Best Drugstore-Exclusive Beauty Buys

Hey you! How was your weekend? Did you watch the Academy Awards? I was in awe of the dresses, the jewels, the makeup, the hair, and the price tag that came with it all. A girl can dream, right? Well, today forget about those expensive prices. I'm going to save you some money! I'm sharing my best drugstore-exclusive beauty buys. That's right--I'm skipping the traditional drugstore brands and doing something different. Here are a few (I seriously could have picked more) of the top 3 drugstores.

Walgreens--They have an awesome beauty section and knowledgeable staff. They also wonderful in-house brand called Studio35Beauty. Here are 5 of my must-buy items.

  • Masques--They have some really great facial masques, with something for every skin type. If I don't feel like making my own, I'll grab a few for when I travel. And they're only a dollar or two!
  • AHA Face Cream--This is the BEST deal out there. I've bought so many of these for myself as well as family. If you're looking for an exfoliator, give this a try. Note: if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, do a patch test first. This does have 8% aha (alpha hydroxy acid) and will tingle the skin. It's only $9 and it WORKS for my dry skin.
  • Textured Cotton Rounds--I have tried just about every cotton pad and cotton round there is. Most end up disintegrating when product, like makeup remover, is applied, but not these! They are textured on one side and are the almost the size of the palm. They are wonderful and are $2.79 for 80!
  • Nail Remover Pump--For quick polish removal, take a cotton round, do a couple of pumps on the remover and wipe away! If you've ever spilled polish remover anywhere (me) you'll need this.
  • Heel Sleeves--Sandal weather is coming! Let's get those feet prepare with these heel sleeves. And because I can't stand sleeping in socks. I lose them every night!
    • BONUS: Jordana--LOVE this much more affordable sister company to Milani. You can also find this brand at Kmart, but thought I'd mention them here. See my best-worst Jordan picks here.
Rite Aid--I love the selection of brands at this store. If I'm looking for a new item and can't find it anywhere, I'll always find it at Rite Aid.
  • Bye Bye Blemish--I thank Arielle for turning me onto this product, a much more affordable dupe of the Mario Badescu version. Dip a Qtip into the solution (don't shake the bottle) and apply to your pimple. $9.99 as opposed to $17 for the MB version. This can also be purchased at Amazon.
  • Jessie's Girl Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner--This unique Japanese calligraphy-style brush allows for precise, super-fine application that lets you create lines as small as one millimeter thickness! Combined with a formula that dries super-quick for a smudge-proof application, the liquid eyeliner glides on smoothly without tugging or pulling. Must try for only $6.99
  • Rite Aid Renewal Sulfate-Free Color Protect Moisturizing Shampoo--This is the affordable version of the L'Oreal one. They have others as well, but this one I have used often.
  • Julie G Nail Polish--I picked up this brand randomly one day and found out it was created by a famous YouTuber! I love the polishes, the price, and that each color has a sample painted nail so you can actually see what the polish looks like on! $3.99
  • Rite Aid Makeup Remover Eyelid Wipes--I have super sensitive eyes that require $200 eye drops from a bottle the size of a quarter. I rely on wipes every night to make sure my eyelids are clean and dry. You would like these for makeup remover.
CVS--While they have a great in-house version of products (I love their version of the Garner BB Cream for dry skin) I wanted to feature Nuance, the brand by Salma Hayek. She really, really knows her stuff, especially when it comes to skincare. I don't know why this brand isn't talked about more.

