Budget-Friendly Beauty: Best Drugstore Beauty Dupes

If you’re anything like me, you love makeup. If you’re a lot like me, then you have a makeup problem. You can never have enough. That would be all well and good if money really did grow on trees and you lived in a money forest, but unfortunately, that’s just not real life.

So while a girl can dream, that doesn’t help grow my savings account. That’s why I’m happy to say I’ve found some great drugstore dupes of some of my favorite prestige brand items. That’s right. You CAN look your best while saving some money. Now, there are some products that I must-have and will always justify spending top dollar, but lucky for you (and me), I’ve compiled my list of “Best Drugstore Beauty Dupes”. So keep reading to see where you can save, not splurge with my list of budget-friendly beauty products.

Best Drugstore Foundation


I discuss both of these foundations in my blog post, The Best Foundations for Your Skin Tone & Skin Type, so feel free to check it out. Both of these products (Make Up Forever HD and Revlon Photo Ready) offer a full coverage application with a non-greasy feel. When applied with the proper tools, the $9 bottle can look just as great as the $42 bottle.

Best Drugstore Blushes

Everyone loves NARS Blush in “Orgasm”. It very well could be one of the most well known cosmetic products there is. While many love the product, not many love the $30 price tag. A more budget-friendly option is Candid Coral Studio Blush by e.l.f. ringing up at only $3. That’s $26 of savings!


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – e.l.f. is a great line of quality, budget-friendly cosmetics and tools. The only difference is the e.l.f. blush isn’t quite as shimmery, but in my experience, it isn’t a noticeable difference and you could easily fix this by a soft dusting of highlight powder over your cheeks.

Best Drugstore Concealer

When it comes to concealer, most drugstore versions can’t hold a candle to Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat, the award-winning formula that is nothing short of a hero to people suffering from dark circles. While I could sing YSL’s praises for days, I know it’s not realistic for everyone to drop $41 in hopes of hiding the fact that they missed a few hours of quality ZZZ’s.


Touche Eclat really is an elite concealer, but a cheaper alternative is Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. Since some people feel the Maybelline concealer pen is a bit thicker, it’s best to start blending as soon as you apply it. It also appears to be a bit shinier, which could make it an even better highlighter pen. So while there are some differences, if you’re number one concern is saving some money, then opt for the Maybelline concealer and save yourself anywhere from $30 to $35.

Best Drugstore Lipstick

MAC has a great collection of lipsticks, but if you buy lipstick as often as I do, it’s difficult to justify spending $16 on a tube. One of my favorite lipsticks is MAC Ruby Woo, a cool/blue toned matte red lipstick and I’m happy to say I’ve found a dupe that is less than half the price.


Maybelline’s Very Cherry Color Sensational Lipcolor with a price point of $5-$7.50 (and sometimes even cheaper if you get it on sale) is a worthy comparison. It’s a smooth formula, but not too creamy, so you can rest easy knowing it won’t slide around or feather into the fine lines around your lips (especially if you follow my steps to making your lipstick last). In my lipstick tutorial, I actually used this color and it’s easily one of my most important lipsticks in my collection. The most notable difference between these two brands and shades are that MAC’s Ruby Woo is a bit cooler toned than Maybelline’s Very Cherry, but there’s not much else setting these two apart, except the savings!

Best Drugstore Eyeshadows

Urban Decay’s NAKED eyeshadow palette series are a great buy if you want many high quality colors, but if the thought of spending $54 on eyeshadow makes your skin crawl, consider the more affordable option from Physician’s Formula.


Physician Formula’s Nude eyeshadow palette has nine colors, where the NAKED palettes have 12. The strips are smaller than the more expensive option, but again, at the lower price point, it might be a better option for you. The colors are very similar in both palettes, but the Urban Decay shadows have a much stronger pigment, so I would recommend using the Physician’s Formula shadows wet, and definitely use a primer.

Best Drugstore Liquid Eyeliner

For me, finding liquid eyeliner that is universally easy to apply has often felt like a near Herculean task. I prefer a felt tip, but the problem I’ve found with this type of liquid liner pens is that they seem to dry out faster than I’d like. That’s why when you use liquid eyeliner as much as I do, spending $22 can send me into a rage.


Luckily, I found the perfect dupe for my beloved Smashbox Limitless Liquid Eyeliner, and that’s the Maybelline Master Precise Eyeliner Pen. At only $8, I don’t feel as bad buying a new one every month (or three weeks depending on how busy I am that month). In my opinion, there aren’t many differences worth noting except the price point, so you try it out and let me know what you think!

Best Drugstore Mascara

DIOR’s DiorShow Mascara is an award-winning mascara that has a cult like following, but since you’re supposed to toss mascara after three months, $25 a pop can get pricey fast. Luckily, there’s an amazing budget-friendly drug store substitute: Loreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black.


Don’t get me wrong. DiorShow is a great mascara, and definitely a great go-to when you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, but several people swear the Loreal mascara is exactly the same, if not, dare I say… better? The brushes are incredibly similar and both formulas add significant volume and length. They’re also both great for clump-free application, making it easier to build upon.


What other great products have you found at a price point you couldn’t refuse? Have you tried any of these, and if so, how do you think they compare to their much more expensive alternatives?

  • Dani Whitley

    These are the types of post I’m ALWAYS searching for when wanting to explore new makeup or need to conserve my money. The people at Sephora hug me when I come in…which probably isn’t a good sign for my bank account! I’d love your opinion on some drugstore lip stains! I have found good success with Sephora’s cream lip stain line, and for a splurge Kat Von D’s everlasting love liquid lipstick line (especially outlaw) is great! Thanks so much for the tips! I’m going to check out the mascara and blush! Oh, also I absolutely adore Smashbox Studio Skin foundation — it’s AMAZING. That being said, not a big fan of their Liquid Halo line. Kat Von D’s Lock-It Tattoo Powder Foundation is excellent for maximum coverage as well. 😀

    • Dylan Propst

      TonyMoly makes a great lip stain. The red one (candy apple, I think?) looks like you actually used lipstick. It smells great and it’s around $8. I use it under any red lip that I do or by itself.

  • Carrie Dagenhard Rutledge

    Thank you for this! I LOVE the Maybelline Master Precise pen. I’ve tried lots of prestige brand liquid eyeliner pens, but this one is hands down my favorite. Of course the price is the best part 🙂

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