Over the last month I have been on a search, nay, a quest, if you will, for awesome AFFORDABLE makeup. So of course some fave stand by brands like Makeup Geek are a given, but I dove deep in the aisles of inexpensive makeup to find hidden gems and try new things.
So recently Walgreens started carrying Soap and Glory and No7. Now these are more expensive than your typical "drugstore" makeup but the beauty with this is that Walgreens and Ulta for that matter have coupons and rewards so you can save money.
So I'm gonna go by brands. I think it'll be easier to break it into price categories going from the highest to lowest price point as a whole.
With Soap and Glory I only like two things so far. The One Heck of a Blot foundation (total recommendation from my friend Rhea) and the Pillow Plump XXL clear gloss.
I got mine from Ulta and it was buy 1 get 1 free plus $3.50 off a $15 purchase. The foundation was $19 there though (and still is mind you) and it's $14 at Walgreens. The gloss is $14 at both Ulta and Walgreens though.
The foundation is a "Liquid to Powder" and that's true. It goes on really nice with good coverage and dries down to a powder/satin finish. What I will say though is there is only 4 shades and that's a BUMMER. It also doesn't work very good on very dry or mature skin in my opinion. I used it on a client the other day and it just sat on the skin. It didn't blend or anything. On younger skin and normal all the way to oily skin types I think it does really well. I know Walgreens always has coupons and sales, with up to 7% cash back from Ebates. Ulta still has their coupon but keep in mind it's $5 more at Ulta.
The gloss comes in numerous shades but I got clear. My reasoning for getting a plumping gloss was because I like the Dior Maximizer and the only reason I use them is because I do use the Lip Enhancer tool that you see from time to time on Instagram. So like I said I like the Dior one but was running out so I decided to get this. It smells like chocolate which is a bit odd but not bad. It's about 3x more tingly than any other plumping gloss I've tried. I use the Lip Enhancer in conjunction with a pumping gloss for a more lasting effect. This is super super tingly. So if you don't like that, don't get it.
sNext is No7 cosmetics. I have 3 things from them. The Stay Perfect medium coverage foundation, the shimmer palette in Rose, and the Translucent loose powder. All 3 things are around $12-$14 each. I've only seen this at Walgreens where I live, I know it's sold in Boots as well. This company has a very luxurious feel to them, the packaging looks expensive with the gold compacts, the glass bottles and so on.
The Stay Perfect foundation I really really like. It's definitely medium coverage but it doesn't oxidize and has a natural finish. They also come in a ton of shades which is great.
The shimmer palette in Rose is the lightest of the 3 palettes I seen. The packaging is gorgeous. It's very similar to a shimmer brick. It has four rows of different colored shimmers for a bronzey-pink highlight. It's incredibly soft. SO SOFT. It has great pigmentation. I would like to see a shimmer palette that has very fair tones because on me the Rose shade is still a bit darker than I would like but it's still wearable. To me this is just as good as the Lorac Lightsource highlight, not as intense as a Becca highlight but similar in texture.
The translucent loose powder is really nice as well in my opinion. It's not white, it's an Ivory/beige. I used it to set my under eye and it worked well. I tried to use it to bake and it work fairly well. The RCMA No Color Powder is better in my opinion and less expensive I think. This is more convenient though seeing as it's in Walgreens now. This sets the entire face beautifully and you can really go in and apply a heavy amount and it still look very nice which I like. So whether you apply this with a sponge and heavy or with a fluffy brush and lightly, I think it would work well for you.
Next I'm gonna talk about some products from Kiko Milano, which is an Italian brand. They are available online and they do have some very nice products. They run a lot of sales as well which is when I would buy from them. You can sign up for emails and get $5 off your first order
I got quite a few products from them because their mascara was on sale for $5 and it's usually around $14. I also picked up some other products. Not everything was great but some things really were.
So first I really like the Soft Touch blush. I have shade 108. It's definitely soft. It's also very pigmented when applied. More so than just swatching it on your hand. So bear that in mind and don't get too heavy handed with this. This is currently $3.80 and there are 2 shades.
Another blush I really like is the Blending Wave Multicolor Blush. Which is a two tone/ombre style blush. I have shade 4 it's on sale for around $6 marked down from $12. This again is super soft and pigmented like crazy. The packaging is cool and the product looks cool on the inside. It's just all around good.
I got 2 mascaras from the company. The one that I like was the Volume Attraction. At the time it was $5 but it's $12 now. It's hard for me to find mascaras that make a difference on my small thin lashes. This coats them very well which makes them more noticeable and really builds at the base of the lash line. The brush is a simple brush similar to my all time fave mascara L'Oreal Carbon Black, only a bit smaller. The pigmentation is really great, it's very black which is awesome and with the fact that it coats the lashes evenly it just makes my lashes stand out even more.
Moving onto a more recognizable brand I have two things from Physicians formula.
First off is their Butter Bronzer. Now you've probably heard every big beauty guru talking about this and for good reason. It's a natural satiny finish bronzer. I always love their bronzers in general. This one is amazing though. The packaging is awesome per usual. The scent though is coconut tropical goodness. It smells like summer. It's not an over powering bronzer, it's not overly orange, it's just a really good bronzer. It's on sale at Ulta right now for $9. Keep in mind you still have that $3.50 off coupon to consider, plus at least 3% cash back from Ebates.
Next is the Organic Wear Jumbo Mascara. This is not something I would typically like, because I'm hard on mascara like I said. The wand is plastic (I stab myself in the eye with those it never fails) and it's also huge. BUT this is really good. It really lifts the lashes in my opinion and doesn't over load your lashes with product so you can build and build without getting super clumpy spider lashes all of the sudden. The packaging again is adorable, it's a big green leaf. This goes for $10.
