Budget Beauty: Inexpensive Makeup Must-Haves

Budget Beauty: Inexpensive Makeup Must-Haves

As much as I love luxury beauty and makeup products, at heart, I love a good deal even more! Beauty doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and these days, budget items can be just as good (or better) than their more expensive counterparts! Here are ten items that I love because they perform like a dream, and more importantly, are super-forgiving on my wallet.



I love a good eyeliner, and kajal is one of those products that I love using because it's comfortable to wear, and is a very versatile—you can use it to tightline, flick out a wing, or smudge it out for a beautiful, and quick smokey eye. 

I have been using Verri Kajal for a few years now, I originally found it in a Halal market near my mom's house in North Carolina, and I've been in love ever since. I absolutely love the rich, black pigmentation, and as someone who loves lining their water line, this doesn't irritate or tug, which is super important, if you don't enjoy crying all your makeup off.



flower glisten up chubby highlighter

Highlighting is all the rage these days, and I have a plethora of them that I rotate between for different effects depending on my mood. The Glisten Up Chubby Highlighter in Pearl Shimmer from Flower Beauty (by Drew Barrymore for Walmart), is one of my favorite recent purchases! I love the cute packaging, and the cream formula creates this wonderful 'glow from within' effect! It's perfect on days where you want a glow, but not a harsh beam of light across your face.

This highlighter is said to be a dupe for the Madina Milano Chic & Shine stick that makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts alike covet and adore—unfortunately, that product is only available in Italy, but lucky for you, you can pick up this equally gorgeous alternative from a Walmart near you!

$9.98 at Walmart, or walmart.com



One of my favorite budget brands of all time is Black Radiance! They are such an underrated company, with a great array of quality products that are easy on the pockets.

I'm on what has to be my 7th or 8th concealer stick! I use the shade Dark as a bronzer, and I love it because of the natural warmth, and dimension it adds to my face after applying my foundation. 

These sticks are pigmented, creamy, and easy to apply, not to mention they come in a variety of shades that you can grab for undereye concealing, spot correction, or bronzing. 




When it comes to lipstick, I'm a matte girl through and through. I can't get into high-shine products, as beautiful as they are, they just aren't for me. I'm a big fan of MAC's Retro Matte line, but for a more budget-friendly option, these Wet n' Wild Megalast Lipsticks really hit the spot.

The formula for these isn't super dry, which makes them extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and they deliver so much pigmentation, that it almost feels like a crime how cheap they are!

Shown: Top to bottm, L-R: Sugar Plum Fairy, Vamp It Up, Smokin' Hot Pink, Stoplight Red




I love false lashes, but let's be real, if you wear them often enough, the price can really add up. Nowadays, brands aren't just offering your run-of-the-mill strip lashes, you can now find natural hair or mink falsies in styles that are flirty and romantic, that enhance your eyes without looking too unrealistic. The only problem is, for those amazing lashes, you're spending $15 or more per pair—who has time for that?

In times like these, Ebay is my best friend. Just search for 'false lashes' and you'll be amazed at the amount of choices available to you on the cheap! Most lashes are around a dollar, or a few dollars for the real hair ones, and even better, they usually have free shipping too—so for a deal like that, how could you pass these up?

I like to stock up my makeup kit with wispy and demi-wispy styles, and it feels great always having the perfect pair on hand when I want to kick up my lashes a notch!

$1-4 with free shipping


Coastal Scents Eclipse 15 Concealer Palette

Finding a great concealer can be tricky, our faces have so many tones and shades that one concealer can't possibly do it all. I love investing in palettes for this reason, because you can get quite a few different shades that will work for you without having to buy a bunch of individual shades.

I love this palette from Coastal Scents quite a bit more than I had originally expected, I got it because of its great price, but I use it all of the time both for myself and my makeup clients on occasion. If you're a new MUA on a budget, this is a great way to get a variety of shades that are easy to mix and match to customize for your clients. You can also mix in a couple drops of oil or your favorite moisturizer to thin out the formula and create your own tinted foundation.

This palette even comes with a few shades that act as correctors for neutralizing any problem areas. With the right primers and finishing products (like powder or setting spray), these work exceptionally well, and are a fantastic value.




I am obsessed with blush, and I never pass up an opportunity to buy one—or in this case, four. The Elf Blush quad palettes are such a great value; you get tons of product in each pan, plus the color pay-off is incredible—a little goes a very long way!

I originally bought the Dark quad (bottom) because the deeper berry tones seemed more suitable for my skintone, but after a surprise encounter with the Light quad (top) at my local Marshalls where it was on sale for $4.99, I had to grab it! I'm glad I did, because the Light palette has three shades that are absolutely gorgeous on me, the peachy tones are a perfect kiss of color for Summer!

These have exceeded my expectations—I use them every single day, and I can't recommend them enough! The only con is, I never know which one to use because I have so many choices!





If you didn't know, Marshalls and TJ Maxx are both excellent places to pick up makeup on the cheap! I'm always browsing the beauty sections in those places, because I usually find some hidden gems! These Max Studio palettes piqued my interest recently, and I decided to take the plunge, because they were so inexpensive, but looked promising.

I got a 32 color eye palette, bronzer/blush/highlighter trio, and a smokey eye palette all for around $12! They are all quite pigmented, and the eye shadows are rich and creamy, and blend wonderfully. I've only experienced a few patchy ones, but overall, they've been far exceeding my expectations! 

For the price, it's definitely worth checking out!




When it comes to mascara, there is a product for almost anything: lengthening, curling, volumizing, you name it. It can be overwhelming at times with the amount of options available, so sometimes, it's good to revisit the classics.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara has to be the one product that everyone has used at one point in their life. My first encounter with it was seeing it in my mom's makeup bag when I was a kid, by the time I was old enough to buy makeup, this is was one of the first things I ever bought—I mean, the iconic pink and green tube is so nostalgic, how could I not?

The formula itself is great, it volumizes and curls beautifully, but the brush can pick up a lot of product, so make sure to get the excess off before you swipe (unless you're going for a clumpier look)! Sure, there are bigger and bolder lash products on the market, but if you're looking for something simple and to the point, this is it.




If you're like me, the idea of spending hundreds of dollars at one time on a set of brushes breaks you out into hives—high-end brushes are beautiful, and I own a few, but when it comes to owning a full set of brushes for eyes and face, I still haven't been able to justify the cost. Plus, when beautiful and affordable brushes exist, like these from Jessup, there's no need to go breaking the bank.

I stumbled onto these one day when I was browsing eBay, and decided to take a plunge and see if they were any good. They reminded me a lot of the Sigma brushes I owned, from the black and silver handles, to the fibres of the bristles—and for only $14 for a full set, I was willing to find out if they were any good or not.

The verdict: these are solid brushes. The construction is really great, and the fibres are quite soft and they blend makeup like a dream! I use these daily, and wash them often and I have never experienced any shedding, which is very impressive for any makeup brush!

This set has a nice mix of small detail and eye brushes, and some larger brushes designed for powder and foundation—so basically, you have everything you need to create beautiful looks on either yourself or makeup clients.

$14 for a 15 piece set

What are some of your budget beauty favorites? Let me know in the comment section below!



Photography by Tasha James

All products shown were purchased with my own money.