Forever21 isn’t exactly what you’d think of when you hear the words “beauty mecca.” H&M, maybe—even Topshop is a closer match with its extensive beauty range. But quietly, F21—purveyor of $2 tanks and statement jewelry for tweens—has been slowly improving its beauty game under the radar.
So under the radar, in fact, that it took a last-minute party invite and a major time crunch for me to find out: In a pinch last week, I stopped into one of the NYC locations and picked up an eyeshadow palette, two nail polishes, and four face masks—all for less than $20 total. Of course, the shadow didn’t feel as buttery as say, anything in a Naked Palette, but the color went on smooth and stayed put for an entire evening—then wiped off without much persuading. The face masks were equally impressive: My skin isn’t totally transformed, but if the cost of looking slightly glowier and well-rested is $1.90, then sign me up. The polish stayed on for a whole 24 hours without chipping, which is impressive considering I did my nails on the train (it was empty!) sans base or top coat. Not bad for less than $4.
Ahead, 25 beauty buys from Forever21 that are surprisingly good.