14+ Under $20 Beauty Buys That Are Just As Good As Expensive Stuff

Diply 20 Jul 2018

Drugstore makeup isn't what it used to be. Gone are the badly pigmented eyeshadows and the sticky lip glosses of yesteryear. Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find a drugstore brand that can't compete with the luxury brands in Sephora or Ulta.

For every expensive, holy grail eyeliner, there's a cheaper option just around the corner.

So what are some of the best, and which brands nail it the most? Let's find out.

1. Eyeliner: Nyx Epic Ink Liner

YouTube | Viidreamcatcher

Nyx succeeds for many reasons, chief among them that they put out a quality product for cheap. Compare Nyx's Epic Ink Liner with Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner: not only do they share a similar name, they're crazy similar in quality. And with Nyx coming in at half of KVD Beauty's price tag, I'd say it's a good bet.

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2. Mascara: L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

Reddit | vtunon

Everyone talks about this mascara for a reason: it's incredible. All the pigment with none of the wallet damage levels of incredible. Comparable to Diorshow or Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara, Lash Paradise lifts and curls your lashes like the most luxurious of its counterparts.

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3. Lipstick: Colourpop

The Christy Leigh | The Christy Leigh

Colourpop's price range is untouchable. Charging a mere $5 and up for Kylie-level quality (they're actually made in the same lab), everything from their liquid lipstick to their lippie stix is right on the money.

Protip: if you're not a fan of how matte liquid lipsticks dry down, try their satin liquid lipsticks instead!

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4. Highlighter Palette: Maybelline Total Temptation Eyeshadow & Highlight Palette

SoulStyleBeauty | SoulStyleBeauty

GLOWWW, QUEEN. Palettes are so convenient, especially when they contain multi-use products. This Maybelline palette serves you what Natasha Denona and Becca would if they had a baby. Luckily, we can buy that baby for a quarter of the price that it would actually be. Also...don't...buy babies. This metaphor got away from me. Anyway, buy it for less than 20 bucks!

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5. Primer: L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base

Instagram | @blushingshades

Browsing around Sephora will net you a plethora of expensive primers with very up and down results. If you have combination skin and are a fan of a silky primer, the L'Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base might be for you! It has a similar feel to identical products found in Tarte or Smashbox's Rolodexes, but it's a winner with its affordable price tag.

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6. Gel Eyeliner: e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner

Instagram | @elfcosmetics

I'm about to tell you something unbelievable, yet absolutely true: this is one of the best cream eyeliners ever invented, and it is $3. Yes. That is three. Dollars. It's pigmented as hell, creamy as all get-out, and it lasts for hours. If you're on a budget (or just don't feel like paying $20 for eyeliner), e.l.f. cream eyeliner is the one for you.

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7. Concealer: Maybelline Age Rewind

Instagram | @thebrowngirlswatches

For the last year, the beauty community's concealer of choice has been Tarte Shape Tape. However, at over $25, it's certainly not the most budget-friendly choice. Enter a tried and true classic: Maybelline Age Rewind. With a comparable formula and incredible coverage, Maybelline's concealer is a solid alternative. And you can get it anywhere, unlike Shape Tape which is an Ulta exclusive.

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8. Cheeks: Kiss Ombre Radiance Palette

Instagram | @bwitch17

All-in-ones save so much space in your makeup kit. They used to be a drugstore niche (and low quality as hell), but now high-end brands have cottoned on to the idea. And, of course, with that comes higher prices. Kiss has you covered with cost AND quality!

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9. Brow Gel: Maybelline TattooStudio Waterproof Eyebrow Gel

Instagram | @the_glamour_cat

Anyone else notice that Maybelline is slaying the game? Their products are basically untouchable. (Have you tried their foundation? You should try their foundation.) Their brow gel is no exception — it's all the quality of Anastasia Beverly Hills, but half the price. Dope.

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10. Makeup Remover: Garnier Micellar Water

YouTube | Chicsavvyreese

Micellar water is the it-product right now, and there's a good reason why: it's so easy! It's tough enough to remove your makeup, but gentle enough to not have to rinse off after you use it. It's the ultimate lazy makeup hack. Garnier makes a great, inexpensive Micellar water that won't break the bank, or break out your face.

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11. Finishing Powder: Coty AirSpun

Instagram | @kizlarmakeup.bh

Finishing powders are as varied in quality as they are in price. High-end powders can be total duds, while drugstore powders can become cult-classics. This is the case with Coty AirSpun, which is a favorite within the beauty community. At super low cost, it outstrips the likes of Lancôme, Mac, and even Laura Mercier to give you a flawless finish.

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12. Foundation: Hard Candy Glamoflauge 

Instagram | @hardcandylife

If you're looking for a foundation thicker than my thighs, look no farther than Hard Candy. While high-end brands like Kat Von D and Tarte provide full coverage realness, you have to pay for it. Hard Candy has the true drugstore alternative for less than 10 bucks, and it's hard to beat. The only kicker? It's only available at Walmart, so you might have to buy it online.

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13. Liquid Highlighter: Makeup Revolution

Instagram | @revolutionmakeupireland

Illuminating liquid highlighters are a classic Instagram fave, but they come with a hefty price tag. Brands like Cover FX, Becca, and others all have their share of glittery goodness, but they all also sell for over $30. For less than $10, Makeup Revolution offers 12 different shades for all different skin tones. Glow on, y'all!

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14. Cream Eyeshadow: Maybelline ColorTattoo Cream Gel Eyeshadow

Instagram | @sintijavizule

Cream shadow is packed with pigment and great for big, bold looks. However, the kind of quality it provides doesn't always come cheap. One of the holy grail shadows is Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow, running at $44 a pop. However, here's a fun fact: Maybelline and Armani beauty are owned by the same company, and they happen to have their own identical cream eyeshadow.

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15. Brow Pencil: Nyx Microbrow Pencil

Instagram | @blessyourbeauty

Anastasia may have the market on brows, but Nyx is moving in on their territory. At half of the price as luxury brands, Nyx's brow pencil is just as good for a basic brow, or a more precise carved look that will fly on Instagram.

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16. Beauty Sponge: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

Instagram | @lapozang

Guys. Listen to me. Listen. You do not have to pay $25 for a sponge. I mean, you can, it's totally your prerogative, but I'm just out here trying to save you some real money. The original Beauty Blender is a makeup staple, but the Real Techniques Sponge is a fifth the price and 100% of the quality.

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