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Best Cheap Makeup Options: 11 Essentials

cheap makeup

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If you’re a beauty product junkie (like me), it takes no time at all to rack up the spending, which can definitely wreak havoc on your bank account. The solution? Less expensive options. But, cheap makeup brands don’t necessarily mean poor quality – you just need to be discerning. If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve done the research for you and come up with these awesome makeup picks for winter or any time of year.

Physicians Formula Ultimate Butter Collection for Women Gift Set Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wonderfully creamy, buildable formula
  • Versatile eyeshadows
  • Wide variety of shades
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Meifen PHOERA Soft Matte Long Wear Liquid Foundation Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Flawless, matte, full coverage
  • Won't settle, cake, or crease
  • Creamy & light, not greasy or heavy
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
milk makeup hydro grip set and refresh spray Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Makes makeup last all day
  • Light, non-sticky texture
  • Dewy, natural glow
Price: $20.30 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
L'Oreal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very long-lasting
  • Easy & smooth application, convenient sponge
  • Bold, dramatic colors
Price: $8.24 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Om Organics Argan + Tucuma Lip Butter
  • Very nourishing and hydrating
  • Glides on and feels smooth and soft
  • Amazing scent and taste
Price: $12.00 Shop now at Om Organics Shop now Read our review
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Plump Right Back Plumping Serum & Primer + Marshmellow Smoothing Primer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Helps skin look healthy & hydrated, even in dry climates
  • Lightweight yet grips & moisturizes
  • Makeup looks better and lasts longer
Price: $30.33 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Jason Wu Beauty Flora 25 Earth Angel
  • Applies easily & smoothly
  • Won't crease or smudge
  • Beautiful, buildable colors
Price: $35.00 Shop now at shareasale.com Shop now Read our review
e.l.f. Cosmetics Lash Beats Mascara & Lash Serum Bundle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great value
  • Some saw lash growth in just days
  • Super conditioning
Price: $11.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very long-lasting, won't wear off or smudge
  • Many gorgeous color options
  • Easy to apply
Price: $7.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pyt beauty defining eyebrow pencil Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lasts all day
  • Very natural looking
  • Matches hair colors well
Price: $16.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
REVLON Super Lustrous Glass Shine Lipstick Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great lip gloss alternative
  • Amazing, dramatic colors
  • Applies & removes very easily
Price: $5.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Editor’s Choice: Physicians Formula Ultimate Butter Collection for Women Gift Set

    Pros:
    • Wonderfully creamy, buildable formula
    • Versatile eyeshadows
    • Wide variety of shades
    Cons:
    • A bit bulky for traveling
    • Shadows don't apply easily for some
    • Colors without plastic over top can break

    If you’re anything like me, you love a great deal packed with great products, and the Ultimate Butter Collection from Physicians Formula delivers just that. The cruelty and paraben-free five-piece, 58-shade makeup set includes:

    • A luxurious bronzer that gives a gorgeous glow.
    • A moisturizing blush with refined pearl and soft-focus pigments that brighten skin tone, smooth skin texture, and leave you with a beautiful glow.
    • A lightweight, blendable highlighter with soft-focus pigments and refined pearls that takes just one swipe to give smoother skin, brighter tone, and highlighted finish.
    • A moisturizing lip cream containing pro-vitamins and essential fatty acids that condition, soften, and nourish lips.
    • Soft, creamy, luxurious eyeshadows that can be applied dry or wet.

    VideoVideo related to editor’s choice: physicians formula ultimate butter collection for women gift set2023-01-11T17:15:35-05:00
  2. 2. Meifen PHOERA Soft Matte Long Wear Liquid Foundation

    Pros:
    • Flawless, matte, full coverage
    • Won't settle, cake, or crease
    • Creamy & light, not greasy or heavy
    Cons:
    • Color matching was tough for some with fair skin
    • Not enough color options for some
    • May not be sweatproof (but waterproof)

    Meifen’s PHOERA soft matte, long wear liquid foundation gives you easily blendable, full, beautiful coverage that lasts all day. Originally created for film & TV, the lightweight, waterproof formula not only hides blemishes, discoloration, wrinkles, and imperfections, but it does double duty at controlling oil and leaves you with a beautiful matte finish. Ideal for any skin type and time of day.

    To use, shake well and apply a small dollop to the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Blend outward (including to hairline and neck) in straight, not circular, strokes or gently tap with fingers or a damp makeup sponge. Do this until fully blended and add more product as needed.

