I would love to be ballin’ on that Sephora budget…but I’m not. I ballin’ on the Walmart budget.
However, I think it’s working out great so far! Recently, I have been trying out an array of makeup products available at the ‘drugstore’ (Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Ulta) and I wanted to share my faves! I’ll go in-depth on ones that I have a lot to say about and then I’ll shoot off some rapid-fire suggestions at the end for any products I haven’t covered.
My journey with primer has been a long and frustrating one. If I am being honest with you I think primer may be a product that is worth the splurge. However, I do have some drugstore picks that worked for me. Personally, I need and want a primer that helps my makeup stick to my face and last all day. However, if I can get some pore blurring I wouldn’t mind that either. I have tried four drugstore primers: Wet and Wild Photofocus Primer, Elf Poreless Face Primer, Elf Hydrating Face Primer, and Milani Prime Light. My fave out of these?
I do notice my makeup sticking better when I use the Elf Hydrating Face Primer than when I don’t use a primer. A close second place is the Wet and Wild Photofocus primer. This primer claims to refine pores but I didn’t notice this quality when applied to my skin. However, it did help my makeup last longer. I didn’t care for the Elf Poreless Face Primer at all due to the fact that it pilled up into little balls on me and did nothing (in my opinion) to shrink my pores. The Milani Prime Light worked fine if one is into illuminating primers. I just decided this was not a quality I needed in a primer. My only qualm with this [the Elf Hydrating Primer] product is that there is not a lot in the container. They do have a larger size available on Elf’s website. I plan to delve into the world of higher end primers (I’m talking Benefit and maybe Tarte not Dior or Tom Ford) with some incoming Christmas money so I will keep you posted on how those work!
While it is incredibly tempting sometimes, I don’t think one needs to spend a lot on foundation. There are so many amazing options at the drug store that have beauty YouTubers raving more so than their $100 options.
For the longest time, my favorite drugstore ‘foundation’ was actually a tinted moisturizer from Aveeno. I used this stuff religiously and loved it. However, they eventually stopped carrying it at my local store and switched to a tinted CC cream. I tried this but didn’t like it as much and that’s where I feel my makeup journey really began. Back then I was really only wearing a tinted moisturizer, a little eyeliner, and mascara. After I mozied on over to the makeup aisle to find a replacement for my beloved tinted moisturizer is when things really got started.
I have since tried several foundations and have narrowed it down to a top two. However, I truly think all these options are good… I have tried Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless, Revlon Colorstay for Combination/Oily, Milani Conceal + Perfect, and Wet and Wild Photofocus Foundation. I truly believe all of these are great and affordable options. However, some just worked better with my skin. My top two are:
Milani Conceal+Perfect is really good. It is definitely full coverage and it’s THICK. So while I do like this foundation, it isn’t something I want to wear every day. My absolute everyday favorite is definitely Revlon Colorstay. It’s not full coverage. I would say it is light to medium but I am guaranteed a good skin day whenever I wear it. A disclaimer with the Revlon is that I have noticed some shade variation between the Combination/Oily and Normal/Dry. I accidentally grabbed the Normal/Dry one day in my shade (180) and it was a little too dark for me. As for the other foundations, I have two close friends (Megan at Catastrophe and Pie and Cassandra at Sequins and Sass) who adore Maybelinne Fit Me. I just found that I didn’t care for the finish as much as I liked the above options. The Wet and Wild foundation is consistently raved about but it oxidized on me and that just made it difficult to work with.
I’ve tried several concealers throughout the years but it took me a little while to discover what I want and like in a concealer. I used to use concealer before foundation to hide redness, acne, etc. Now, I mostly use concealer under my eyes, the bridge of my nose, and on my forehead to add some dimension after foundation. More recently I have tried both Maybelline Age Rewind and Maybelline Fit Me concealer. At first, I really liked the Age Rewind but found as time went on that it created an odd texture under my eyes. That is when I switched to the Fit Me concealer and I am in love. It has an excellent amount of coverage and blends out really easily. Another pro is that it is a lot easier to apply than the Age Rewind concealer as it has a wand rather than that weird sponge tip.
I, like everyone else, have fallen for the HD powder trend. While the powder is super soft, sets things fine, and “appears” to be translucent you get some gnarly flashback if you take any flash photos. So, my quest for the drugstore version of the Laura Mercier powder, that no one will shut up about, began…and is still in progress. Honestly, I think this may be another product worth the splurge. However, I found what is, in my opinion, the closest you can get at a budget price.
Coty Airspun is available at Walmart for around $6 and it is the best drugstore loose setting powder I have ever used. I am not sure that this powder is completely void of any flashback but it definitely is nowhere near the horrors of the various other loose setting powders you’ll see at the drugstore.
Ah, the most important part of the face: the brows. I have a lot of feelings about brows and they are consistently what I spend the most time on when doing my makeup. I have tried practically everything available for eyebrows at the drugstore and I have several favorites.
Obviously, I am a big fan of Elf brow products and my go to is the brow cream however I also really like the eyebrow kit which was the very first brow product I ever used. The Rimmel Brow This Way gel is amazing too. It is great to use in a lighter color to add some dimension or in the same shade as your brows to set them in place or use on a lazy day just to add some quick color. While my top two fav brow products are Elf, I wasn’t that big a fan of the Elf brow pencil. I found that I had to press too hard to get any pigment and wound up breaking it every time I tried to use it. I haven’t found a drugstore brow pencil that can compete with my current cream or powder go-tos.
I’ve played around with several setting sprays and my biggest complaint with drugstore setting sprays is the size. I don’t really feel that the ‘cheap’ price is really all that cheap when you take into consideration that you are only getting 1.52 oz. That being said, I have tried Elf’s setting spray, NYX’s Matte Finish setting spray, Wet and Wild’s Photofocus setting spray, and Milani’s Make it Last setting spray and…. eh. Most of them didn’t make a difference. Only one of them was considered good enough to make it onto this list:
This one had a great mist and actually did ‘make it last.’ It also smelled pretty good which is always a plus.
Wet and Wild Megaglo in Precious Petals (or any other color because they are all beautiful)
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer. This stuff is awesome and it smells pretty good too.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my makeup favorites! Keep in mind that makeup is so diverse and works differently for everyone so what I didn’t end up liking might be your holy grail. I love talking about makeup so thank you for indulging me. See ya next time!