Next is Makeup Revolution. This is sold at Ulta. What I like about this brand is the face palettes they have, except the Beyond Radiance palette. I think this brand has great palettes if you're needing to start a kit or wanting to try different shades of blush, bronzer, contour and highlights, etc. without breaking the bank.
First is their blush palettes. All of them. I love all of them. I am partial to the Ultra Blush and Contour palettes out of them all. They have 6 shades that are matte to satin finish and then 2 shades that are highlight/baked/shimmery shades. The formula is great and the packaging is sturdy. These are only $10 and they have a lot of product inside of them.
I also really like the Pro Illuminate and Ultra Bronzer. They are both $7 and I'm pretty sure they have .52 oz in the pan, which is huge. The Pro Illuminate only comes in one shade but it's a dead on dupe for the Becca formula. It's a very warm gold shade though so keep that in mind. The Ultra Bronzer is soft and pigmented. It has no shimmer or shine to it which I love. It's quite warm as well but not overwhelming. It's super pigmented so again don't go in with a heavy hand I use mine with a fluffy brush from Real Techniques.
The Matte Blushes are quite big as well and super soft. They have very bright colors so I suggest looking at these in person if possible because the one I have is much brighter than it looked online. However, they are only $5 and can be returned to Ulta.
Catrice Cosmetics are slaying my life right now. Don't get me wrong there are items I don't care for but a lot of what I've tried has been really good.
I have their 18hr wear All Matt Plus Shine Control foundation. This was $5 when I bought it and now it's went back up to $9. Catrice foundations tend to run dark from what I hear and that definitely is the case with mine. I got the lightest shade which did oxidize to a darker shade and different undertone but I figured it would so I was ok with that. They only offer 5 shades which sucks. I will say I use more of this than you would with a normal foundation, I think it needs a generous amount of product to get you the desired full coverage it claims to be. It performs really really well though. I had no issues wearing this for 9 hours. It stayed matte for the most part and it didn't get patchy, lift, move around or anything. So I really really like this. I wish it was still just $5 though cause that's an amazing find.
Next is the waterproof Liquid Camouflage Concealer. I bought 2 shades in this, the lightest two. There are only 3 shades and these are super pale so, again, not much to offer in shade range, but I kid you not this is one of the best concealers I've tried. At the time when I bought them from Ulta they were $4 and now they're $6 which isn't bad. I use this on the under eye area and it's got great coverage, while not being super thick. I feel like it's similar in texture to the Urban Decay weightless concealer and better than the Too Faced Born This Way concealer. I can't say how much I love these enough, just try them.
Another good product from Catrice is their bronzer. It's soft and a neutral tone. To me I think it's kinda similar to Hoola Bronzer from Benefit but maybe a bit warmer. It's matte and pigmented. It's $6.49 right now. They also have a light shade in it which for very fair skin I think it would be ideal.
Wet and Wild has been doing alllllll kinds of good lately. The products I'm gonna talk about are what I feel don't get enough love.
Their Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer. This is like $4 and it's better than my Urban Decay, Too Faced, Nars, Benefit, basically all my more expensive eyeshadow primers. I have the oiliest lids ever. There has been no primer until now that would keep my shadow from creasing and this does. I set it with a bit of powder before I start applying my other shadows. My eye makeup doesn't transfer, doesn't crease, it stays the same all day.
Next is the Photo Focus Setting Spray. This is around $5. The spray or mist on this is even and in my opinion similar to the All Nighter spray from Urban Decay. Maybe not as strong as that one but close. I think for an everyday setting spray this is really really good.
Lastly is their Come Correct Celebrity concealer. This is under $5. This is a dead dupe for the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye concealer. Same texture, same thickness, same effect and coverage. I use this to clean up mistakes, cover blemishes, sculpt brows, and even on my under eye area. For the under eye though I recommend blending it out with your finger and not a brush and then setting it, doing one eye at a time. I just like that better because it's so much thicker than other concealers. It's totally full coverage and amazing.
Last brand I wanna talk about is Essence. I have a few things from them as well.
I got a free tube of their Forbidden Volume Rebel mascara (I accidentally took a shot of the originial mascara and not the Rebel. Rebel looks the exact same in packaging only it's red) with purchase and I like it better than the original which is the other way around for a lot of people. For me though I like this wand better and the way it coats my lashes fully. This is $4.49 and available at Ulta.
Next is their Pure Nude Highlighter that's also $4.49. I wish they had more than just one color but this is a good dupe for Champagne Pop I think. It's warm bronze-y shade and super, I mean super, pigmented.
I also like their eyeshadow primer: I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base which is $3.49. This isn't AS good as the Wet n Wild but it's still very good. I notice creasing after about 7 hours or so. I will say I hate the color of this. It's very orange. However, after blending it out and applying a light matte shadow to set it, it's not noticeable, on me.
So those are some brands and products that really stand out to me, that I feel are just as good as things you would find at Sephora.
Other great affordable mentions are:
L'Oreal Carbon Black Mascara
L'Oreal Lineur Intense liquid liner
Colour Pop Gel Liner in Swerve
Makeup Geek, JD Glow, Colour Pop, and Coastal Scents single shadows
Morphe Brushes new concealer
Colour Pop Lip Liners and Satin Liquid Lipsicks
Jordana Lip Liners
Elf Blush palettes
Max Factor Masterpiece MAX mascara
I'm sure there are more awesome products that I just haven't tried yet but these are what's standing out right now. I don't hear people talking about a lot of them so I wanted to talk about them.
I'm from Tennessee. I'm a makeup and skincare lover. I have always enjoyed creating looks but I love to help people with product knowledge and application even more. I've been able to do these things because God has seen fit to bless me with the opportunity.