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This Best of the Best Drugstore Makeup Never Fails Me!

By Elise Marquam-Jahns July 13, 2023 Beauty

Recently, I was able to teach an in-person makeup class for women over 50 for the first time in two years. And it was so wonderful – and such a treat – to be able to interact with other women in person again.

One of the things I like to do in these classes is come in wearing makeup and then remove my makeup to show how makeup can really transform us. Since I naturally wanted to look my best to start off the class, when I went to my makeup drawer I chose the makeup that I can always rely on that helps me look and feel my best.

So, today I want to share with you the drugstore products that I grabbed that day from my makeup drawer that I can always count on, and I’ll demonstrate the application of these products in the accompanying video.

Eyebrow Products

There are three drugstore eyebrow products I love. Sometimes I use just one of them and sometimes I combine a couple to achieve a more polished look.

The Elf Instant Lift Brown Pencil comes in five shades and is an amazing bargain at $3.00. What I especially love about it is that it has a spoolie on the other end and the brow pencil itself glides on very easily.

Because I have very scraggly brows, I have to add in another product when I want a more polished brow look. My “add in” product of choice is Maybelline’s Tattoo Studio Eyebrow pomade which I apply along the top of my brow line to even it out. It comes in 8 colors so it’s fairly easy to find a shade to match your brows.

The third really helpful product is a brow pen which can be used to create individual brow hairs to help our brows look more natural. One of the very best eyebrow pens I’ve found is from the drugstore brand NYX. It’s their Lift and Snatch Brow Tint Pen which is available in 10 shades.

Because of the number of shade options, it’s easier to find a match for your brow color with this brand’s pen than with a number of pens from other brands. This pen creates a very precise, thin stroke which is just what we need when trying to create the look of individual brow hairs.

Outstanding Eyeshadows

My favorite drugstore eyeshadow brand is Colourpop. First of all, this brand is incredibly prolific in the number of their product launches so you can find just about any color combination in eyeshadow palettes on their site – from neutrals to lavenders, purples, blues, oranges.

These are some of my favorites: “It’s My Pleasure,” “Lilac You A Lot,” “Going Coconuts,” and “Orchid You Not.” But I especially love their 12 pan palettes. Unfortunately, quick product launches also means quick discontinuation. That’s what happened to three of my favorites: “Cabana Club,” “Lush Life” and “At Forest Sight.”  

In today’s video I’m using an eyeshadow palette that will probably surprise you because we’d usually think of the color combination as more suitable for spring and summer. It’s their “In the Springs” palette which is a reference to Palm Springs, California.

I love the complementary color combination of blue and orange and several of these colors can work beautifully as transition colors. For eyeliner, I’m going to use the deepest shade of blue in this eyeshadow palette called “Hole in One.”

You Can’t Go Wrong with These Foundations

I have three favorite drugstore foundations and I usually combine two of them – Catrice’s True Skin Hydrating Foundation and L’Oréal’s Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation. The L’Oréal foundation gives a bit more glow to my foundation look. My other favorite drugstore foundation is Wet and Wild’s Photo Focus Foundation which comes in both a matte formulation and a dewy formulation.

Two Good Cream Contours

These cream contours I rate about equally. One is Elf’s Cream Contour palette and the other is Wet and Wild’s Makeup Stick. Of course, you are getting more color options – and therefore more product – with the Elf cream contour palette. In today’s video I’m using the Wet and Wild stick called “Where’s Walnut” that has a cool undertone.

There are two other Wet and Wild colors that work best if you have a warmer undertone. They are “Oaks on You” and “Call Me Maple.” The latter is the darker of these two colors.

Rather than applying the contour directly to my face from the applicator, I recommend swiping some on the back of the hand, diffusing it with a brush and then applying it. This method of application ensures that you don’t apply too much.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

This Drugstore Priced Blush Can Compete with Any High-End Blush

My blush is one of my all-time favorite drugstore products because of its formula and consistency. It’s a gel from Flower Beauty that just melts into the skin. It’s their Blush Bomb Color Drops which come in 8 colors.

The color “Nectar” is great for those of us with a warm or neutral skin undertone and “Nectar” and the shade “Melon” are wonderful for those of us with a warm undertone. “Spiced” which is a warm pink brown – or “Pinched” – which is a Nude Pink may work for those of us with a neutral skin undertone.

neutral skin undertone.

