My Favorite Drugstore Beauty Buys

In my work, I get tons of pitches for new beauty products, and have a great time trying out many of them.

My husband is very patient as a revolving assortment of new shampoos, moisturizers, body washes and other products take up space in our tiny Upper East Side bathroom.

It's always fun to make a new discovery that becomes part of my regular routine.  While a lot of the products I review are kind of pricy, the ones I tend to like the most are also the most affordable - and I can buy them at Duane Reade, Walgreens or CVS.

My approach to buying fashion and beauty products - and most other things, for that matter - is to live well below your means, whatever you're buying.  For basic, day-to-day beauty needs, I don't see the point in spending a lot when I can get the same or better results with affordable drugstore brands. 

No matter how many new things I try, there are a few basics I keep coming back to again and again.  Here are three that I use everyday - and they easily fit into my Ziploc bag for zipping through airport security:

Boots No7 Photo Fix Primer.  Also known as Airbrush Away if you're on the other side of the pond.  I discovered this when I started doing TV segments for Boots a few years ago, and don't think I have gone a day without it since!  For days I am not on TV, I sometimes use this without wearing any foundation.  It's also only about half the cost of my previous department store primer - so that's a double win in my book. (Photo courtesy of Boots).

L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray.   This is definitely on the pricier side of drugstore hair sprays, but to me, a fabulous hairspray is well worth the splurge (are my Southern roots showing?).  You often see hair stylists and fashion people using it, and for good reason.  The hold is super-strong - but I can't feel it on my hair and I can easily brush through it to restyle.  And happily, drugstores, Walmart and Target also stock the small size - which, in my opinion, is well worth the real estate it occupies in that little travel Ziploc bag. (Photo courtesy of L'Oreal).

Cetaphil Gentle Facial Cleanser.  Even when I try other cleansers, I keep coming back to this classic.  The travel-sized bottles are also handy, but since they tend to be expensive relative to the size, I just keep refilling my tiny empties with cleanser from the reasonably-priced larger bottles. (Photo courtesy of Cetaphil).

What are your favorite beauty products?   What pricier items are worth the splurge?