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Best Drugstore Beauty Products

Our editors share their favorite budget finds.

By Dori Katz, Amanda Flores and Linda Moran Evans

Makeup Dori Katz, Beauty Editor

"I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to playing with makeup—I need to test absolutely everything before I decide. A hard day's work, but somebody's gotta do it."

Best Drugstore Makeup
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James Worrell

  1. Eco Tools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush, $8
    The supersoft bristles distribute powder and creams evenly. Plus, the sleek handles are made of bamboo and recycled aluminum—green and gorgeous!
  2. Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30, $17
    This lightweight lotion provides the perfect amount of coverage with a subtle brightening effect. The built-in sunscreen is the icing on the cake.
  3. CoverGirl Smoky Shadow Blast in Purple Plume, $7.50
    Smoky eyes made simple—just how I like it. Both sides glide on seamlessly, one to cover the lid, the other as liner and in the crease. Blend and smudge as you like.
  4. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiners, $11
    The perfect metallic shades to enhance my hazel eyes in a formula that goes on smoothly without any tugging. The hardest part? Choosing just one!
  5. Almay Wake-Up Hydrating Makeup, $13
    A powder that has a cooling effect upon contact, with aloe vera, cucumber and green tea extracts to soothe and smooth. A perfect midday refresher!
  6. Rimmel London Lasting Finish Blendable Blush in Berry, $5
    One thing I've learned, a little blush makes a big difference. A few sweeps of this sheer shade and voila! A subtle, natural-looking glow, just right for every day.
  7. Sally Hansen Flirty Eyes Classic Eyelash Curler, $5.50
    A foolproof, easy-to-use tool—it doesn't pinch (promise!) and adds major curl in seconds.
  8. Sonia Kashuk Instructional Eye Shadow Palette in Eye on Fall Color, $20
    Sonia is always right on trend with the hottest, most wearable hues. This is a gorgeous mix of rich jewel tones and shimmery metallics that inspire you to mix and match, with a little cheat sheet for flawless application.
  9. Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain in Victorian, $9
    Finally, my ideal pink, and this one actually stays put. The double-ended pen gives just the right pop of color.
  10. Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat, $10
    My nails were always prone to chips, until I discovered Seche Vite's tough-as-nails formula. One coat prevents nicks and keeps polish shiny for days.
  11. L'Oréal Paris Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara, $10
    It's a fake out—you get the look of falsies without the time or effort. The fiber-rich formula makes my lashes look long and lush, and no dreaded clumping.

Hair Amanda Flores, Associate Beauty and Fashion Editor

"I'm the go-to editor here for anything hair-related. Probably because I've tried—or am willing to try—everything and anything that claims to de-frizz, detangle or add the ooh to my ooh-la-la!"

Best Drugstore Hair Products
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James Worrell

  1. Remington T-Studio Pearl Ceramic Styling Wand, $30
    This tool has earned itself a permanent spot on my bathroom counter. Protect your fingers with the heat-resistant glove—included with the iron—and wrap your hair down the clamp-free barrel to get the ultimate beachy waves.
  2. Garnier Fructis Color Shield, $5
    Switching shampoos was a must after dying my hair. Not only does it keep color from fading, it also prevents dryness.
  3. L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray, $15
    Hands down, our department's all-time favorite spray. Major holding power, but never crunchy or flaky.
  4. Goody DoubleWear 2 in1 Ponytailers, $6
    Gold and glitzy elastics mean ponytails have never looked so polished. And grouped together they can double as bracelets. Très chic.
  5. Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions Ultra-Light Moisturizing Treatment, $6
    This deep-conditioning mask is meant for once-a-week applications, but I use it every time I shampoo to strengthen against future damage.
  6. John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer, $10
    I keep this handy serum in my makeup bag at all times. The wand has tiny bristles that catch even the shortest of strands to keep my hair smooth, never greasy.
  7. Suave Professionals Volumizing Root Boost Spray, $3
    My always-limp locks need all the help they can get. A few spritzes add the volume I want for any 'do—whether I'm sporting a high pony or low chignon.
  8. Clairol Natural Instincts in Dark Auburn Brown, $8
    I'm a commitment-phobe when it comes to color so this demi dye is right up my alley—it adds a subtle hue that washes out after 28 shampoos.
  9. Batiste Dry Shampoo, $8
    My hair hero! I have a few bottles stashed both at home and at my office. It cleanses roots, and if sprayed all over also adds fullness and body.
  10. Ion I-Pak Hair Dryer, $80
    Not only does the sleek nozzle target frizz and leave my locks super-smooth, but it has an inside attachment infused with argan oil to add shine while styling.

Skincare Linda Moran Evans, Beauty and Fashion Director

"If there's one thing I've learned from this job, it's to take care of my skin. No matter how tired or lazy I'm feeling, I always stick with my daily regimens. But I'm constantly on the lookout for some new favorites."

Best Drugstore Skincare
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James Worrell

  1. Eucerin Daily Skin Balance Hand Creme, $6
    I am obsessed with this hydrating potion—you just apply and go. My hands feel baby soft!
  2. La Roche-Posay Effaclar K, $27.50
    Yes, even at my age I'm still dealing with breakouts—but this gentle treatment is my secret weapon. A genius blend of vitamin A that smoothes and tightens my skin without irritation and salicylic acid to combat acne. I call it my terminator in a tube.
  3. Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer, $9
    My must-have self-tanner: It looks real, dries fast and has SPF 20. Who could ask for more? It makes me look like a golden goddess.
  4. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock SPF 100, $12
    I think of this spray as my personal bodyguard; not only does it have the highest level of broad spectrum SPF available, it's truly light enough for everyday wear.
  5. RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream, $23
    My skin has always been sensitive to retinol, a top ingredient for treating wrinkles. But this slow-release formula prevents irritation and the effect is obvious— fine lines have noticeably faded.
  6. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM with SPF 30, $14
    Besides being derm recommended, the fragrance-free formula doesn't clog pores. The patented technology allows for a steady flow of ceramides and hyaluronic acid—in layman's terms means skin stays hydrated longer.
  7. Olay Total Effects Line & Dark Circle Minimizing Brush, $19
    Like magic, this lightly tinted moisturizer manages to make dark circles vanish with a sweep of the brush. Works like a charm on all skin types too.
  8. Dove GoFresh Rebalance Body Wash, $7
    I start my morning by cleansing with this thick, creamy body wash that soothes extremely dry skin like mine. (Even after I rinse off, its moisturizing effects are still doing their thing.) The subtle scent of ripe plum and sakura blossoms is calming—great for a hectic day ahead.
  9. Bio-Oil, $12
    The ultimate multitasker, it minimizes scars and stretch marks, smoothes uneven tone and nourishes dry, flaky skin. Loaded with vitamins A and E, and a combo of oils (calendula, lavender and rosemary) it somehow leaves no residue on skin. Sounds too good to be true—but it isn't.
  10. Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Brightening Facial Towelettes, $8
    Just one of these grimefighting towelettes singlehandedly removes a day's worth of dirt without any rinsing—promise! Infused with blueberry extracts (antioxidants that fight free radicals) and fruity acids for exfoliation, my skin looks brighter and feels fresher.

Originally published in the November 1, 2011, issue of Family Circle magazine.

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