My Favorite Drugstore Make-up: Face and Color

Have you entered the e.l.f. $20 gift card giveaway yet? Hurry, I’ll wait.

Yesterday I talked about some of my favorite makeup tools and skin care products, but now it’s time to get into the real stuff. 
These are the goodies you’ll need to turn your skin into the perfect canvas, and start adding a nice healthy glow. Here we go…
My favorite affordable foundations, concealers, and face powders.
Any product with a pink star is one that I have not personally be able to try yet, but I’ll be sure to add updates when I do.


Save: Covergirl cgsmoothers BB cream ($6)*light to fair – This cream is a touch too dark for my skintone, but I lighten it a bit with a pale loose powder. It gives a nice sheer coverage that is great for everyday errand runs, and even though I’ve heard a few friends say that they feel like they’re wearing nothing at all, I like the way it lets my freckles show through. 

I’d also like to try the Maybelline dream fresh and Garnier miracle skin perfector BB creams. Maybe they’ll match better.

Splurge: Revlon colorstay whipped foundation ($12)*ivory – I had a rough time convincing myself to spend so much on a foundation, but a little bit of this stuff really goes a long way. And since having a good canvas will help the rest of your makeup look even better, I suppose it’s ok to splurge a little more than usual. Not quite full coverage, this foundation goes on smoothly and last all day.

I’d also like to try Covergirl’s Clean Whipped Creme Foundation. Hopefully it’ll prove to be a cheaper version of the whipped Revlon.


Save: NYC cover stick ($2)*light – Honestly, if I’m in a super rush and just need to cover up the fact that I’m a zombie, this is the only makeup I’ll apply. I’ve been using cover sticks like this one by different brands since I was a teenager. They do a great job of covering up stubborn dark circles and blemishes. The only down side is that they can become cakey if you apply too much. To prevent this, I usually swipe my finger across the top of the stick and then gently pat the concealer where I need it and blend. 

Splurge: Maybelline instant age rewind dark circle eraser ($8)*fair – I’ve just recently started using this concealer, and so far I love it! I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the applicator and how it tends to break, but everyone has been raving about the actual makeup itself. I simply press a few dots of concealer where I need it, and then lightly buff it with the fuzzy applicator to blend it in. The amount of coverage has been awesome!

I also own the e.l.f. under eye concealer and highlighter in light/glow, but the liquid formula doesn’t seem to be strong enough for my rather tenacious dark circles.

Pressed Powder

Save: e.l.f. Essential clarifying pressed powder ($1) – Yet another product that I’m too pale to use. Honestly, sometimes I consider going or a super aggressive tanning binge…and then I remember that I’d just come out looking like a tomato. Oh well, I guess this ghostly shade is probably healthier anyway. It’s $1 powder though! If you can match it, you should definitely try it.

Splurge: Covergirl cgsmoothers pressed powder ($7)*translucent light – Since my teen years I don’t think I’ve ever used a press powder from any brand besides Covergirl. There’s no real reason I stick with them, but if it works, why change now? 

Loose Powder

Save: NYC smooth skin loose powder ($3)*translucent – Oh my goodness, this stuff lasts for-ev-er. I don’t even know when I bought the one I have now, but it’s been ages, and the container is still half full! And it does a great job of setting my concealer and foundation. You can’t ask for much more than that…except maybe SPF, but I can let that slide.

Splurge: e.l.f. Studio SPF 45 sunscreen ($6) – I’ll add extra SPF to my makeup routine any way I can, but unfortunately this product only comes in one shade. And of course that color is far too dark for me. If you aren’t “blessed” with a super fair complexion though, I’d definitely suggest giving this stuff a try.

My favorite affordable blushes, bronzers, and highlighters.


Save: e.l.f Studio blush ($3)*tickled pink – This is just a good basic blush that goes on smoothly and gives you just the right hint of color. If you’re just easing your way into the realm of blush, this is a great one to start with.

e.l.f. Studio HD blush ($3)*headliner – This may be my favorite blush that I own, but you have to apply it just right to make it look good. A little bit (and I mean a teeny teeny tiny dot) goes a long way and it’s easy to add too much if you aren’t careful. I like to add a tiny bit to the back of my hand and then use a stippling brush to lightly dab it into place. This one little bottle may last me for the next 10 years!

