Home Beauty Products Your Guide to Drugstore Beauty Products, Affordable Skincare and Makeup – GoodHousekeeping.com

Your Guide to Drugstore Beauty Products, Affordable Skincare and Makeup – GoodHousekeeping.com

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best drugstore beauty

Mike Garten

It’s easy to be enticed by the allure of beauty products in fancy packaging with exotic ingredients and luxurious textures and scents. But it’s not always necessary to break the bank for quality makeup, skincare, and hair products that really work, the experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab say.

What’s the difference between drugstore and prestige beauty products?

“Some affordable and pricey beauty products may not differ from a formula standpoint, meaning they have similar ingredients, and they may perform on par with each other in terms of benefits and aesthetics, like feel,” explains GH Beauty Lab senior chemist Sabina Wizemann. “Most of the cost of high-end products comes from the packaging and marketing.”

Other factors can contribute as well: “Sometimes, the fragrance, a unique extract, or if the product incorporates organic, sustainably-sourced ingredients can bump up the price, too,” she adds.

The resources behind a brand can also come into play, since “some luxury companies put a lot of effort in their research and development and rigorously test their formulas as well as larger mass brands,” Wizemann says. “All this depends on raw materials, ingredients, stability testing, instrumental and consumer evaluation, and more.”

In general, “bigger companies have the means and staff to conduct extensive research and development,” yet due to their scale, still keep costs down, “unlike smaller niche brands, which often need to charge more,” she explains.

Are drugstore beauty products as good as high-end ones?

In the GH Beauty Lab’s decades of history testing beauty products, they’ve found that drugstore formulas are often as effective and well-liked by consumers, and sometimes even more so, than luxury versions. “We have had test winners from both drugstore brands and high-end brands,” Wizemann says. In skincare, including anti-aging, makeup, and haircare and styling product testing, “we often see drugstore products performing at the top or on par with products that cost two or three times their price.”

A shining example? One of the GH Beauty Lab’s gold-standard moisturizers, Good Housekeeping Seal holder Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer, outperformed 10 prestige brand face creams that cost up to $400 or more in Lab hydration tests using the Corneometer device, which measures skin moisture levels. The formula boosted skin’s hydration by 68% three hours post-application, one of the highest moisturization scores in Lab history, and maintained the top spot after 24 hours, reports GH Beauty Lab director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. On average, it hydrated skin nearly 360% more than a cream that cost $440 for the same amount!

So how can you separate the rest of the buys that are worth your money on the crowded drugstore aisles from the ones that aren’t? Start with our roundup of the GH Beauty Lab’s best drugstore beauty products of all time across categories, from makeup must-haves like concealer and foundation to face and body skincare, new favorites of 2020, and more. Happy (bargain) shopping!


best drugstore cosmetics


best drugstore cosmetics


best drugstore night creams

Beauty Director
April Franzino is the Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping, part of the Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Beauty Group.

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