Help! I’m A US Drugstore Addict!


Brit editor abroad Terri White on her budget drug store obsession.

My intentions are always good, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t always end the same way.

Hello, my name is Terri and I’m a drugstore addict. An addiction impossible to feed when I lived in London and my local Superdrug just stocked 42 different kinds of lipgloss that fused my gob shut. Then came the job offer from New York and one of my first thoughts after ‘Massive breakfasts!’ was: ‘Duane Reade/CVS/Rite Aid!/Aaggghhhweeee!’.

I didn’t dilly-dally. Within a week of landing at JFK I had moved into an apartment two doors down from a CVS. Since that day it’s been a struggle to walk past the inviting white lights (and they’re everywhere!) without dashing in, palms sweating, trying not to be sick at the sheer volume of products lining the shelves. Racks of Neutrogena make-up jostle for space alongside shiny Nexxus haircare bottles, Effervescents bath bombs, box upon box of Broadway false nails, clip in human hair and curling irons the size of your arm…I think I need a sit down.

Unsurprisingly, I rarely resist. The upside to this reckless behaviour? I know where they keep the good shit. Here’s my if–I-could-only-buy-five-things-what-would-they-be list.

  1. I’ll begin with the most unglamorous and yet life-changing product: Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant ($3.49). Hold the judgement – it’s not that I’m dead sweaty, I just have a challenging job and deep love of thick 1960s polyester frocks. This is the only stick that gets me from morning through night without needing to do the paranoid sneaky armpit sniff. It makes me feel like Robocop.
  2. I’ve long been hunting for the ultimate liquid eyeliner, which I could then panic-buy in large quantities. The criteria? It has to be thick (but not lumpy), the applicator tapered (but not so thin I can’t get a defined line), as black as night and most importantly, it should NOT rub onto the loose skin of the upper eyelid, making me look like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction right before she got shot. This year, I found the one: Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Eyeliner in Blackest Black 501 ($5.99). I. Am. Done. For.
  3. New York is a wonderful city. But it’s also a city veering between extreme temperatures and weather conditions like a dystopian disaster movie. Hello dry, irritated, tight, tired skin! Several costly moisturisers rejected, I was tipped off about the decidedly not-fancy Eucerin Original Moisturizing Creme ($7.80). Hello, lover. It soothes, softens and brings my skin back to life.
  4. As someone with brilliantly British colouring – deathly pale around the edges, red on the cheeks and nose – the right foundation is non-negotiable, and a bugger to find. Spying the tiny bottle of L’Oreal True Match ($11.49, 30ml), I thought someone was taking the piss. Eleven dollars! For that! And guess what? It’s bloody brilliant. The soft ivory is a perfect match (god, I’m an advertiser’s wet dream), the consistency is bang on and it may be little, but it doesn’t half go a long way.
  5. When I first got word, it sounded like an urban myth. Whitening strips that actually whitened your teeth? Like Beverly Hills 90210-ed your teeth? No. Wait, yes? Yes! Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects ($54.99) are a godsend for us Brits and our tardy mouth habits. Use once and you’ll be committed forever.

PS: My latest CVS binge? Three bags, 18 products, $134. SEND HELP.

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