I mentioned it briefly in my travel diary post a few weeks ago, I just loved shopping in American and Canadian drugstores! They are full of great and affordable gems, really!
I know I took my time to write this post (my trip is not recent anymore) but at least, I can safely say that these products have been duly tested! wink
If I want to compare with something I know quite well, North-American drugstores would be a bit like the French pharmacies, but with a lot more makeup! What I liked the most was the huge selection of products in these shops. I already knew some of the brands in there like L’Oréal and Maybelline (we call it Gemey in France). But I assure you it feels like they are not the same brands there! The number of products available is at least ten times bigger but also the prices are much more affordable!
Obviously, I prepared a list of products that I absolutely wanted to bring back before I even left because I suspected that once there, I would probably be a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities! And I wanted to be sure not to buy a bad product either. Indeed, there are real gems in these drugstores, but of course, there are also bad or meh products. And once there, when you’re a makeup addict, it’s so easy to lose your head and just buy left, right and center! OK, it’s true that over there, you can still take a product back if you don’t like it even if you used it. (I’m glad that it’s not the case everywhere in the world! It’s really a waste!) But if you know which brand and which product to look for, it’s always better! smile
Which drugstores are the best?
Before I left for my trip, I watched some YouTube videos to find out which were the makeup drugstore “must-haves” and I also looked into which shops I should go to for my shopping. We’re never too prepared, are we? wink
My favorite YouTube channels for drugstore makeup reviews:
– Tati from the channel GlamLife Guru
– KathleenLights, one of my fave smile
And I’m sure there are plenty of other great ones! smile
Regarding the shops, I knew some were better than others but here are the stores where I could find the most interesting products:
– CVS (they have the brand Milani Cosmetics, which is not available everywhere for example),
– Rite Aid,
– Duane Read (I’ve seen a lot of Duane Reade stores in New York and they really have a lot of nice makeup and even skincare brands),
– Walgreens (technically, it’s more a supermarket but they have a huge drugstore shelf and you can also take a look at all the exciting American junk food, so exotic for me),
– Target (very similar to Walgreens),
– Jean Coutu in Canada, which is a bit of a mix between a French pharmacy and an American drugstore. I found lots of cool stuff out there and the sales assistants are extremely helpful and professional!
I was on full shopaholic mode when I was there, as you can easily imagine, so I obviously bought a lot of stuff, but after several months of use, I can know tell you more about the drugstore makeup gems you should probably check out if you’re living in or going to the US soon.
Milani Perfect + Conceal Foundation + Concealer 2 in 1 (in the shade 51 Creamy Ivory):
This one was a little bit complicated to find! The brand Milani is not available everywhere, only at CVS and Walgreens (or Duane Reade because it’s the same company as Walgreens). And all the shades are not always available in store.
In short, it’s a foundation with a high coverage because it’s supposed to be able to cover dark circles and imperfections. I tried it, it’s not bad, but I still prefer to use a real concealer because of the depth of my dark circles! ; )
The bottle is very sleek and practical (it has a pump!), it doesn’t look like a cheap foundation at all!
Regarding the finish, it’s better for combination to oily skin, it’s very matte. The texture is quite thick, it’s a cream. I apply it with a Beauty Blender and blend it very well because otherwise, it can tend to be cakey if you put too much (1 pump max). I also love to mix it with my Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Moonlight to give a little more glow.
Personally, I set it with powder, but on a combination skin, I don’t think powder is necessary.
Its lasting power is correct but not insane. After a while (usually after 8h on me), it starts to separate a little, and it slightly emphasizes the texture on my skin.
Of course, its price is its best selling point! It retails for $9.99 on Milani website.
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless foundation (in the shade 120 Classic Ivory):
Maybelline‘s Fit Me makeup products are often raved about by the US YouTubers as one of the broadest drugstore range regarding the shades. Also, they often compare the quality of the Fit Me products, considering them as an equivalent of high-end makeup products.
So I was very curious to try this foundation!
