Most of the time when it comes to beauty, you get what you pay for.
While I’m very into luxury products for certain needs, I can still find gems at CVS or Target. The drugstore also isn’t what it was even 10 years ago, and since the beauty boom over the last couple years, mass brands have upped their game to keep up with their prestige counterparts.
Recently, there have been a few affordable products I’ve really loved, especially when it comes to wintertime beauty. Here are some of my favorite drugstore picks.
L’Oreal Elvive 8 Second Wonder Water Lamellar Hair Treatment
Naturally, my hair is a dark, almost black, shade of brown, but my hairstylist has worked long and hard to get me to the honey blonde shade I’m at now. Because of the chemical stress I put my hair through, I need something to help keep it healthy, especially when the cold weather isn’t doing it any favors. I have baby-fine hair, though, and need something that will provide moisture without weighing it down.
I love this product for a few reasons. It’s the consistency of water and loaded with amino acids for strength and shine. Its lamellar technology is smart enough to nourish the damaged parts of the hair without weighing down the rest and only needs eight seconds to get to work before it’s rinsed out. I use this between shampoo and conditioner about once or twice a week to keep my hair soft, smooth and strong. target.com, $8.99
Dove Beauty Refresh + Care Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo
Winter weather will dry out hair, but so will washing your hair every day. It not only strips your hair of its natural oils and fades color-treated hair faster but also leads to more heat styling, which can equal more damage. If I’m heading to the drugstore, I always throw a bottle of this into my basket. A trick I learned is to spritz it on before bed to avoid the powdery look dry shampoos can sometimes give. Spray it on your roots and let it get to work for about a minute, and then blast it with a hair dryer while massaging it in. I’ll also sometimes use it on clean hair in the morning to give me major volume.
Just remember, dry shampoo can backfire if you use it too much. Only apply it to your roots and use a good clarifying shampoo or scalp scrub in place of your normal shampoo once a week to eliminate buildup. cvs.com, $6.99
Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick
I love the look of a liquid lip in the winter, but my affinity for all-day snacking usually causes my lip color to wear away. There are very few liquid lipsticks that will stay put while also feeling comfortable, and this is one of them. It’s definitely matte but not drying and delivers one-swipe coverage. The doe-foot applicator is teardrop-shaped with a small hole in the middle that helps pick up extra product. The formula also will not move until you take it off with a makeup wipe or remover. I like the shade Lover, a medium mauve, but this lipstick comes in a range of hues, including more daring colors such as purple and navy. maybelline.com, $9.49
Milani Baked Blush
Powder blushes are my favorite to work with, but they need to have a buttery consistency during the colder months. Marbled blushes like this one are better, too, because you can get a prettier blend of colors. This blush is a great option thanks to its buttery texture and serious color payoff. I prefer the shade Luminoso, which is a light-medium peachy coral with warm undertones, but there also are some pinks, mauves and berries. It holds a slight shimmer that doesn’t sparkle but gives you a lit-from-within glow. cvs.com, $13.79
Neutrogena Ultra Light Face Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover
Ever since I started double-cleansing a few years ago, I can’t go back to just using one cleanser to do the job. Using two cleansers gets expensive, though, and this is a really nice oil cleanser to remove makeup and oil-based impurities. It’s very light and rinses clean. That’s a big deal for me because my biggest issue with oil cleansers is when they leave behind a weird film. This is great for colder weather, too, because it won’t strip your skin of its much-needed moisture. target.com, $8.59
Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil
During the winter, a facial oil is the answer to keeping skin healthy and smooth. If someone is looking for an affordable facial oil, I always recommend this one. It’s made with a blend rosehip, jojoba and evening primrose oils that deliver essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants to nourish skin and banish dullness. Use this as the final step of your nighttime routine, patting it into your skin to replenish and hydrate. It also will keep all of your other products underneath sealed in to help them get to work on your skin. amazon.com, $7.99
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT