milani's new Amore Matte Liquid Lip Color will be your new go-to. Thanks to the lip lacquer's gloss-like finish, it feels comfortable on the lips for hours (and yes, it does last for
Amore Shine Liquid Lip Color,
We can't get enough of these easy-to-use, two-sided eyeshadow creams, which were finalists in our
Beauty Innovator Awards
. Not only are they pigmented and long-lasting, but they come in a variety of natural and bold hues.
Infallible Paints Eyeshadow,
Essie's nail polish collection is all about '90s nostalgia, so naturally the brand included a powdery blue lacquer called "As If." We love pairing it with minimal nail art.
Nail Polish in As If, $9, available at
This potted eyeliner takes all the fuss and confusion out of traditional liquid formulas. Simply press your brush against the sponge; it will pick up just the right amount of pigment for an even, crisp line.
Liquid Gel Cushion Eyeliner, $6.99, available at
E.L.F.'s Holy Smokes eyeshadow palette is everything you want in a shadow — soft, creamy, and oh-so-pigmented.
Mad For Matte Holy Smokes Eyeshadow Palette, $10, available at
Finally! A holo highlighter that doesn't cost upwards of $20. Tap Mermaid Armor (pinky-peach) onto cheekbones for a subtle look, and Electric Invasion (blue-pink) for a more obvious holographic effect.
Strobe Of Genius Holographic Stick, $9, available at
We're already fans of L'Oréal's Infallible collection, but these single-pan shadows might be its best yet. A few of taps gives the prettiest all-over color.
Infallible Eye Paints Metallic, $9.99, available at
Although this squeezable liquid lipstick isn't 100% transfer-proof, the opaque matte formula feels comfortable and balm-like on our lips all day and comes in the prettiest colors.
Melting Pout Liquid Lipstick in Don't Be Gelly, $7.99, available at
This creamy concealer provides just the right amount of coverage to even out discoloration and minor blemishes without any cake-y build-up.
Youth FX Fill + Blur Concealer, $13.99, available at
Women of color know the struggle of finding a concealer pigmented enough to hide dark spots and blemishes, but this palette offers two shades for a customizable match made in heaven.
True Complexion Custom Concealer Dark to Deep, $6.99, available at
Sleek Makeup is already an affordable favorite across the pond, but the brand is poised to take over the States, too. It
rolled out 152 products at Ulta
over the last months and this three-pan palette is one of our favorites. The pigmented powders can be mixed and matched for a custom color or worn solo.
Rekindling Blush by 3 Palette, $13.99, available at
This finely-milled highlighting powder from British brand Model's Own is perfect for those who dig metallic in-your-face radiance.
Sculpt & Glow Highlighter Powder. $11.99, available at
"I'll be the first to admit that I use my glasses as a cop-out from doing my eye makeup," R29 beauty writer Khalea Underwood says. "Everything else on my face can be buffed, bronzed, and highlighted to the heavens, but I'm admittedly not that confident in my lash, liner, and shadow skills. Curvitude helped a poor soul like myself create a halfway decent wing that didn't require 120,402 cotton swabs for clean-up. If I can do it, you can, too."
Curvitude Liner, $8.99, available at
Burt's Bees has finally expanded its makeup collection to include a full lineup of natural face products. Our top pick? This matte blush that gives cheeks a pretty flush.
Blush Makeup in Bare Peach, $10, available at
This purple version of Maybelline's The Colossal Big Shot Mascara has the same volumizing formula as the original, but throws a little iris-flattering color into the mix.
The Colossal Big Shot Mascara in Poppin' Purple, $8.49, available at