It's expensive to be a girl. Our self-care routines are important to us, and in order to achieve that flawless complexion we want, we must purchase everything from foundation and concealer to mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick … the list goes on. When you're buying all of these things on a regular basis, your bank account really feels the effects. But you can look just a nice and spend way less by following our drugstore makeup guide.
Don't get us wrong, it can be tempting to buy the expensive brands of makeup, like MAC, Dior, Clinique, Estee Lauder and Tom Ford. After all, their advertising can be quite convincing.
And magazines and TV consistently tell us that in order to look as beautiful as the stars gracing the big screen, we need expensive makeup brands. That advertising and marketing is a big part of why the makeup costs more in the first place.
However, there are many "budget brands" that have surfaced over the years that still offer high-quality products, like Milani, E.l.f., Wet n Wild and NYX. These are some of the best drugstore makeup lines, which are often tested by famous YouTubers and beauty bloggers and compared to the expensive brands — and they come out on top!
Here's our drugstore makeup guide to help you save money without sacrificing your look.
You don't have to drop big bucks on mascara, because the stuff you're getting at the drugstore is just as good (if not better) than what you would purchase in a department store. Did you know that the mascara brands sold in drugstores are often made in the same laboratories, with the same formulas as the expensive cosmetics?
While the formula can make a difference, what really matters for mascara is the type of wand you're using. The thicker the brush, the more voluminous your eyelashes will be. If you really want to pump up your lashes, go with a plastic bristle brush or a twisted wire brush.
For length, the opposite is true. Get defined lashes with smaller plastic or rubber brushes. Pay attention to the brush of the mascara so you can achieve the look you're after.
It's not worth spending lots of money on mascara because you'll have to end up tossing it in the trash after just three months. Three months is the point in time when the formula begins to get dried out and isn't as effective. Plus, old mascara quickly becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to spread bacteria all over your lashes.
Just like mascara, eyeliner only has a shelf life of three months, so you'll want to re-stock your liner every three months to prevent the spread of bacteria. Many of the designer brands use the same formulas you would find in drugstores, so you're not doing yourself any favors by splurging here.
There are plenty of different kinds of eyeliner — pencil, liquid, powder, gel, etc. And there are loads of colors beyond the typical black or brown.
Pencil liners give a more subtle, soft look and are easy to work with, especially if you're trying your hand at a smokey eye. If you want an eyeliner that produces more sharp and contoured lines, you'll want to opt for the liquid variety. And if you're hesitant to go all-in on a liquid liner, there are also some that come in the form of a marker, so it's less of a mess, but still produces clean lines!
Keep in mind that not every brand carries multiple varieties of eyeliner. Some have only pencil liners, while others have liquid, marker and gel eyeliner. Don't be afraid to switch between brands to test out a new kind!
No sense in shelling out $30 for eyeshadow when there are brands at the drugstore offering you a palette of lots of different colors for way less. You can purchase a combination of browns, beiges and gold to warm up your eyes, or give them a cool look with a palette of silvers, greens and blues.
Whichever hues you decide to buy, a palette is always the most inexpensive option because you're getting the most bang for your buck. Drugstore palettes are much more affordable than designer ones — by a lot. For a small palette from a high-end brand, you could be paying upwards of $50, but a drugstore set with similar colors could be less than $10.
And when using eyeshadow, it's hard to tell the difference between a MAC shade and a L'Oreal shade, so why spend the money if no one is going to know the difference?
Plus, thanks to eyeshadow's four-month lifespan, you'll find yourself purchasing this must-have makeup pretty often.
If you're smart about what lipstick you buy, you can get a great deal without sacrificing quality. You can always tell a good lipstick from a less-than-average one because the designer brand glides on smooth with a luxurious finish and full color.
Some of the brands that online beauty gurus talk about for lipstick are NYX, Maybelline and Revlon. These brands have all kept up with the trends and carry traditional lipstick tubes, along with the liquid variety and have a wide array of colors to choose from.
Overall, be sure to look for a lipstick at the drugstore that combines color with hydrating ingredients so your lips don't dry out and will look fresh and plump all day!
Foundation is tricky and can make or break a look, which is why it's one of the items people are willing to spend more money on — like $75 for a bottle. It is, after all, the base of your look and everything else will go on top of it.
But no matter what brand you use, you need to figure out your skin type and the kind of coverage you want before you purchase one. It's going to take some research, but it's worth it in the end because you'll find something that works well with your skin and does what you need it to do.
If you have dry skin, a matte finish is going to dry your skin out even more, so you'll probably want to find one that's dewy. Or if you want a full-coverage foundation, you'll need a thicker formula.
On top of that, you'll need to find a shade to match your skin. Some drugstore foundations, like L'Oreal True Match and Maybelline Fit Me, have a wide range of colors and shades while also offering matte and dewy finishes, so you can find exactly what you need for less than $10.
Like foundation, concealer can be tricky. It may be hard to find one that gives you the look you desire without cracking or clinging to creases, dry skin and blemishes. NYX, Wet n Wild and Maybelline have concealers that have high ratings from people in the beauty industry, which really shows that the $80 price tag of La Mer's concealer is not necessary, and you can spend $7 on the drugstore brands, instead.
As with anything, when you're buying from the drugstore, you're bound to come across a specific product or brand that you just don't like. It may take a little bit of testing since not everyone's skin is the same and may react to different makeup.
Chances are, you'll be using a few different brands for different things. One brand may have a great lipstick, while another might have an eyeliner you prefer. To keep track of what you've already tried and whether or not you like it, create a list of all these brands and their products to remember what you like and avoid what you don't.
Now it's time to start saving your cash — and look good while doing it!