  3. 3. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Set and Refresh Mini Spray

    Pros:
    • Makes makeup last all day
    • Light, non-sticky texture
    • Dewy, natural glow
    Cons:
    • A little pricy for the amount (but works well)
    • Might be shiny on some oily skin
    • Small quantity

    This refreshing, alcohol-free, dual-phase lightweight setting spray has two layers — the blue agave grip phase and the green cannabis glow phase — which mix together to activate. Then, the spray becomes invisible and weightless as it grips and sets makeup for up to 12 hours. Ideal for nearly any skin type, it not only hydrates the skin, but it’s also breathable and visibly delivers a radiant glow.

    The lightly-scented spray contains blue agave extract to grip and set makeup, and hemp-derived cannabis seed extract, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and niacinamide to refresh, hydrate, and offer antioxidant benefits. Plus, the hemp-derived cannabis seed and moringa seed oils give another hydration boost to lock in moisture and give that dewy glow.


    VideoVideo related to milk makeup hydro grip set and refresh mini spray2022-05-12T16:56:31-04:00
  4. 4. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

    Pros:
    • Very long-lasting
    • Easy & smooth application, convenient sponge
    • Bold, dramatic colors
    Cons:
    • Can be tough to remove
    • Some found it smudged upward after time
    • Faded a bit for some

    You don’t need to break the bank to make those eyes pop with this waterproof gel eyeliner from L’Oreal. It glides on super smooth and evenly, lasts for up to 36 hours without smudging or need for touchups, and leaves a nice matte finish. Plus, it’s opthalmologist-tested, non-irritating, and great for sensitive eyes

    To use, apply liner in an even stroke or use the blending tip to fade out lines for a more dramatic effect. Comes in black, green, teal, blue, grey, and brown.

  5. 5. Om Organics Argan + Tucuma Lip Butter

    Pros:
    • Very nourishing and hydrating
    • Glides on and feels smooth and soft
    • Amazing scent and taste
    Cons:
    • Doesn't last too long
    • Could be a bit more moisturizing
    • Goes on light (may need to reapply frequently in dry weather)

    There’s nothing like the feeling of silky soft, smooth lips, and this organic vanilla lip butter from Om Organics gives you that on demand. The balmy butter contains argan oil, which is chock-full of antioxidants like vitamins A and E, and linoleac acid, plus omega 6 and 3, which gives you total nourishment, moisture, and protection. And, the product’s tucuma butter contains antioxidant polyphenols to combat free radicals and lauric, myristic, and oleic acids to help regenerate cells. 

    I loved that this lip butter smells amazing, absorbs super fast, leaves no residue behind, and literally tastes like dessert! It leaves my lips feeling smooth and looking natural. You won’t get that cringeworthy slippery, sticky, or greasy feeling you do with some lip products. Whether you’re using it as a base for lip gloss or lipstick or on its own au naturel, this butter is a great staple to keep on hand.

  6. 6. NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Plump Right Back Plumping Serum & Primer + Marshmellow Smoothing Primer

    Pros:
    • Helps skin look healthy & hydrated, even in dry climates
    • Lightweight yet grips & moisturizes
    • Makeup looks better and lasts longer
    Cons:
    • Watery consistency
    • Didn't plump enough for some
    • Felt tacky to some

    NYX’s Plump Right Back Plumping Serum & Primer + Marshmellow Smoothing Primer is a great little set that delivers tons of value and improved skin. Its marshmallow primer smoothes, hydrates, softens, and evens-out skin tone, all while reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles by adding a soft finish. You’ll get double-duty action from the electrolyte-infused plumping serum & face primer, which is super lightweight and long-lasting. Both products are made cruelty-free and will help your makeup stay put for longer, leaving you looking energized, healthy, and fresh without an unflattering, oily shine.


    VideoVideo related to nyx professional makeup plump right back plumping serum & primer + marshmellow smoothing primer2023-01-11T18:39:54-05:00
  7. 7. Jason Wu Beauty Flora 25 Earth Angel

    Pros:
    • Applies easily & smoothly
    • Won't crease or smudge
    • Beautiful, buildable colors
    Cons:
    • Lighter/cheaper packaging
    • Not pigmented enough for some
    • Some found matte colors chalky

    I absolutely love the color combos in this Flora 25 – Earth Angel eyeshadow palette from Jason Wu. The 25 earthy, shimmer, and matte hues are well thought out and complement one another, perfect for day or night. These shadows go on super smooth, are incredibly buildable to get your desired look, and last for hours. The best part is they’re highly pigmented yet not unforgiving for someone like me who is a fairly casual eyeshadow wearer – if I mess up, it’s easy to correct.