  • Moisturizing Day Cream--Shea butter, jojoba & sunflower oil provide long-lasting nourishment. Natural licorice extract helps renew brightness and even skin tone. Pomegranate butter & vitamin E help protect against the harmful effects of daily toxins. Mimosa, blue agave, camapu & prickly pear extracts continuously sooth, hydrate and firm skin. SPF 30
  • Eye Serum--Instantly improves the appearance of skin firmness, while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Acacia senegal gum helps tone, tighten and firm the delicate skin around the eye area for a more youthful-looking appearance. Vitamin C helps revitalize the skin. Lumisphere, an instant skin brightener, gives the skin a healthy-looking glow. 
  • Retional Capules--Anti-aging, advanced rejuvenation formula helps smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol is pure and active vitamin A that gently penetrates deep into the skin to help enhance elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin ton, while improving overall texture. After just a few nightly uses, skin appears smoother, younger-looking and more radiant as the signs of aging begin to diminish.
  • Lipstick--Love the formula of this and their Dusty Rose is an absolute dupe for Bobbi Brown's Brownie.
  • Blue Agave Wave Enchancing Styling Swirl--With meadowfoam seed oil, mimosa extract & wave boosting polymers. Combines two formulas to help control frizz and provide flexible hold for soft, flowing waves. Love this stuff!
Which of these would you try?

Extra Elle:
  • So I was hosting an Oscar party (very informal, trust) and was so bummed with the ENews RedCarpet coverage (as in, there was none). I missed a lot of the red carpet arrivals, so we played catchup on ABC. I'd ask your faves, but I'm sure you've answered that 100 times already on other blogs, right? I loved NPH as host. Lady Gaga was AMAZING, and then Julie Andrews came out and I lost. I always get emotional with the speeches or film subject matter. #stayweird #staydifferent 
  • I had planned on heading back home to see my newborn niece, but wasn't feeling too swift (#disneygerms) so I stayed here and organized my makeup, which took hours, partly because of my ADD! ;)
  • Since it's the last week of the month, I wanted to remind you of a giveaway that is ending:
  • I also did a Makeup Swap with blogger friend LaNae. IT WAS SO FUN!!! I'm wearing Julie G polish in it, btw. Watch me open up the makeup she got me (and act like it's Christmas) below:


  1. Ohh I'm going to have to try that AHA face cream!!! Thanks for the reviews!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  2. Looks like I'm making a trip to Walgreens very soon. I really wish we had CVSs here--that Nuance brand looks interesting. I completely agree with you on the Lady Gaga performance and Judi Andrews coming out.

  3. I love watching the oscars :) great drugstore roundup! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  4. This is such a great roundup - there are so many products that I've never even thought to try!

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

  5. Ooo! I want to try that eye serum from Nuance! The face cream from Studio35Beauty sounds great too!

  6. I love these types of posts! I'm definitely going to pick up that nail polish remover pump bottle, I've been looking for one!

  7. We just recently got a CVS so I can actually check these out!

  8. I am dying to try out that Nuance skincare line bc I'm hoping it would make me look as good as its creator Selma Hayek!! And that liquid liner pen by the brand Jessie's Girl (which I've never heard of!) looks fab and kind of like my favorite Physicians Formula pen!

  9. I have never seen those heel sleeves, but I will definitely be on the look out for them. Thanks for sharing these great finds.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

  10. This is so great! I'm actually in the middle of putting together a similar post but you really nailed this one!

  11. I like the Walgreens polish remover. I don't shop there a lot but I definitely buy that there!

    I thought red carpet coverage in general wasn't good.

  12. I've been really interested in the Nuance brand!! I really want to try the face cream!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  13. I don't go into CVS or rite aid, but I am walgreens best customer haha. definitely trying that aha cream and the face masks. I didn't watch the oscars or anything, but have loved looking at the dresses today!

  14. I never really shop at any of these stores, but it sounds like I need to check them out! I want to try that (so convenient) nail polish remover from Walgreens, and the eye serum from the Salma Hayek line sounds great!

  15. I need to bookmark this post for the next time I'm at the drug store. I'm a sucker for eye cream!!

  16. This is all so great! I am going to go shopping now for goodies....yay!!

  17. I need those heel sleeves. My heels get to be a mess with my running shoes... I need to start NOW getting them prepped for Spring.

  18. I used to watch Julie a lot and would really love to finally try those nail polishes of hers.

  19. I need to go to a local Rite Aid and see if they carry jessie's girl. I usually only got to CVS but I need to check it out!

