the drugstore project

109 Famous People on Their 149 Favorite Drugstore Products

Including the cold remedy used by a poet, a designer, a Kardashian, and three others.

Photo: New York Magazine/Portraits from Getty Images/Products courtesy of the retailers
Photo: New York Magazine/Portraits from Getty Images/Products courtesy of the retailers

When we started reporting on the stuff that famous people can’t live without, we wanted to know about the hand sanitizer and deodorant that they add to their carts. And boy, did we learn about a thing or two — or thousands. For Drugstore Week, we combed through all the products that celebrities told us they can’t live without to surface the drugstore buys that populate their medicine cabinets and bathroom shelves. So whether you’re looking for the cold remedy that a poet (Cleo Wade), a fashion designer (Jenni Kayne), a Kardashian (Kourtney), and three other celebs swear by, or a mouthwash that one celebrated academic (Walter Isaacson) says will kick you into a new “quantum orbit,” or the sweet-and-sour candy that Golden State Warriors player Steph Curry treats himself to, read on for our entire list of 149 drugstore products that 109 famous people always stock up on. To make it easier to shop, we’ve organized products by the aisles you’d find them in, including the face-care aisle, the cosmetics aisle, the hair-care aisle, the body-care aisle, the oral-hygiene aisle, the cleaning aisle, the health and wellness aisle, the vitamins and supplements aisle, and the snack aisle.

From the face-care aisle

“As a pale person of Irish descent, I have to be aware of sun protection at all times,” says actor Matt Walsh, who told us he slathers on this moisturizer with SPF multiple times a day.

Performance artist and model Amanda Lepore claims to have the “most expensive body on earth.” This SPF 55 sunscreen is what she uses to keep her skin “like a baby’s, or a 14-year-old girl’s.”

“I do feel it sort of eliminates some lines that you don’t want,” cookbook author Corky Pollan says of this anti-aging cream that she uses before bed.

Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan, Architectural Digest’s Keith Pollock, and actor Noah Schnapp all count on this balm to keep their lips moisturized, and Pollock also uses it to calm his nerves. “Because the Burt’s is a yellow tube, it’s sort of disguised in your palm. It’s a good trick,” he told us. “If you’re ever speaking at a wedding or something, put something in your hand. So this is essentially a lip moisturizer and a fidget spinner in one.”

Actress Sutton Foster also loves Burt’s Bees, but told us that grapefruit is the flavor she uses on a daily basis.

Actress and television host Vivica A. Fox is another Burt’s Bees fan. She opts for the brand’s peony-toned lip shimmer: “Even in my everyday look, which is a warm-up suit and baseball cap, I’ll put this on and instantly feel done up.”

Strategist columnist Buzz Bissinger’s “illicit pleasure” is lip balm, and this $5 lip shimmer is what he recommends for some “non-sexy” nourishment.

At first, Rebel Wilson balked at her makeup artist’s ChapStick recommendation. But now the actress always keeps it in her handbag. “This keeps your lips moisturized, but with a bit of tint, so it looks like your lips but just extremely enhanced rather than like makeup,” Wilson told us. “And if I lose it, I can just go to CVS and get another one, which is my favorite part.”

Novelist Celeste Ng never travels without this Dr Pepper–flavored chapstick, which she says is always in her carry-on for “moisturizing and just a hint of color.”

Actresses Ellie Kemper, La La Anthony, and Skai Jackson, along with Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, all swear by Carmex. “It’s just better when you’re talking to people or kissing people,” says Brown.

In addition to hydrating her lips, actress Megan Good says this tinted Vaseline plays an essential part in her makeup routine. “When I put lipstick or gloss over it, it holds without it coming off,” she told us.

Both Sutton Foster and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne say Aquaphor’s lip-repair ointment is for more than just lips. Foster uses it on chapped hands, and Jayne says, “I use this daily on my lips and sometimes on cuticles, my hands, feet, and even on the elbows.”

“The thing everyone teases me about. It’s the only thing that works on my lips, honest to God. It has to be the Walgreens store brand of lip balm. On set, they call it my special sauce,” says actress Susan Kelechi Watts.

“I use it on my lips as a lip balm because it has a pinkish tint to it, but also in a pinch for ashy ankles or elbows. I’m addicted to it and feel okay with that,” says writer, television host, and activist Janet Mock of this salve.

Similarly, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen has been using the minted version of the very same salve for 15 years. “It’s perfect, not too thick or goopy, and definitely not medicated, which is good if you’ve ever lived through the dark times of a Carmex habit,” she adds.

