Considering 2019 kicked off with a photo of Beyoncé strolling through Target, I’m calling it early: This year, the drugstore gets its due. More specifically, the drugstore beauty aisle gets its due.
As a beauty editor, hundreds of products come across my desk every week—ranging from $2 hair serums to $200 eye creams. And I’ve got to admit: The ones I’ve been most excited about recently are a whole lot closer to $2 than $200, and I have yet to find one that hasn’t lived up to the hype.
Least of which to say, drugstores have stepped up their game in a major way, making super effective actives and new textures and formulas more accessible than ever. Last summer, I replaced my entire luxury skin-care routine with one taken straight from the shelves of CVS, and many of the products I was introduced to have, since, become permanent staples in my routine. They’ve also been joined by a whole bunch of exciting new 2019 launches—all of which I’ve had the immense pleasure of testing out, and can say with full confidence that I am taken with. Scroll through for some of the best new drugstore beauty of 2019—all under $20.
Glow Recipe’s new line, Sweet Chef, feels nothing short of luxury at a drugstore price point. There are hydrating and smoothing serums in the inaugural launch, but my personal favorite is the brightening ginger and vitamin C shot, which helps even skin tone and add a little radiance to my regimen.
Holy moly, this is a moisturizer. It’s packed with ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, a peptide complex, and squalene, making it the perfect stuff to slather on your face during the dry winter months. It goes on so smoothly that every time I apply (which, full disclosure, is about 5 times a day) it feels like I’m giving myself a mini-facial.
There are few things better in the beauty world than a double-duty product, except a double-duty drugstore product. Aveeno’s serum-plus-primer is the perfect pre-makeup layer, and will give your skin a dewy glow that will last all day. I love to layer it on underneath my foundation, or mix in a few drops to help things go on more smoothly.
Prep your skin for foundation with a little extra glimmer, care of Revlon’s PhotoReady Primer. It’s made with oil droplets, luminous quartz, and a skin-conditioning extract that will make your face look like it’s got an IRL Instagram filter.
If wearing makeup to the gym is your thing, Covergirl has got you (quite literally) covered. Their new active line is meant to be sweat and humidity proof, and the foundation has SPF 20 to keep skin protected during outdoor runs.
Pacifica is dipping its toes into the ingestible beauty game with its new line of powders, including a Beauty Powder that’s made with Reishi mushroom, lavender melatonin and L-theanine to give you a deep, dreamy sleep.
Foam, but for your hair. This revolutionary formulation looks like mousse (or, okay, shaving cream), but functions as a daily conditioner for strands that easily get weighted down by thicker conditioners. Apply to clean strands and rinse out, and let the “weightless moisture” technology do its work.
Give your scalp that squeaky-clean feeling with Sun Bum’s new detox shampoo, made with apple cider vinegar, blue agave, and cacao, which work together to cleanse any impurities that might be hanging around your roots. It also smells like a banana dacquiri, which is hard not to fall head-over-heels in love with at first sniff.
Formulated with ultra-hydrating ingredients, Kristin Ess’s sugar scrub will get rid of any grossness on your scalp while also nourishing your ends. Plus, it smells amazing, and will leave your scalp smelling the same.
Sailor by Captain Blankenship X Marks the Spot Serum, $15
Made with white willow and juniper, this all-natural acne spot treatment works to dry out blemishes and smooth skin at the same time. Dab it on your zits before bed for a gentle way to clear ’em up before morning. Available at Target 1/21.
We’ve all been living under the assumption that conditioner needs to be rinsed out, but The Good Stuff’s new line is flipping that idea on its head, with this leave-in wonder. To use, wash your hair as usual, then comb through the conditioner after you get out of the shower—the idea is that it will save time and water. And the best part? It’s so potent, you won’t need any other styling products to make your hair look healthy and shiny when you style.
These babies are like little booster shots for your hair, and can rehab drab, dry strands in the amount of time it takes you to sing the ABCs. Slick one of the “shots” through strands, leave it on for a minute, and rinse it out to help rehab damage and prevent future dehydration before it even starts.
Seaweed Bath Co. Sleep Mask, $13
Hands down my favorite part about this mask is that it looks like straight up slime—it’s essentially an ASMR video waiting to happen. Aside from that, though, it’s made with three types of seaweed plus Vitamin B3, helping to seal in all of the other hero products while you sleep. And don’t worry, even though it looks electrically green in the tub, it goes on clear, so you won’t scare anyone you happen to be sharing a bed with. Available 1/21.
Love, Beauty and Planet Bath Bombs, $6
The brand behind some of your favorite shower and haircare products is branching into bath time with the launch of their new bath bombs. I spent the weekend soaking in their lavender and argan oil bombs, and it chilled me out to the next level. Three different scents will be coming out—there’s also murumuru butter and rose and coconut and mimosa flower—each of which offer different perks. Available by 1/31.
Seriously—drugstore beauty really is the best. See what happened when I swapped my entire pricey skincare routine for an overwhelmingly affordable one, and why I’ll never use a non-drugstore mascara again.
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