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best drugstore beauty buys

The sad, cold, hard truth is that I spend more money on make-up, beauty and skincare products than I do on food. (The fact that Sephora is currently having a 20% off everything sale for VIB Rouge members did not help my bank account this month.) I’m trying not to go balls-to-the-wall with spending, and besides, every girl loves a good steal… Here is where I save by making purchases that are just as great as their “fancy” counterparts, but cost a fraction of the price at the drugstore:

best drugstore beauty buys

Hairspray I’ve tried pretty much every hairspray at every price point, and nothing comes close to L’Oreal Elnett Satin. Even though I have a lot of it, my hair is very fine, straight and does not hold curl well… If you see me with a big ol’ Texas beauty pageant mane in a picture, it’s a safe bet I used half a bottle of this to get it. I read somewhere that it used to only be available in France, and hairdressers would take empty suitcases with them when they visited, to fly back with a bag full of bottles and bottles of hairspray. It’s what the hair and make-up artist used for my wedding. I go for the Extra Strong Hold with the UV Filter, to help protect my pricey highlights from getting damaged by the sun.

Nail Polish Essie has the prettiest polish, in my opinion. I love scoping the beautiful colors Chanel and Dior put out each season, but it’s just too hard for me to justify the price for something that will likely chip off in a day or two. Right now, my favorite Essie colors for fall are Rock At The Top (bold, cool gold), Bahama Mama (deep marsala // burgundy) and Turquoise & Caicos (pale greenish-blue).

Make-Up Wipes Sort of like baby wipes for adults, only for your face not your butt. I’ve tried the fancier, more expensive make-up remover wipes and keep going back to Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes. I love the grapefruit scent, and they deliver the best results for a much smaller price. They remove all traces of make-up without drying out your skin, and give you no excuse not to take your make-up off at night, even if you’re too tired to wash your face.

Cute Band-Aids I keep these on hand because I am constantly injuring myself, and can pretend it’s an opportunity to accessorize when I burn my arm on the oven/curling iron/testing if you can fry cookie dough (while the latter is possible, I don’t recommend it, especially if you are not sober while you attempt it.) Right now, I’m stocked up on Mickey Mouse and the Avengers.

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo Gonna shatter my mom’s dreams here, but I’m not buying baby shampoo because I’m having a baby… I use it to wash my make-up brushes. It’s just as effective as costly brush cleaners, but not nearly as expensive and you get way more bang for your buck. It’s also gentle enough for me to wash my dogs with it, if I don’t feel like paying for a groomer this month (because I spent too much at Sephora).

Charcoal Soap I’m a product junkie and love to try whatever new thing everyone is talking about (it took me years to accept my body is just not meant to be spray tanned). Right now, I am all over the activated charcoal bandwagon. I love this Biore charcoal bar because it’s cleansing, exfoliating and smells like peppermint. Aside from making my shower smell like Christmas, charcoal soap is supposedly more effective because it acts as a magnet to dirt and oil. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking (and I put a lot of crap on my face in hopes of preserving its youth and keeping it acne-free), but my pores do appear smaller and less clogged than before I started using it daily.

Dry Shampoo Like hairspray, I’ve tried all of the trendiest ones; anytime I read about some celebrity or Victoria’s Secret Angel’s dry shampoo obsession, I go online immediately and buy it. I love Klorane as much as the next girl, but now that I’m married and Tony keeps “borrowing” my dry shampoo, I would much rather spend a few bucks instead of $20. Dove Dry Shampoo works just as well; it doesn’t have that baby powder finish that so many of the cheaper ones do, is long-lasting, and people always tell me I smell good anytime I use it. So I guess it doubles as a secret hair weapon and perfume in one? And thanks to this bad boy, I only have to wash my hair once or twice a week (a blessing or a curse, you decide)!

Elastic Fabric Hair Ties I’m probably late to the game on this, but I was the chump who would spend a few bucks on one of these at DryBar. Turns out you can buy a whole pack for roughly the same price at CVS or Target. Who knew?!

Facial Sunscreen It’s 2015. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know better than to ever leave the house without SPF (yes, even on overcast days). And as far as sunscreen goes, handsdown, Neutrogena UltraSheer liquid sunscreen SPF 70 is the best. Neutrogena is the brand my Stanford-educated dermatologist recommended, and this one is my obsession because it absorbs quickly and sheerly into the skin, and blends well if you layer make-up over it. It feels light, not like goop suffocating your face. As far as drugstore purchases go, it’s on the pricier side for such a small bottle so I usually just use this on my face.

Body Sunscreen L’Oreal’s new invisible sunscreen is a game changer because it’s CLEAR. Really, truly invisible. I’m really grateful now that my mom slathered sunscreen on me since I was born, but I hated it when I was a kid. It was sticky, made my hair greasy, and got white streaks all over my clothes. This one is none of the above. It’s cool, light, goes on smoothly and I don’t have to worry about it staining my bathing suit, dress or purse. If I know I’m going to be in the sun long enough that my SPF 30 body lotion isn’t going to cut it, this is what I reach for.

What are your favorite drugstore buys?

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