Drugstore Makeup – Here is what I use Every Day

Dear Friends,

Three days before Thanksgiving, I swung by Aldi on my way home to pick up a few essentials for the dish I’m making for the family dinner. The cashier told me she needed to pay me a compliment. She told me that my face always looks so nice, and she really likes the red lipstick that I wear. She asked me if I’m in theater, and I told her the closest I get to performing at anything is singing in the church choir! Then I shared my secret with her – all of my makeup comes from the drugstore. Every single solitary piece!

That exchange got me thinking that maybe I should do a beauty blog type of post where I share the drugstore makeup products that I use. I posted on Facebook asking if anyone would be interested in reading something like that, and I got some great feedback! So without further adieu…allow me to introduce to you the drugstore makeup products that I use every day, in order of how I apply them:

Concealer – Maybelline Instant Age Rewind

Concealer is a tough one for me, because I have fine lines under my eyes. I have always had fine lines, even as a teenager. My eyes are probably my least favorite feature, because God gave me way too much skin all around! I have hooded eyelids, and too much thin, extra skin under my eyes. Eye makeup looks are a major pain for me, and I sincerely envy women with large, taut eyelids.

So…finding a concelar that will cover my dark circles without caking up in my under-eye lines was a tough one. This concealer finally did the trick! I’m not sure if it’s the formula itself or the applicator tip, but it covers beautifully without being heavy or thick. It does a perfect job hiding those acne spots, too! A tube of this stuff is $6.69 at Target.


Foundation – Revlon ColorStay

This foundation comes in formulas for both combination/oily skin, and normal/dry skin. I can tell you that the tones do differ between formulas. I have a very fair complexion, and have had an ongoing battle with acne since I was 11 years old, so I use the Ivory 110 in combination/oily. However, in the summer when I’m “tan”, I mix in a bit of the shade Sand Beige 180, which is the next-darkest shade that carries a pink undertone. I accidentally bought the formula for normal/dry skin once, and I was really surprised to find that it had a greenish/olive undertone. So definitely keep in mind that even though the shade colors and numbers may be the same, they are not uniform from one formula to the next.

This foundation is a great full coverage foundation. I have tried so many, but I always come right back to this one, which I’ve been using for probably five years now, because no other drugstore foundation I’ve tried can compete for the price. You can pick it up at Target for $7.59…and if the shelf price is higher, use the Target app to scan the label for the online price, then do a price match at checkout. I do this with everything I buy at Target, but the makeup and beauty products almost always have a lower online price!


Setting Powder – Rimmel Stay Matte in Transparent

This is another one where I’ve tried several brands and keep coming back to this one. Over the summer I tried to find a setting powder that didn’t have a matte finish, because I was liking the dewy look for summertime. Every single other powder I tried, with the exception of Coty Airspun, left me getting oily by lunchtime. I did really like Coty – it’s priced well and has been around since the dawn of makeup. It’s a tried and true brand that even Hollywood has used.

But, it does have a very strong, grandmothery scent; and it doesn’t bode well for those fine lines. Even when I was using this powder, I still had to use the Rimmel Stay Matte for my under-eyes because the Coty powder was too coarse and made all of those fine lines under my eyes stand out like a “she’s in her 30’s now, folks” beacon for all to see. The Rimmel Stay Matte is only $3.97 at Target, and it is the finest powder with the longest staying power of any I’ve tried. I can go from 7am to 7pm with nothing more than a light touchup around my nose if I go out in the evening.


Blush – e.l.f. and Cover Girl

Okay, so I have two that I switch between, because e.l.f. has a limited selection for blush at my store, and blush is something I’m pretty picky about. With my extra pale skin and pink undertones, most blushes are too deeply colored for me. I have two colors that I like to use – one that’s a little more peach/orangey, and a mauve. Depending on the outfit I’m wearing and the color of my lipstick, I will switch back and forth between these.

