Affordable Makeup That Is As Good As — If Not Better Than — High-End Products

I don’t know about you, but growing up, I always thought more expensive = better. This applied to everything in my mind – food, clothes, tech, jewelry – everything. That doesn’t mean I always went for items with the higher price tag (in fact, I rarely did).

I remember my early forays into Ulta; I quickly learned where the more budget-friendly brands were kept and stayed away from the aisles that had foundation at $20 or higher. 

Buying makeup can be so intimidating! Where do I even start? Does more expensive mean better quality? Not always (not even most often, actually) so it helps to know where to look for good, affordable products. 

I’ve tried so many makeup products at different price points (SO MANY), and let me tell you, there are some incredible, unsuspected products hiding at quite an affordable price point. 


Affordable Makeup Brushes

e.l.f. Foundation Brush

e.l.f’s foundation brush is one of the best affordable brushes I’ve found so far. It blends your foundation nice and evenly, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free


BH 13-Piece Brush Set

BH brush sets are wonderful, especially for beginners who are looking to try several different shapes of brushes. They have a decent mix of face and eye brushes. The fluffier eye brushes are best for creating a seamless blend of eyeshadow. This set contains some smaller detailed brushes as well, which are great for packing on color in smaller areas.


Real Techniques Everyday Essentials Kit

These Real Techniques brushes are great for face products like foundation, concealer, bronzer, contour, blush, and highlight. This orange sponge is the only beauty sponge I’ve used for the last couple years, and it’s my current favorite way to apply foundation. If you find that your foundation is looking too heavy or dry, a damp beauty sponge can be a real makeup-saver!

SHOP ON ULTA – $19.99

Brow Products

NYX Micro Brow Pencil

NYX’s micro brow pencil is a classic, easy to use brow pencil. It’s not too pigmented, so it’s very user friendly. It’s my classic go-to and is often compared to a popular higher end product, ABH’s Brow Wiz.


L.A. Girl Shady Slim Brow Pencil

L.A. Girl’s Shady Slim Brow Pencil is my current favorite. It’s a little bit creamier and more pigmented than the NYX brow pencil, which is great if you have a light hand with your brow pencil, or if you like darker brows.

SHOP ON ULTA – $5.99

e.l.f. Brow Pencil

This e.l.f. brow pencil is great for getting your brows done quickly. The pencil is a little bit thicker than most traditional brow pencils, so this is great if you like bold brows. 


e.l.f. Wow Brow Gel

e.l.f. Wow Brow Gel is a great option to hold your brows in place. It’s clean, vegan, cruelty-free, and has nearly a 5-star rating out of over 500 reviews!


Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel

Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel is great for defining natural fluffy brows.

SHOP ON ULTA – $2.99

e.l.f Cosmetics Lock on Liner and Brow Cream

e.l.f Cosmetics Lock on Liner and Brow Cream is great if you’re going for a bolder brow.


Eye Products

Colourpop Sweet Talk Palette

One of my absolute favorite affordable eyeshadow brands is Colourpop! They have so many options for different color stories, but some of my favorite neutrals are from the Sweet Talk palette.


Colourpop That’s Taupe Palette

I also love their That’s Taupe palette. Colourpop’s matte eyeshadows are super blendable, and their shimmers are very pretty without being overstated! Perfect for everyday wear.


Profusion Wanderlust Palette

If you’re looking for something colorful, Profusion’s Wanderlust palette is a beautiful option with a lot of different tones.


Profusion Mauves Palette

Or if you’re looking for something a little bit smaller for everyday tones, this Mauves palette is a great option.


e.l.f. Bite Size Palette

If you want just a few essential shades, the e.l.f. Cosmetics bite size palettes are lovely. This el.f. eyeshadow bite size palette in cream and sugar is great for creating just a basic neutral eye look.


Colourpop Super Shock Shadow

cheap makeup brands

Colourpop Super Shock shadows are beautiful, affordable toppers to give your eyes a little extra sparkle.


NYX Hot Singles Shadows

If you’re more the type of person to just want a single eyeshadow, not a whole palette, NYX’s Hot Singles collection has so many colors to choose from (both with and without shimmer).

SHOP ON NYX – $4.50

Milani Stay Put Eyeliner

cheap makeup brands

Milani’s Stay Put eyeliner is great for the waterline and for tightlining. Putting a black liner on your top lash line can make your lashes look fuller, while putting it on the lower waterline can deepen your look for a more sultry eye.

SHOP ON ULTA – $8.99

e.l.f Big Mood mascara

cheap makeup brands

e.l.f’s Big Mood mascara is my absolute favorite mascara. It gives really good volume without making my eyelashes look clumpy.


Face Products

e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation

cheap makeup brands

e.l.f.’s Flawless Finish foundation is a great option for a lightweight, buildable foundation. 


Colourpop Pretty Fresh Foundation

cheap makeup brands

The Colourpop Pretty Fresh foundation is a buildable foundation with a natural skin finish.


Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation is a smooth foundation that feels hydrating and looks natural and luminous.

SHOP ON ULTA – $14.29

Honest Beauty Cream Blush

cheap makeup brands

Honest Beauty Cream Blush is a beautiful formula with multiple shades to choose from. The blush is easily blended out for a natural flush, or can be built up if you prefer a heavier blush look.


Milani Baked Blushes

cheap makeup brands

Or if you prefer a powder blush, the Milani Baked Blushes are a classic in the makeup world. They’re easy to blend and have a slight luminosity to add some life and glow to your cheeks.

SHOP ON ULTA – $9.99

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

cheap makeup brands

The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer has been a classic in the beauty community for a while now. The original has been raved about and well loved, and they now have multiple shades to choose from.

SHOP ON ULTA – $15.99

Lip Products

NYX Butter Gloss

cheap makeup brands

The NYX butter glosses have so many shades to choose from, you’re sure to find a shade that flatters your personal style. It glides on smoothly and has a nice satin finish.


Colourpop Lippie Stix

colourpop lippie stix

These Colourpop lippie stix are incredibly creamy and pigmented, and I love all their shade options!


NYX Lip Liner

cheap makeup brands

NYX lip liners are great! Lip liners in general are great for precision, and NYX has a great formula that helps your lip color stay on your lips. We all have those lip colors that like to feather outside of our lip line — these lip liners can help.


e.l.f. Lip Lacquer

cheap makeup brands

These e.l.f. lip glosses are a favorite of mine – I usually put them over lipsticks to add some shine and hydration to my lips.


Milani Color Fetish Matte

cheap makeup brands

These Milani lipsticks are a soft matte formula with different tones of beautiful pink shades to choose from.

SHOP ON ULTA – $8.99

There are so many awesome products found at drugstore prices! Not everything at this price point is a winner, but if you start with the ones mentioned, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.


We love great makeup that doesn’t break the bank (OK, we love ALL makeup). Have you tried any of the brands mentioned? Let us know in the comments!

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