If you’re a makeup artist or just love beauty, it’s easy to get blindsided by the glitz and glam of high-end products. But pricier cosmetics don’t always out-perform their drugstore counterparts (just ask these celebs). In fact, there are countless affordable options that are so legit, they might make you forget about all others. Next time you’re in the market to build out your beauty arsenal (or copy Kylie Jenner’s routine), head to the drug store — armed with this list of 15 buys that are in a pro’s kit — and thank us later.
1. Revlon Colorstay Matte Balm ($5): Long-wear products are everything when it comes to applying a day-to-night look on clients. When you’re looking for a lip formula that stays put and a color range that rivals the rainbow, this super affordable lippie is a safe bet.
2. NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette ($18): Simple, essential palettes with a range of matte and shimmery neutrals maximize wearability and versatility.
3. Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation ($8): For a flawless base that won’t melt off, this beloved foundation does the trick. It offers medium-to-full coverage with a semi-matte finish while reducing the appearance of pores instantly.
4. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge Set ($11): These blending sponges do a solid job of blending out foundation and cream products for under $15, which is a much better price than a lot of popular makeup sponges.
5. Maybelline Volume Express The Colossal Big Shot Waterproof Mascara ($9): This budge-proof formula adds a ton of volume, so there’s no need for falsies, like, ever.
6. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover ($9): For those dreaded makeup mistakes, micellar water will work wonders. Dip a cotton swab into the gentle cleanser to target a specific area or run a soaked cotton ball over your whole face for a deeper clean.
7. Nivea Men’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm ($7): This underrated beauty product might not be at the top of your drugstore beauty shopping list, but it should be. Pros use this soothing, calming balm as a makeup primer all the time since it creates a super smooth canvas for makeup.
8. Ardell Demi Wispies ($4): These inexpensive false lashes are a great choice for beginners because they look great on everyone. Fluttery and romantic yet still dramatic and bold, they add instant drama to any makeup vibe you’re after.
9. Maybelline Shine Free Oil Control Loose Powder ($6): Makeup artists and oily-skinned gals will agree that setting your face is a must to keep your makeup locked in place. This finely milled drugstore setting powder gets the job done beautifully for less than $10.
10. NYX Cosmetics Color Correcting Concealer ($12): Color correcting was a pro secret until fairly recently, when all our favorite brands started launching green, orange, and purple complexion products. Pick up one to help create an even base that enhances the look of all other products on top of it.
11. L’Oréal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray ($17): A couple spritzes of this affordable setter locks in everything from your base to your lipstick to your eyeliner.
12. Sonia Kashuk Domed Multi-Purpose Brush ($16): This super versatile domed brush can be used for anything from blending out foundation to setting undereye powder to chiseling out your cheekbones with bronzer.
13. Sally Hansen Salon Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup ($13): There’s no quicker, easier, and more effective way to blur imperfections and bronze your legs than with this magical spray.
14. NYX Cosmetics Micro Brow Pencil ($10): You’ll get the brows of your dreams with this pencil, whether you’re going for a super sculpted look or a more natural vibe.
15. Makeup Revolution Luxury Banana Powder ($8): We’ve all heard of the baking method to make our concealer crease-free and under eyes look bright, but it’s tough to know what type of loose powder is best to use. This under-the-radar pick is extremely lightweight and works wonderfully with your body’s temperature to seamlessly blend and set your concealer. Once you bake, you’ll never go back!
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