With so many skin care, hair care, and makeup products vying for your attention (and dollars), how do you ever determine which products are best? Paula Begoun and her Cosmetics Cop team show you their top picks so you can start the New Year with a smart new look!
10 Best Drugstore Facial Products
- Neutrogena One Step Gentle Cleanser ($7.49 for 5.2 ounces)
Notes: Very good gentle cleanser that feels silky and completely removes all makeup; often stocked with Neutrogena makeup, not their skin care.
- Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin ($4.49 for 6.78 ounces)
Notes: Very good fragrance-free water soluble cleanser for all skin types.
- Eurcerin Calming Body Wash Daily Shower Oil ($7.99 for 8.4 ounces)
Notes: An excellent moisturizing body wash for winter-dry skin or eczema. Fragrance-free.
- Olay Quench Body Lotion Active Hydration Formula w/ Green Tea ($9.99 for 11.8 ounces)
Notes: Hands-down, one of the best body lotions anywhere due to its exemplary formula. It doesn’t leave skin greasy, either. Make sure you purchase the Green Tea formula, as it is the most state-of-the-art among the Quench moisturizers.
- CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($12.99 for 12 ounces)
Notes: Another top body lotion owing to its sophisticated formula that’s fragrance-free and great for dry, sensitive skin.
- Alpha Hydrox Oil-Free Formula ($11.99 for 1.7 ounces)
Notes: A fragrance-free, lightweight, pH-correct AHA product with 10% glycolic acid.
- Olay Complete Ageless Skin Renewing UV Lotion SPF 20 ($24.99 for 2.5 ounces)
Notes: There are few state-of-the-art daytime moisturizers with sunscreen at the drugstore. Although pricey, this certainly qualifies as a brilliant formula that competes with considerably more expensive SPF-rated facial moisturizers from the department store.
- Physicians Formula Sun Shield for Faces Extra Sensitive Skin SPF 25 ($8.95 for 4 ounces)
Notes: A gentle, mineral-based sunscreen that’s also fragrance-free. Great for rosacea-affected skin.
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night ($13.99 for 1.4 ounces)
Notes: A very good nighttime moisturizer with retinol and antioxidants. Also fragrance-free. And yes, this is still being made even though Neutrogena offers similar products on their Ageless line.
- Stridex Power Pads ($6.99 for 28 pads)
Notes: One of the only benzoyl peroxide/anti-acne products at the drugstore that doesn’t contain needless irritants.
10 Best Drugstore Makeup Products
- L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup SPF 17 ($10.95)
Notes: Beautiful liquid foundation with broad-spectrum sun protection and a great range of mostly neutral shades for fair to dark skin tones.
- L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Powder ($10.95)
Notes: Everything a great pressed powder should be, at a very reasonable price plus beautiful shades
- Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector ($7.09)
Notes: A long-wearing, crease-free liquid concealer on one end, subtle highlighter on the other. Ideal!
- Cover Girl TruBlend Liquid Makeup ($9.39)
Notes: One of CG’s best foundations without sunscreen, it looks amazingly skin-like and lasts.
- Revlon Cream Blush ($9.79)
Notes: An excellent cream-to-powder blush that gives skin a lit-from-within glow.
- Physicians Formula Matte Collection Quad Eyeshadow ($6.75)
Notes: Smartly-coordinated sets with a smooth texture, good color payoff, and true matte finish.
- Cover Girl Outlast Smoothwear All-Day Eyeliner ($6.99)
Notes: A very good eye pencil with impressive longevity. Doesn’t need sharpening.
- Maybelline Define-A-Brow Eyebrow Pencil ($5.49)
Notes: No sharpening plus a smooth, soft application and flattering colors make this brow pencil a must-try.
- Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara or Lash Blast Length ($8.99)
Notes: Lash Blast in the orange tube gives ample thickness and length, while the one in the yellow tube provides less thickness but makes lashes inordinately long. Both are impressive.
- Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick ($4.99)
Notes: An inexpensive creamy lipstick that provides rich color and a finish that’s not overly slippery. Great shades, too.
10 Best Drugstore Hair-Care Products
- Aveeno Nourish + Volumize Shampoo ($6.99 for 10.5 ounces)
Notes: Great shampoo that’s nearly identical to Aveeno’s Nourish + Moisture Shampoo. Both are good for normal to dry hair that’s slightly coarse, curly, or thick.
- Garnier Fructis Body Boost Fortifying Shampoo ($3.99 for 13 ounces)
Notes: Excellent shampoo for all hair types, but especially good for fine hair.
- JASON Natural Fragrance Free Daily Shampoo ($9.79 for 16 ounces)
Notes: Although this contains a fragrant plant extract, the scent is subtle and doesn’t change the fact that this is a very good gentle shampoo for all hair types.
- Garnier Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream ($3.99 for 10.2 ounces)
Notes: A standard, but good leave-in conditioner for dry hair that’s comparable to much costlier products from Kerastase (Garnier and Kerastatse are owned by L’Oreal).
- TRESemme Instant Heat Tamer Styling Spray ($4.75 for 8 ounces)
Notes: Good lightweight, spray-on conditioner for those with fine or thin hair.
- Pantene Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Conditioner ($4.99 for 12.6 ounces)
Notes: Every Pantene conditioner is great (and they’re all similar) but this one has a subtle scent that doesn’t overpower. Use sparingly on fine or thin hair, lavishly on thick, coarse hair.
- L’Oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss Conditioner, for Medium to Long Hair That’s Curly/Wavy ($4.99 for 13 ounces)
Notes: Ignore the long/curly/wavy hair claim; this is a great conditioner for normal to dry hair of any thickness.
- Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray, Ultra Strong ($3.99 for 8.25 ounces)
Notes: This won’t completely shield hair from humidity and its hold isn’t ultra strong, but it works great as a finishing spray for all hair types.
- Pantene Curl Defining Spray Gel, Extra Strong Hold ($4.99 for 6.5 ounces)
Notes: A well-formulated styling spray for all hair types. Alcohol-free and loaded with helpful conditioning agents. Benefits curly or straight hair, especially if it is fine or thin.
- Dove Frizz Control Therapy Taming Cream for Rebellious, Unmanageable Hair ($4.99 for 4 ounces)
Notes: A great styling/straightening cream that also works to tame frizzies and add shine. Versatile, but too thin for those with very thick or coarse hair, who’d do better with a silicone serum or pomade, of which there are plenty of good ones available.
For the latest new product reviews, reference Beautypedia.com, the completely searchable, continually updated version of Paula's book, Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. It features over 40,000 detailed product reviews for only $24.95/year.
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