Beauty on a Budget

Beauty on a Budget: High-End Quality Makeup for Drug Store Dollars!

July 26, 2014

Hey Everyone!

I’m back today with a different kind of post for you. I was looking through my collection trying to gain inspiration on what to post and it kind of came to me! Drug store makeup that feels high end. This is not a dupe post, but rather focusing on standout drug store products that I’ve found along the way. There are way more than this, but if I included them all, you’d be reading for a long time so I had to be selective. Let’s get to it!

ELF Studio Blushes

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The first product I had to include was the E.L.F. Studio Blushes. These are amazing. When I bought my first one of these, I couldn’t believe how soft it was, it was bordering on feeling like a cream product. Along with insane softness, these aren’t powdery and are really pigmented. I can honestly say that I have high end blushes that are no where near as soft or pigmented as these. These are priced at $3 and are available in 11 different shades. If you’re looking to build your blush collection without breaking the bank, these are a great place to start.


Passion Pink, Mellow Mauve

Milani Baked Blushes


My next budget products that are definitely worth a high end price tag are the Milani Baked Blushes. These are also very pigmented and they come in some really unique shades. If you already have some basic shades in your collection and you’re looking to add some more unique shades in, these are an inexpensive way to do that. The majority of this collection does have shimmer, but I own both matte shades and there is no difference in pigmentation or softness. I have found with some cheaper shimmer blushes that they can become gritty, but these aren’t like that. These sell for about $8.


Delizioso Pink, Luminoso, Bella Rosa

L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow


Moving away from blushes, my first eye product is beyond impressive. The L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows are pressed pigments from the drugstore, which in itself is a rarity. These come in a little plastic pot that includes a stopper inside to protect the product since it’s insanely soft. These only take a tiny dip of your brush to get full colour and work just as well patted on the lid with your finger. If you’re looking to experiment more with pigments these are great because they’re not loose so the fall out isn’t as intense, although there is a little, as expected with a pigment. These come in tons of neutral and bright shades, although I don’t have an exact count. I can’t wait to pick up more of these, but my store is always out of stock due to their popularity I guess. These are a little more expensive by drugstore standards at around $9CAD, but you hardly need any so they’ll last likely forever. By far if you’re looking to add interesting neutrals or pops of colour, these are amazing!


Amber Rush

Maybelline Color Tattoos


My second eye favourite won’t come as a shock since these are insanely popular, but I had to include them. Of course, these are the Maybelline Color Tattoos, the most popular eye base from the drug store. These are popular for a reason and it’s because of their smoothness, pigmentation and shade variety. These are the perfect base when you want to really intensify a lid colour. If I say was going to create a bronze smoky eye, then laying down Bad to the Bronze gets a great amount of colour on the lid so that it’s way less work with shadows. These can be worn alone and I don’t have issues with creasing, but mainly I love to layer these under a shadow. These can be applied with a brush or your finger and they blend out so easily. Once these set, they are budge-proof and long lasting, which is perfect because even if your shadow fails you, there will still be colour on your lid.  There are tons of shades and now they’ve even come out with matte ‘leather’ shades that I can’t wait to try. Overall, these are very impressive at a price tag of about $6-$7.


Inked in Pink, Bad to the Bronze, Pomegranate Punk (side note, these have different names in different countries if you’re wondering) Also excuse the bad swatch on the last one, my fake nails interfered.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge


The next standout product I had to include is actually a tool. It’s the Miracle Complexion Sponge from Real Techniques and it’s by far my favourite drug store tool. You can tell from the picture that mine is well loved and that’s because it’s one of my favourite tools to apply foundation. If I’m using a heavier or thicker foundation such as Revlon ColorStay or Estee Lauder Double Wear I immediately gravitate towards this as it ensures that there will be no cake face, which I’m terrified of. I think part of the reason why I enjoy this so much is because using this damp adds moisture to my normal/dry skin type. If you’re new to wearing foundation I highly, highly recommend this because it’s a pretty foolproof method to get good coverage and it not look patchy or streaky. This is priced at $5.99, a real bargain for this amazing little sponge.

