Drugstore makeup has come a long way in recent years, not only getting better in quality but also variety. If you’re a makeup beginner, or maybe you’re just starting to explore the world of drugstore makeup, navigating the endless product options can be overwhelming. I’ve curated an updated list of amazing and affordable products that together create the perfect drugstore makeup starter kit for building your collection from scratch.
Click the picture to find the product online, and keep scrolling for more details.
FOUNDATION: L’Oreal Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation
I consider this to be the best drugstore foundation, and luckily it works well across skin types. The “fresh wear” finish is neither dewy nor matte, but somewhere in the middle to look natural on the skin. The formula is lightweight and breathable but offers buildable medium-to-full coverage that lasts all day, and is sweat proof, waterproof and transfer resistant. It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores (it’s never irritated my acne-prone skin), has SPF 25, and comes in 40 shades! I never need to prime or set this foundation with extra products, so it really helps streamline my collection and routine.
CONCEALER: e.l.f. Hydrating Camo Concealer
Out of all the drugstore and high end concealers I’ve tried, this $6 find is the best, hands down. It offers full coverage with a smooth satin finish that blends seamlessly into the skin and with other makeup. It lasts all day and hardly creases, even in my deepest under eye lines. Again, this is a great pick for all skin types and I’ve even worn it in place of foundation to even out my skin tone on light makeup days.
BROW PENCIL: L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer
This brow pencil rivals my favorite high-end pick from Benefit, at less than half the cost! The fine tip creates precise thin, hair-like strokes for a natural brow look and is easy to control. For beginners or makeup enthusiasts alike, it’s great for beginners because you can’t really go overboard with it. The spoolie end helps brush product through for a softer look, so you don’t end up with block brows. It’s waterproof and lasts all day, even through sweating.
EYE PRIMER: Covergirl Lid Lock Up Primer
Eyeshadow primer https://slashedbeauty.com/difference-between-eyeshadow-primer-base/ helps keep your shadow from creasing and fading. This is my favorite as it dries down quickly and creates a smooth base for my shadow, keeping it crease-free all day.
EYE SHADOW: Wet n Wild Color Icon 5 Pan Eyeshadow Palettes
These eyeshadow palettes are a great place to start as a beginner, because the shades are easy to mix and match, and perform beautifully together. My looks always end up exactly how I imagine them, because the shadow is easy to use and pigmented. They’re honestly my favorite eyeshadow formula at the drugstore, and you can’t beat the price. Walking On Eggshells is a brand staple for its neutral color story, but feel free to expand your horizons with one of the brighter options. Want more variety? Upgrade to the 10-pan palette for $2 more and your possibilities greatly expand!
EYELINER: Essence Extreme Lasting Waterproof Eye Pencil
Every beauty lover should own this eyeliner, which is creamy and easy to smoke out but sets in place to be budge-proof and water-proof all day. It’s perfect for tightlining or smudging on the lash line.
ALSO READ: The 4 Best Drugstore Liquid Eyeliners
MASCARA: Revlon So Fierce! Big Bad Lash Mascara
This has been my favorite drugstore mascara lately, because it coats each of my lashes in volume, length and added lift. Apply a thin layer for a natural, fluttery look or layer up for a false lash impact. It does a great job fanning them out for a full effect, and doesn’t smudge, smear or flake throughout the day. However, it’s not waterproof, though that makes it easier to remove at the end of the day. It also has lash tinting technology that uses natural dyes to darken light lashes in 7 days, elevating your no-makeup makeup looks.
BRONZER: Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer
A drugstore icon, this bronzer is super beginner friendly in that it goes on light but is buildable for a more noticeable contour and bronze. Its made with moisturizing butters in the formula that helps it apply and blend super smoothly and make your skin look moisturized.
BLUSH: NYX Sweet Cheeks Matte Blush
Matte blush is the way to go for beginners, as shimmer blushes can easily look messy and overdone. This blush from NYX takes the best qualities of powder and cream blushes and put them in one formula! It has the smooth application and buildable color of a cream, but the soft matte finish of a powder.
HIGHLIGHTER: essence Pure Nude Sunlighter
Whether you like a noticeable glow or a hint of radiance, this is a versatile highlighter that looks natural— not shimmery or glittery. It starts out very soft for a naturally lit look, but can be layered or applied wet for more drama. This is one of the few powder highlighters that doesn’t accentuate any texture on the skin.
MATTE LIPSTICK: wet n wild MegaLast Matte Lipstick
Another great budget find, with so many colors to choose from, this lipstick redefines matte. It offers full, opaque color in one swipe with a comfortable formula that contains Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins A & E, Coenzyme Q10 and Natural Marine Plant Extracts to moisturize your lips as you wear it. The matte finish is more of a soft-matte, not flat. Check out my post where I shared swatches of all 13 shades.
GLOSSY LIPSTICK: wet n wild MegaLast High Shine Lipstick
Alternatively, if you like more of a glossy look, try out the same lipstick in the High-Shine version. Featuring another moisturizing formula that’s infused with Murumuru Butter, Mango Butter, and Sunflower and Watermelon Seed Oil, these feel super balmy. They start out pretty sheer but can be built up for a stronger color, though always remain a bit translucent. Check out my post where I shared swatches of all 13 shades.
This collection is a great stepping stone to get you used to application and help you figure out what you like. These products work well together to create cohesive looks, from everyday neutral to bold and daring.