The packaging is clearly less ‘high-end’ than the Milani one, unfortunately. It’s a glass bottle without a pump, which gets dirty super quickly and is not the most practical. But hey, with a price of around 8 dollars, I guess I can go with it! wink
The texture is more liquid than the Milani one, and it also has a less important coverage. It’s a more natural finish, I would say. It unifies and blends the skin texture without being cakey. I apply it with my Beauty Blender but also with a brush or my fingertips, it’s very easy to apply.
I always set it with powder because its finish is luminous matte and it tends to shine a bit on me after 4-5h. Its lasting power is the same as for the Milani. After 8h, it tends to separate a little on the T-zone.
There is a huge choice of colors available (24 !!!). It’s rare to find such a wide choice in affordable brands. Everyone can find their matching color, for sure! smile
You can find the Maybelline Matte + Poreless foundation on the brand website for $7.99.
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer (in the shade Bronzer):
The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is one of the first products I bought when I was there, and I haven’t stopped using it since then. This bronzer is a real must-have!
The packaging, however, is not the best… It’s a bulky plastique compact, with a useless sponge I threw away along time ago. But the product inside is so good that we can forgive them for this cheap packaging!
It’s a natural matte bronzer, ideal for light skin tones because the shade is not too dark and literally blends into the skin. Its texture is super creamy, it is not powdery at all and blends superbly. It leaves your skin with a luminous semi-matte finish. I applied it with a bronzer brush.
The color range is quite weird. There are only two shades and this one is the darkest (!). The lighter version is very, very light, though…
The shade Bronzer, which I own, is already quite light. This shade is not too orange, not to grayish or pink, it’s perfect for my complexion!
Small but important detail: the scent is quite strong. It smells like coconut and pineapple, but very chemical. It’s not really my cup of tea, but you can get used to it (even if during the first days of use, I really bothered by me).
I was quite intrigued by Physicians Formula, a brand supposed to be natural and with a lot of skincare ingredients. It’s also the case for this bronzer, which is rich in vegetable butter (Amazonian Murumuru, Cupuaçu, and Tucuma butter) which makes it very comfortable to wear.
The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is available on the brand website for $14.95.
Wet n Wild Color Icon blushes:
Theses ones were such a bargain! Wet n Wild is so affordable. With $10, you can buy so many products! bigsmile
The brand is available here in Dubaï, so I didn’t have a lot of products on my wish-list apart from these blushes. The brand just reformulated them, so I have an old and a new version:
– Apri-Cot In The Middle: a beautiful shimmery golden peach,
– Mellow Wine: a matte warm plum, perfect for Fall.
The only difference I noticed between the two formulas is the lasting power, Mellow Wine (new version) lasts longer on me. But both last pretty well on me.
So clearly, the only way to realize that these are cheap/ less than $3 blushes is the packaging, which is quite plasticky and cheap feeling. This plastic case is very simple! But I’m OK with it, if the product inside is the bomb and the price affordable, I can definitely deal with it! smile
The color range is not huge, only five shades and 3 out of 5 are shimmery. The two colors I have are very pretty and flattering. Mellow Wine is well pigmented and must be applied with a light hand, especially on my skin. I think this shade would look great on darker carnations! smile
Apri-Cot In The Middle is more subtle, but it’s also a nice shade. And the iridescent particles are quite imperceptible, it just gives a nice glow on the cheeks.
The Wet n Wild Color Icon blushes are available on the brand website for $2.99.
L’Oréal Voluminous Féline Waterproof mascara:
I feel I was so lucky to find this mascara! The mascara displays in drugstores are massive, and the choice is totally overwhelming.
So I was in the US at the beginning of September, and L’Oréal has just launched this in the Voluminous mascara range (if you want a good laugh, go and take a look at the Voluminous page on the L’Oréal website, there are 27 different mascaras!) (The brand has 40 different mascaras in total) (yes, 40 !!!)
