There’s something so promising about a deluxe, well-lit 24-hour drugstore. The possibilities seem endless, the product selection immense. You may end up spending 60 bucks every visit, but look at all the neat stuff you got! Granted, not every impulse buy is satisfying, but the good ones keep us coming back. These are the products whose discovery, dependability and price point we revel in.
The number of times I’ve darted into a Duane Reade pre-meeting for a pair of black tights because I either snagged mine or forgot to shave is…well, it’s three. But those were three crucial moments, and Duane Reade had my back. Stick to the opaque ones, they’re the darling of the hosiery aisle.
Pilot Rolling Ball Pens
Imagine never having to touch the communal credit card pen at a bodega again. This level of preparedness feels so grownup.
Neutrogena Natural Radiance Bronzer
I’ve used this product everyday, year-round for the past five years. In the winter it prevents me from looking sickly, and in the summer it’s a great accent to my olive skin-tone. Yes, I play with Guerlain Terracotta every time I pass Sephora, but this is my mainstay.
Scunci Hair Ties
Gone are the days of finding your hair tangled on the metal clip that connects two ends of a red, stretched out, gold-flecked hair tie you found in the back of a drawer somewhere. These hair ties are gentler, more resilient, and all-black for easy coordination, should pig tails come back in style.
Bulk Athletic Socks
High-quality socks can be great for a long run, but then I lose one, and none of my socks match, and they’re surprisingly expensive to replace, and I end up wearing the same dirty ones because I don’t have a washing machine. Enter: bulk low ankle socks. Buy a bag of ten. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
Want a polished top bun? Spin pins. Want perfect loose waves? Spin pins. Want to put your hair up without crimping it? Spin pins. After a bit of product and while my hair’s still wet, I use two sets of spin pins to make buns at the nape of my neck, pulled tight from the front so it dries straighter there. I spritz the buns with a little texture or surf spray, maybe follow up with some Elnet, and let the magic happen. I often re-do the buns while my hair’s drying, so they waves aren’t too set. The result is everything I’ve always wanted for my hair.
Seche-vite Quick-Dry Top Coat
I heartily believe that any quality of nail polish can look good, provided you use a quick-dry topcoat. This one’s my go-to, and without it I’m incapable of a smudge-free at-home manicure.
Andes Creme de Menthe
For a candy that seems so nostalgic, it’s both surprising and delightful how many drugstores stock them. Buy a pack, throw ‘em in your freezer, forget about them, and be overjoyed when you discover the shiny green box months later while searching frantically for any semblance of a treat.
Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover
When these first came out they had a felt tip, which absorbed whatever stain you were treating, dragged it around, and ruined anything else you tried to treat. At some point Tide got clever and replaced the tip with a less-porous plastic, turning the product from massively destructive to somewhat magical. We’ve had good results using this on sturdier, washable fabrics. It’s definitely not a substitute for the dry cleaners, though.
The mid-way point between wire hangers from the dry-cleaners, and wooden ones that cost more than my clothes. They’re not thaaat expensive, they’re thin so you’re not giving up closet real estate, and the velvet provides some traction for those pieces that always slip to the closet floor.
Shaving’s not my top pick for the bikini line, but in a pinch this will make the whole thing go much smoother. (Pun intended.) I particularly like this product for underarms, though, as I tend to get bumps there post-shaving, as well.
Now it’s your turn to tell us your unsung drugstore heroes, so that they, for once in their lives, can feel very sung. Take it away, Enrique!
— Kate Barnett
Illustrations by Charlotte Fassler & Krista Lewis