I’m slightly abnormal. I used to never, ever, ever wear makeup. While all of my friends in middle school were experimenting with the cutesy pink lip glosses and sneaking to school with their mother’s mascara, I was too busy playing softball, going to after-school detention, and just being an all-around pain-in-the-butt student. In high school and well into college, I rarely even bothered with any sort of make-up. This may have stemmed from all of my mom’s friends telling me that my complexion was “beautiful and flawless” and yadda, yadda, yadda. In real life, I was just your typical freckle-faced, forever sunburned, tomboy. Regardless, I never set foot in the makeup aisle, until my friends started to get married. Listen up: you don’t go to a wedding not wearing makeup. You want those photos to turn out the best they possibly can with you looking the best you possibly can look. Those silly little snapshots last forever.
Make up is expensive. A wedding in 2007 landed me a bridesmaid gig and the bride had makeovers done for all of us. Another wedding in 2011 (forever a bridesmaid, y’all) sent me off to the makeup counter for a makeover that ended in a dozen purchases because all of my friends were getting married. That was a pretty hefty, albeit beautiful, bill. While I am definitely a fan of MAC, as well as everything at Sephora, there are other things that require my wallet like, I don’t know, groceries? A car payment? Being a financially responsible adult? So, with that in mind, I set out to find budget friendly makeup that won’t have you looking like a circus clown. Darlings, I give you e.l.f. makeup and cosmetics.
1. e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder, ~$3
My face is covered in freckles and nine times out of ten, I have some degree of sunburn. This little compact is wonderful. The blue and green neutralizes the red tones, and the yellow brightens my face without making me ghost-like. My t-zone is typically a headache and a half so the nice bonus feature of this little product is that it absorbs any excess oil and leaves your face looking fresh throughout the day. It comes in a cool palette or a warm palette and will run you around $3.00.
2. e.l.f. Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder, ~$3
Trust me when I say: I get my beauty rest. I sleep for a minimum of 8 hours a night. So, why on earth do I have dark circles under my eyes? I don’t have the answer to that, but I do have the perfect product to conceal them. This light-diffusing powder comes with a little brush and it takes less than a minute to apply. I just sweep it underneath my eyes and it’s magic! It has a little bit of a shimmer, it brightens my baby blues like crazy and the $3.00 price tag is something I won’t lose any sleep over.
3. e.l.f. Essentials Eyelid Primer, ~$1
It doesn’t matter what brand of eyeshadow I use, it typically always leaves a crease behind. I guess my eyelids are just strange. Regardless, this little baby eyelid primer is sheer and it keeps my eyeshadow from creasing until I take my makeup off. It absorbs super quick and it doesn’t feel like you’ve caked on a ton of product. A few dabs of this guy before I put on my base shadow and I’m set. You can’t beat it for $1.00.
4. e.l.f. Essential Flawless Eyeshadow, ~$2
I’m a one-stop-shop kinda gal. And the fewer products I have to buy, the happier I’ll be. So naturally, I was thrilled when I found a cheaper shadow palette with all of the colors I needed. Buying separate shadows just takes up space on my bathroom counter and it annoys me when I’m traveling. There are 7 color palettes to choose from, so finding one to make my blue eyes pop was rather simple.
If you aren’t sold on makeup quite yet and aren’t trying to invest a lot of dough, this product is actually a bonus how-to for beginners. Not only does it come with 4 colors for you to create the perfect contour around your eyes, but each color is labeled for you: base, lid, crease, and line color. If you’re still timid it’s only $2.00. So it’s easy to buy a few, play around, and see what look you like best: go bold, go natural, or play around with each until you find your favorite.
5. e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set, ~$3
This little bottle is an all around game changer, y’all. I’m from the South (read: it’s HOT and HUMID.) Waterproof makeup may be waterproof where you are, but down here sometimes it’s more of a “let me see how the weather is and then I’ll decide if I’ll stay put.” A typical summer around my city consists of backyard cookouts, hours and hours on a boat at the lake, and dancing and hanging out at the music venues. It’s also a common occurrence for me to head straight to the weight floor to lift or grab my running shoes and take off to log a few miles at the river after work. This setting mist is a godsend. My eyeliner doesn’t smudge or run, my mascara stays in place, and my eyeshadow is flawless despite the southern weather’s attempt to destroy my hard work. Sure, you can find all sorts of different brands at a variety of prices, but this baby is $3.00 and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
There are some absolutely necessary items that you will want to come from your high-end makeup brands, but for everyday wear I have found e.l.f. to be a reliable, budget-friendly go-to brand that won’t break the bank. For the average Monday–Friday Jane, keeping it simple (and inexpensive) is best.