It has recently come to my attention that a lot of women are intimidated by makeup.
I think I take it for granted because I’ve been completely obsessed with makeup for as long as I can remember. The drugstore makeup aisle was my toy store as a child, and now that I’m older, Sephora is my candy store. I’ve tried so many products over the years that not much seems unfamiliar to me. I know what I like and what I don’t, and shopping for makeup is a breeze.
Lately a lot of my friends and family have been asking me for recommendations of what makeup to buy for everyday wear, and I began to understand how totally daunting makeup shopping might be for someone who wasn’t already familiar with every product at the store (I know, I’m crazy). There are SO many different brands, products, colors, textures, finishes… Where to even begin? Because it can be waaaay too confusing, I wanna simplify it for ya.
For the woman who wants to wear makeup but doesn’t want to kill her budget, GO TO THE DRUGSTORE. You do NOT need to splurge on high-end products to look fab. Honestly, there are a lot of things at the drugstore that work much better than their counterparts at Sephora, and I ain’t complainin’. I also realize that a lot of women don’t want anything complicated. They just want to figure out what basic products will make them look great and feel glam without using 5 million tools or doing anything complicated. Soooo: LET’S BREAK IT DOWN. If you’re that girl who’s not a makeup addict like me and just wants a basic guide for what the hell to get at the drugstore so that you can create a put-together, chic everyday look, then here you go.
Oily/combination skin: Go for Revlon ColorStay for Combo/Oily skin. This has amazing coverage and will keep your oils at bay without making you look cakey. Ewww at the cake. You can build this up for super full coverage or you can use a thin layer for something lighter. This has been my go-to for about 8 years now, and I know I can always depend on it.
Dry/Normal skin: Go for L’Oréal True Match. If you have normal skin, you could definitely use the Revlon ColorStay for Normal skin as well – just choose whatever you’re feelin’/ whatever has the best color match for your skin tone. L’Oréal True Match and L’Oréal True Match Lumi are great, dependable, everyday foundations that will give your skin a nice glow and will get the job done. (Go for the Lumi if you’re after that dewy, extra glowy look.)
I’m going to suggest you get two different concealers – one for under your eyes and one for any blemishes, scars, or other spots. Your undereye concealer should be lightweight and much thinner in consistency than anything covering blemishes on the rest of your skin. Whatever is going to hide a zit needs to have some massive staying power and be thick enough so it doesn’t smudge around. For under your eyes, pick up the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. This is a great dupe for Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer and works on basically everyone. If you’re really tight on a budget and don’t really deal with breakouts, then you can easily use the Maybelline Fit Me concealer to cover up blemishes on your face as well. The Fit Me concealer is perfect for everyday, but another amazing option is Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer. This one is definitely for under your eyes ONLY. The Fit Me concealer won’t give you a brightening effect, but the Instant Age Rewind is amazing at brightening up your undereyes if you struggle with not-so-cute dark circles. It’s bomb. To conceal any blemishes or scars, I recommend going with Physician’s Formula Conceal Rx. This stuff has phenomenal lasting power, blends nicely, and is super thick without being cakey. It seriously covers everything.
While some people can get away without setting their foundation, most people really should. Setting your face will lock in the foundation and concealer you just worked hard to perfect so that they don’t slide around on your face by the end of the day. ESPECIALLY UNDER YOUR EYES. Always set under your eyes. Creasing is not cute. A great translucent powder, which can be used both under your eyes and on the rest of your face, is Maybelline’s FaceStudio Master Fix Setting + Perfecting Loose Powder. It’s very finely-milled, so it easily glides over the skin and doesn’t cake up. If you struggle with oily skin like me, I highly recommend Rimmel’s Stay Matte Pressed Powder. You can get the translucent version or one that matches your skin tone if you want extra coverage. It has fab lasting powder and keeps oil away much better than most high-end pressed powders I’ve tried. SCORE. You can definitely still use the Stay Matte even if you don’t have super oily skin, but if your skin is extremely dry, it’ll probs dry you out too much. In that case, stick with the translucent Maybelline powder. OR, if you want a bit more coverage, go for the Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder. It’s another great everyday powder that’ll do its job, no prob.
There are a TON of fabulous bronzers and blushes at the drugstore, so I could easily list about 10 right now that would be perf. Buuuuut for the sake of keeping things simple, I’m going to suggest two options. Remember, ALL OF THIS IS OPTIONAL. You might be someone who just wants a contour and highlight shade, you might be someone who just likes blush, you might just wanna strobe all day long, or you might not want any of the above. Do what works for you, girl!
