When I started dabbling in makeup, I was too nervous to spend more than a few dollars on a product. I was always terrified I might buy something expensive and hate it (I didn’t yet know about Ulta’s bomb return policy, unfortunately.)
The good news is that you can get a full face of amazing makeup for drugstore prices– and when I say amazing, I mean AMAZING. The days of orange foundation and spider lashes are long gone. These products are in my every day, go-to collection and beat out some of my luxury makeup. I find all of them easy to work with as well, so they’re great for beginners!
I have dry skin and large pores, and the ELF hydrating face primer handles both those problems. It has a silicone texture that fills in my pores, but it also smooths out my dry patches so makeup doesn’t cling. The large bottle is $10 and I’ve been using mine for over a year and a half and haven’t yet needed to replace it. If your skin isn’t dry, ELF also has lots of other primers for all skin types!
If you’re looking for a full coverage foundation that glides effortlessly over dry patches and has a massive shade range, look no further. The BH Naturally Flawless Foundation is one of the most beautiful foundations I’ve ever put on my face. Don’t be put off by the “goopy” texture– it blends out quickly and easily and sinks into your skin. It’s full coverage but feels completely weightless. As a bonus, BH is constantly having sales, so you can often get it for a fraction of the (already low) price of $9.50!
If you’re looking for a more natural, light/medium coverage base, I prefer the Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream. It lets my freckles shine through while evening out my skin tone and leaving a nice satin finish. The downside is that the shade range is pretty limited, but if they have a shade that works for you, it’s a solid BB cream for under $10!
Once again, ELF is gracing this list. It might be my favorite affordable brand of all time. A hydrating, full coverage concealer with a wide shade range for only $6? Sign me the heck up. This concealer reminds me a lot of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, except it’s a fraction of the price. I don’t set my concealer, and this one doesn’t crease or move around after it dries down, but it has a beautiful satin, skin-like finish. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I can’t talk about my favorite makeup products and not mention my two oldest and most well-loved complexion products. The Milani Rose Powder Blush in Tea Rose ($8.99) and the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer ($15.99) are both beautifully pigmented. They give a light but buildable wash of color to the cheeks. Both are finely milled and blend out so easily. They’re absolutely worth the price. I got them at the same time about two years ago and use them almost every day. As you can see, I haven’t even hit pan yet on the blush!
Have I mentioned yet how much I love ELF? This Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette in Jewel Pop ($10) might be my favorite colorful drugstore palette. It comes with 10 matte shades, 9 of which are just so beautiful and amazingly pigmented (I’ll admit, the one all the way on the left is not the best). You can make a beautiful, unique eyeshadow look with just one palette. Do you see that blue? I still cannot believe that you can get that color at the drugstore.
As someone with cool-toned, brown brows, I always struggled with drugstore pencils. This Revolution PRO Define and Fill Brow Pencil in Ash Brown ($8) is the perfect match for my brows and is a dead-on dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz (for a third of the price!). It has a spoolie on one end and a micro-tip pencil on the other. It’s perfect for making thin hair-like strokes and filling in sparse spots.
This Maybelline Define-a-Lash Mascara ($9.25) is just so good. It lengthens your lashes without making them spidery or clumpy and adds a nice curl. It might not be the way to go if you want thick lashes, but it’s the best on the market for the natural look.
I have to be honest, these are basically the only two lip products I use. The Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick In Nude Flush ($7.99) is the perfect “your lips but better” nude. When I’m looking for a little more of a natural look, I lightly dot it on my lips and rub it in. It makes a beautiful, natural, flushed lip that stays all day.
The ELF Lip Plumping Gloss in Mocha Twist ($6) is great if you love a glossy lip that lets your natural color shine through. It doesn’t get milky or settle into fine lines, nor is it too sticky and thick. A thin layer adds just that little tint of color and shine that makes your lips pop. It certainly tingles a bit, so steer clear if you don’t love plumping glosses.
I saved the best for last. The NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick in Chardonnay Shimmer ($7.99) is the best highlight I’ve ever tried. It layers flawlessly under foundation for a “lit from within” glow and on top of foundation for a bolder look. It has a gorgeous golden reflect without being glittery or chunky. It also doesn’t leave a dark cast on the skin and blends out seamlessly. If you only get one thing from this list, it should be this highlight. It’s that good.
These are my favorite affordable products for every day wear! What do you all think of these products? If you have any other recommendations, drop them in the comments below!