This mascara Voluminous Féline exists in 4 different:
– classic washable in a green packaging (you can remove it with water),
– classic waterproof (the one I own) (you need to use a specific oil based makeup remover with it, like every waterproof mascara),
– Noir washable in a black packaging,
– Noir waterproof (I literally ran to buy this one after I tried the first one, I wanted to stock up lol)(I haven’t opened it yet).
It’s not at all the same mascara as the European version of the Féline, which is called Volume Millions De Cils Féline (a version that is also available in Dubai). The brush is very different. I didn’t try this version, I don’t know if it’s good or not.
The US version is totally insane! I’m obsessed with it, and I haven’t used my beloved Volume of CHANEL mascara since I got this. In the beginning, I was not amazed by the formula, but after 1 or 2 weeks, the time that the formula “dries” a little I guess, I was hooked!
It’s weird because almost nobody talks about it. I know I’m not the only one to love it: my friend Luanne loves it, Laura from the blog Buy Now Blog Later and her friend Laura from the blog Laura etc. are also fans. I don’t really understand why there are not more people talking about it because it’s such a great mascara!
In short, it gives length, volume without being clumpy at all (even if you layer it), curl your lashes and hold the curl. All that without smudging everywhere! It’s perfect!
It has a silicone brush, quite easy to use; you can really go super close to the roots of the lashes.
And the icing on the cake, its ridiculously affordable price: it retails for $8.99! It’s available on L’Oréal USA website.
I really hope the Noir Feline version I bought will keep its promises because it’s already been three months now that I have been using this version non-stop and it’s starting to feel a little bit drier than it was at the beginning…
Maybelline Color Jolt Intense Lip Paints:
Does the packaging remind you of something? wink
Well, not on everything, as I hate the way the Melted lipsticks fade on my lips. On me, the Melted crumble and make this horrific ring in the middle of the lips (butt hole lips, yikes!)! The Color Jolt, on the other hand, fades very nicely, without crumbling at all.
The Color Jolt are liquid lipsticks, with a satin finish and they’re very intensely pigmented. They’re actually very bright.
The packaging is a tube, and the texture is like a liquid gel-cream.
You can apply them directly on your lips with the sponge applicator that I also find much better and more precise than the Too Faced Melted one. They transfer, and you have to touch up after a meal, but overall, they last pretty well on the lips (5 to 6 hours on me).
The color range is very pretty with eight different shades. I chose 3 of them:
– Stripped Down, a pinkish brown, a stunning, intense shade which basically goes with everything,
– Orange Burst, a stunning bright orange-red,
– Fight Me Fuchsia, a very luminous fuchsia pink.
The best as always is their price: $9.99. They are available on Maybelline website.
Finally, here they are on me:
For this look, I wear:
– the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless foundation in the shade Classic Ivory 120,
– the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer,
– the Wet n Wild Color Icon blush in the shade Apri-Cot In The Middle,
– the L’Oréal Féline waterproof mascara,
– the Maybelline Color Jolt lipstick in the shade Orange Burst 2.
And on this look, I wear:
– the Milani Perfect + Conceal Foundation + Concealer 2 in 1 in the shade Creamy Vanilla,
– the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer,
– the Wet n Wild Color Icon blush in the shade Mellow Wine,
– the L’Oréal Féline waterproof mascara,
– the Maybelline Color Jolt lipstick in the shade Stripped Down 05.
I don’t know how I could forget this gem in this selection, but another must-have to absolutely try from the drugstore is the L’Oréal Infallible 24 HR eyeshadow in the color Amber Rush. This eyeshadow range exists in other countries ( I saw it in Dubai), but this particular shade is super hard to find outside the US.
I showed it on my Instagram when I was there and even if it doesn’t look like much in a photo, it’s probably the prettiest rose gold of the drugstore, and maybe even the best rose gold eyeshadow in the market! Trust me, if you see it, don’t miss out! wink
It’s available on the L’Oréal website for $7.95 if you’re interested!
And you, have you tried these drugstore makeup gems? Which drugstore makeup products are your favorite?
Photo credits: bonnie-garner.com