- Pick up the e.l.f Countouring Blush & Bronzing Powder & blush in Gotta Glow. The bronzer/blush duo is a great dupe for the infamous NARS Laguna/Orgasm duo, has great pigmentation, and lasts forever. It works well on pretty much every skin tone. I have literally no idea why Gotta Glow is called a blush. It’s a highlighter. It’s super cheap (like $3) and def gives you DAT GLOW.
- If you want everything in one compact, grab the Maybelline FaceStudio Master Contour Kit. I’m in love with this product and have been using it pretty much every day because it’s just so easy to have everything in one place. The contour shade is the perfect neutral tone, the blush is pigmented but nothing too crazy, and the highlighter is subtle but gorgeous in natural light. This probably isn’t the product you’re going to use to go to prom, but it’s perfect for everyday, casual looks. Plus, I love to use the contour and highlight shades as shadows for my lids when I’m too lazy to whip out actual eyeshadows.
Your eyebrows are SO IMPORTANT. Pleeeeease do not forget about them. I love the NYX MicroBrow pencil – total dupe for Anastasia Brow Wiz. If you don’t have NYX at your local drugstore, pick up the L’Oréal Brow Stylist Definer. And then get the L’Oréal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara to lock those bad boys in place.
Maybelline The Falsies. Forever and always. NOTHING MAKES MY LASHES LOOK THIS INCREDIBLE. That’s all I have left to say about it. If you like a smaller wand, especially for the lower lashline, go for L’Oréal Telescopic. It gives AMAZING definition and length. Don’t underestimate that tiny brush. Both of these mascaras come in waterproof formulas, so if you’re a waterproof kinda girl like me, you’re in business.
If you want liquid eyeliner, pick up the NYC Liquid Eye Liner in black. SUPER black, dries matte, and doesn’t budge. There is no other liquid eyeliner, high-end or drugstore, that compares to this (not even you, Kat Von D). If you don’t know what the hell you’re doing with eyeliner, don’t go for liquid. A great pencil eyeliner from the drugstore is the NYX Tres Jolie Gel Pencil Liner. It actually stays on your waterline and is extremely pigmented. If you don’t have NYX at your drugstore, I also love the Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner (this in Nude is HG). It’s verrrrry pigmented, creamy, and long-lasting. If you want a gel/cream liner, nothing beats the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner. Perfection in a tub. And the brush that comes with it is totally usable, surprisingly. Don’t feel like you need to get black in any/all of these – go for whatever color your heart desires! Or skip the liner altogether if it’s too much of a fuss for you. You do YOU.
To keep things simple, grab a nude-y shade. You can’t go wrong with a nude lip. It will literally go with every look. My fave lip liner is the NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Nude. If you don’t have NYX at your drugstore, then grab the Milani EasyLiner for Lips in Most Natural. It’s slightly darker than NYX’s nude, but it’s universally flattering. In terms of the drugstore, Maybelline kills the lipstick game. Maybelline’s Warm Me Up is a kind of dark, mauvey, warm nude that looks good on all skin tones and can be worn with any look. It won’t wash you out, but it’s not super basic. If you DO want a classic, matte nude lip, pick up Wet N’ Wild’s Bare It All. It’s BAE.
This is TOTALLY optional. Honestly, there aren’t many palettes at the drugstore that are very impressive. There are a lot of amazing SINGLE eyeshadows at the drugstore, but for someone just looking for the basics, minimal products, I’m not going to bore you with a list of single eyeshadows to buy. If you want some gorgeous, affordable shadows, Makeup Geek by far is the best. But you gotta order those online (worth the wait, IMO). However, if you’re at the drugstore and really just want a basic eyeshadow palette (without waiting for online shipping) for days when you wanna glam up, the Covergirl TruNaked Eyeshadow Palettes are pretty impressive. They have great everyday tones, a wide variety of finishes, nice pigmentation, and are very compact. They have three shade ranges, and they’re all gorgeous!
I love love love Real Techniques brushes. They are definitely on the pricier end of things at the drugstore, but investing in quality brushes is definitely worth it. Good brushes will change your makeup game. If you can’t find Real Techniques at your drugstore or if the price is still a little too steep, EcoTools has amazing face brushes, and e.l.f. has a million and five brushes that are SUPER CHEAP (we’re talking $1) and work fabulously. BUT to be honest, if you don’t mind ordering online, Morphe has the best damn makeup brushes in the game. Like, I prefer these over my MAC brushes, and they are EXTREMELY affordable.
Aaaand there you have it! If you want the basics, want to be COMPLETELY covered in the makeup department, and only want to go to the drugstore, THIS IS YOUR GUIDE. I’m considering doing a high-end version of this for people who don’t mind splurging, because let’s be real…Sephora is SO fun. Thoughts? Let me know your HG beauty products from the drugstore in the comments! You know I’m always on the hunt for more! <3