It doesn’t matter what your budget is — everyone loves a killer deal on a beauty product that actually delivers. And while it’s true that sometimes high cost equates to higher quality, that’s not always the case. In fact, there’s a mighty assortment of inexpensive beauty products that work just as well (if not better) than their splurgy counterparts. Products so fab that even esteemed makeup artists keep them in their kits to use on clients and themselves.
On that note, we asked makeup artists to share some of their favorite inexpensive must-buy beauty products for you, and your wallet’s, enjoyment.
CoverGirl LashBlast Volumizing Mascara
“I always keep CoverGirl LashBlast Volumizing Mascara, $6, in my professional makeup kit. It has an ink-black color, incredible staying power, and I can send my clients home with their own personal tube after a shoot due to the incredible price,” says celebrity makeup artist Christina Lerchen, who’s worked her magic on celebs such as Carrie Fisher, Valerie Bertanelli, and Michelle Tractenburg. “It is also the mascara I personally use for myself because it gives a fantastic thickness to my lashes and doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes.”
e.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid Highlighter
Editorial makeup artist Carlina Zacaria says that she keeps e.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid Highlighter, $4, in her kit because it works especially well on camera. “The quality of the highlighter is super pigmented and creamy, and I find that it dries pretty quickly which saves on time and gives the makeup look a nice, glowy finish.” She adds that a little goes a long way since it’s oil based, so use a light hand when applying.
Revlon Color Stay Lip Liner
Revlon’s Color Stay Lip Liner in nude, $9, is a favorite for celebrity makeup artist Shira Aaron, whose clients include Aidy Bryant, Savanah Guthrie, and Tori Spelling. “I line my natural lip line first and then color inside the line to coat my lips completely as a matte stained look. You can also apply your favorite lipstick or gloss on top,” she says. “It’s easy to apply since it comes in a convenient retractable pen-like container so it never needs sharpening.”
NYX Professional Butter Gloss
Speaking of lip gloss, one of Lerchen’s faves is NYX’ Professional Butter Gloss, $3.50 to $5, which comes in 34 different shades. “I have these in every color for my kit, and [at that price], you can grab them in any color you like. The payoff is luxurious and on par with other glosses that are triple the price,” she says. “My go-to colors are Angel Food Cake and Creme Brûlée.”
Maybelline FIT Me! Foundation
Zacarias says that Maybelline’s FIT Me! Foundation, $8, has been one of her go-to products for a while now. It comes in several formulations, including Dewy + Smooth and Matte + Poreless, which allows you to choose your preferred finish. “It’s an affordable, full-coverage foundation and the texture and consistency never disappoint. What’s even better than the price point and coverage is the color selection. I love how great their undertones go with every skin tone,” she tells us. “This is a foundation I recommend over and over again for everyday use and budget-conscious clients.”
Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
Celebrity makeup artist Mary Wiles, whose clients include Michelle Williams, Amanda Seyfried, and Emily Blunt, is a super fan of Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $5, which comes in six pretty shades. “They’re great for adding a sheer shade to the lips, and for keeping lips soft,” she says.
Ardell False Eyelashes
“Every makeup artist I know keeps Ardell False Lashes in their kit, and they have a style and size for every event or need,” says Lerchen. “For personal use, I use the 135 Black Natural lashes, $5, which give the perfect subtle flair at the end of the lash line to create the ultimate cat eye effect. For a more dramatic look, I keep the Natural Wispies, $7, in my kit at all time. They are the perfect flirty lash for any event.”