Don’t get us wrong — luxurious, high-end beauty products are great. But budget-friendly beauty buys that deliver serious results are even better. If we’re being totally honest, there’s just something so satisfying about finding an inexpensive product that actually works. And surprisingly, celebrity makeup artists agree! Yes, it’s true: Today’s top beauty gurus use their fair share of drugstore products to beautify Hollywood’s hottest stars (think: Beyoncé, Nicole Richie, Karlie Kloss and more). So what inexpensive beauty products do you need in your life ASAP? Read on to find out what the pros swear by, then head straight to your nearest Walgreens!
1. Ardell Individual Lashes ($4): “These lashes are a great way to start exploring with individual lashes,” dishes beauty pro extraordinaire Sir John. “Even if you just place three or four lashes on the ends of the outer eye, they help give shape and lift to the eye. Individual lashes aren’t going anywhere — they’re here to stay, so it’s great time to figure out how to apply them yourself. I use these lashes on all my clients, including Beyoncé, Karli Kloss and Joan Smalls. Individual lashes are like a prerequisite at this point for most of my clients!”
PRO TIP: Don’t try individual lashes for the first time on the day (or night) you’re going out. Try them a few days before so you have time to practice and master the lash-applying technique. It also helps to apply the lashes with tweezers!
2. Smith’s Rosebud Salve ($6): “This salve is super hydrating and all-around a great product — not just for lips, but for dry cuticles or your brows before tweezing,” says star makeup artist Rachel Wood. “I’ve used this product on Louise Roe and Bethenny Frankel’s lips and Mariah Carey’s eyelids.”
PRO TIP: You can wear the salve on top of your lipstick to give it a glossy boost, or try it on your eyelids for a simple touch of shine.
3. Rimmel London Provocalips 16HR Kissproof Lip Colour ($7): “This product is amazing because it lasts an extremely long time,” spills makeup master Etienne Ortega. “It’s great for weddings, red carpets or in my case, my performer clients since it doesn’t come off when they are near the mic! I use this lipstick on Christina Aguilera, the Kardashians (it’s great for long days of filming) and Paris Hilton when she DJs.”
PRO TIP: The best way to apply the lipstick is to first outline your lips with a liner that closely matches your chosen lipstick shade. Then, apply one or two coats of the Rimmel color and finish it off with a clear topcoat (which in this case happens to be on the other end of the lipstick — convenient, right?) to lock in moisture and add shine.
4. Circa Beauty Ultrasuede Cream Blush ($13): “I love this cream blush because it’s very easy to blend and use and it’s not too greasy,” says celebrity glam guru Mai Quynh. “It gives a natural glow without looking shiny. I also love how pigmented the blush is, so a little goes a long way. I recently used this blush (in shade Portofino) on Aubrey Plaza at the Michael Kors/MoCA Luncheon.”
PRO TIP: Apply the blush with a stiff, synthetic brush (smaller than a foundation brush). Apply the color to the apples of the cheeks and use a damp Beautyblender sponge to blend out any edges.
5. L’Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara ($7): “This mascara is the only one I use!” shares beauty expert Beau Nelson. “The blacker-than-black volumizing formula coats lashes evenly and provides a depth of intensity of black unavailable elsewhere. The brush is the perfect size (not too big or too small) and easily gets every single lash. I use this on every client I have. All my girls are constantly taking this mascara from my kit — from Nicole Richie to Christina Hendricks.”
PRO TIP: Apply mascara to the roots of the lash with a gentle, zig-zagging motion. Gently pull through, making sure to leave very little product at the ends of the lash. This leaves lashes feathery and keeps them from clumping.
6. Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($6): “Aquaphor is the BEST lip moisturizer — hands down!” says beauty pro Stella Kae. “It’s even better than expensive luxury brands. It was actually my client Alyssa Milano who got ME so obsessed with it. Since then, it’s been part of my routine with 100 percent of my celebrity clients.”
PRO TIP: You can use Aquaphor to help with all sorts of weird skin situations (like flakey skin on the tip of the nose) by just applying it to your skin a few minutes before you put on your makeup. You can also tap it onto your cheekbones for a cool, glossy, highlighted look.
7. L’Oréal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray ($17): “This spray works amazingly to keep makeup in place for hours on end,” spills makeup maven Ashunta Sheriff. “I’ve used this on most of my clients, including Taraji P. Henson, La La Anthony and Molly Sims.”
PRO TIP: Hold it about eight inches from your face and spritz it on once your makeup is completed.
8. Avon Mega Effects Mascara ($10): “I love this mascara to get really bold and defined lashes!” gushes makeup artist Lauren Anderson. “The plastic comb applicator is curved to match the natural shape of the eye so you can cover lashes quickly and evenly for amazing volume. It’s so easy to use and has a really amazing, bendable brush that covers every lash and lets you get in close from every angle. The brush also allows you to get right to the root of the lashes, making the lash line look darker and giving a more intense look. I love to use the product when I’m creating a lash-y look for Emma Roberts, Nicole Richie and Reese Witherspoon.”
PRO TIP: Use the tip of the mascara applicator to shape and angle your lashes. By lightly tilting lashes toward the outer corner of your eye, you can increase the impact of your look.
9. Neutrogena Hydrating Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($7): “These towelettes take all of your makeup completely off — even waterproof eye makeup — and it doesn’t irritate the skin,” says star makeup artist Sheika Dailey. “Plus, they work on all skin types and they’re very hydrating. I have and continue to use this product on all of my celebrity clients (like Kelly Rowland, La La Anthony and Nicki Minaj), and I highly recommend it to them as well.”
PRO TIP: The wipes can be easily used right out of the pack. Use them in the morning in place of your cleanser and at night to remove all your makeup.
What’s your favorite drugstore beauty buy? Let us know in the comments!