And if you’re not sure whether you have a cool, warm or neutral skin undertone, check out my video where you can walk through nine questions that will help you determine the undertone of your skin:

This Drugstore Highlighter Outshines Them All

My highlighter of choice is from Wet and Wild. They make a cream highlighter stick in several colors which creates a softer highlight look, but I especially love their liquid highlighter. And my favorite color is the lightest shade which is called “Halo/Goodbye.”

lightest shade which is called “Halo/Goodbye.”

The liquid highlighter also comes in four other colors: “Halographic” which is an icy light champagne that is good for cool undertones; “Halo Gorgeous” which is a pinky peach which can work well for neutral and warm skin undertones; “Guilded Glow” which is a honey color great for warm undertones and “Go with the Glow” which is a light copper shade which is also great for deeper colored skin with warm undertones.

In the video I’ll use a brush to pick it up off the back of my arm and apply it.

These Lip Products Can’t Be Beat

If I didn’t have an issue with lipstick migrating into the fine lines around my mouth, I would use Revlon’s Color Stay lip liners which are wonderfully creamy and glide on very easily. But since I do have an issue with those fine lines, I’m using L’Oréal’s Age Perfect Lip Liners which can really prevent the lipstick from creeping where it doesn’t belong.

These L’Oréal lip liners come in eight colors which primarily work for cool tone lipsticks. But “Nude Pink” could be an option for those of us who use a neutral or warm undertone lipstick. Over the lip liner I’ll apply a L’Oréal matte lipstick in a color which has, unfortunately, been discontinued, and then I’ll apply a Milani Color Statement Lipstick in “Violet Volt,” which I really love. The gloss I’ll be using is from Sephora’s brand and is called “Wild.”

Sephora’s brand and is called “Wild.”

One of the Best Drugstore Mascaras

Due to my sensitive eyes, I’m unable to use a drugstore mascara, but if I could, I’d choose L’Oréal’s Lash Paradise Mascara. For eyeshadow under my eyes, I mixed the lighter and darker matte blue shades from the eyeshadow palette as eyeliner on the bottom, outer one third of my eyes.

my eyes.

If I had to choose just one drugstore brand for all of my makeup needs, I’d definitely go with Wet and Wild. As you saw in the video and can tell from this article, they have an amazing variety of good quality products.



Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you primarily use drugstore makeup? What are some of your favorite drugstore products? Do you have a favorite drugstore brand or do you use a variety of products from different brands?

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I vote for the wet n’ wild side. it just seems more natural looking, yet covered well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Teri
Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Teri–Thanks for letting me know your thoughts on this. After looking back at the footage while editing the video, I definitely would agree with you! That is one amazing drugstore foundation!


I absolutely adore when you share these drugstore makeup products. Really invaluable to me and I find make up to be a lot of fun. Continue to be well as you are. Amelia Ingram and Dana Point California

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Amelia–Many thanks! I think you’d definitely have fun with many of these products. Finding drugstore products that rival high end is so satisfying–and so helpful to the pocketbook! Best wishes.


I too Shall order these recommendations. Thanks VERY much for telling us about budget products

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Celeste–You’re very welcome. I hope you’ll love these products as much as I do.

Joyce Troyer

Going shopping!!!

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Joyce–I hope you have fun shopping for some of these great drugstore products!

Laurie Hoffman

Thank you for all the suggestions. What do you recommend for 65 yr old sensitive skin, as in cleanser, serum and moisturizer?


I have been using raw, unfiltered honey (the kind you can eat) as a facial cleanser for years now and am really happy with the results. I am 69 years old with fair, sensitive skin.

Elise Marquam Jahns

Hi, Stephanie–What a great suggestion! Thank you.

Hi, Laurie–Quite honestly, it’s always a bit challenging to make skincare recommendations since we can all react differently to different ingredients. However, since you have sensitive skin, you may want to consider trying products from a clean beauty brand. One that I’ve found to be particularly good is one that’s available at Target! The brand is called Versed. On their website they have a “Skin Decoder Quiz” which can help you find the products from their line that will work best for you. Two other excellent clean beauty brands are Tatcha and Tata Harper but they are more expensive. Two other brands which can work well for many of us are Cera Ve and The Ordinary. As far as serums go, I love the products from Timeless. And their products are also now available through Target. Their C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum is great for brightening the skin and two others that work very well for mature skin are Coenzyme Q-10 and Matrixyl Synthe 6. I hope this helps!

The Author

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and runs the “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel. Elise has authored the free guide The Top Four Research-Proven Makeup Techniques That Help Us Look Our Best Now.

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