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Shopping for makeup can be a daunting task if you don’t know what you’re doing – or looking for. The beauty aisle has never been a more foreign place before, but there’s a way around it, and that’s where your research has brought you: to this article. If you’re looking for affordable makeup for beginners, you came to the right place.
Sephora is a great place to start on your makeup and beauty journey. Their staff is almost always super helpful if you’re wondering about which products to choose because they have expertise. Depending on who you ask, they’ve either tried the product on themselves or someone else. However, sometimes Sephora isn’t within reach or just out of your price range, which believe us, we’ve been there!
We’ve tested and compared these products against higher end brands you may find at Sephora, and they get the job done! You can find some of these options in the cosmetics aisle of your drugstore, Ulta, Target, or Amazon! So, whether you’re just starting to learn about makeup or on a budget, you’ll hopefully find these suggestions helpful!
This silicone-based primer creates a smooth canvas for easy makeup application. You’ll especially love this primer if you have fine lines that crack under foundation throughout the day (laugh lines are a huge one for some of us!) or if you have large pores you that you hope to minimize. It’s even been deemed as a dupe for the high-end brand, Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, but at a fraction of the cost.
Sometimes good face makeup is difficult to find, or even for us to recommend, but a good place to start the hunt for your favorite BB or CC cream is reading reviews! We know, it’s a lot of research, and sometimes trial and error really is the best way since your skin can react differently from someone else’s, but at least you can narrow your options down to what people have said about a product. Pro Tip: Look for reviews from people who have the same skin concerns or skin type as you.
NYX BB Cream $12.99
This particular option has rave reviews for everyday wear! It’s lightweight, long lasting formula makes it a great option to try out.
Long days sometimes mean sleepless nights, breakouts, and all the horrible things that can result from a lack of sleep and stress. Concealer can be your best friend if you want to fool everyone to thinking that you’re not completely losing your sh*t. Pro tip: If you’re finding that some concealers dry out the skin underneath your eyes, be sure to use a hydrating eye cream, but wait 10-15 min before applying concealer to let your skin absorb the eye cream completely.
Beauty gurus everywhere have been raving about this concealer. It’s extremely affordable and offers full coverage with a creamy texture. It also comes in a wide range of shades so you can find your match! Choose one in your natural skin color if you’re going bare-faced but want to spot-conceal blemishes. If you’re looking to highlight your undereyes or any other high points of your face, go for 1-2 shades lighter than your natural skin tone. If you’ve got a little bit more to spend on a great concealer, we highly recommend the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, or the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. These are both great options if you’re looking to spend a little bit more on lighter formulas that last long and offer full coverage.
Translucent powders are used for setting any face makeup you’ve used, and making makeup last longer. When used with concealers, a light dust of powder can keep your concealer from creasing under the eyes, or melting off throughout the day. Dust translucent powder over foundation, bb/cc cream, or tinted moisturizers to instantly set and mattify!
NYX HD Finishing Powder $9.99
NYX is known for making amazing beauty products at affordable prices. A fan fave is this NYX HD finishing powder. It’s a pressed powder, which makes it perfect for touch-ups between classes or breaks at work. The matte finish makes it essential for people with oily skin, but if your skin is on the dry side, use a light hand just to set your makeup (if needed); using too much of any powder on dry skin can dry you out and accentuate any dry patches on your face, so be sure you’re moisturizing sufficiently to prevent skin from flaking!
Loose powders are great if you want to be able to control how much you’re applying. Carefully unscrew the lid, and tap a bit of the powder onto the lid (whatever you think is enough to set your foundation/concealer) and lightly dust all over. Same guidelines apply as before—be careful not to over-powder or else you might end up looking drier than the Sahara Desert. Yikes!
There are so many brow products out there for many different brow looks. If you’re going for something natural, but buildable and easy to use, we got you.
Honestly if we could recommend any affordable makeup brand, Colourpop would be at the top of the list. They make amazing products such as their Precision Brow Pencil, that glides smoothly over your brows and fills them in in a pinch! Make light, short strokes to imitate tiny hairs to fill your brows, then brush through them lightly with the spoolie on the other end for a natural look.
There are a ton of eyeliner options out there, and honestly there could be a whole ‘nother article written just on eyeliners and all the different types, but we’ll keep it simple with a couple of options that are super easy to use.
This long-lasting eyeliner is super affordable and easily slides over your lids, which makes for easy application.
If you’re a tad more advanced in the eyeliner area and want something to create the perfect cat-eye, try the CLIO Waterproof Pen Liner in Kill Black. Yes, you heard correctly, this one’s waterproof! It’s stiff felt tip also makes it great for creating that sharp cat eye with a super black matte finish.
There are SOO many mascaras on the market—high-end and drugstore alike. Since it’s recommended that we throw out our mascara every 3 months anyway, we recommend picking up one from the drugstore! A few stand out that blow even the high-end brands out of the water.
If you’re looking for something that lengthens and volumizes without clumping, this will be your go-to. The flexible rubber curved applicator acts like a tiny rubber comb to coat lashes—lifting and separating them—resulting in sexy fluttery long lashes. Pro tip: a drier formula such as any waterproof version of mascaras help hold lash curls throughout the day, so if your lashes tend to fall flat after a couple hours, or even a couple of minutes, put this pro tip to the test. You can thank us later.
This quickly became a cult favorite this summer, and there’s a good reason why. It really does volumize your lashes if you’re looking for full fluttery lashes. Beauty Gurus all over have even dubbed this a dupe for the beloved Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara!
Eyeshadow is not something we’d necessarily call essential but if you’re looking for a great everyday makeup palette, look for something with good color payoff (so you don’t waste time applying layers upon layers to achieve the look you want) and something with neutrals.
Okay, this isn’t a drugstore brand, but we believe that good color payoff is a great investment. You’ll probably use it more if the colors are easy to apply, and the neutrals in this palette look lovely with every eye color!
A great value option that offers more eyeshadow possibilities is the Carli Bybel Eyeshadow & Highlighter palette. You can create night & day looks with this one, and it even comes with gorgeously blinding highlighters to finish off any look. With what you get, this is going to be your next favorite palette for versatile looks.
Blush can bring the life back to your face if you went a little heavy on foundation and concealer. Go for a neutral toned blush color like mauve or dusty rose for everyday. If you’re going to a bolder punch of color like coral or even a deeper tone of rose, use a light hand to dust over the apples of your cheeks and sweep upward along your cheekbone.
We love this satin finish blush from Essence. It easily glides over your skin and provides a nice flush of color.
We know that everyone’s preference for makeup is different, and everyone’s skin reacts differently to different products—even between brands. Always do a patch test on your arm before applying something you have never tried before onto your face to avoid rash or irritation. Feel free to pick and choose which products are right for your skin type and personal preference. Don’t feel the need to use all the items listed in this article!
Remember: makeup doesn’t exist for us to cover up who we are, but a way for us to put our best face forward if we’re not feeling our best, an outlet for self-expression, or a means to accentuate your natural features! Wear as much or as little makeup as your heart desires, and save major bucks in the process by opting for amazing drugstore products like these!