Let’s face it: if you have a love for cosmetics, it can drain your bank account if you’re not careful. Cosmetics are priced at a premium much like a number of things geared specifically to women (bras and panties, anyone?). Of course, way back in the day men wore make-up too — let’s bring that back! C’mon guys, if you start wearing make-up we know the prices would go down!
In seriousness, if you are building a collection, it’s good to know where the best deals are. Here are my picks for brands that are affordable, but still have the quality you’re looking for with all day wear.
Please note: prices may vary slightly by location.
Foundation and Concealer – NYX
The liquid foundation comes in 16 shades and goes on smoothly with a mineral enriched matte finish. The powder of the same name is about a dollar more, but will stun you with how well it covers. It feels velvety and is especially great for the melty summer days when you worry about looking sweaty. The line of sixteen colors range from nearly alabaster to dark brown; the guide on their website even clues you in on which undertone is used in each color, such as cocoa is for dark skin with peach undertones.
NYX has a few different options for concealer including a concealer jar that provides a little bit of thicker coverage. I choose the Concealer Wand, though, for ease of use. You can use the wand to dot along your problem areas and then your stipple brush to blend it in. This product priced right at $5 and will last you a while; it comes in 11 shades ranging from light to dark skin tones and also provides a lavender, yellow, and green wand for areas that require more coloring to cover up properly.
Eyeshadow – ELF
This product is regularly priced at $30, but I peruse the site often and have only seen it on sale at $15. I recently purchased the bright palette because it not only has all the colors of the rainbow but also plenty of neutrals as well. This set provides light or deep tones and goes on well both wet and dry. I prefer putting my eyeshadow wet nearly all the time. To do so, simply get a small bowl of water, tap your brush into it, tap off the excess, then press the brush into the color desired. I dip and redip from water to color multiple times, based on the level of saturation I want. You don’t just get tiny samples of each color with this palette, these are full size squares. The product itself is 11 inches by 9 inches!
Each baked eyeshadow set includes 10 colors. This is a great set for someone that prefers more shimmer in their colors. The saturation isn’t as deep as the above set, but this is good for a flawless finish to your base color or for a more neutral look during the day. I love this set in “Texas” and “California” is a close second.
Eyeliner – Wet N Wild
This is my immediate go to for liquid liner. You do need a steady hand for application but liquid liner requires practice, practice, practice! This liner is typically priced around $3 and has a variety of colors; not only does it come in brown and black, but also turquoise, purple, and blue for a striking look.
This liner is a pencil and goes on smoothly, especially when it’s slightly warm. This is perfect for smudging and applying to the inner rim of your eyelid.
Mascara – Maybelline
Priced around $6, this mascara is a classic; it’s what my mother used and it’s my first choice! The Great Lash line comes in washable, waterproof, clear, and curved. Since generally you’ll only need one mascara, it’s okay to spend a bit more on what you like, but this is still nicely priced for the quality.
Cheeks – Wet N Wild
I know I already listed Wet N Wild once, but this blush is phenomenal at $2 a pop. There are only a few color choices, sadly. But as someone who was pretty anti-blush for a while — mostly because I had flashbacks to the early 90s where people wouldn’t blend properly — this blush won me over. It has a subtle shimmer and goes on softly.
Lips – Revlon and Maybelline
This balm is $9, which a bit pricey for me but it goes on like a dream and looks perfect. It comes in 10 shades and isn’t overbearing or sticky.
Again this is priced at $9, but your lips feel soft, smooth, and hydrated and bonus: you get a nice pop of color. For me, lip products MUST feel non-sticky and elegant and these two products do just that.
Less pricey than the first two listed, this product is my instant go-to. I am terrible at keeping lip-gunk on, so when I need them hydrated or a want a small splash of tint, I will reach for one of my numerous tubes of this! These are released in different collections and range from soft hints of color to outrageous neons.
Nails – Sinful Colors
These are $2 a pop and are literally the best brand out of any nail polish I’ve tried, including the ridiculously priced brands at nail salons. I don’t need to use a basecoat and normally not a topcoat and these will stay on longer than ANY brand I’ve tried. Of course nail polishes and how long they stay have a lot to do with your individual nails and whether they are brittle or soft or thin but I will praise this brand forever. I didn’t know I would ever be able to keep a polish on for more than 2 hours without chipping and this does! My favorite colors are Nail Junkie, Hazard, and Black on Black.