So I finally got my the-seasons-are-changing cold and wasn’t planning to post for a few days, but I didn’t want to keep putting it off. You can expect to see my updated skincare routine and fall haul soon, but for now – here are my favorite affordable products, for $15 or less.
ColourPop is a fantastic choice if you are interested in trying some new things or experimenting with color as everything is $8 or less, plus it’s all cruelty-free and made in the USA. I am a huge fan of most of their products, especially the Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks ($6), Creme Gel eyeliners ($5), and highlighters ($8). Since I talk about the brand so much already, I’m not going to go too in-depth here, but I will recommend my favorite shade for each of the products mentioned: 1st Base, Best O, and Hippo (respectively).
Sephora Collection Ultimate Oil-in-Gel Lipstick Remover ($9.50, on sale for $5) – This was a product recommendation from someone on Reddit and I am absolutely not disappointed. As someone who is a loyal user of oil-based cleansers, I wasn’t expecting anything overly special from this but for $5 (and 20% off of that), I had to try. Damn does this stuff cut through some liquid lipstick! It beats out both Lush‘s Ultrabland and the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser for removing my beloved liquid lipsticks. Seeing as how that is my preferred lipstick formula, I may be buying more of these soon.
Yes to Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Wipes ($5.99) – I am not really a fan of wipes as a means for removing makeup (they just do not do the job well), but these guys have been a lifesaver for unexpected breakouts – an unfortunate side effect of frequent product testing. I recently had a major breakout after testing some new Ole Henriksen skincare (which I am super upset about because I was really enjoying the products), I was honestly worried it was going to take weeks to clear up. I’ve completely stripped down my skincare routine and for the last few days have just been using these wipes before bed and then applying my CeraVe moisturizer. Two days later, my skin has already massively improved. I may be blemish free for Thanksgiving after all!
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion – Another Reddit recommendation, I picked this up a while ago at my local Walgreens (but it is way cheaper on Amazon!) I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it has been a loyal constant in my ever-evolving skincare routine. With ceramides and hyaluronic acid, it’s a great option for normal and dry skin types. It’s not quite hydrating enough for how extra-dry my skin gets in the cold weather, but it leaves my skin feeling soft and doesn’t break me out so I use it every night before bed and then just top it off with a facial oil for the cooler months.
Jeffree Star Velour lip scrub ($12) – Picked up the Mojito flavor of Jeffree’s new lip scrub with some of the holiday lipstick shades and I am so impressed. I so prefer it over the crazy expensive Fresh Sugar Lip Polish (which tastes horrible by the way) and I think I may even like it more than Lush‘s Mint Julips. The mojito flavor is just okay, not offensive at least, but the scrub is great with relatively course sugar granules that really leave your lips smooth. As someone with the nasty habit of peeling off dry skin on my lips, I’m really banking on this stuff to help me break that pattern. Also the container is both massive and adorable.
Sephora Collection Colorful Face Powder contour in “Tranquil” ($15) – If you are pale and cool-toned like me you may know the struggle of finding a contour shade. Every color I have every tried is always way too warm and just makes me look dirty or orange, but no more! I can’t remember if it was Karima McKimmie or Sharon Farrell who recommended it first, but this contour powder from the Sephora Collection is fantastic! It is the perfect cool grey with just a hint of beige which looks impressively natural on me. The powder is actually quite hard, which I love – it’s not powdery at all so the fallout is practically nonexistent. Further, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, the color payoff isn’t that great – which is actually perfect for this. Some powders are so pigmented that they’re kind of difficult to use because you just get so much product on the brush, but this contour powder leaves it entirely up to you for how much you want to build up the color (and blends out just fine).
RealTechniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($6.99) – A worthy opponent to the classic Beauty Blender, I actually prefer the RT version for some products. With an overall similar shape, the Miracle Complexion Sponge also has a flat side which is great for applying products over a large area. Then use the rounded side to bounce and blend everything into the skin, and the pointed tip is perfect for concealer. If you are interested in testing out a sponge for foundation and concealer application, I’d recommend trying one of these first. I like to use it with my tinted cream too!
RealTechniques Core Collection Set ($12.59) – I wasn’t planning to put this on the list, especially since I already talked about a RealTechniques product, but this has got to be the only brush set I have ever gotten where I actually love and regularly use three of the four brushes! The flat foundation brush is pretty self explanatory, I use it to apply my foundation or tinted cream, but it feels nice on my skin and doesn’t absorb too much product. The contour brush can be used for just that if you like, but it is actually the perfect size and shape for me to blend under eye concealer. Finally, the buffing brush is my absolute favorite for applying powder foundation – I go back to it every time, even after trying brushes that cost two or three times as much.
Makeup Geek Soft Dome Brush ($7.99) – I didn’t know you could have such strong feelings for a brush, but I absolutely love this little thing. Super soft and just dense enough to get a solid application of color without super packing it on, this brush is the perfect multi-tasker. I use it for depositing color tightly into my crease, plus it’s also great for a wash of color over the lid or building up some depth in the outer v. I use it so much, I just ordered a second one.
Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser ($8.99) – Okay so sharing this one kills me a little because Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal, a brand with a sordid past of animal cruelty founded by Nazi sympathizers, but damn, for a drugstore brand this concealer is so good. Due to the attached sponge-tip applicator, I would not recommend this for covering acne (for sanitary purposes), but it does a fantastic job for dark under-eye circles. I actually apply this under my foundation to offset any discoloration, and then use a brightening concealer after foundation to well… brighten the area. If you only use a brightening concealer and do not color correct, you run the risk of an ashy under-eye area that can actually make your dark circles look worse.
Note: I have listed the approximate prices for each, but they tend to fluctuate on Amazon so while it is usually the best deal, it is not always the best deal and sometimes Ulta is the better choice.