What to Consider When Buying Drugstore Eyeliners

On a budget? We can help. Learn how to pick the best drugstore eyeliner

Our tips for shopping for eyeliners in your local drugstore

A good eye makeup look can change your whole appearance. However, purchasing quality makeup products can be tough on your budget. Fortunately, many quality eyeliners can be purchased from your local drugstore at a fraction of the cost of the high-end eyeliner brands. Another fun fact: Many makeup professionals like to purchase their eyeliners from places like the drugstore as well. Since it tends to be a big makeup bag staple that comes in a variety of types and colors, buying it at a reasonable price appeals to everyone--professional and novice.

What Main Factors Should I Consider When Shopping for Eyeliner at the Drugstore?

Like any high-end makeup boutique, your local drugstore will also have a wide variety of eyeliner types from which to choose. Whether you prefer pencils, gels, liquids, cakes, or stamps, your drugstore’s cosmetics section will likely have an option to suit your preferences.

The biggest factor to consider is the type of style you want to achieve. If you are interested in a sharp cat eye, a liquid or gel liner will help you make it happen. If you prefer a relaxed, blended look, a cake or pencil will be best for you. If you want to total ease of simply pressing a line up to your lash line, a stamp will work wonders.

Another factor to consider is still the products’ pricing—even at the drugstore. While the prices may be overall much lower than they would be at your local beauty supply shop, there are still a range of options to explore when determining which product will produce the look you want while staying within your budget. Fortunately, many of the cheaper drugstore eyeliner products will perform on par with their more expensive counterparts, leaving you with a great look and some extra cash in your wallet.

How Do I Know Which Eyeliner Will Work Best for Me?

The prices can’t be beat, but there is a downside to buying makeup from the drugstore. Unlike boutiques or beauty supply stores, there aren’t very many product samples available for drugstore makeup brands. There may be a few scattered around the shelves, but it isn’t nearly as extensive as the samples you’d find for almost every product in a high end shop.

So, if you can’t freely swatch color samples or test the consistency of a drugstore product, how do you know which eyeliner will work best for you? This can involve a little prepping and detective work before going to the store.

First, go ahead and add an eye makeup primer to your shopping list. Fortunately, because this product isn’t visible by the time you finish styling your eye makeup, the appearance of the primer on your skin doesn’t matter. In fact, eye makeup primers often look “off” on the eyelid skin, but this mismatched color will soon be coated in eyeliner, pigments, and shadows.

A primer serves as a workspace for your eye makeup to rest upon. It provides a stable foundation to create a lasting eye makeup look that will require very little (if any) retouching throughout the day. This is a great first step to consider before buying any new eye makeup—no matter what type you buy, the primer will prepare it for a successful, lasting application on your skin.

Now, the researching comes in—like you would for any other product you buy, you will need to do some research before you go to the drugstore. Understanding how each eyeliner type is used can help you determine which one will not only fit inside your budget, but also accomplish the look you want to create.

While it may seem annoying that drugstore makeup doesn’t provide a ton of free samples to try before buying, it is truly a blessing in disguise that the makeup typically comes sealed and prepackaged. A lack of samples sometimes leads customers to open the products and try them without using any sanitary measures, such as a cotton swab, to remove a sample of the product from the packaging. Yes, choosing a new eyeliner without being able to fully test it first can be challenging, but it is possible to buy a great product at a great price while also maintaining the product’s sanitation.

Resources — Byrdie, The Good Glow, Style Caster 

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