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I love receiving make-up gifts as much as the next beauty product junkie, but what’s even better is discovering a new product that not only works great but is also cheap. Win-win, right? If you have an equally budget-conscious giftee on your list, consider that some of the secret weapons in many a beauty aficionada’s arsenal come not from fancy department stores and beauty meccas like Sephora but … wait for it … from the drugstore. They are all under $20, and they deliver more bang for your bucks than higher-end brands, they are drugstore beauty finds, for the budget-conscious. So next time you’re looking to surprise someone with a little beauty pick-me-up gift, consider these drugstore faves:
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara: for a high-impact look, forget $30 mascaras; this far cheaper version (made by the same company that produces Lancôme) builds volume and makes lashes stand out like no other.
elf Studio High Definition Loose Face Powder: a “finishing powder” may seem like one of those made-up, superfluous products, but it’s not. It helps create a pore-less, flawless appearance – think of it as a real life Photoshop option for under $10. And who can’t use a little bit of help along those lines? E.L.F. is also known for its fantastic make-up brushes, which are also under $10.
Milani Baked Powder Blush: the shade called “Luminoso” is considered a great dupe for the iconic Nars Orgasm blush for a fraction of the price of the original.
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain and Balm: non-lipstick lipsticks, like Clinique’s Chubby Sticks are all the rage right now. Silly name aside, Revlon lip balms offer the same result – lightweight, balm-like feeling but with the colour-saturation of lipstick – for a lot less.
Essie nail polish: trendy colours, easy, smooth application, quick drying time. What more can you ask for? Essie polishes are on par with far more expensive salon brands, and can be found for as little as $8.95 on Nail Polish Canada (which offers free shipping on all Canadian orders).
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream – forget pricey face creams; this long-standing favourite is practically a legend of the beauty isle, and still under $15.
St. Ives Apricot Scrub: another oldie that still delivers, you can find this scrub for under $5 in most drugstores. The micro-beads offer just the right amount of exfoliating friction, without being too rough on the skin.
Hard Candy Glamouflage Concealer: hands down, this is a miracle worker for everything from the occasional blemish to under-eye circles. It has been compared to Benefit’s Erase Paste, but costs $6. It also comes in a handy concealer stick version, perfect for touch-ups on the go.
Essence Liquid Eyeliner: this is liquid eyeliner for people who are afraid of liquid eyeliner; the fine-tipped, flock applicator makes it easy to get that perfect cat’s eye. The best part: it costs $3. Yes, you read that correctly.
NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss: this gloss is not only smooth and moisturizing, without being too sticky, but it gives incredible shine. The shade “Beige” is a cult fave among beauty editors; despite its name, it is actually a neutral rosy pink colour that creates that much-desired natural-lip-but-better look.