To continue our unofficial drugstore series, I thought I’d share a few more budget-friendly bits that I like. They may not all be new releases, but they are definitely new to this blog, because I haven’t mentioned them here before.
Garnier SkinActive Refreshing Facial Cleanser ($8.99) – I touched on this subject before, but there is really no good reason why anyone would need an expensive cleanser, unless you just like to feel fancy [I do!]. As long as it actually removes impurities and/or makeup, doesn’t cause irritation and sensitivities, and has low pH – that’s really all we need. Now, if you have a skin condition and need a medicated cleanser that’s another story, but a simple one from the drugstore will work for just fine for most people.
The reason why I like the new SkinActive Refreshing Facial Cleanser is because it’s very gentle. The formula doesn’t contain harsh surfactants, so there is almost no suds, but it does clean the skin pretty well and even removes light non-waterproof makeup. The formula is made with 96% naturally derived ingredients [99% by total volume], the remaining 4% are preservatives and sensory enhancers. It is scented, but the fragrance is faint and fresh, kind of smells like aloe vera. If you like Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, you will like this one too, and at pH 4.5 [mixed with my tap water, YMMV] it’s even more gentle.
Curél Ultra Healing Intensive Lotion for Extra Dry Skin ($7.99) – The name says it all, this is pretty much what the lotion does, and it does a great job at it. My skin was suffering from dryness big time this winter, and this lotion was the only thing that helped long term. I tried other products, but for most of them, the moisturizing effect disappeared within a few hours after the application. Curel Ultra Healing lotion made my skin feel comfortable and soft AM to PM, when nothing else would. It’s loaded with softening, soothing, and protective ingredients, and the formula is fragrance-free. Keep in mind, it does contain parabens and mineral oil, in case you avoid those. I used to avoid them just in case, but in the past few years I discovered enough evidence to convince me that neither of those ingredients pose a risk to my health.
NYX Wonder Stick ($12) – I don’t do KKW makeup, but I like to apply some shading to give my face subtle definition as long as it doesn’t look too dramatic. If you are like me, then you know the struggle of finding contouring products that aren’t too extra. I tried NYX Wonder Stick for the first time about a month ago, and it was love at first use. My perfect shade match Light comes with a soft shimmery champagne highlighter on one end and a neutral taupe contour stick on the other, and they look fantastic on fair skin – not orange or muddy at all. I was especially worried about contouring my nose, because most products can make me look straight up dirty, but this shade and texture turned out to be just right. I am very impressed with this duo, and can’t recommend it enough if you are into low-key contouring.
NYX Pro Fan Brush ($17) – Another NYX product on the list, and another winner! I am pretty picky when it comes to makeup brushes, and will gladly pay more for quality. I have very high standards for brushes that are pretty hard to live up to, especially for drugstore brands that are often limited by materials and production costs to keep the prices low. That is why I always make sure to share my brush finds with you guys, which is the case with NYX Pro Fan. It’s dense and fluffy, but also ultra soft and kept its shape after many washes. I also didn’t see it shed a single hair yet. I use it for blending out my contouring products, and it works equally well for cream and powder.
L’Oreal EverPure Intense Repair Hair Sheet Mask ($4.49) – This is sort of like a salon deep conditioning hair treatment on a budget. Each little package comes with a shower cap pre-filled with special nourishing cream. You’re supposed to wear in the shower for at least 5 minutes to get softer, smoother, and silkier hair. I was mostly worried that it will make my fine hair look heavy and greasy, but the mask washed off completely, while my hair looked thicker, stronger, and felt like silk to touch. Although these new single use hair masks are not exactly economical, the result is well worth it, especially if you are attending a special event and plan to wear your hair down.
These little gems are yet another proof that a good beauty routine doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are always wallet-friendly options that can fit within your budget. There was a period in my life when shopping for beauty products at a drugstore was my only option, and I remember all too well that it’s not easy to keep exploring by trial and error just to find products that work, so I get it. I hope my drugstore recommendations will help you try new things without feeling disappointed with the performance, or maybe even save a few bucks by switching to inexpensive versions of products you normally buy at the mall [like, there’s no real reason to use a fancy cleanser].
Have you tried any of the products on my list? Which beauty products do you usually buy at the drugstore? Let me know in the comments below!