There’s this perception that the more you spend on a high-end product, the better the quality – that theory flew out of the window when I started buying makeup at thirteen-years-old. I spent $50 on eyeliner and one eyeshadow to only have the products fade away by noon. I know how long it takes to make sure your eyeliner is even and that your foundation is blended to perfection; time and practice is needed when you’re starting off with makeup, but money doesn’t need to be wasted on products that won’t work for you. You can still slay the make-up game without having to blow-off all your money on one (or two) products.
Rimmel Stay Matte Primer
Primer before foundation, always. The Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer is a budget friendly pick-up that gets the job done quickly. This lightweight primer sets into your skin to create a matte and smooth canvas for your foundation. Plus, it keeps your face feeling fresh!
Maybelline Fit Me! Liquid Foundation and Powder
After trying out many drugstore and high-end foundations, I always seem to find my way back to the Maybelline Fit Me! foundation line. Whether you are using the matte or smooth version, the foundation goes on smoothly while minimizing pores. It’s lightweight, easy to apply and blends well. Use the matching powder as a finisher and you’re good to go for the rest of the day. These products are perfect for those in a rush for school and work.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer
Literally, the holy grail of under eye concealers! It is meant to be for extreme under eye circles but sometimes you can get away with using it on other spots on the face. The consistency is thin, blendable and the product dries to a powder finish. The product gives you a medium to full coverage while being easy, fast and fun to apply.
E.L.F. Studio Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder
Contouring defines facial features with faux shadows so you can enhance or create the illusion of sharp cheekbones or jawline. For $3, this palette is worth every penny. It comes in four different variations so you can find which palette works best for your complexion – my personal favorite is the St. Lucia palette. Mostly known as a dupe for NARS products, both the blush and bronzer are highly pigmented so a little goes a long way! The only con is that these products are chalky and you will experience fall-out so be sure to tap your brush before applying. Other than that, the product is great for the price and easy to carry on the go.
NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny
If the E.L.F Studio Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder isn’t for you, this NYC product is another promising and affordable matte bronzer that fits a wide range of skin tones. This flat, compact, pressed perfection is also only $3. Again, a little goes a long way. This bronzer blends easily and is forgiving to beginners still learning how to contour.
Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer
Coming from a girl with oily eyelids, I’ve tried almost every eyeshadow primer there is and this product is a hidden gem in the drugstore makeup world. Coming in at under five dollars, this tube of wonders can last months. The consistency is on the watery side so use a small amount on each eyelid, blend well, and let it sit for a minute before applying eyeshadows. This primer provides a full day’s worth of crease-free, fade-free wear with every eyeshadow you use.
BH Cosmetics Carli Bybel Palette
This online brand has been popping up at local Ulta stores around the country so now you can buy products in- store and online. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran in the makeup game, everyone can use this palette since the eyeshadows in it are super versatile for everything. These highly pigmented colors are great for every skin tone. The palette also includes 4 generous sizes of long lasting highlighters which are a huge trend right now- get your glow on!
Essence Eyeliner Pen Waterproof
Affordable, easy to use and easy to remove as you practice your eyeliner skills as a beginner. This felt tip eyeliner glides on smoothly, gives a bold black color and lasts for hours or a whole day, depending on if your eyelids are oily or not. It isn’t really “waterproof” but it takes a lot to make it budge after you apply it. I recommend this to all winged eyeliner lovers.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
The mascara that can do it all – bless. The brush on this mascara defines and separates each lash without clumping too much. Maybelline’s Lash Sensational mascara lengthens, curls and gives volume to lashes. What I also love about this product is that it makes it easy to coat the lower lashes evenly. Alas, beware…removing the mascara can be quite difficult. I recommend using Almay’s Longwear and Waterproof Gentle Eye Makeup Remover for all your stubborn eye make-up removal needs.
E.L.F Eyebrow Kit
During your make-up journey, you may look at a product and doubt its abilities…that’s what I did with this kit years ago and yet it still makes its way into my everyday makeup collection. Whether I want natural or dramatic and bold brows, the waxy gel glides on making it easy to use so your eyebrow hairs can be kept in place. I use the powder to set the brows. The pigmentation is actually noticeable and can last quite a while. Eyebrows are everrrrytthiiiinngg.
But what about lip products? One of the great things about drugstores is that you have hundreds of lip products and colors to choose from. From matte lipsticks to sparkly lip-glosses, the options are endless. If you’re up for experimenting with colors, Wet N Wild has hundreds of shades in different formulas for you to try without breaking the bank. Some lipsticks are even 99 cents! Another brand of lipstick every beginner should try is the Essence line. They’re so creamy and smooth when applied and the colors work for many skin tones. With these two brands alone, you can accumulate a large lippie collection without having to step into a Sephora- just yet, anyway.
As you start your makeup journey, feel free to try whatever product or color(s) that intrigue you. Products that work for others may not always work for you but you’ll never know what you actually like until you try. You may never know if one random product may actually be a Holy Grail item or a dupe of a high-end product. Be free, have fun, and work it.
Cover Image by Jodeci Zimmerman