For the mauve shade, I use Cover Girl Cheekers in Plum Berry; $3.44 at Target.


For the more peachy color, I use e.l.f. Mellow Mauve, $3 at Target. I know what you’re probably thinking…isn’t that your mauve color? It even has mauve in the name! You’re right, it does, and even the picture of the blush online looks mauve. In person, though, it isn’t even close. It’s more of a tan/peach. Here is a stock photo from Target, compared to a photo of mine in person:


Countour – NYX High Definition Blush in Taupe

I must admit, I’m not much on the countouring. My once-chubby-cheeked-face has slimmed down since I hit my 30’s, so the only time I countour my cheeks these days is for a night out. For my daily makeup, I just hit the apples of my cheeks with blush and call it a day. However, my nose is a horse of a different color!

I was so graciously gifted with the Miller nose – the one with an iconic little perfectly round ball for a tip! Lemme tell you, I countour the heck out of that thing! I’ve tried plenty of countour-specific powders and countour/highlighting kits, but none have topped this blush. It is the perfect shade of taupe to cast the look of a shadow where it’s applied, without looking like a smudge of dirt like others I’ve tried. It blends beautifully and looks completely natural. While some Targets do carry it, unfortunately mine does not. So I order this from Amazon, where you can find it as an add-on item for $4.57.


Highlight – e.l.f. Shimmer Highlighting Powder in Pearl Glow

This was probably my least favorite makeup product to nail down, because every single highlighter I tried was either too pigmented for my fair skin, too glittery, or didn’t have enough shimmer. Because my makeup is very matte, I love highlighter to get that soft, slightly shimmery, dewy look without the oiliness of non-matte makeup. I was about to spend $12 on the L’Oreal Lumi Glotion, but decided to give one last e.l.f. product a try before I spent a lot more than I felt was reasonable for a highlighting product.

I am so glad that I did, because it turns out that this one was perfect! It also comes in three different shades, so if you are darker complected and the pearl glow is too light for you, you can try the starlight glow or sunset glow. It comes in a compact the same size as a setting powder compact for $6.00, and is enough to last just shy of forever!


Eyeshadow – e.l.f. Everyday Smoky Eyeshadow Palette

This palette is $10 at Target, and has 10 different shades per palette. I have the smoky palette, but they have several sets with different colors. I’m contemplating getting the nude rose gold palette as well, but haven’t made the commitment yet because I’m just not much of an eyeshadow wearer thanks to those hooded eyelids. I mostly just apply eyeshadow when I go out in the evenings, because with hooded eyes you can barely see the eyeshadow anyway, so there isn’t much point in taking the time to apply it every day. I also still have lots of eyeshadow left in a Tarte set that I got for Christmas about 5-6 years ago and rarely use.

Speaking of Tarte, let’s talk about that. I bought that set because Sephora had a sale that Christmas season. Six different eyeshadow palettes, four blushes, some mascara, eyelash primer and eyeliner in a gorgeous mirrored three-tier case (which is 75% of the reason I made the purchase – I still have it decorating my bathroom) for $50. So I have some experience with pricey, name brand eye shadow, where one shade would cost you as much as the entire 10-shade palette from e.l.f. And you know what? I can tell no difference whatsoever in how well it goes on and how long it lasts!


Eyeliner – NYX Vinyl Liquid Liner

I love this stuff! Once upon a time, I was a liquid liner denier. It was messy, and if you didn’t have a perfectly steady hand…forget about it. The stuff would be everywhere! Well friends, the secret is in the applicator. I’ve tried soooo many different liquid liners and this one has become my tried-and-true, one and only. I used to use eyeliner pencils, but the always ended up leaving a smudge of black across my upper lids because…you guessed it…my hooded eyelids! Every time I blinked the eyeliner would meet my upper lids and leave a nice little smudge across them. It also ended up smearing a bit under my eyes just from normal eye-watering.

