Our Makeup Guru Shares Her Favorite Budget Beauty Buys
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Hi there! I’m Emily, one of Collin’s sidekicks.
Collin asked me the other day to recommend some makeup brands since I’m always talking about my favorite beauty buys. She knows I’m someone who loves makeup, so I think she was a bit surprised that some of my favorites are drugstore brands that cost under $10. Interestingly enough, those low-cost makeup essentials have become tried and true staples in my beauty bag.
Here are some of my favorites below:
- Buy it at Target – $6.99
I’ve tried almost every mascara under the sun, but I always come back to Maybelline. It’s the same one I’ve been using since high school! I find the waterproof version holds my lash curl better. That said, water-resistant formulas can be drying to lashes, so keep that in mind if that’s a concern for you.
- Buy it at Target – $8.49
I love NYX concealers. I think their formulations are on par with higher-end brands, but the price can’t be beaten! I used to use this NYX concealer, but when my shade was sold out (and I was in desperate need to cover my undereye circles), I picked up this long-wear concealer option – and I couldn’t be happier with the switch! It has an angled sponge tip on the wand and an even more opaque formula (meaning a little bit goes a long way).
- Buy it at Target – $5.99
Okay, so the pencil pictured is obviously not the Maybelline version because the one I have is from a small K-Beauty store, and all of the branding has worn off. To be honest, I have yet to land on a brow product that I’m 100% committed to, but these retractable brow pencils come pretty close. It’s a very easy application with the always-defined soft tip that makes creating hair strokes a cinch. It also has a round spoolie end to blend in the strokes for naturally fuller eyebrows. That said, if I’m ever in a pinch, brown eyeshadow applied with an angled brush works just as fine.
- Buy it at Target – $12.99
I am not big on eyeshadow. It’s not like I don’t like the look, I’m just too lazy when it comes to putting on makeup. I also find so many eyeshadow palettes are big, bulky, and expensive, and those don’t really fit into my streamlined routine. I received this tiny palette in a beauty box and thought, “Now this is more my speed!” Sure, it looks like it probably belongs in a pre-teen’s makeup set, but the colors are shockingly pigmented and offer a range of both shimmer and matte neutral shades. And the best part is it’s the size of a business card!
- Buy it at Ulta – $8.99
Yes, another Maybelline product—are you sensing a pattern here? I have a hard time finding products from this brand that I don’t like. I was originally using Stila liquid liner, but I made the switch to this budget buy after testing it out in a beauty box. I found my higher-end Stila pen would dry out and become difficult to apply but it’s always a smooth application with the Maybelline liner. Budget is better!
- Buy it at Ulta – $10
To make sure my eye makeup doesn’t budge, I apply a little bit of powder over my concealer and liquid liner. The powder also coats my lashes, adding volume and staying power to my mascara. This can also be used all over the face for a more matte finish to your skin.
- Buy it at Ulta – $39
If you need a full-coverage skin-loving cream, this is it, my friends! It’s a fairly thick cream, so I warm it up on my fingertips and then gently dab all over my face and neck. I actually use my hands for my foundation application, so I blend the CC cream by continually pressing (not harsh rubbing) for a flawless finish. It’s pricey, but it does have anti-aging elements and a hefty SPF. I know other Hip2Save team members are fans of this cream as well!
- Buy it at Ulta – $40
I like this foundation for summer when I’m looking for a more lightweight and sheer finish. I apply it the same way as I do the It Cosmetics CC cream, but it’s a much thinner consistency, which makes it a touch easier to blend. Again, it’s not cheap, but when the budget allows, it’s a solid choice for a breathable foundation.
- Buy it at The Ordinary – $6.70
I’m a big fan of contouring, so I dab on some of this affordable serum foundation just underneath my cheekbones. The Ordinary is known for their quality affordable skincare, and the foundation line holds up to the same standards. I’ve used their coverage foundation previously, and I loved its feel, blendability, and the ease of matching your shade even when buying online.
Ever try to fake eight hours of sleep even though you’re running on four? Yep, we all have! I came across this highlighter stick in my FabFitFun box, and I’ve become obsessed. I use it to line my eyes to instantly brighten them up. After that, I glide it on to add some shimmer to the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, cupid’s bow, and brow arches. It is on the pricier side for a highlighter stick, so check out this e.l.f. highlighter stick as a budget-friendly option.
- Buy it on Amazon – $29.99
While this mirror technically doesn’t fit in my makeup bag, I couldn’t not mention it. It’s incredibly convenient whether you use it daily at home or while traveling! It works especially well when you don’t have sufficient lighting to apply your makeup – and many hotels definitely lack in the lighting department.
What are your must-have products in your beauty bag?
Let me know in the comments. I’m always on the hunt for fun new beauty buys!
Check out these clever hacks for storing your makeup!