I love big gifts, but makeup stocking stuffers have a special place in my heart. If you’ve read my Holiday Gift Guide for Beauty and Makeup Enthusiasts, you know that there’s something for everyone on your list, from a great book for makeup beginners to a little something for trendsetters. But, if you’re looking for something a little bit smaller to stuff into a stocking, the drugstore makeup aisles are the perfect place to go!
The problem is, there are soooo many options available at the drugstore that it can be really confusing and overwhelming. That’s why I decided to create this list, to help you on your gift-buying journey. In this list, you will find my current drugstore makeup faves… I hope it helps!
I used both of these foundations in the early days of my business because of their high-performance and low price point. If you can’t find an exact color match (and you can afford it), pick up a few shades so the recipient can custom blend their own foundation! I like applying these foundations with a brush, and my favorite is Senna’s Foundation Brush.
Almay Tinted Moisturizer is perfect for the person on your list who doesn’t want or necessarily need full coverage. I like this option because the camouflage color technology in these bad boys is out of this world and actually does “blend” beautifully into your natural skin tone. You can always wear an additional layer if you want a little more coverage.
By the way, some of the leading and top makeup artists in the world rave about Almay –– their tonality is pretty great.
This sponge has nearly the same performance as its famous “pink” older sister but at half the price. Remember to take care of your makeup sponges and they’ll take care of you!
This brush has made it into nearly every gift and product guide I’ve ever produced. I love this brush so much – its shape makes it great for setting powder in small areas but you can also buff the foundation in with this brush, contour/shape, blush, and highlight with it, too. I have five on hand at any given time.
Oh and, by the way, these are some of the makeup tools I recommend in my complete Essential Makeup Tools Guide.
These little lip balm balls are just as cute and fun as they are practical. They give your lips this really light shine effect, but it’s not glossy. EOS Lip Balms are perfect for those who like a soft and organic lip balm.
I am pretty sure I have every color of the NYX lip liners in my pro kit. They are staples and you don’t have to feel bad using them every day because the price point isn’t painful like some of the high-end brands. Plus, they are wood so they sharpen easily!
You know I’m not a huge fan of liquid lipstick because the formulas are extremely drying and can be, with use over long periods of time, damaging to the lips. This particular formula is one that I’m happy to recommend mostly because Maybelline turned to pro makeup artists to help formulate and create this particular product line and a color story –– so you know you are getting a well-thought-out and executed lipstick at a fraction of the cost of a department store or prestige brands.
These baked blushes rival some of the top-dollar baked blushes I’ve used over the years and the color pays off is amazing. The finish is also so gorgeous and flattering. A definite must! And their lip glosses offer a perfect, dynamic top coat that isn’t too sticky or too glittery — flattering all the way. I’m glad the big influencers haven’t ruined this cult-favorite for makeup artists brand…yet.
I did an entire drugstore bronzer haul years ago (read here) and years later, when I think about drugstore bronzers, I still haven’t forgotten about this one! Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer adds some warmth and sun-kiss to your skin without harmful rays and it smells like a tropical vacation!
Want to shade and bronze your gorgeous melanin skin tone? This is your girl. Cover Girl Queen – Ebony Bronze is a really good bronzer for deep skin tones. Affordable, simple yet effectively packaged, pigmented and it blends nicely.
I’m always saying that you are mostly paying for brand recognition and packaging when you buy mascara. The actual quality is hardly ever reflected in the price –– and this mascara is proof of that. I carry many drugstore mascaras in my pro kit and this is one of my faves!
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I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!