Switching to liquid liner was the best eye makeup choice I ever made. Once it’s on, it’s on. It doesn’t smudge, doesn’t smear, doesn’t run. And if you get the right tip, like the one in this NYX liquid liner, it goes on with precision. Wide brushes and sponge tips on other products I’ve tried were frustrating, but this one is simple. It’s also easy to fix if you make a mistake…which I do often when trying to get my winged liner to look even on both eyes. I take a q-tip, swipe it in a teensy bit of coconut oil, and spin it at the corner of the liner to take it off without taking off anything else. Dab on a tiny bit of foundation and powder to reset the base, then reapply the liner. $5.29 at Target!


Mascara – Maybelline Volum’ Express Mascara in Waterproof Black

Let me just tell you how heartbroken I was when Victoria’s Secret ended their makeup line! My absolute favorite mascara ever was from VS. I was there buying lotion and body spray one day, and they had a makeup stand by the checkout. I was almost out of mascara and it was sitting right there for $10 a tube, so I said what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. I tossed it on the counter with a couple of tubes of lip gloss…and it changed my life! I lived and died for that mascara and I was seriously devastated when they discontinued it!

I still have not found a mascara I like as well, although I did come close. L’Oreal Paris Lash Paradise mascara seems to have a very similar formula…but the application brush is awful. It has a wide tip, so it’s tough to get those short, fine inner lashes, and lower lashes, without ending up with mascara on your skin. The Maybelline Volum’ Express is what I keep going back to every time I try something else. It has a good formula that stays put without smearing, but the applicator brush is really what seals it. It coats the lashes really well, doesn’t clump them together, and has a pointed tip so you can hit those small, fine lashes without accidentally painting your skin. And it’s only $5.69 per tube at Target.

img_4967Lipstick – L’Oreal Paris Color Riche

My holy grail of makeup – lipstick! Oh my goodness, I am soooo a lipstick girl! It is my favorite makeup product, bar none! That’s probably because, if my eyes are my most hated feature, my lips are my most loved. Thank the good lord above that I was blessed with my mother’s full, round, plump lips! I’ve even had complete strangers tell me that I have beautiful lips, so that is definitely the feature that I play up. Whatever you have that you love — flaunt it!

So while I keep the eyes simple, I often do the lips dramatic. I’ve tried so many drugstore lipsticks, but all pale in comparison to this one. I have this lipstick in multiple colors, including the red that the Aldi cashier loves so much. So here is my red lipstick trick — first of all, don’t skip the liner! I can do any other color without lip liner, but red lipstick will bleed without it. So I use red lip liner in the same brand first, then apply a combination of two colors from this same brand – True Red, and Divine Wine. This lipstick is smooth, creamy, doesn’t clump or flake or get sticky. My favorite shades for my complexion and hair color are Fairest Nude, Blushing Berry, Toasted Almond, True Red and Divine Wine. It comes in at $4.49 – $5.99 per tube at Target, depending on the color.


Which reminds me…I’m almost out of Toasted Almond and Divine Wine, and I’m going out tonight for a beer pairing dinner. Looks like I’m off to Target–after a quick wardrobe change because I was making food while typing this post and had a bit of an oops. I had already unscrewed the lid to the steak sauce bottle and had it sitting it on top of the bottle…then I forgot about it and picked it up to shake it. So now I’m sitting here in a bathrobe and my boots while the dress (white, naturally) and cardigan are cycling through the wash. May the rest of your Tuesday be less eventful than my last half-hour! 🙂



Author: Loren Miller

I'm a Midwestern woman living my best and healthiest life, fueled by passion and caffeine. I follow the Mediterranean diet, I'm a yoga newbie, and a hiker and general explorer of the outdoors. I adore fashion and dressing up, and finding amazing, quality designer pieces through thrift shopping. Most all of my outfits have at least one thrifted item--saving my wallet and the planet one designer top at a time <3

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