When up against their luxury counterparts, it's easy for us beauty girls to give drugstore beauty brands a back seat. I'm as guilty as the next person for opting to pay (often a lot) more for the cult cleanser from Space NK, or the luxe lipstick in a chic black bullet. Whilst some premium products are well worth the splurge (see here for my roundup), and some drugstore products 100% deserve to be shunned, the aisles of Boots have their fair share of easily ignored beauty heroes. And to save you the time, see below for the creme de la creme...
Boots Boots' own brand products span the entire store, and are always a safe option to fall back upon in any penny-pinching situation. One of my own personal favourites is the Build-Up Removal Shampoo - every bit as good as it's more expensive counterparts, this is my fortnightly haircare saviour. Best kept secret : If (like me) you go through cotton pads at a rate which makes you fear for the future of cotton plants, then avoid the skincare department and head to the baby section instead. Here you'll find the exact same product, repackaged, 30p cheaper, and (almost) always on offer. Thank me later.
Revlon If I had to choose one drugstore makeup brand to use for the rest of my life it would be Revlon, without a doubt. Mid-priced, with simple no-fuss packaging, and chic wearable shades, their products are as close to their high-end counterparts as the drugstore is going to get. I'm especially fond of their lipsticks - the formulas deliver on every front, and picking a shade is always a tough decision. Best kept secret : Revlon's Matte Balms are a thin-lipped/busy gals best friend. Not only do they define and plump even the narrowest of lips, but they are easy to apply on-the-go, and last for hours.
L'Oreal When it comes to eye makeup, L'Oreal have the drugstore's A-game firmly within their grasp. Their False Lash Telescopic Mascara has something of a cult following within the beauty world, and is a fail-safe choice if long, fluttery, clump-free lashes are your life goal. I also adore the formula of of their felt-tip eyeliners - they're easy to apply and don't dry up half as fast as many more expensive alternatives I've used. Best kept secret : I swear by the Volume Million Lashes Mascara - it achieves the perfect balance of volume/length, and is a near perfect dupe for Chanel's Le Volume mascara.
Soap & Glory With their eye-catching packaging and wittily punned names, Soap & Glory have become a household favourite ever since they arrived on the aisles of Boots (helped by the fact they are VERY often 3 for 2). There are some real gems to be found amongst their makeup selection - with plenty of dupes of pricier high-end favourites, and their skincare range is a great and affordable place to start out. But for me S&G really shine when it comes to body care - their bath and shower products deliver on EVERY front - especially when it comes to scent (CC : The Breakfast Scrub). Best kept secret : £10 may seem like a lot to pay for a playfully packaged drugstore essential, but those bumper size pump bottles of shower gel last FOREVER, and are well worth stocking up on when S&G is on 3 for 2 (seriously, you won't need to buy shower gel for at least a year).
No7 Boots' take on premium beauty may not have the luxe appeal of the designer brands, but there are some gems to be found amongst the (badly named) lipsticks... Lisa Eldridge swears by the Precision Lip Pencil in Nude (as do I - it's the only one I use), and No7's take on duping the By Terry Blackstar Eyeshadow Pencils is one of the best I've experienced (and I'm an eyeshadow pencil kinda gal). If you're on the hunt for a good, basic 'does what it says on the jar' moisturiser then the Essential Moisture Day Cream is always my first recommendation, and I also award the full five stars to the Sumptuous Bath Soak, Cleansing Balm, and Eye Makeup Remover. Best kept secret : I ONLY buy from No7 when I have the '£5 off skincare/£3 off makeup' vouchers - they're out enough of the time to warrant buying anything No7 at full price a BIG mistake. Hang on a few weeks, spend £4 in Boots, and you'll be in luck. The cheapest products you can buy with the vouchers are nail polish (£3) and face wipes (£2).
French skincare Even the smallest branches of Boots stock a good range of Avene and La Roche-Posay's bestsellers, so there's no excuse for a poor skincare routine these days. Mid-priced, extremely effective, and suitable for even the most sensitive of skin types, in my opinion filling your bathroom cabinet with French skincare is a wise move indeed. I rattled on and on about my favourites here. Best kept secret : Plan your purchases around Boots' 3 for 2 offer. The offer moves between makeup, haircare, and skincare, and usually lasts about a month on each, so be savvy and stock up on your French favourites when they have their time to shine. My three picks? La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo +, Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum, La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel.
Some other items frequently on my drugstore beauty shopping list : Batiste Dry Shampoo, Burts' Bee's Cuticle Butter, Tangle Teezer, Essie Nail Polish, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, Garnier Micellar Water, Miss Sporty Clear Mascara, Collection Glitter Topcoat, L'Oreal Elvive Fibrology Shampoo and Conditioner, Aussie Leave-In Conditioner, Q-Awe Body Spray, Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray, Boots Coconut Oil, L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Mist.
Now's the time for you to spill YOUR drugstore secrets...