  20. Thanks for sharing Elle!! I love Julie G polish and that Jesse's Girl liner!!

  21. oh! excuse me while I take a work break to go down the street to Rite Aid!

  22. I love the Studio 35 products. Their makeup wipes are bomb! I'm not going to lie, I'm an old maid at heart and have the Oscars recorded which will take me two days to get through. However I did watch Lady Gaga's performance this morning and I was speechless. I've always loved Gaga, but she just continues to surprise me. (:

  23. I really want to try some Nuance by Selma Hayek products. We don´t even have Rite Aid down here in Florida! ;-) xoxo, Sissi www.beauty4free2u.com

  24. I love the Walgreen's nail polish remover. And the pump is definitely awesome! I like the regular kind, though, because I do the whole soak the cotton and leave it on the nail for like a minute and then wipe. I've found it less messy and removes everything better.

  25. I miss American Drug stores. Looks like you got some amazing things in your swap.

    P.S. My blog has moved to http://www.amysfashionblog.com/blog-home

  26. Would you believe I haven't tried a single thing you mentioned?! I will have to check some of those out. Sorry to hear you weren't feeling too good! Not being 100% is really draining. Hope you have a great week!

  27. I'm a fan of Jesse's girl so I love rite aid for that. And Walgreens seems to get the new makeup in before my target and Walmart does!

  28. Love this! I have added tons of new products to try to my list haha! I need to try one of these masks you keep suggesting!!

  29. I feel out of the loop on so many of these...thanks for the nice round-up!

  30. oh wow.. thanks for all the tips and suggestions. i am especially intrigued by cvs's collection

  31. Love your budget friendly suggestions! Also loved the video! It was so much fun watching you being so excited about each item haha!

  32. I'm actually looking for a peachy-nude lipstick. Any suggestions?
    Loved this post :)

  33. I love all your budget friendly suggestions! I swear by Philosophy, but could definitely use some cheaper alternatives, especially for traveling.
    So true about the E (lack of) coverage - such a bummer. Sometimes I forget how talented Gaga is, but I was BLOWN away.
    Great post, as per usual, girlfriend!

  34. That Julie nail polish colour is really cute. You can get so much good drugstore stuff!

  35. I definitely need a makeup remover pump because I always end up spilling my nail polish remover. You may have already seen my red carpet picks but I loved J. Lo in her princess Elie Saab gown and Rosamund Pink in the red Givenchy? lace gown. Ahh to have access to those designers!

    little luxury list formerly Chic 'n Cheap Living

  36. Great picks, Elle! I love the heel sleeves! I just might have to try it!

    The Closet by Christie


  37. LOVE this! I'm that girl who hates spending so much on face creams! Great roundup!
    Thank you for visiting my blog sweets, would love to get your thoughts on my latest!

    Xx- Julie

    Haute Khuuture Blog

  38. The Winter has been horrible for my skin so the anti-aging mask and the heel sleeves would be a great buy. Checking my local store. Fingers crossed.

  39. Gah! I have never before tried a drugstore brand beauty product, but you have completely piqued my interest with your thoughts on Nuance - it sounds incredible!


  40. I totally agree that drugstores have really amazing masks! And of course, cotton buds and nail polish remover, I always trust a drugstore! It's amazing that you held an Oscar party! Not many people talked about Keira Knightley's dress, but I loved it. I hope you can see the new baby in the family soon! And also, a makeup swap seems amazing, I never thought of that before!

  41. I love studio masks. Will try the nail polish removers too. Nice picks dear.


  42. I'll have to check out that AHA Face Cream from Walgreens! Sounds like something I would use!

  43. haha I could watch you open things all day lol what an amazing swap!! She was so sweet with the wrapping and notes :)

    I love the Salma Hayek line at CVS. Pretty impressive for a drugstore brand.

  44. I love Julie G nail polishes! Why is it that I was not aware of the Walgreens house brand??? This will be rectified my next visit there!


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