This is my general criteria for a line to qualify as “very inexpensive:”
(Based on Drug Emporium’s prices)
Lipstick, Blush, Eyeshadow, Mascara and Pressed Powder all priced under $3.50 each
Eye and Lip Liner Pencils (regular wood pencils) can range from under $1 – $2.50
These lines qualify:
Here are individual products that qualify from other brands:
I selected these according to price only. Some give you a large amount of make-up for the price, but a few give you a very small amount and may turn out to be no bargain at all. Always consider the amount of make-up you are getting in addition to the price when you shop. Some more expensive eyeshadow kits containing 3 or more colors may work out to cost less per eyeshadow, but I don’t think they are a good idea. You usually use only one or two of the colors. I think it is best just to buy only the colors you will use in singles or duos.
Cabot Clear Perfection
Cover Girl Cheekers & Contour Color Duos
Maybelline Natural Accents Blush & Brush Blush
Almay, Singles & Duos
Cover Girl, Singles & Trios
L’Oreal, Singles & Duos
Max Factor, Singles & Duos
Maybelline Singles, Duos & Trios
Physician’s Formula, Singles & Duos
Maybelline Great Lash
Pencils – I would still stick with Wet n’ Wild Pencils or Winks because they are so much longer than other brands, and are only $1.
Line Highlights & Products I Have Tried and Like:
This list is just to get you started trying low-priced products on your own. I keep my product reviews limited, because women have varied preferences for individual products.
Aziza. This line has mainly eyeshadow trios, mascara and pencils. These eyeshadow colors are just downright classy and sophisticated. More “adult” colors than in many other lines.
Black Opal. This mid-priced drugstore line has a beautiful selection of colors and products designed and marketed specifically for women with dark skin. The colors are deeper and more intense than the colors in many of the other drugstore lines. The blush and eyeshadow colors are gorgeous (and low-priced). I think some of these colors would also look great on light to medium skin tones. Especially if you are looking for dark eyeshadows to line your eyes with.
Bonne Bell. Try to get past the juvenile marketing and packaging, because there are some products here really worth checking out. I am currently using the No Shine Oil Control Make-Up in Olive Medium ($2.74 for 1.1oz.) mixed with Honey Fair. This foundation has sheer to medium coverage. I like the formula very much. The No Shine collection also includes concealer and powder. Bonne Bell also sells blush, bronzers, eye and lip pencils, and lipsticks and glosses (if you don’t mind flavoring).
Colours of Australias. I found this line at Long’s Drugs. Lipsticks were $3.29. Lipgloss, mascara, blush, eyeshadow trios, and pencils were all $2.89 each. I didn’t want to disqualify the whole line just because the pencils are over my price criteria. There are some really nice products here such as around twenty very natural-looking lipstick colors and some very pretty eyeshadow colors. I saw eight different eyeshadow trios, but it looked like there were only three blush colors in the line.
Fetish is similar to Revlon Street Wear (but cheaper) with some unusual frosted colors and gimmicky glitter products for the younger crowd. Fetish also sells little body gems that you glue on, body stamps, colored hair mascara, and nail decals. For the rest of us, the regular colored mascara, blush, lipsticks and lip glosses, and some of the eyeshadows look promising. It seems this line is so popular and sells out so fast that some of the drugstores cannot keep it well stocked. Sears was the only store where I could find the full line and color selection. I have tried the “fat boy” mascara, and I love this stuff. It is more thickening and lengthening than the other mascaras I have reviewed, yet it has no clumps and separates the lashes well. The stubby container and wand is awkward to use at first, but is worth getting used to.“Crash” is their name for the black mascara. I had a very difficult time distinguishing between the color swatches on the packages. I almost went home with purple mascara.
Jane is another line marketed toward teenagers, but I can’t find one product in this line that isn’t suitable for adults. This line carries everything, not just color products. There are many beautiful and subtle blush shades. There is also a good assortment of eyeshadows. They are not bizarre colors, but pretty basic adult colors. I have used the True To You Sheer Finish Foundation in 1Fair ($2.69 for 1 oz.) to mix with another foundation to lighten it. The Jane foundation alone is a nice, very sheer and lightweight foundation.
Jordana. I have found this line at Long’s Drugs and at the swapmeet. They have lipsticks, fat lipstick pencils, blush, powder and creme eyeshadows, and 99 cent eyeliner and lipliner pencils.
La Femme. Available at beauty supply stores. I have used the eyeshadows and blushes. Many of the blushes are very highly pigmented. If you have light skin, you have to apply them very sparingly and with a light touch, but they are great on dark skin. If you want any color of eyeshadow, be it matte, very frosted or only slightly frosted, this brand has it for around $3. There is no reason to buy a $19 eyeshadow for the color with La Femme around. These colors are so similar to lines like Stila.
Lord & Berry carries lipsticks, lip pencils, eye pencils, eye liner, and mascara.
M Professional. I bought some eyeshadow and blush brushes from M Professional. They were all around $3 each and I am very happy with them. The eyeshadow brushes are well shaped with a perfect texture and firmness. At this price, they are a real find. However, I think they may have been discontinued. I have had a hard time finding blush/powder brushes that are as soft and silky as I like, even in all price ranges. But this is rapidly getting better. This is my criteria: it must feel like my cat’s tail on my face. These brushes pass. The mascara is a good, basic, light and natural mascara. It can be built up with several coats, but this is probably the lightest and thinnest formula I have tried. M Professional also sells some beautiful neutral-toned eyeshadows, plus blush, lipstick, and pencils.
