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20 of the Best Drugstore Beauty Buys

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Here now, the very Best In Beauty: Cosmetics, skin care, nail polish, and more tiny miracles personally vetted and loved by experts, insiders, and our editors.


Images: Shutterstock

In an age of sample-happy Sephoras, shopping for beauty products at the drug store—where you can't open any of the packages—can be a scary prospect. However, there are gems to be found in those aisles—if you know what you're looking for. "I have access to all make-up, prestige and mass, and I've learned that a lot of the drugstore products are just as good as the more expensive brand," Cosmopolitan.com beauty editor Carly Cardellino assures us. She's just one of the experts, from editors to makeup artists, we consulted to compile this list of the 20 best beauty drugstore scores.

Worried about ingredient integrity in the aisles of CVS? Makeup artist, natural beauty expert and herbalist Jessa Blades notes that it's getting easier to find better products in drugstores, naming Burt's Bees, Yes to Carrots, and Dr. Bronner's among trustworthy brands. She has a flexible philosophy, though: "Figure out what you use daily and make sure those products have ingredients that are as safe and natural as they can be. If you find an amazing bright pink lipstick that you're only going to wear on occasion don't worry about the ingredients—buy the color and enjoy it!"

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Cosmetics

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($6)
If you've never, now it's time. This is the most beloved drugstore buy, spotted in many a makeup artist's bag (even when they're signed to rep a premium line), beloved by editors and lawyers and teachers and middle schoolers alike.

L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation ($15)
Like soft focus for your face, but in that no-makeup makeup sense.

Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream ($6)
"This really feels like a 'balm,' almost like a lip balm for your face!" Bryn Kenny, a beauty publicist and writer, tells us (she doesn't represent Maybelline, for the record). "I have really dry, sensitive skin and this is super moisturizing and soothing."

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Lips

Nature's Bounty Natural Vitamin E Oil ($8)
Bryn's pick for chapped lips.

Maybelline Baby Lips ($4)
Among the must haves of Marie Claire beauty/health director Erin Flaherty.

Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment ($2)
According to J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, this is "the most important beauty product of all." Her reasoning: "It's the only lip balm that doesn't burn my lips—I know I'm not the only one with that problem."

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Skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer ($11)
Tanya Kasavana of Rent the Runway tells us she's been loyal to this moisturizer since she was 14.

Clearasil Daily Clear Refreshing Superfruit Scrub ($6)
Cosmo.com beauty editor Carly Cardellino uses this scrub every night before bed. It's got salicylic acid, for helping to prevent breakouts.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub ($6)
"I'm hooked on the microbeads in this face scrub. It feels amazingly fresh," says trainer Emily Cook Harris, winner of 2013's Hottest Trainer Competition in New York City.

Garnier Cleansing Towelettes ($7)
Another Bryn favorite, these towelettes not only remove makeup and atmospheric debris, they actually refresh skin with the help of grape water extract.

Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6)
Racked's own features editor Julia Rubin calls this "the most non-offensive face wash in the world!" She explains: "It gets you clean without drying you out or oiling you up."

Body

Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Vapor Bath ($7)
Jessa Blades "so good for soaking in a tub, calming your muscles and nervous system"

Burt's Bees Citrus & Ginger Body Wash ($6)
"I've been super into natural products recently and like anything Burts Bee's," Bryn tells us. "I always buy their citrus and ginger body wash (I use it for hand wash, too, because it smells so good!)"

Dove Cool Moisture Body Bar ($8 for six)
"It's my job to experiment, but I always stay loyal to this," Marie Claire executive beauty and health editor Jennifer Goldstein confided to us.

Aquaphor Healing Skin Ointment ($15)
Allure entertainment director Marni Golden names this as the surprising beauty product she swears by. "I use it on my lips, under my eyes at night, on any rough skin spot like a callous on my feet or dry elbows."

Bag Balm ($10)
Meanwhile, Allure beauty director Patricia Tortolani calls Bag Balm a miracle salve, saying she slathers in on her cuticles and lips in the winter to prevent cracking. Fun fact: Bag Balm was invented to keep cow udders moisturized in harsh Vermont weather.

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Etc.

Tweezerman Deluxe Toenail Clipper ($10)
These are pro-manicurist Jin Soon Choi's pick for DIY jobs.

Neutrogena T-Gel Shampoo ($6)
Bryn: for removing product buildup and when your scalp gets dry and itchy between seasons.

Ardell Lashes ($3)
"I love Ardell lashes, you can find them at pretty much any drugstore," Jessa Blades tells us. "The short black individual ones are my favorite!"

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