Another fan of Smith’s Rosebud Salve is model Imaan Hammam, who has been using it in tube form daily since she was a teenager because “it’s easy to carry and apply.”

From the cosmetics aisle

“You know how sometimes mascara makes [your eyelashes] look like spider legs? It’s not cute. These don’t do that. They also make eyelashes ten times longer and darker,” says Skai Jackson of her go-to mascara.

Drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Aja told us she buys six or seven of these glittery primers at a time. “Sometimes you’re running late, and you need to put a little glitter on your face to distract everyone from how much time you didn’t take on your makeup because you were rushing, because you woke up at 8 p.m., and the gig was at 9 p.m. So you just put glitter everywhere,” she explains.

Model Martha Hunt says this long-lasting eyeshadow palette from L’Oreal “really makes the blue in my eyes pop.”

Actress Sanaa Lathan learned about this mascara while working on The Affair and says “it puts all the other expensive mascaras at the department stores to shame. It stays on forever and almost makes you look like you have false eyelashes on.”

“So this stuff is not waterproof; it’s water-resistant–ish. But I like it because of the way the felt tip distributes the pigment,” says author Mary H.K. Choi, who told us she’s used this L’Oreal liquid eyeliner to do a cat’s-eye every day for the past six years.

Similarly, in her pamphlet “How to Look Like Me at 70” (which she purports is circulating Park Avenue), publicist Peggy Siegal revealed that she uses this L’Oreal pencil eyeliner to achieve a smoky eye. “I put it under my eyes and my eyelid, and I take a little brush and smudge it in, and then clean it up with a Q-tip,” she says.

La La Anthony and actress Julia Fox say these wipes are the only products they use to remove makeup, with Anthony calling them her “favorite product ever” and Fox admitting that she also uses them “if I don’t have time to shower in the morning or wash my face.”

“I love the fact that they’re not heavy on the face; a lot of wipes overdo it with fragrance, or even the cloth itself can be a bit rough. I think makeup wipes should be clean and straight to it — that’s why I love the Simple ones,” says model Duckie Thot, who has been using these wipes morning and night for the past six years.

$15

Model and actress Amber Rose says that she keeps her fast-growing eyebrows at bay with these tweezers: “I’ll get them waxed on Friday, and two days later, it starts growing back; so I try to keep up with them with these tweezers until I can get my eyebrows done again. It’s crazy.”

“I wore this at my wedding on my toes. I always got crazy polishes, like purple, and one of my friends said, ‘Can we class it up with just a nude?’ And I found this. Some nudes can make you look like a corpse, but this is beautiful,” says actress Casey Wilson, who notes that the polish’s name is “insane.”

Buzz Bissinger also appreciates the “marketing imagination” that goes into Essie’s polish names, like this pink hue (“inexplicably called ‘Around the Bend’”) that he wears in the summer.

Of OPI polishes, meanwhile, Bissinger says that they “last up to three weeks.” He calls this: “A shade of crimson bold enough to shock the shit out of my straight white male friends.”

Comedian Reggie Watts and publicity maven Lizzie Grubman both can’t live without this black nail polish from OPI. “I literally only wear black nail polish on my fingers and toes,” says Grubman, who calls the look a “phase” she’s been going through for several years.

Reggie Watts — who only paints his pinky nails — isn’t as steadfast in his use of black polish and sometimes mixes thing up with this lavender-toned pick. “The Late Late Show paints my nails for me with OPI polish — they’ll repaint them maybe once a week or once every other week depending on what condition they’re in,” he says.

From the hair-care aisle

“I have them on deck in different containers around my house because my hair is always getting in my face. I’ll just twist it up and put on a clip — I feel like I instantly look cuter. And it’s so ’90s,” says Instagram cool-girl Devon Lee Carlson of these hair clips she buys at the drugstore.

The final step in Peggy Siegal’s legendary beauty routine is this L’Oreal hairspray, which she only buys in travel size: “I use the travel size because I hate picking up a big heavy bottle,” she says. “I go through them fast, but a little one looks so much better.”

Foodgod — the person formerly known as Jonathan Cheban, who incidentally cut his teeth working for Siegal — says that this Revlon hot-air brush changed his life completely. “It’s like someone doing your hair, without having to have someone do your hair — like somebody with a brush drying it out at 100 miles per hour,” he says.

Photo: Retailer

This detangling brush is another product that Casey Wilson — who says she is blessed with “plush, thick hair” — can’t live without. “I feel like it gets through your hair and doesn’t hurt. It’s great for combing through thick hair, and my son loves it, too,” she adds.