    To use, apply with any eyeshadow brush. Pro tip: you can blend deeper and lighter shades for a multi-faceted look.

  8. 8. e.l.f. Cosmetics Lash Beats Mascara & Lash Serum Bundle

    Pros:
    • Great value
    • Some saw lash growth in just days
    • Super conditioning
    Cons:
    • Inconsistent results
    • Some didn't see obvious growth
    • Might take time to see change

    With e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Lash Beats Mascara & Lash Serum Bundle, you get not one but two awesome products to look after your brows and lashes. The mascara separates, defines, thickens, and lengthens with its narrow brush especially designed to achieve this naturally, with zero clumps. The lash & brow serum conditions, nourishes, and enhances to make your lashes and brows look healthier, longer, and thicker. It takes just two swipes daily. And the best part is all ingredients are vegan, leaping bunny certified, and cruelty-free.

  9. 9. Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

    Pros:
    • Very long-lasting, won't wear off or smudge
    • Many gorgeous color options
    • Easy to apply
    Cons:
    • Can be drying
    • May need vaseline or lipstick remover to remove
    • Can cake depending what you eat & drink

    You don’t need to spend much to get gorgeous lips and, really, who doesn’t want those? The Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick is super long-lasting, highly pigmented, and non-transferable. It leaves lips looking beautiful all day long (up to 16 hours, in fact). It comes in 36 rich shades including nude, classic red, and bright hues.

    The angled, arrow applicator means a smoother, more defined, and precise application.

  10. 10. PYT Beauty Defining Eyebrow Pencil

    Pros:
    • Lasts all day
    • Very natural looking
    • Matches hair colors well
    Cons:
    • Hard material can be tough to use
    • Delicate
    • Not waterproof

    This retractable eyebrow pencil from PYT Beauty defines, sculpts, and fills brows to make them pop. It’s super easy to use, with a smooth, matte formula and precise tip with hidden sharpener that effortlessly helps you create natural-looking, hair-like strokes. The pencil comes with an attached spoolie brush to tame and style loose strands, and you can choose from 5 colors, ideal for all hair colors.

    PYT prides itself on its 100% hypoallergenic, vegan, cruelty-free, and Leaping Bunny Certified products, made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, and other harsh chemicals.

  11. 11. REVLON Super Lustrous Glass Shine Lipstick

    Pros:
    • Great lip gloss alternative
    • Amazing, dramatic colors
    • Applies & removes very easily
    Cons:
    • Colors may be slightly off from photo
    • Packaging can be tough to remove
    • Can smear/bleed a bit

    If you’re a fan of that super luxe, glass shine effect for lips but you’re on a budget – look no further. Revlon’s 3-pack of its Super Lustrous Glass Shine Lipstick is an amazing value and will last you ages.

    The formula contains a blend of low-melting point waxes that instantly make the moisturizing lipstick melt onto your lips. It contains peptides, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and rose quartz that help to soothe, nourish, plump, and smooth your lips into a gorgeous, shiny finish without stickiness or tackiness as lip gloss can sometimes have. Comes in 25 gorgeous shades (including clear).

Is Cheap Makeup Poor Quality?

Less expensive makeup doesn't necessarily mean poorer quality than more expensive makeup. If the ingredients agree with your skin and you like how the product makes you look and feel, a cheaper product can be ideal. Everyone is different, so this will vary by product for each person.

Is Expensive Makeup Better Quality?

More expensive products aren't necessarily better quality than cheaper makeup. Sometimes, a higher price is a reflection of other factors like brand prestige or luxurious packaging.

What Are The Best Cheap Makeup Brands?

Many brands make great cheaper beauty products, including Maybelline, NYX, Revlon, and e.l.f., among others.

Is Cheap Makeup Bad?

Makeup is not bad just because it's cheap. Just like with any other type of product, some cheaper options and some more expensive options will be better or worse, depending on the ingredients used and the needs of who's using it. When it comes to makeup, people experience sensitivities or reactions to both expensive and cheap products.

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