Here are a few cheap makeup items whose quality far outshines their prices.
1. NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny
This is one of the most flattering matte bronzer shades available—from a drugstore makeup brand or high-end cosmetics company! It's the perfect bronze without being flat brown or too orange.
2. Maybelline Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Shadows
This is a product I've blogged about numerous times because I just can't get over how they absolutely don't crease. They also make an awesome all-over wash of color and an excellent base over which to layer powder eye shadow. If you don't want to fork out the money for Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams or MAC Paint Pots, these would be an excellent alternative.
3. Eco Tools Bamboo Powder Brush So Soft
It is literally so plush, so fluffy, so yes! Not only is this line cruelty-free and eco-friendly, but their makeup brushes feel like a little baby kitten's fur. Totally synthetic and totally perfect for dusting loose powder!
4. Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer
This is a fantastic under-eye concealer. It brightens and conceals with the best of ‘em. The only issue I have with it is that I tend to go through it pretty quickly but at less than $6, that's quite all right.
5. Wet n' Wild Color Icon Shadows
I know it's a bit of a shock to see Wet n' Wild on the list because it's pretty much the cheapest makeup around, so how could it be any good, right? To be honest, I have had little luck with drugstore eye shadows. They're never finely milled or pigmented enough to be effective. But Wet n' Wild's shadows have surprisingly great pigmentation and apply nice and silky. Their trios and six-shade palettes are an amazing value, and there is an impressive array of shades. The single Color Icon shade Brulee is a great matte brow highlight color.
6. Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters
I've obsessed about these on multiple occasions because the texture is so lovely and the colors are fab. They stack up to Stila's Color Balm lipsticks no problem and won't dry out your lips in the least. Some of my favorite shades are Peach Parfait (a golden coral), Sweet Tart (a classic warm-toned hot pink), and Pink Truffle (a gorgeous pinky nude).
7. L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
If you peek into many makeup artist's kits, you'll find a tube of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara. I've worn this since high school and it's never steered me wrong. It builds lush, luxurious lashes at a great price. My current favorite from the Voluminous line is the Million Lashes. It's my top drugstore replacement for Benefit's They're Real. I adore the brush style. And here's an odd fact: It has a rose scent. I have a weird habit of smelling mascara. I love how it smells. Ok, I'm just going to stop right there, yep!
8. L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick
I am going to sound like a reminiscent creep yet again, but my mom always wore L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Plum Brulee, and I love that L’Oreal has kept not only the color but the scent and packaging style. I use to love opening my mom's lipstick with the key-like packaging and smelling it. Now that I'm a lipstick-wearing adult, I love Fairest Nude and the orange-toned British Red.
9. Maybelline Line Stiletto
This is one of the easiest liquid eye liners to practice with. I love the short applicator wand that allows you to get close to your eye. I also love the stiff sponge-like tip that ensures a steady line with no loose brush bristles going off course.
10. Milani Baked Blush
This blush offers greater pigment payoff. I love the blush color Rose d’ Oro, and I’ve heard Luminoso is a great NARS Orgasm substitute. These don’t appear shimmery on, but rather glowy, and the application is silky and buildable.
11. Revlon Colorstay Foundation
For drugstore foundation, this is a tried-and-true classic. My mom wore this, and growing up, I always thought it seemed too heavy. However, as my skin has become less perfect, I've realized that the coverage and finish are ideal. The downfall to Colorstay is the lack of yellow or olive-toned shades for mellow yellows like myself but as far as formula goes, it's right up there with MAC's Pro Longwear and has amazing stay power. And again, a weird smell confession—it smells like paint and though some dislike that about Colorstay, I love it.
Get more makeup tips from Ivy at Wake Up for Makeup!