On a tight beauty budget? I am. A great way to budget out your experiences is to figure out what items you feel you are willing to spend a bit more on and which items you can cut back on, or even cut out of your beauty regimen completely. Have great skin? You don’t need foundation and your skin may actually look better with something light to just even out any small imperfections. Most of these things of course are subjective to your own personal needs so planning it out could be extremely helpful. Hopefully by going over my beauty budget you’ll pick up some idea of what you think is best for you personally.
Primer: Save. It of course depends on the type of primer you prefer and what you need it for. I personally have HUGE pores. Attention seeking pores that just need their mommy to love them again. So I prefer to smother them in silicone. Now it may make me a bit of a hypocrit since I am currently using Diorskin Pore Minimizer and it is my absolute holy grail item, but I do highly stand by their being some great primers available at the drug store. I have had great luck with Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer. It’s my go to when I am not feeling mega fancy. Although, I would wear the Diorskin alone, but under the makeup I don’t think anyone can tell much of a difference between the two. $8 vs. $42? Doesn’t take a dingus to figure out which one results in more ice cream money.
Powder: Splurge. I’d actually say save if this wasn’t based off of my own personal needs, but I have a weird relationship with powder. I’ve used tons and tons of powders and the only one that ever looks decent on me is Make Up For Ever’s HD Powder. I have no idea why and I don’t want to talk about it because I may be a bit bitter. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder is a thing too. Ugh, I’m disgusting. I have heard great things about Ben Nye’s powders (make sure you get the correct kind to complement your undertones!) and other powders like ELF’s HD Powder. and NYX’s Mattifying Powder.
Foundation: Splurge. Unless of course you can find a great foundation at the drug store. Then I say, “You’re a donk and I am jealous of your life, ya goat toe sucker”. Your base is the most important part of your look and I think most of us makeup wearers can agree on that one across the board. Everyone’s skin is different and some of us have some huge skin related issues to work with be it cystic acne, weak collagen, hyperpigmentation, etc making finding the right formula extremely hard. The best way to go about finding the right foundation is to do lots and lots of research. Know your skin type, undertones, and what you are looking for then go get yourself some samples. Foundation can be a bit of an investment costing you anywhere from $30-70 dollars for mid-range to high end, but that is where you are going to find the more specialized formulas. Not being able to test out or even see the color of the foundation in the bottle at drug stores actually leads to spending a lot more trying to get your color right. I am currently, however, testing out the L’oreal Magic Nude Liquid to Powder in 312 and I’m actually kind of loving it. More on that later. Covergirl Aquasmooth has been pretty good to me as well.
Concealer: Both. Use what works for you. I’m currently loving Maybelline Age Rewind and MAC Highlighter in Rsdiant Rose. I don’t generally need a lot of coverage and have found these to work great for me.
Highlight: Save? You can use eyeshadow as a highlight in a pinch. Highlights are big right now and the drug store is FULL of various shimmers you can use. I have noticed that most of them seem to appeal towards lighter skin tones though, being shades of light pink and such. Though I’m sure these could work on some darker skin tones I would probably say some of the better highlights for darker skin has been a bit pricier. The Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are what come to mind or the highlights by Becca. Those are GORGEOUS and would look amazing on anyone with less of a butt tone to their skin.
Contour: Both? This one I’m not sure about. All I know is that contouring with bronzer makes you look muddy and that I am paler than butts. I tend to need an ashy brown color for my contour so think NYX Blush in Taupe. Regular contour powders don’t really work for me so a bit on improvisation is necessary. I’m about a NW13 in MAC for reference. I’d say for anyone looking to contour, investing in a legit contour powder would be the best bet. Something with zero sparkle.
Bronzer: Save. Right now since it’s fall you don’t really need it, but regardless there are some great bronzers at the drug store. I was using MAC Refined Golden over the summer, but NYC has a great matte bronzer for like $3. I tend to like a more matte look when it comes to trying to add color to the face, although a bit of shimmer can look great.
