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’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 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.
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!
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’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.
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 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 is great for defining natural fluffy brows.
e.l.f Cosmetics Lock on Liner and Brow Cream is great if you’re going for a bolder brow.
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.
If you’re looking for something colorful, Profusion’s Wanderlust palette is a beautiful option with a lot of different tones.
Or if you’re looking for something a little bit smaller for everyday tones, this Mauves palette is a great option.
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 shadows are beautiful, affordable toppers to give your eyes a little extra sparkle.
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).
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.
e.l.f’s Big Mood mascara is my absolute favorite mascara. It gives really good volume without making my eyelashes look clumpy.
e.l.f.’s Flawless Finish foundation is a great option for a lightweight, buildable foundation.
The Colourpop Pretty Fresh foundation is a buildable foundation with a natural skin finish.
Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation is a smooth foundation that feels hydrating and looks natural and luminous.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These Colourpop lippie stix are incredibly creamy and pigmented, and I love all their shade options!
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.
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.
These Milani lipsticks are a soft matte formula with different tones of beautiful pink shades to choose from.
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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