Splurge: Maybelline dream bouncy blush ($7)*pink plum – This blush has been getting a lot of hype lately for it’s peculiar powder/cream consistency. It feels kinda like a very very thick paste to me, and even though it gives a nice, soft, build-able color, I’m not sure that I would buy another one when it is gone. Yes it’s unique, but it isn’t any better than the other (cheaper) blushes I use.


Save: e.l.f. Essential shimmer ($1) – This is a new product so I haven’t tried this highlighter yet, but since it’s only $1 I’ll probably give it a go sooner or later.The reviews seem to be split so far, but I’m hoping it give a very faint glow that will look perfect for summer.

Splurge: e.l.f. Studio baked highlighter ($3)*moonlight pearl – I’m not sure if it’s the way of all “baked” cosmetics, but this one seems really hard. And I don’t mean hard as in difficult either (though it is that too I guess), but more like hard as a rock. I feel like I barely get any powder on my brush, but since I don’t like too much shimmer anyway, I’m ok with it. I brush just a little down the center of my nose, on my upper lip, and across the very tops of my cheek bones. Then blend like there’s no tomorrow.  

I also have the e.l.f. Essential Shimmering Facial Whip and the e.l.f. Essential All Over Color Stick but they were both a smidge too shimmery for my taste. They might be good for someone younger, but on me it wasn’t a very natural look. I am interested in finding a highlighter stick though, if you happen to know of a good one.


Save: e.l.f. Healthy glow bronzer ($2)*sun kissed – I bought this bronzer in the store (probably Walmart or Target) but can’t seem to find the same version on the e.l.f. website. Maybe it’s been renamed as the Essential bronzer instead? Unfortunaely the shade I choose is much too orange for my skintone, so I look like I’m sporting a really fake tan. It does add a nice shimmer though without being too glittery, so if you found the right match I’m sure it would be lovely.

Splurge: WetnWild coloricon bronzer SPF 15 ($4)*reserve your cabana – You knew they had me at SPF didn’t you? Well you’re right! This is a very nice almost matte bronzer that adds a very subtle glow to your skin. I like to use it very sparingly just above my temples, and below my cheekbone to give my face a little bit more color.

Of all the make up I’ve tried, it seems like the hardest products to find are the perfect foundation and concealer. Do you have a brand for either one that you think is the absolute best? Goodness knows I’m always looking for a better way to pretend I got a full night’s sleep!

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See more of my drugstore makeup picks…

Skin Care and Makeup Tools | Lips | Eyes and Brows

6 thoughts on “My Favorite Drugstore Make-up: Face and Color

  1. I personally use Boi-ing conceler. Hefty price tag but it covers my dark circles. I don't use powder or foundation of any sort but im a blush-a-holic and own entirely too much :/

    1. Boi-ing is supposed to be really good, but you're right about the $$$. I've heard that the NYX concealer is supposed to be a pretty good dupe for it though. I didn't really wear foundation either until recently when I started to feel old. 😛

  2. I don't have a concealer that I use at the moment; however, one thing I've discovered that's magic is wearing a corrector, and then putting on a concealer. The brand of corrector I use is called Palladio, and it's awesome! Creamy, blends in well and it's affordable. I got mine at Ulta; I'm not sure where else you can get it.

    1. Thanks for the tip Amber! I tried doing the green corrector thing in high school but could never get it to blend properly. Maybe I'll have to give it another go.

  3. I just picked up some NYC products at the drug store because my daughter wanted some to play dress up with. I bought it because of the price but I was really impressed with the quality. They eye-shadow was much more pigmented than I expected. I can't find e.l.f. products at my drugstore, but strangely I can find them at my grocery store. I love their brushes.

    1. Hi Jennifer! A lot of the "cheap-y" makeup has gotten much better from what I remember it being back in middle school. The eyeshadows especially are a great way to try those new "trendy" colors without breaking your budget! They have recently started to sell e.l.f. brand cosmetics at my local Target and Walmart stores. You may be able to find them there, although they do come in a very limited color selection. Thanks for visiting!

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