Budgeting beauty: Your guide to wallet-friendly makeup


Walking into a Sephora, we’re constantly hit with the latest launches from brands and our holy grail products. Unfortunately, many of these high-end brands that we love can break the bank, especially for college students. Brands like NARS Cosmetics, Tarte Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills, Inc. can charge $30 for just one item, making them impractical for our wallets.

Over recent years, more affordable makeup has been emerging, giving all of us beauty lovers the same great products for half of the cost. Rather than spending an entire paycheck on a few products, checking out items from these super affordable and high-quality brands can not only make our faces look great, but also leave us feeling happy that we didn’t just spend a fortune.

ColourPop Cosmetics

Rising to popularity due to its super pigmented and extremely affordable liquid lipsticks, ColourPop Cosmetics has become one of the biggest names in beauty. It has come a long way from just selling liquid lipsticks, with the brand selling a wide range of products including eyeshadow palettes, foundations, brushes, brow pencils and much more. 

Its makeup is great quality for a low price, which is the reason for its large fan base. Most of its products are less than $10, and it has a huge range of colors. Due to its rise in popularity, it has collaborated with beauty influencers and Disney. Some of its top-rated products include its super shock shadow, matte liquid lipsticks and super shock highlighters. Don’t forget to check out its "last call" section, filled with items on sale that won’t be returning. 

e.l.f. Cosmetics

An acronym for eyes, lips and face, this cosmetics brand has perfected products for these features without breaking the bank. It can be found in tons of drug stores, grocery stores and discount retailers. Eyeshadow palettes are approximately $10. Bronzers, highlighters, lipsticks and blushes are less than or about $5. A full face of makeup can cost less than $30, which is the cost of one concealer from a high-end brand at Sephora. 

Its best sellers include brow pencils and contours palettes, as well as skin care. For those that are concerned about their skin before and after makeup, e.l.f. also has super affordable skincare. Including eye cream, moisturizer and face mists, to name a few, e.l.f. has our makeup and skincare routines covered.

NYX Cosmetics

Loved by both amateur and professional makeup artists, NYX Cosmetics has been providing beauty lovers with near duplicates of our favorite high-end items, providing all of us with makeup comparable to products from Urban Decay, NARS Cosmetics and Benefit Cosmetics. One of its most loved items is its soft matte lip creams, which come in 40 shades. Speaking of a big shade range, its total control drop foundation comes in 30 shades with different undertones, and it costs only $14. 

If you’ve already found your favorite foundation or lipstick, NYX Cosmetics has a wide range of other products to experiment with. Eye glitters, setting powders, brush sets and false lashes all come at an affordable price, letting us get a professional full face of makeup for the low. 

wet n wild

A name that was previously never associated with good quality makeup, wet n wild has stepped its game up. One of the most affordable brands in this list, it constantly proves that great makeup doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Its MegaGlo highlighting powder is one of its most loved products, and it’s easy to understand why. 

Coming in at $4 a piece, these bright and reflective highlighters come in our favorite shades including pinks, champagnes and bronzes, as well as more unique ones like lilac, white and holographic. Its brushes start at $1, and are as soft as one that you’d find in Sephora. To make things even better, the brand is completely cruelty-free, making it great for your bank account and the animals. 

Morphe Cosmetics

If eyeshadow palettes at great prices are your thing, Morphe Cosmetics is the brand to check out. Its famous 35O eyeshadow palette features 35 eyeshadows for $24. Its 35 palettes all have a different theme, whether you want something filled with bright colors or one with cool, taupe tones. Brushes are one of the things in beauty that people may not realize break the bank, but Morphe Cosmetics has a wide range of affordable brushes and tools. 

It has different lines depending on what anyone may need, and a quick look on its website will show all of its variety. Morphe Cosmetics used to be just an online store, but it has recently expanded and opened up its own stores, and can also be found at Ulta Beauty. As if it already wasn't super affordable, it works with tons of beauty influencers and constantly has discounts and sales. 


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