Maybelline. I bought the blush brush (around $4), but I returned it because I preferred the very soft and less firm brush by M Professional. However, It was a very nice, good quality brush and I bet a lot of you who like some firmness in a brush and more densely packed bristles would love it. Most brushes of this quality, density and with a gorgeous long handle cost much more. I used Maybelline Great Lash mascara for years ($3.19). It is a very natural looking, thin formula mascara and makes your lashes a very dark, glossy black. It leaves your lashes feeling very soft, so it is easy to separate them with a comb after it dries. It is also very easy to wash off. I really like Maybelline’s True Illusion foundation. It is a sheer, natural looking foundation with a nice finish.
Nat Robbins.I have used and liked the Nat Robbins lip pencils, and I have two of their fine eyeliner brushes that I have had for about 15 years that are still holding up great. This line carries lip products, eyeshadows, eyeliners, and mascara.
Prestige. This line has absolutely gorgeous blush and eyeshadow colors. The eyeshadow goes on smooth and silky, and wears well. Prestige also carries several types of lipsticks, a large assortment of pencils, two mascaras, powder, and foundation. I’ve tried both mascaras. Ignore the names. The “Long Lash” is no more lengthening than the “Vitamin Enriched.” They look the same on your lashes. Both have a dark black, glossy, smooth finish. No fuzzy “spider legs” here. They also wash off very easily. The brush on the “Long Lash” separates the lashes better, but the formula dries to a stiffer finish, making separating the lashes with a comb a little difficult. The “Vitamin Enriched” mascara goes on thicker, and the formula dries to a very nice, super-velvety soft, flexible finish. Prestige has new brushes which look like they will work well.
Revlon. I use Revlon’s Single Matte Eyeshadows. They are moister or “creamier” than some powder eyeshadows and adhere well to my dry skin. They wear well and the pan is a generous size. I suspect that someone with oily skin might be happier with a drier powder. I avoid most of the other Revlon products, as well as L’Oreal, only because they tend to be so expensive for drugstore products. Both companies make excellent quality products.
Winks Pencils. Available at Long’s Drugs for 99 cents each. Many beauty supply stores also carry them, but they usually charge around $2 each. Winks makes both eyeliner and lip liner pencils in a wide variety of colors. They also give you a longer pencil than many brands. If you like your pencils on the soft side, then these are definitely for you. I have been using them for years. My favorite lip liner colors are Brandy and Berry. They are both very versatile colors. I also love Plum and Burgundy.
Wet ‘n’ Wild. I know I will sound like a Wet ‘n’ Wild advertisement throughout my web site, but I truly do love this line and use these products. They also have the lowest prices around. I have been using these lipsticks for years. I also use the blush, powder, mascara, lip liner pencils, and lip gloss. They also sell bronzer, a frosted face highlighting powder, foundation, stick concealer, and eyeshadow kits. I find their eyeliner pencils too hard for my dry skin, but they might work well for someone who has oily skin. The lipsticks are less than $1 and although very moist, have decent staying power. The color selection is HUGE. Don’t let the name fool you into thinking they only carry extreme colors. They have “wild” colors, to the latest shades, to very soft, natural and classic shades for every skin tone. They also give you a very long tube of lipstick. Wet ‘n’ Wild also sells a matte formula lipstick which has a smaller color selection, and lip glosses in both tubes and pots. Their nice and long lip liner pencils are under $1. I could not live without #666, a neutral medium brown with a pinkish cast. I use it with so many of my lipsticks. I also love to use #715 with my wine/plum lipsticks and #662 with reds.
I use the protein mascara (a little over $1). It is a very natural looking mascara, meaning it does not give your lashes that “fuzzy” made-up look. The brush separates the lashes very well and you can build this mascara up nicely with several coats and it still doesn’t look like obvious mascara. The Mega Lash mascara ($1.50) is similar, but goes on thicker. I only need one coat of the Mega Lash, and it also separates the lashes well. It has one of those long, full, brushes that some women love, but I find a little awkward. Both the Wet ‘n’ Wild mascaras wash off very easily which is very important to me. Yet, one day when I ended up crying, the Mega Lash did not smear or run at all. My eyelashes remained perfect. Very impressive.
The blush (around $2) has a very soft and silky texture. I love and use Mellow Wine and Nature’s Blush (with some Baked Earth mixed into it). This blush comes in a large square pan which is a very nice touch because it accommodates a full-sized blush brush much better than the small skinny pans. Wet ‘n’ Wild also has the best price on pressed powder around (around $2). I have tried the concealer, and I thought the texture and coverage were very nice, but the color was too pink for my olive skin. Wet ‘n’ Wild also makes excellent quality pencil sharpeners that last a long time.
Drugstore Lines That Have Some Foundation Testers
Look around at different drugstores. Some have more testers than others.
Bonne Bell – Sells some trial sizes
Dermablend – Heavy coverage make-up and concealer meant to cover scarring. Available at Long’s Drugs and JC Penny.
Jane-Sells some trial sizes
L’Oreal – Sears stores have some testers. I have also seen small trial size bottles for sale at Long’s Drugs.
Max Factor-Sells some testers
Oil of Olay
I just wanted to write and tell you that Phar-Mor here in NC has a good selection of testers. -Camille
I’ve noticed some store (longs and rite-aid) have testers for maybelline true illusion foundation (both the liquid and the cream to powder) also, sometimes maybelline, covergirl and revlon have their new colors available for testing. - Sara
trial sizes for the new Neutrogena Healthy skin makeup is available here for less then $3. It is $9.99 for a full size bottle but I find it to be a wonderful summer makeup. It is very light weight with sheer coverage. It evens out skin tone wonderfully and stays on all day long which is wonderful since i have such oily skin. I have found that most stores don’t carry the four lightest shades but that walmart stores always have every shade. Also Mabelline Great Lash Mascara is only $1.99 here. - Maeve