L’Oreal True Match Foundation


Now that I’ve mentioned a great application tool, let’s talk about a great drugstore foundation. I couldn’t make this kind of post without including this product, since it is my favourite drug store foundation. I like this because it has good coverage, doesn’t feel heavy on the skin and comes in tons of shades. This foundation is perfect for everyday with medium coverage that is buildable. This blends into my skin beautifully and looks like skin and not like obvious foundation face. It just looks so natural, not too dewy and not fully matte either. With my normal/dry skin I usually don’t set this and it looks pretty decent at the end of the day. I think what makes this such a great drugstore find is the shade range. This formula comes in 3 undertones (warm, neutral and cool) so that there is a shade for basically everyone. There aren’t many drugstore options with that much shade variety, which can be frustrating, so this makes this product stand out. If you know your undertone, it’s very easy to find a shade that works for you. This does have SPF so I don’t like this for night pictures as I get some white cast, but that’s rare anyway, I just thought it was important to include. For normal daily wear, this is my drugstore go-to. This is about $13CAD and significantly cheaper in the US at about $8.

Maybelline The Vivids Lipsticks


To start off the lip products ‘section’ of this post, I had to start with some of my favourite drug store bright lippies. The Maybelline Vivid lipsticks are some of the most pigmented drug store lipsticks I’ve found. These are so fun and bright. None of these colours claim to be anything less than vibrant and they live up to their name. I find these very easy to apply and their staying power is impeccable. These immediately stain your lips, which makes them look more full colour even when they are starting to fade after a few hours of wear. These are very smooth and not drying, which is important when you’re drawing so much attention to your lips. For the price of $5.50-$8, you can really experiment with bright colours without breaking the bank.


Vibrant Mandarin, Hot Plum, Vivid Rose (1 swipe each…see what I mean?)

Milani Color Statement Lipsticks


My second last amazing drugstore product are my ‘most owned’ lipsticks. I own 13 of these Milani Color Statement Lipsticks so I think I can truly speak to their awesomeness. I can’t really say enough good things about this line- they’re pigmented, they’re smooth, they smell good (like watermelon), they come in so many colors and finishes. These are my most favourite drug store lipstick line I’ve tried, I don’t own a shade that isn’t done well. From light to dark, they are all pigmented and moisturizing. I can honestly say that after swatching all 13 of these on my lips for my collection post my lips weren’t dry in the slightest. I consider that to be pretty amazing for any lipstick let alone a drug store lipstick that is only $5.50. These lipsticks come in a variety of shades including some pretty unique ones and tons of finishes including cream, vinyl, matte, metallic and shimmer. Not only is the product good, but I love the gold packaging, it just looks high end. No matter if you’re looking to try out something nude, vampy, bright or even downright metallic, this line will have it.


TOP ROW: Nude Creme, Uptown Mauve, Fruit Punch, Flamingo Pose, Naturally Chic, Sweet Nectar, Hot Pink Rage. BOTTOM ROW: Pretty Natural, Rose Amour, Flirty Fuchsia, Sangria, High Voltage, Pink Love.

NYX Butter Glosses


My last product that is offering high end quality for drug store dollars are the NYX Butter Glosses. These like the Color Tattoos shouldn’t be a shock, as they are insanely hyped. These are not over hyped, they are really good quality glosses for their price of $5. These hit all the right notes of being just sticky enough to really stay put yet not too sticky. These are really versatile, I will wear them alone when I’ve done light makeup, but they work perfect over a lipstick to add some shine and added colour. On top of being a pigmented product, these have a great sweet smell, which is an added bonus. The shade Eclair, which came in the June Ipsy bag is by far my most used gloss since it’s nice and neutral.


Maple Blondie, Eclair, Apple Strudel, Strawberry Parfait.

Well there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments what standout drug store products you’ve been loving, so I can check them out for myself.

Bye for now!


Where else to find me:

Twitter: @chelseykmakeup

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  • Reply brittniviolet July 26, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Great post!!!

    • Reply Chelsey July 26, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂

  • Reply blushingdaisy July 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I want the Bella Rosa blush so badly!

    • Reply Chelsey July 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      It’s so beautiful! It looks intimidating but it gives so much dimension to the face without looking too red. It comes off like a pinched cheeks, flushed sort of look.

      • Reply blushingdaisy July 26, 2014 at 10:18 pm

        That’s exactly what I am looking for in a red blush! I wear so much red lipstick, and I feel like a matching blush would really help pull my face together. I will have to pick it up soon! Thanks!

  • Reply plus+beauty27 July 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    You have got some great stuff! Great post! 🙂

  • Reply ashleighmarieosullivan July 27, 2014 at 4:09 am

    You’ve been nominated for beauty blogger of the month! 🙂 here are the deets lovely x

  • Reply Elese ♥ August 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Aw yessss I think I have quite a few of these. Milani is amazing value and so is NYX! Will have to try the Elf blushes 🙂

    • Reply Chelsey August 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Ya I find ELF to be hit or miss, but the blushes are definitely a hit!

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