affordable august: best drugstore makeup

I am so excited to kick off Affordable August, a month-long series focused on budget-conscious beauty and style content. This first week we are going to focus on makeup. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite drugstore finds…some of which I use on a daily basis and/or for many years. Prices shown here will vary, depending on location of purchase.

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Wet N’ Wild Contour Brush ($3): The shape of this brush is perfect to cup the hollows of the cheeks to apply contour and bronzer. The density of the brush picks up just the right amount of powder for each application and to slowly build as needed. The size works to create a defined contour without getting too far down the face or into the apples of the cheeks. I have two of these brushes and it’s all I use for contour and bronzer. Sometimes when I want a sculpted look, I will even apply blush with this brush. Although not made with the highest craftsmanship, they have lasted for two years of regular use.

ELF Small Tapered Brush ($3): I use this brush exclusively to set my undereye concealer. Its soft bristles gets just the right amount of powder to lightly veil the necessary areas. In a pinch, I also use this for diffused, natural highlighting.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Makeup Blender Sponge ($5): I was introduced to beauty sponges a couple years ago and ever since then, I almost exclusively use them for foundation application. This one from Real Techniques blends liquid and cream products beautifully without pesky streaks. I use the flat end to buff makeup on larger surfaces of the cheeks and forehead while I use the pointed end around the nose or under the eyes. This sponge helps to sheer out thick foundations and concealers to give lighter coverage. I do like the original Beauty Blender better; it’s more durable and provides more seamless blending. However, the Real Techniques sponge is the best dupe at an affordable price.

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Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer ($9-$14): This bronzer comes in two shades: Light Bronzer and Bronzer. I use Bronzer; both shades are pretty light so those with medium-dark or deeper skin tones would not be able to use these. This formula is super lightweight and smooth. It’s not too cool and not too warm so it can be used as a hybrid of contour and bronzer. It has a very slight sheen if you look at it in the pan, but it is not noticeable once applied on the face. I’ve always been a drugstore bronzer kind of gal and this is my favorite one, drugstore or not. The only con to this is that it has a strong pina colada scent, but it doesn’t linger after application.

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NYX Angel Veil Primer ($16): This primer has a silicon, slippery texture that helps to blur fine imperfections. This base helps foundation to glide on more easily. I don’t notice prolonged makeup, but it enhances the overall look.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara ($9): This new and unabashed dupe for Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara has quickly become the new favorite in the beauty world. Previously, my drugstore favorite was L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black. I love volume-building mascaras. This one does a decent job with this, however, it surprisingly lengthens lashes quite a bit. It’s not too clumpy and it does not smudge at all after a long work day or a day out in the sun. It’s great for daily use and special occasions. Plus, it’s doable to remove it, unlike other formulas that linger no matter how many attempts to remove it. FYI, I used the regular version, not the waterproof one. Waterproof mascaras tend to weigh my lashes down and are a pain to remove.

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L’Oreal True Match Foundation ($9) & True Match Lumi Foundation ($9): The original True Match foundation was the first foundation I have ever purchased; I have probably gone through ten of these! I love the wide selection of shades that are broken down into Cool, Warm, and Neutral tones. This foundation has a satin finish and medium coverage and is great for every day wear. The Lumi foundation is just a TINY bit more dewy with the same amount of coverage; I enjoy the ease of a pump.

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L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation ($12): This one is definitely better suited for those with normal or normal-dry skin, because it has a very dewy finish. Compared to the True Match Lumi, it is more glowy and has a very watery consistency. It provides a medium coverage, but can be built-up. I find that this has a shorter longevity due to its finish, but it gives a healthy complexion while it lasts. I always set my makeup with powder and setting spray, but it’s especially recommended with this one.

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Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless Foundation ($6): I had to share about this foundation, because it is inexpensive compared to the quality. I can use this Matte+Poreless version in spite of my dry skin. I find that it has a satin finish (not matte) with a medium coverage. It can look cakey if you try to build it up to full coverage, however, I prefer medium coverage at most anyways. This is another good daily use foundation for work/school.

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L’Oreal True Match Powder ($7): Like its foundation counterpart, this is the first powder I’ve ever purchased. Meant to be a powder foundation, it has higher coverage than the average finishing powder. I use this when I wear a lighter foundation, or if my foundation is a just a bit lighter in shade, I’ll dust this powder (that I have purchased in a slightly darker color) to balance it out.

Maybelline Fit Me Set + Smooth Powder ($6): If I don’t want any coverage or to adjust my foundation shade, I’ll use this one by Maybelline. This is best for those with normal to dry skin; it does not mattify but set the makeup. I like how lightweight it is. There is a Matte + Poreless version that is targeted for those with combo to oily skin; I haven’t used this one, but they may be worth a try. In addition, those with very oily skin should try the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder; I’ve heard that it has a great ability safeguard the skin.

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Batiste ($8) and Pantene Dry Shampoo ($5): I use dry shampoo on a weekly basis. Batiste (original version) is lightweight, doesn’t leave the hair feeling tacky, and has an unobtrusive smell. It does leave a white cast if you don’t tousle it in well enough. The Pantene Dry Shampoo gives a boost in volume and does not leave any noticeable color. You can feel it on the hair slightly, but it masks smell well. If I had to choose, I would say Pantene wins by a hair.

 What are YOUR drugstore favorites? I’d love to know!

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