When I first got into make up I was well into my 20s and had a steady job that paid the bills. Nevertheless, I found through trial and error that there is a lot of good quality drugstore make up out there. So I started wondering what make up I would buy if I were to start from scratch and on a budget. Thinking back to my teens when I swore by the cheaper brands and picking my absolute drugstore favorites, I came to this make up starter kit.
My goal was to recommend products for every aspect of make up application: from base products, to eye shadow and from tools to lipsticks. There will be three recommendations for almost every type of product and all of them are affordable save for one. If you buy at least one item from each category, I am sure that you could use these products to apply a full face of make up.
Rimmel Radiance BB Cream 9 in 1 Skin Perfecting Super Make Up Very Light
Catrice All Matt Plus Shine Control Make Up 010 Light Beige
Rimmel BB Cream 9 in 1 Skin Perfecting Super Make Up Light
For base I would suggest keeping it simple. When I first started using make up, foundation wasn’t one of my priorities. In fact, foundation was the last product I added to my routine and it’s the first thing I’ll skip if I’m in a rush. Therefore, I’d recommend starting with a BB Cream. The Rimmel ones are my favorites. The blue tube on the right is their classic BB cream and I have used it many times. The orange tube is a newer range which may not be available anywhere, but since it came in an extra light shade I thought it would be a nice base to try. The Catrice All Matt Plus foundation is a drugstore classic and if you are looking for more coverage and a wide shade range, then this is worth a shot.
Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in Fair
Catrice Liquid Camouflage High Coverage concealer in 020 Light Beige
Catrice Re-Touch Light-reflecting concealer in 001 Porcelain
Instead of investing in a foundation or BB cream, I would suggest you get yourself a good concealer and those don’t have to break the bank. The first two are very high coverage. The Collection concealer is a classic and it truly is as good as everyone says. The one on the right is a more dewy finish concealer which is very pretty for the under eye area. You can use it on its own or over a more high coverage foundation to add a little bit of brightness to your under eye area.
Catrice Nude Illusion Loose Powder Transparent Matt
Catrice All Matt Plus Shine Control Powder 010 Transparent
Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder Matt Finish & Healthy Glow 52 Vanille
To make sure your make up doesn’t budge, a good face powder is also essential. And again, you don’t have to splurge on them. My first love was the Catrice All Matt Plus powder. As you can see this powder has been well loved, but because it isn’t 100% transparent and transforms the color of your face products ever so slightly, it is no longer my absolute favorite to use at this moment. What I reach for most is the Catrice Nude Illusion Loose Powder, but the Bourjois one is my very favorite. It is the only drugstore powder I have found that is as good as the MAC Prep + Prime Transparent pressed powder.
A nice subtle blush to the cheeks will bring some color back into your face and there are plenty of drugstore options. I happen to like Catrice blushes and one of my favorite blushes of all time is this pinky shade by Rival de Loop. There are many others that are lovely as well: Rimmel, Essence, Sleek and many other budget/ drugstore brands do some of the best blushes out there. If there is one product the drugstore gets right, it’s blush, so there is lots to choose from.
Eye shadow base
Too Faced Shadow Insurance
NYX HD Eye Shadow Base
A product I suggest you buy is eye shadow base. Of course this product is only useful if you plan on wear eye shadow, but eye shadow base is quite possibly the most life saving product for any make up look. My favorite is the not so budget friendly Too Faced Shadow Insurance (and I also like Urban Decay’s Primer Potion). The best budget alternative I’ve found that works as well and that I love is the NYX HD eye shadow base. Some people also swear by the Essence one, but since that isn’t clear and too yellow for me, I have never tried it.
Again, brows are something you do not have to splurge on. Catrice do a great eyebrow gel, and also the clear eyebrow gel by HEMA is a good buy if you’re first starting out. The Eyebrow Set by Catrice is one of my favorite brow products. I’ve been loving using pencils lately, but when I am in the mood for powder, I prefer this over my Anastasia brow powder any day.
You do not have to go out and shell out money for Urban Decay Naked palettes when you first start out. I suggest you start nice and easy and with shadow that require no brushes: cream eye shadow. The Kiko Shadow Sticks are amazing and last all day and come in a good range of colors. I believe they only cost 5 or 6 euros a piece and you can always keep them for later as they make a great base for other eye shadows. The Maybelline Color Tatoos are also an amazing cream product that last all day if you use them over a primer and I use these very often still, to create one stop eye looks.
I could recommend many drugstore mascara as they are my favorite, but Maybelline, L’Oreal and Max Factor mascaras are still quite pricey. Which is why I think that Essence mascaras are pretty decent, thinking of the price you pay for them. At under 3 euros each, these mascaras work very nicely and you may have to repurchase them more quickly than their more expensive brothers and sisters, but they get the job done.
For lips, I would go all out and get yourself some good lipsticks. I am not a fan of lipgloss and therefore I got rid of almost all of them. Drugstore lipsticks can be great: Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks have some great shades as does Catrice’s Ultimate Colour line. You can find anything from a good nude, to a berry, classic red and a coral pink. Like blush, lipstick is something the drugstore gets right.
Essence Smokey Eyes brush
Hema blending brush
Zoeva Luxe Sheer Cheek brush
Finally, the biggest struggle to shop on a budget make up wise are brushes. But there are still a few good options out there. The Essence and Hema brush I have had since forever and are still going strong. For face brushes I would check out Zoeva as they aren’t too expensive, yet they give you good quality brushes as half or a third of a MAC brush.
What would your starter make up kit look like?