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors keeps a hair pick on hand at all times in order to maintain his mini-’fro. “It’s gotta be strong because I have some pretty nappy hair,” he says.

In addition to being known as a financial guru, Suze Orman says she is known for her hair, and credits this shampoo (which she buys at CVS) for keeping it “absolutely frizzless.” She adds: “When I travel now, I can blow out my own hair because of this shampoo. I don’t need to travel with a hair person. You know how much money I’m saving?”

Actress Teresa Palmer describes her hair as “terribly knotted,” and says that these ethically made products from Alba Botanica are “affordable and easy to find, and the conditioner is so potent that I don’t need to use half a bottle per wash. My hair is left feeling soft, completely replenished, and like I’ve slept with it cling-wrapped in coconut oil,” she adds.

Accessories designer Lele Sadoughi began making hairbands in her quest for more voluminous hair, a search that also led her to this Kérastase shampoo. “It gives me added texture; my hair doesn’t look quite so sparse or flat after using it,” she says.

Research professor Dr. Brené Brown — a self-proclaimed “Texas girl” who was “raised believing the higher the hair, the closer to God” — also depends on Kérastase products for volume. “I reluctantly let go of my big ’80s hair, but I still love hair spray. This one is medium hold so your hair can move, but it keeps the body and style,” she says.

Compared to products that give your hair a too clean feeling, Keke Palmer says the shampoo and conditioner from Cantu makes your hair “actually feel moisturized. Cantu makes a deep conditioning one and a light conditioning one — I use both of them and alternate throughout the week,” she says of her three-times-a-week routine.

Using natural products is important to actress Fran Drescher, which is why she is a “longtime fan” of this sulfate-free Paul Mitchell shampoo made with awapuhi. “It’s a wild ginger from Hawaii that’s been used as herbal medicine and has great softening qualities for hair,” she says. “Sulfates truly do dry out your hair. Not a good look.”

“I head-bang all the time onstage, so yeah, conditioner finds its way into my beard,” says Kerry King, the lead guitarist of the band Slayer, who opts for Pantene because he’s found it to “detangle well.”

After trying about 20 curly-hair products over the course of the last decade, actress Logan Browning told us that DevaCurl is the only one that moisturizes all the way to the follicle. “I can style my hair and it’s not crunchy and still manageable,” she says.

From the body-care aisle

One day, when hugging her husband, Ellie Kemper told us she realized “something smelled really good. It turns out it was this deodorant. I believe it to be unisex, though some users have described it as a men’s deodorant. It doesn’t matter,” she says of the stick that she now buys in bulk.

When it comes to celebrities’ favorite deodorants, Schmidt’s and famous people seem to go hand-in-hand (or product in armpit?). Actress Ana Gasteyer and Grammy Award winner–slash–talk-show host Eve both swear by the rose-and-vanilla scent. “A unicorn product. I’ve worn it for years. It’s just a non-aluminum-based, earthy, artsy-fartsy deodorant that fucking works,” says Gasteyer. “The rose one is just great because if you sweat in it, you smell like a rose instead of cat urine.

In Buzz Bissinger’s great deodorant test of 2019 — when he sampled new deodorants for a week and his wife, Lisa Smith, smelled his armpits twice a day — he determined that this apricot-scented deodorant from Tom’s was his favorite. “Tom’s felt light and applied smoothly. Lisa reported that it smelled pleasingly fruity, and ten hours later the scent was still strong,” he says.

This deodorant didn’t get as high praise from Buzz Bissinger or Lisa Smith (“Lisa said it smelled like soap, and I already have enough bland in my life”), but Bissinger still posits that “everybody should have at least one Old Spice product in their lives, given the longevity of the brand and that great seaman’s whistle.”

Apparently, writer Lesley Arfin and dancer Derek Hough agree with Bissinger, because both can’t live without Old Spice Fresh deodorant. Hough has worn the deodorant since childhood and says it smells “clean, fresh, and also a little bit nostalgic,” but to Arfin, whose husband wears the product, it smells like “a free ticket to the bone zone.”

Shop owner John Derian says he’s been using this unscented, aluminum-free deodorant “for a million years” and has “never had any problems with it. I appreciate that it’s a roll-on,” he adds. His boyfriend, who he says “sweats a lot,” uses it too.

“Obviously, I’ll use it under my arms, but I’ll also spray it under my boobs, and between my thighs. It keeps me really dry, especially if I’m working out, or if it’s a really hot day,” says Amber Rose of this fresh-smelling deodorant spray.

Another product that Amber Rose swears by is Nivea Lotion, which she uses to “lotion up my arms real quick, and make sure I’m not dry.”