4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Drugstore Beauty Finds + Our Top Recommendations

BY Janeca Racho · May 15, 2017

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Let’s face it. Giving your skin all the care and loving it needs can sometimes make our wallets weep—especially if you’re on a college-girl budget. So what’s a budgeting beauty to do? Head to the drugstore, of course! We see a lot of love for drugstore buys, and it’s easy to see why. They’re accessible, do the job they promise and don’t burn a hole through our pockets. And even when our wallets can already afford a little breathing room, we still swear by our drugstore finds. But now that you’ve gotten that hard-earned promotion or just want to get serious with your beauty regimen, it’s time to rethink those drugstore faves and give your beauty and skin care routines the upgrade they rightfully deserve!

We know that expensive doesn’t always mean better. Why drop $50 on a tube of lipstick when you know you can score its shade-twin at a fraction of the price, right? But cheap thrills aside, consider this: evolving career and personal responsibilities mean changes in your needs and lifestyle too! Suddenly, you realize that the $8 BB cream that was such a steal then isn’t cut to take you from office to after-hours meetings and events. Switching to higher-end products may seem like a big commitment, but investing in beauty and skin care is just another way of saying you’re ready to take on more of the big, wide world (plus, future you will thank you for it). After all, adulting isn’t just about getting your bills paid or making your rent. It’s also about taking better care of yourself!

Need more convincing? Here are more reasons for you to consider.

1. Higher-quality ingredients – Higher-quality ingredients usually require a lot of resources to formulate and stabilize. This includes a team of experts, high-tech facilities and more advanced testing capabilities, which is why high-efficacy products are usually more expensive.

2. Longer-lasting products + richer pigments – When it comes to makeup, if you want your foundation or eyeliner to last from morning to night, you’ll have to drop a few more bucks for products that use fewer fillers, so you’re getting better pigment saturation and coverage.

3. Sturdier (and prettier!) packaging – Let’s be honest here. We’ve all bought (or at least came so close to buying) makeup just for the gorgeous packaging (only to have it expire because it was too pretty to use—oops!). But more than eye candy, paying more for your makeup usually means it’s less likely to fall apart and spill and is easier to use and carry around. Plus, certain skin care ingredients degrade upon exposure to light, which is why companies spend an extra dime on packaging, to ensure your product stays effective longer.

4. Better customer support and company practices – Because non-mainstream brands tend to spend more resources on product formulas and customer satisfaction than marketing and advertising, you’ll usually get better customer support and a more lenient return policy if you’re not satisfied with your results. Also, while there are drugstore brands that support ethical and eco-friendly practices, specialty brands that promise safer, all-natural and consciously made products can give you a better guarantee that these are not empty claims.

Think you’re ready to up your beauty game? We’re here to help! We’ve listed our top recommendations to ease your transition to a more grown-up routine! The best part? These products will pamper your skin without being too much of a splurge!

1. Cleanser – DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

This cult-favorite cleansing oil from the Tokyo-born brand has over 100 five-star reviews! It features a water-soluble, antioxidant- and vitamin-rich formula that washes away all traces of dirt and makeup (even stubborn mascara and eyeliner residue) and leaves your skin nourished and hydrated. Massage onto your face and let it do its deep-cleansing magic or add water and use it as a milky, skin-purifying emulsion.

Price: $14

2. Serum – Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

When it comes to skin aging, prevention is definitely better than scrambling to reclaim your youthful looks. Switch up to this ultra-potent antioxidant serum and give your skin the upper hand in its fight against aging. It contains skin-loving ingredients—green tea, vitamins C and E and retinol—that boost collagen production, replenish moisture and protect skin from environmental damage.

Price: $34

3. Moisturizer – Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentre

Sometimes our skin feels so dry and dull that we’re tempted to channel our inner Cleopatra and soak ourselves in milk—if it wasn’t so impractical. Our best option? This French-favorite, light and milky moisturizer that’s a powerhouse of vitamins, essential fatty acids and soy proteins. It restores moisture, strengthens the lipid barrier, boosts elasticity, reduces fine lines and smoothens and tones your skin.

Price: $28

4. Sunscreen – Solbar Zinc SPF 38

You won’t normally see this sunscreen brand in the store (or anywhere), but this under-the-radar, dermatologist-recommended sunscreen is one of the best-selling products here at Dermstore. It features transparent zinc oxide to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB, and it also works as an excellent base for makeup.

Price: $14

5. Deodorant – LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant

There’s a price to pay when you want your pits to smell fresh all day. Some deodorants stain your clothes, and if that’s not bad enough, they can contain harsh chemicals that cause skin irritation and, possibly, breast cancer. Upgrade your underarm freshener with this natural, paraben-free and vegan formula that defends against odors, nourishes your skin and won’t leave any stain!

Price: $14

6. Foundation - Laura Geller New York Baked Balance-N-Brighten Color Correcting Foundation

Ever felt betrayed by the makeup gods when the foundation your friends rave about doesn’t even come in your shade? We feel you. This gentle and lightweight powder foundation is formulated with swirls of color-correcting pigments that self-adjust to your complexion, offsetting ruddiness and brightening sallow skin tones.

Price: $33

7. Mascara – Tarte Cosmetics Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

A mascara that glides smoothly and gives you lusciously dramatic lashes that last all day. Infused with Amazonian clay, it hydrates, absorbs oil and helps prevent breakage and fallout.

Price: $23

8. Lipstick – Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick

This lipstick is nothing short of magic, but no—it won’t transform the first amphibian you see into your very own Prince Charming. This truly enchanting lippy comes with an emerald-green stick that instantly transforms into a naturally flushed pink once it touches your kissers, and the shade adjusts according to your unique pH balance. Best of all, it features a long-lasting and hydrating formula that leaves you with a soft, kissable pout. Think of it as the grown-up version of those magic lippies we hoarded as tweens!

Price: $25

9. Body Lotion – EltaMD Lotion

Your stressful week at work doesn’t have to show on your skin, so keep damage and flakiness at bay with this hydrating and creamy body lotion. Therapeutic and fragrance-free, it strengthens and restores your skin’s suppleness, especially the areas that are most prone to dryness—your elbows, feet, hands and knees.

Price: $14.50

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for ... Read More >

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