jessica wu home


How to Shop for Products at the Drugstore 
I’ve had a lifelong love affair with my local drugstore. While I enjoy testing fancy new products at Sephora and department stores (all in the name of research!), the fact is that I can make it to the mall only every month or two, while the local Walgreens is on the way home from my office. Plus it often brings back fond memories of picking up my first lip gloss in junior high (Bonne Bell Lip Smackers). These days, I often recommend drugstore products to my patients because they’re affordable, widely available, and the quality has improved tremendously since I cruised the aisles for pimple cream years ago. It’s practically a full time job to keep track of all the new products, so I make it a point to stop by at least once a week. Every so often, while I’m checking out the latest acne wash or mascara, I notice a woman standing next to me, gazing up and down at the shelves and looking completely perplexed. If this is how you feel when you walk down the skin-care aisle, here’s how to get the most out of your next trip to the drugstore:

Read labels. Did you know that many drugstore skin-care and makeup brands are made by the same companies that make department store products? The big difference is packaging. So if what’s important to you is what goes on your skin, then learn to read labels and pay attention to ingredients. These days, you can find many of the same ingredients in both budget and luxury brands. For example, drugstore acne products with salicylic acid are as effective as more expensive acne lines. Same goes for drugstore sunscreens. These days there are wonderful, affordable sunscreens with the same ingredients as department store brands. When reading labels, keep in mind that the active ingredient should be close to the beginning of the list. This means it’s in greater concentration.

Ask for a tester. While there may not be a pretty display case with testers, you should still try to test a new product, especially if you have sensitive skin or a sensitive nose. If you don’t see a tester, ask a manager; many times they can find a tester or open one for you.

Mix and match. Just as you can pair a cute Forever 21 top with designer jeans, you can mix and match skin care and makeup. While many department store salespeople are great about helping you select the one or two products you really need, sometimes you may feel pressured into buying a whole new line (and that can get expensive!). No matter what anyone tells you, it’s absolutely OK to mix drugstore products with pricier brands. For example, cleansers are one area where you can economize, while eye creams and foundation may be easier to buy at a department store, which has testers to try.

Happy shopping!
  • r1
  • r2
  • r3
  • r4
  • r5
your reaction

Comments (3)

Judy Frankel Monday, 18 June 2012 13:26

I always rely on Beautypedia for makeup analysts.

lynne Monday, 13 February 2012 00:09

Are you familiar with Paula Begoun or
Beautipedia--a constant ongoing updated review of cosmetics at every price level.

asdasd Friday, 03 December 2010 14:54


Add a comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Please place your email address in the box below.

subscribe to my newsletter


People are
Talking About