Fabulous Beauty Buys on a Budget

Updated on August 15, 2017
Beautiful makeup can brighten up your day and make you feel fabulous.
Beautiful makeup can brighten up your day and make you feel fabulous. | Source

Don't Underestimate the Power of Great Makeup

Why do I adore makeup so much? It's easy to explain. Makeup is a universal mood lifter, whether from a swipe of sumptuous lipcolor or a generous dab of brightening blush. The transformative power works best when you find the most effective products for you. I've tried it all - from the high end cosmetic counters to the bargain bins at drugstores - and I can happily report that I've finally found the items that work best, at my current life stage. The best part? They are accessible and affordable products, and you may discover that they work for you too!

Which must-have items should you stash in your beautifying arsenal? The winning lineup can be quite individualized, based on personal preferences, season, occasion, and skin type/color. Age should also factor into makeup choices; as we get older, skin tone tends to become duller and more uneven, and colors that looked great on our younger selves may no longer flatter us. How much is too much? Also an individual choice - some women feel most confident with a "full face", while others feel best with minimal makeup, preferring the pared down look of a great lengthening mascara and beautiful lip gloss.

I've detailed below my favorites in the makeup categories that I rely on the most; included are brand names and approximate prices, as well as the qualities that I feel make these products fantastic (and affordable - all under $10 in US dollars) beauty buys.

For reference, I am in my early 40's, with typical skin aging issues. I have uneven pigmentation on my face, some expression lines and "crows feet", mostly dry and sensitive skin (but combination in the "T zone"), and my skin tone is fair/light. I use the following makeup items for creating everyday looks, and not for special occasions like weddings.

Eyeliner

Essence Long Lasting Eyeliner, approximately $2.49

A nearly obsessive, years-long search has finally led me to my beloved Essence liner. Eyeliner is my "desert island" item, and as such, requires stricter standards than any other cosmetic in my bag. An eyeliner must offer many great qualities to earn a spot as my must-have product. Essential factors include pigmentation or "color payoff", lasting power, ease of use and color choice. Price is important as well.

This retractable liner (not to be confused with the Essence waterproof gel pencil or kajal pencil) offers lasting power like no other liner I've ever used. It stays on all day, even through heat, humidity and sweaty workouts. I use the Hot Chocolate shade, which shows up as a nice medium brown on my blue eyes. This liner gives great pigmentation without being too intense, and there is no need to go over the line multiple times to get a detectable line (that is one of my complaints with a lot of the waxier feeling pencil liners). The best part? If you wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes, you'll probably find this product non irritating and easy on the eyes. I've found it's gentle enough to use for tightlining and even on the waterline. This beauty of a liner can be found at stores like Target or Ulta for an unbelievable price - around $2.49. The bonus? Retractable liners, like this one, don't need sharpening and are fuss free.


A quality eyeliner, like this Essence eye pencil, delivers intense and long lasting color.
A quality eyeliner, like this Essence eye pencil, delivers intense and long lasting color.

Mascara

Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Mascara in Very Black, approximately $5.99

Looking for one item that can dramatically transform your look in seconds? Go for a volumizing mascara. Many women have a favorite, but I strongly recommend you give this Maybelline formula a try. Quick to apply and very inexpensive, it's a great budget buy. I usually apply two coats. With a couple swipes, I get a nice sooty black color, with great volume and added length. A few clumps may be inevitable with multiple coats, but have an eyelash comb ready and you can blast them away. Don't forget to always use an eyelash curler, whether you think you need one or not. As I'm getting older, I'm dismayed to see my puny lashes get more and more sparse. An eyelash curler makes all the difference - it really helps to open up my eyes. I use the waterproof formula of Colossal Big Shot, which doesn't budge until you attack it with a tough makeup remover.

A bold mascara, like this Maybelline Colossal Big Shot formula, can add instant intensity to your eyes.
A bold mascara, like this Maybelline Colossal Big Shot formula, can add instant intensity to your eyes.

Concealer

Rimmel Match Perfection 2-in-1 Skintone Adapting Concealer & Highlighter, approximately $4.99

Once I hit my mid 30's, concealer quietly became an everyday staple in my makeup bag. My undereye circles and uneven tone desperately needed the coverage, but I tried many before finding one I absolutely loved in every way. This Rimmel concealer is so fantastic, I've totally stopped wearing foundation and use only this concealer on my face. It's that good. Coverage is medium to full, and color quality/shades are excellent; I alternate between the cooler light shade (245) and the more yellow based fair/light neutral (240). The formula is neither matte nor dewy; it has just a slight but very flattering glow to it. On the tube description, it is listed as a concealer and highlighter, so my guess is that the slight illuminating glow is the highlighting feature of this product. Lasting power is excellent, especially if you use a primer underneath. I've found that it consistently lasts all day, even in hot weather. Best of all, the tube lasts a long time and is readily available at most drugstores and superstores.

A great concealer can eliminate the need for foundation. This Rimmel Match Perfection delivers extra benefits with its highlighting powers.
A great concealer can eliminate the need for foundation. This Rimmel Match Perfection delivers extra benefits with its highlighting powers.

Blush / Bronzer

Milani Baked Powder Blush in Luminoso (05), approximately $9.49

Nothing can wake up your skin like a good blush or bronzer, and this budget priced gem from Milani can do the job of both. Infused with just a subtle shimmer, this nifty little blush (complete with pop up mirror) is a rosy bronze hybrid that really perks up the skin without too much intensity. As with other Milani blush products, this one really lasts and lasts with no touchups required. I use this shade year round, and I think this color could suit a wide variety of skin tones. The Milani cosmetic line is a bit harder to find than the others listed; I know that CVS carries their products, as well as some Walgreens and Rite Aid stores.

Perk up your skin with a flattering blush or bronzer, like this Luminoso powder blush shade from Milani.
Perk up your skin with a flattering blush or bronzer, like this Luminoso powder blush shade from Milani.

What is your one "must have" beauty item?

See results

Only the Essentials

So many categories of cosmetics are out there - eyeshadow, lipcolor, gloss, foundation, highlighter, powder and many other items to help you put your best face forward. The products I've reviewed above, though, are my "can't live without" items. I always enjoy hearing from others about their essential items and why they love them. I welcome your thoughts on makeup must-haves - whether or not they are budget friendly!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, bellatory.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://bellatory.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)