We didn't see the slightest slip in performance with these generic and private-label products.
Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover, $5; at Target
Just the Basics Shave Cream, $2; cvs.com
Rite Aid Advanced Recovery Skin Care Lotion, $2; at Rite Aid stores
365 Everyday Value Gentle Skin Cleanser for Face & Body, $6; at Whole Foods Market stores
Ulta 10 Shade Eyeshadow Palette, $14, and Lipstick, $8; ulta.com
It pays to pony up a little for certain products to get the best results. Follow our guide to use your beauty dollars wisely.
Boar-bristle brushes cost more, but the reward is that they increase shine by distributing your hair's natural oils. We're fans of the Angelo David Medium Paddle Brush, $55; angelodavid.com.
But it's only worth it if you buy one that contains an ingredient proven to make skin act and look younger, such as retinol. A smart pick: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer, $21; neutrogena.com.
"You can find excellent styling products from the major drugstore brands," says Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia.com. We like G?t2B Kinkier Gloss 'N Define Curling Spray Gel, $6; walmart.com.
You usually get the most flawless look from ingredients in high-end brands, says makeup artist Brett Freedman. Try Lorac Natural Performance Foundation, $36; sephora.com.
The latest drugstore options feel ultra-rich: Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter, $7, revlon.com.
Amazing formulas exist at lower price points. Try L'Or?al Paris Voluminous Mascara, $7; amazon.com.
Going to a department store ensures you'll be able to test out a bunch for coverage and wearability. A top seller: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, $28; lauramercier.com.
You rinse it right off anyway! Begoun recommends Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash, $6; drugstore.com.
You can get by without these things, says Meghan O'Brien, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City.
Facial scrubs - Chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid, can be found in daily moisturizers.
Eye cream - No research shows that your eye area needs something different than the rest of your face.
Leave-in conditioner - Applying a dab of your regular one without rinsing it out does the same job.
Originally published in the January 2011 issue of Parents magazine.
Unless otherwise noted, all products are available at mass-market retailers. This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings, and availabilities are subject to change.