The Best Affordable Back to School Makeup!

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I was thinking the other day about how much makeup has changed since I was in high school. I graduated in the ye olde year of 2010 and back in my day, Youtube and beauty blogs were in their infancy. It never occurred to me to look up makeup recommendations or tutorials on the internet and even if I wanted to they were nowhere near as prevalent as they are now. So, I decided to write a blog post of makeup recommendations  that I wish I would have had/known about when I was in high school. I kept this as affordable as possible without skimping on quality. I use and love every one of these products. I also wanted to only include brands that are easily accessible at Walmart, Target or other drugstores. Of course, this isn’t just for high schoolers. This is for anybody that wants good, affordable makeup.

Cream & Liquid Face Products

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My skin is combination that tends to be more dry with acne and scarring. I need good coverage but I don’t like my makeup to feel cakey.

  • e.l.f. Primers: The e.l.f. primers are $6.00 apiece. Lately, I have been using the Hydrating and Mineral primers the most but e.l.f. has a very large selection.
  • NYX BB Cream: The NYX BB Cream is $13.00. I use this the most out of all my foundations. It is perfect for combo/dry/normal skin. Even though it’s a BB Cream I can still get a high medium coverage if I use two layers and concealer.
  • e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation:  The e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation is $6.00. It’s not my all time favorite but I do like it. It has a satin/matte finish and medium coverage. It’s best for oily/combo/normal skin types.
  • NYX HD Concealer: The NYX concealer is $6.00. This isn’t the cheapest option out there because you don’t get a ton of product but it is the best affordable option I’ve found. This blends quickly, has great coverage and looks good under the eyes as long as you set it.
  • e.l.f. Color Neutralizing Pen & Eye Brightener: Both of these color correctors from e.l.f. are $6.00 apiece. I would have never thought to color correct when I was in high school but I had very dark circles even then so it would have benefitted me. I use the Color Neutralizing Pen first and then apply the Eye Brightener on top of it. I use  both of these over my foundation but under my concealer. This is a makeup no-no but it works for me.
  • e.l.f. Setting Spray: e.l.f.’s original setting sprays are available in two sizes, the smaller for $4.00 and the large for $6.00. I use the original and the matte sprays.

Powder Face Products

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The powder products are pretty short and sweet. I love a ton of other blushes and highlights but I wanted to include the one that’s the most “bang for your buck” so to speak.

  • e.l.f. HD Powder in Soft Luminance: This powder is $6.00 and one of my all time favorites. I do NOT like this powder in sheer, however. The Soft Luminance does have glitter but it’s only noticeable in direct sunlight. In regular light it just gives the skin a glow.
  • e.l.f. Baked Highlighter & Blush: This duo blush and highlight is $4.00. I love this, as you can tell by the sizable dent on both sides. The highlight is a rose gold shade and the blush is a peachy pink. The blush is not matte but it doesn’t have glitter in it. My only complaint is the container is so small that it can be hard to get a brush into each side, but other than that this is a great blush and highlight.

Eyeshadow Primer, Palettes, Mascara & Brows

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These are some of my favorite eye products. I do really love some other ones that are affordable as well but they can only be purchased online. Feel free to ask if you’re curious about any of those!

  • Milani Eyeshadow Primer: The Milani Eyeshadow Primer is $7.00 (if you buy from the website). This isn’t the cheapest primer but it works amazingly well and the tiny tube lasts FOREVER.
  • Milani Everyday Eyes Eyeshadow Palette: These palettes are $11.00 apiece (they’re cheaper at Walmart) and are so, so good. They have quite a few to choose from, the one in the picture is Must Have Naturals. I’ve also heard great things about Milani’s larger palettes that are $20.00 (they’re only $15.00 if you get them at Walmart) but I haven’t tried them for myself yet.
  • NYX Go-To Palettes: I have both of the Go-To palettes, Bon Voyage and Wanderlust. They are $17.00 apiece. Not only do you get really good eyeshadows in these, you also get a highlighter, blush and contour shade. NYX puts these palettes on sale very often so if you wait until then you can get these for a steal.
  • e.l.f. Mineral Infused Mascara: This e.l.f. Mascara is $3.00, most of them are but a few are more expensive. e.l.f. mascaras get a TON of hate that I just don’t understand. Everyone has different preferences but this mascara works perfectly for me.
  • e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil: This brow pencil is $2.00 and mine is in the shade Neutral Brown. I am very new to filling in my brows but so far I am loving this pencil. I don’t do anything crazy, no Insta brows here, but for just filling in the patches this works great.
  • e.l.f. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara: This brow and lash mascara is $2.00. I love using this on days I’m not wearing any makeup or when I am wearing makeup, I use this on my brows after I fill them in.

Lipsticks & Glosses

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I keep it simple when it comes to lips. Most of the time I’m just wearing a gloss and that was especially true in high school.

  • e.l.f. Matte Lip Color: These pencil style lipsticks from e.l.f. are only $3.00 and some of my all time favorites. They are so easy to use for precise application and they are a comfortable matte formula. The one pictured is Praline.
  • e.l.f. Moisturizing Lipstick: The e.l.f. Moisturizing Lipsticks are some of my favorite cream formulas and they’re only $3.00. They even smell like vanilla. The one pictured is Ravishing Rose.
  • e.l.f. Lip Lacquer: These e.l.f. glosses are amazing to be only $2.00! They’re not sticky at all and they wear well throughout the day. However, the darker shades can be streaky. The one pictured is Wine.
  • NYX Butter Gloss: The NYX Butter Glosses are $5.00 and so worth it. They’re pigmented, not sticky and smell delicious. The one pictured is Ginger Snap.

I didn’t include any tools but I recommend the e.l.f. black handled Studio line that is $3.00 a brush, if that’s too expensive the white handled $1.00 brushes are decent. Real Techniques sponges are the best I’ve tried, I like the regular size and the minis. I use Equate baby wash from Walmart to clean my brushes and sponges and it works perfectly.

That is all of my current beauty on a budget recommendations and what I wish I would have had in high school! I wanted to make a realistic recommendation list because not everybody can afford a $50.00 eyeshadow palette or a $40.00 foundation, especially not teenagers working their first jobs. If you’re out of high school, what makeup products do you wish you would have had? If you’re in school, was this helpful to you? Let me know! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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