Dermatologists, celebrity makeup artists, and beauty experts spill the game-changing products they've found on the cheap. Your hair, skin, eyes, lips—yep, your whole body—will thank you for picking these up.
The cleansers that clear your pores, moisturizers that give you a dewy glow, and concealers that even everything out. You'll walk around looking like you just returned from one of those fancy wellness retreats.
Some cleansers can dry out your skin, but this derm-recommended pick promises to keep it supple instead. "For facial cleansing, this is my go-to drugstore product," says Dr. Waldorf. "It's moisturizing—and you can use it with water or without, if you prefer a wipe-off cleanser."
When you need to wash your face but aren't around a sink, you'll want to have these on-hand. "They take makeup off very easily and gently," says Dr. Waldorf. "I use them at night when I'm tired and just want to wipe everything off. They're also great for travel and for the gym."
Nothing says youth quite like dewy, radiant skin. "This gentle lotion has soy to help reduce pigment as well as high SPF with UVA protection," says Dr. Waldorf.
This little concoction can help your skin bounce back from sun damage. "If you want to use a retinoid to fight UV damage, but your skin gets too dry with a prescription version, this serum is a nice alternative," explains Dr. Waldorf. "The formulation is concentrated, light, and easy to spread."
"If you want to kill two birds with one stone, check out this eye cream," recommends Heidi Waldorf, M.D., director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai's medical school. "Aside from being anti-aging, the formulation contains a subtle concealer." Win, win!
This powerhouse product is a total timesaver. "The sheer tint, SPF, and anti-aging retinol and vitamin C mean you can essentially get away with one product in the morning instead of three," says Dr. Waldorf.
To fight wrinkles while concealing uneven skin, try this anti-aging Maybelline concealer. "It has a built-in applicator sponge, which feels so soft and almost therapeutic on skin—it's kind of addicting," says April Franzino, Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping. "A winner of the GH Beauty Lab's concealer test, it provides full coverage that stays put on problem spots like blemishes and redness, yet is creamy enough for delicate under eye areas, too."
If you just want to target under-eye circles, try this pick. "It's super light, but covers well, so you need less product to get the job done," explains celebrity makeup artist Kristofer Buckle. "This is particularly good for the textured skin around the eye, where you can least afford cakiness. Also, the built-in brush makes for easy application."
This gem of a product will give you dewy, even skin—and it comes in a ton of shades. "Whatever your skin tone, you'll find a match for it in this exceptionally extensive collection," says Buckle. "The liquids are particularly build-able and become part of your skin nicely."
Keep your makeup in place all day long by dusting this pretty powder over your face with a fluffy face brush. "It goes on incredibly evenly and easily; it's always been one of the best-textured translucent powders on the market," raves Buckle.
Make your skin shimmer in the sun with this chubby highlighter from Flower, a.k.a. Drew Barrymore's beauty company. "I've always thought highlighter was one of the most overlooked makeup products, but also one of the most transformative — it instantly makes your face look glowy, refreshed, and even more sculpted," says Franzino. "This creamy shimmer stick, a 2015 GH Beauty Award winner, takes the guesswork out of highlighting by blending flawlessly—and comes in shades that flatter every skin tone."
Keep your blush looking genuine, not over-the-top or fake. "Very true to a natural flush, this blush really does simulate the look of blood flow through skin," says Buckle. "And it goes on sheer, so you can keep adding the color and run almost no risk of over-applying."
This cream blush gives your cheeks a smooth, blended flush without appearing too heavy, cake-y, or dense. (I like to apply it with a damp makeup sponge to add a naturally radiant color to my cheeks!)
The right color can make you look instantly awake, make your skin look incredible—and even add a little edge to your step.
If you want a simple lip color that feels great, try this ace Neutrogena stick. "A winner of the GH Beauty Lab's lip crayons test—and Seal holder—it's like a tinted lip balm in an easy-to-apply crayon that doesn't need sharpening," says Franzino. "I love the just-right, not-too-matte-or-glossy finish, and that it gives real color payoff without looking makeup-y."
"The uber-pigmented formula of this 2015 GH Beauty Award winner spreads well and stays put," says Cody Marick, assistant beauty editor at Good Housekeeping. For added precision, use a lip brush to apply it.
Even the pros wear this lip color. "I use this on singers because it doesn't budge, even when their lips keep brushing the mike," explains Buckle. "And you know that if the color stays put on them, it'll stay put on you."
If you want lip color that you can play up or down, "I use a lot of 549A Java, a neutral with a soft glow, and 514A Cherry Frost, a red that lets you go sheer or bold," Buckle says. "You can find a close substitute for any 'it' color you may like, and at worst, you're looking at a cheap learning experience."
Ah, makeup's favorite place to play. Here, explore pretty eyeshadows, lengthening mascaras, bold liners, and the ultimate brow definers.
With 12 colors ranging from subtle and sweet to dark and dramatic, this palette offers endless looks for your eye makeup. (I'm a big fan of applying the blushing pinks to my lids for the daytime, then adding darker shades into my crease before going out at night.)
If your lids tend to get oily throughout the day, this is your perfect palette. "These set especially well, so they don't move around the way other cream shadows can," says Buckle. "Also, the pigment particles aren't too sparkly, just subtly gleaming."
"One of the creamiest, silkiest liners I've used," says Marick. "Plus, the color pay-off rivals that of most high-end liners—and it was a 2015 GH Beauty Award winner." Choose a color that contrasts with your irises to make 'em look more vibrant: Use a bronze-brown shade on blue eyes, purple color for green peepers, and turquoise on brown eyes.
Gel liner can be a bit tricky until you get used to it, but it's so worth it to learn. "Super long-lasting, it requires no touch-ups," says Buckle. "Apply and you're done—unless you smudge it (immediately) for softness."
Don't just think of length when it comes to mascara—thickening even your teensiest lashes makes your eyes look bigger, too. "This is great not only for lower lashes, but also for generally fine, thin, short lashes," says Buckle. "The tiny brush really grabs those hidden little ones and makes them all count."
"I love the way it lays on: really thick and long and full, so there's no need for layering," explains Buckle. "Instead, you get the coverage right the first time." And if you've got a special event coming up, this mascara application trick will make your lashes go the extra mile.
Give yourself gorgeous, long lashes without ever picking up a tube of eyelash glue. "I try almost every mascara that comes on the market, but I always go back to my holy grail, the original orange tube of LashBlast—a GH Seal holder," says Franzino. "It makes lashes insanely huge, yet not clumpy and there's no annoying transfer."
Opt for this double-ended pencil to accentuate your brows, then steal my little highlighting trick to make your eyes look wider: I simply fill in my brows using quick, light strokes of the dark shade, then draw the highlighter under my brow bone and blend.
This find will have your brows looking groomed in a snap. "I'm all about a tint-brush-gel hybrid for brows, and this one, a 2015 GH Beauty Award winner, hits the trifecta," says Franzino. "One swipe fills in spare spots, defines and shapes, and sets hairs in place."
The ultimate drugstores finds aren't just in your head—moisturize and bronze from head to toe.