A few years ago, when I was new to the Byrdie editorial team, I did an experiment where I wore exclusively drugstore makeup for a week. Then a self-proclaimed "brand snob" (I was 24, so please don't judge me), I was pitifully unfamiliar with how amazing many affordable products can be. Since then, I have let go of my snobbery, willing to try any skincare, makeup, or haircare product with a formulation that intrigues me, and though I've encountered my fair share of flops over the years, I've also amassed a collection of affordable go-tos that I'll continue to buy and love until the day I die or (goddess forbid) until they're discontinued.
The following 11 drugstore beauty products, from an £10 brow gel to a £4 cleanser to a £5 hair mask, stand up to products five times the price. Curious to see what one drugstore-obsessed beauty editor claims are the best of the bunch? Just keep scrolling.
I'm picky about my brow gel. If the formula is too watery or too goopy or if the brush is too big or not soft enough, I'm out. Leave it to this sleeper drugstore gel to provide some of the best pigment and hold on the market.
The only dry texturizer I ever used before discovering this gem cost £41 (you know the one). But for half of the price, this pick offers an effortless bedhead look and a little bit of hold without making your hair feel like it's loaded with sticky, crunchy product. It also smells way more expensive than £20, which is a huge plus.
Every dermatologist stands behind CeraVe's high-quality formulations, and so do I. If I were given £20 to spend on face cream, I would without a doubt pick up one of these massive bottles of salicylic acid moisturiser, which hydrate the skin while gently correcting flaky skin and clearing out clogged pores.
Another affordable skincare find that pretty much every editor is obsessed with comes in the form of this 5% glycolic acid toner. I apply this with a cotton pad four or five nights a week for mild chemical exfoliation, and whenever I do, I wake up genuinely glowier than I would otherwise.
I'm so glad lip gloss is back because I've been whipping out this old standby like nobody's business. This sugary-smelling tinted gloss is lightweight, nonsticky and comes in an array of ridiculously pretty shades with solid colour payoff.
This is the cleanser I keep in my shower and it has never done me wrong. Its green tea–laden formula is vegan and 99% natural (no parabens, sulfates, aluminum, or dyes). It's also noncomedogenic and keeps my clog-prone pores in check. You go, Garnier.
Ask any Byrdie editor what their favourite drugstore highlighter is, and they're probably going to name this one. What can we say? Maybelline killed it with its creamy, shimmery formula, which I like to warm up with my fingers and tap along the high points of my face for a natural, real-skin glow.
Before I went to the dark side and started getting eyelash extensions, these insanely pretty, natural-looking lashes were my jam. I'd actually cut them in half and apply them just to the outer part of my lid, so they'd fool everyone into thinking my real lashes were just slightly fuller than they were.
There are two masks that make my bleached, colour-damaged hair super soft: One is £45, and the other is this £5 treasure, a formula packed with jojoba seed oil and aloe extract that truly makes my dull, crunchy hair silky smooth within three minutes. If you're in the market for a hair mask, please just buy it.
The drugstore makeup brand all American girls used in high school secretly makes some of my favourite makeup brushes. Wet n Wild's crease brushes are the ones I reach for every time I apply powder eye shadow. The synthetic bristles are densely packed but not overly so and they blend beautifully. Also, how fun is the white-and-pink colour scheme?
I've been wearing this Revlon classic in Kiss Me Coral since I was 18, and every time I forget about it and rediscover it, I'm reminded of how good it is. The texture is creamy, the colour payoff and staying power are amazing, and the shades are so pretty. I'd choose this over a £30 lipstick any time.
Want more affordable favourites? Next, check out 22 drugstore beauty products we Byrdie editors recommend to all our friends.