20 Best Drugstore Makeup and Skincare Picks of 2021
A great beauty product at an awesome price is our love language, so we asked a team of mom experts to pinpoint the 20 best drugstore finds. Straight from the aisles, here are the winners.
No7 Laboratories 15 Percent Glycolic Acid
This is the highest-strength peel you can buy at a drugstore. Not only can it help with dark spots, uneven tone, and texture, but it also has some off-label benefits: “This glycolic-acid formula is very effective in treating the bumpy skin on my upper arms, called keratosis pilaris,” says Papri Sarkar, M.D., a Boston dermatologist and mom of two.
MELÉ EVEN Dark Spot Control Serum
CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser
It can be hard to find a do-it-all cleanser that won’t strip your skin, but “thanks to the ceramides, glycerin, and amino acids, this one is gentle enough for daily use,” Dr. Sarkar says. “It’s a great pick for folks with normal to acne-prone skin.”
Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum
Maskne and chapped-skin sufferers will appreciate this formula’s soothing oat extract. It’s also hypoallergenic, lightweight, and nongreasy, and it can be used morning or night to moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Eco Pads
A swap for mamas looking to up their earth-friendly game: These machine-washable, reusable pads offer a replacement for makeup wipes and cotton rounds. “I love that they remove every speck of makeup and can be used with micellar water or your fave cleanser,” Dr. Sarkar says.
These microfiber pads can be washed and reused 1,000 times.
Bioré Brightening Clay Mask
If your skin looks dull, dry, or just overall blah, consider this brightening clay mask. Vitamin C (from yuzu lemons) brightens, papaya extract exfoliates, and glycerin hydrates to target dark spots and help balance skin.
L’Oréal Paris Le Liner Signature
Even beginner eyeliner users will fall in love with this formula. It dries quickly, lasts all day, and has a gel pencil on one end and a sponge tip on the other to blend out shaky lines, says New York City mom and makeup artist Keanda Rebelle. Choose from the everyday black or brown, or try a slash of navy or plum.
Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen
A steady stream of coffee powers your day, but the discolored teeth you could do without. Hydrogen peroxide in this brush-on gel coats teeth and works while you sleep. “After just a few days of use, I felt my teeth did look a bit whiter, and then on a recent Zoom call, I looked at myself smiling in the camera and did a double take at how bright they were,” says makeup artist and mom of two boys Toby Fleischman.
Physicians Formula Matte Monoi Butter Bronzer
This matte bronzer has a putty-like powder texture that gives an airbrushed effect. Sweep on with a fluffy brush in the shape of a 3—hitting temples, cheekbones, and jawline—to frame the face, Fleischman says.
NIVEA 2 in 1 Lip Balm & Scrub
“One swipe and I felt like my lips had had a spa treatment,” says Rebelle. Plant-based particles exfoliate then quickly dissolve into a nourishing balm to make lips supersoft.
CoverGirl Outlast Extreme Wear 3-in-1 Foundation Full Coverage Liquid Foundation
This humidity- and sweat-proof product is made to last up to 24 hours—through meetings and park hangs—or until you wash it off. For light coverage, apply with your fingers, or buff with a brush for a flawless complexion.
Sally Hansen Hydrate Peel-Off Nail Masks
Months on months of handwashing and sanitizing have likely left you with hangnails, rough cuticles, and dry fingers. Squeeze a bit of this cream onto each nail and around the cuticle, let set for 15 minutes (it’s thick enough that you can still daintily type or scroll), then peel off to reveal moisturized digits.
Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara
“After my full day running around with the kids, the formula didn’t smudge, rub, fade, or flake. I also love how thick it makes my lashes look,” Fleischman says.
Schick Skintimate Shave Cream
Whether you shave in the winter (or ever, really) is up to you. But know this hydrating shave cream can offer an assist. The formula starts as a liquid, then pumps into a rich cloud of foam in your hand. And the ingredients nourish skin while helping the razor glide along, staving off nicks and irritation.
Olay Fresh Outlast B3 Complex Body Wash in Rose Water & Sweet Nectar
“I’m always on the hunt for body washes that won’t dry out skin, and this one stays in my rotation because it has niacinamide, avocado oil, and petrolatum to leave skin clean without that overly tight feeling,” Dr. Sarkar explains. The scent is like a fresh bunch of flowers mixed with clean laundry.
Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel
If you were a fan of the OG Bio-Oil during your pregnancy, think of this as its supercharged cousin. The multi-oil blend, including mineral, lavender, and chamomile, is whipped into a thick gel perfect for cuticles, elbows, and feet.
Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Ultra-Hold Gel
Pantene Nutrient Blends Miracle Moisture Boost With Rose Water Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Conditioner
This best-selling duo is superhydrating without weighing hair down. The shampoo gently cleanses and the conditioner glides through hair, leaving it smooth and frizz-free, says Rubenstein.
Nexxus Curl Define Ultra-8 Pre-Wash Treatment
If the detangling process for your curls or coils tends to be a headache, apply this cream to dry hair five to ten minutes before hopping in the shower. It seals in moisture, McField notes, making hair softer, shinier, and easier to manage during the rest of the washday process.
TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hairspray
A classic for a reason: It may look like any old hairspray, but this superfine mist gives weightless hold without the crunch (while using 50 percent less aerosol than typical formulas). “It’s truly invisible on hair. As someone whose clients are regularly photographed, I can tell you just how important this is,” says Rubenstein.