Mascara: Save! The drug store does GREAT mascaras and when it comes down to it they all kind of look the same from the outside. I am super picky about my mascara, but I’ve always been able to find something that works for me at the drug store. Honestly, $4 in Maybelline Great Lash and you are set. And if you need to cut corners this is one of the easier cuts you can make. Pro tips: Have a mascara wand from a higher end tube that you love? You can save it and use it with a cheaper formula to get a similar effect. Sephora and Ulta also tend to give out lots of samples so it’s pretty easy to stock up on sample tubes if you’ve put in an order recently.
Blush: Save. Did you know you can use lipstick as blush? I do about 80% of the time. It’s quick, easy, and thanks to being a lipstick junkie it provides me with TONS of options. Don’t like using creams on your cheeks? That’s okay too. Places like Coastal Scents and BH Cosmetics have great cheek palettes that are usually available on sale and are super affordable to begin with.
Lipstick: Both. There are some great lip products available right now and if there is something only available at a high end price that you have your eye on I can almost guarantee that a drug store priced item will be available within months. However, sometimes there are lipsticks that are just down right perfect. The color, the texture, the lasting power… These are where I say, “Treat yo’self”. Stock up on NYX and Maybelline, splurge on Velveteens and Nars. Sephora’s brand has some great liquid lipsticks available right now that are both matte and lacquers for a great mid-range option.
Lipgloss: Save. I personally am not a big lipgloss person. If I use it it’s on top of a lipstick to alter the color and texture (because makeup is art). I’ve had great luck with Maybelline’s Color Elixirs, NYX as a whole, and just plain old generic clear glosses.
Lipliner: Save. NYX and LA Girl. Occasionally it’s great to have a few colors that are ‘just right’. I’m sure you know what I mean, but if you’re relatively low maintenance and don’t really care about how the color of the lipliner is working with the lipstick then a clear, anti-feather liner would be a great buy and would keep things super affordable.
Eyeliner: Save. Unless you have crazy waterproofing issues, I just don’t see a point in buying higher end when there are so many great alternatives. I mean Essence has a gel liner for a dollar that is outstanding and I like my $5 eye pen over my $20 Urban Decay one. This is one thing makeup companies are doing pretty well all across the board. I would like to find an eye pencil that does not transfer to from the topline to the bottom though and NEITHER do that shit right.
Eye primer: Splurge. Buy what works for you, I have found drug store brands to crease so spending a bit more is the only option here. Primer has changed my life when it comes to eyeshadow and it’s an important staple.
Eye shadow: Splurge. I personally will search high and low until I find JUST the right color with just the right texture. I don’t know if anyone else is like that or if it is a growing up with artistic background issues. I will swatch 50 different shades of brown only to give up because I didn’t find the right shade. It’s an art and it is very important. I’ve found that the brands I like to spend on tend to have a higher quality to their shadows that make blending and everything else I need out of a shadow to work better. Palettes are wonderful because they give you a huge array of colors and textures to choose from and a lot of the time you can go back and buy a full sized of a certain color you used the heck out of. BUY. ALL. THE. PALETTES.
Eye brows: Splurge. Other people will tell you to save. I will tell you I can tell the difference. Brow elitism is strong right now. I am a fan of natural brows, but of course I mean that in the ‘no-makeup makeup’ way. I just switched from a clear Anastasia brow gel to an ELF clear brow gel, the only difference here has been about $20. However, I do find keeping on track with my normal bro powder has been crucial and sometimes it is hard to find just the right shade for your brows from the drug store. Red heads are especially out of luck. I personally think it’s worth the investment. Praise me and praise you, Lorde Dip Dip. Hail Satan.
Pro tip 1: There are a lot of great indie brands that are on the cheaper side! They require research, but it’ll be worth it in the long run once you’ve become the duochrome master and have caught them all in $1 sample baggies. Totally worth it.
Pro tip 2: Try not to buy into hype, but trust reviews based on people with similar needs/wants out of their makeup.
Have anything you’d like to add? Did I miss anything? Let me know.
*I’m half asleep while typing this up, sorry for any typos or grammatical issues. It’s hard for me to re-read or edit what I’ve written because brain issues.
Bonus- I may currently be waiting for my Urban Decay Vice 3 Palette to get here ^__^