Friends, we’ve noticed a creeping. You walk down the drugstore beauty aisles, and there’s enough quality products to fill your top shelf and vanity. A+ lipsticks, eyeliners that last through oil thick and thin, and moisturizers that leave you with baby-butt skin—but even as drugstore beauty is picking up its game, so are the prices, and the lines are beginning to blur between drugstore and “I might as well have gone to Sephora.” So when a new brand swept across our desks in a flurry of $3 price tags, we sat up straight and hoarded like there was no tomorrow.
The line is called Brandless (it’s meta), and the packaging is pretty similar to that Suave social experiment from a few months ago. Think straightforward, minimalist, chic but no frills, and the same adjectives apply to the stuff inside the bottles. The brand (trust, writing that felt wrong) describes itself as the next big household line for millennials, with over 200 offerings—all at $3. It got there by eliminating what it calls Brandtax, the “hidden costs you pay for a national brand.” It’s basically Costco without the membership. In other words, heaven.
The offerings stretch from food, to housewares, to beauty product essentials. And we’re talking truly, fundamental-level basics: an unscented body lotion, a face moisturizer, a citrus bergamot hand cream, and a lip balm. We were admittedly semi-skeptical that they’d get the job done as well as, say, our favorite Tatcha moisturizer—but you know what? We’re sold.
If you’re going basic, they’re all the kind of products you feel ripped off coughing up even $12 for at the drugstore, and after giving a thorough test of the Brandless beauty products (all four coincidentally clocking in at $12), we only wish there was more to choose from.
The body moisturizer is packed with safflower oil, aloe and essential fatty acids, and left our upper arms moisturized for hours without any sticky feeling. Holy grail. The hand cream instantly left our skin silky but not too wet—the hand cream worst—and the face moisturizer kept our skin bouncy and hydrated through a six-hour flight. That’s the highest praise; there’s not much more to say. The line’s currently e-commerce only via its website, but each order also means a meal donated to Feeding America, so it’s fine.
All in all, they’re gentle basics that’ll do you well, redefine cheap, and keep the quality where it should be. And given that the line doesn’t test on animals and steers clear of stuff like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances, it’s wholeheartedly a millennial brand: smart, inclusive, and mindful of your avo toast budget. Entirely what the beauty world needs.
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