It wasn’t until right before graduate school that I became fascinated with makeup. Before that I just had the essential products: eyeliner, mascara, some eyeshadow, and foundation. One of my first makeup products I had was in high school. It was a bright dual-toned Urban Decay deluxe eyeshadow in Fishnet, which I wore alongside a navy-blue eyeliner. Luckily, that look did not stick for too long, haha.
Transitioning from undergrad to graduate school allowed me to embrace adulthood and develop into the person I wanted be. One of those changes was my makeup. My first dive into the makeup world was looking at a contouring video by Jacklin Hill. After watching the video, I went and got myself what I thought was a contour powder but it was actually a bronzer (can’t blame me, they look similar). Using the tools at hand, I took one of my white triangle sponges to apply the bronzer. Another one of my more unfortunate looks. Eventually I got a bronzing brush and it was crisis averted. After that point I started watching various makeup tutorials on YouTube, testing makeup products, and exploring my makeup skills.
Along my journey of makeup discovery, I have tried various products mostly from the drugstore, as that is what my current graduate student budget limits too. So today I am sharing some of my favorite underrated products that won’t break the bank.
- The first bronzing powder I bought is one of my favorites, but not for bronzing. It is the Rimmel Natural Bronzer (021 Sun Light) ~$5. It is beautiful as a bronzer with a warm neutral tone and soft consistency. However, its true potential was revealed after I hit pan. I discovered that it works great as a crease-transition color and flawlessly blends with other eyeshadows. The best part is you get some much eyeshadow for your money!
- Covergirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadows (Blushing Nudes): the two pink shades are my favorite because they have a soft and the glitter is fine. The lighter pink shade is makes a great highlighter for fair skin tones.
- Covergirl Eye Enhancers 3-Kit Shadows (Shimmering Sands): It has great color payoff and work well with your fingers or a brush. The metallic is high quality and butter consistency. I would stay these eyeshadows are on par with high-end makeup.
- Essence 2-in-1 Liner and Eyeshadow (02 Peach Perfect) ~ $5 at Ulta: I actually bought this while in Germany! It is a rose-gold cream stick eyeshadow. The consistency is very creamy and applies quickly on the eyes giving a vibrant metallic color. What I like best about the shadow stick is that hue matches my skin tone and gives the eye a pretty, but wearable shine. It is long lasting, but it does shift with oily lids.
- One of my favorite makeup products have been a good felt-tip liner, but it is difficult to find one to make the perfect wing. The Physicians Formula Sexy Booster Cat Eye Collection Liquid Eyeliner, Ultra Black ~$10: is seriously underestimated eyeliner. It’s your typically ink-well + tip liner. The felt tip is very thin and allows for a lot of control and ink is very rich black. When it dries it does not budge. Another great think about this product is you get more product than the average eyeliner (0.75 fl oz. vs. 0.05 fl oz.).
- My go to lip product is the Almay Color + Care Liquid Balm ~ $6: it leaves a pretty gloss and a hint of color while helping moisturizer the lips. It is also not sticky or thick like other lip glosses. I liked it so much I got two more!
Now the all-important tools of any makeup expert, brushes.
- I have found two really great brushes at an even better price. E
ach of these is around $1. The first is the Elf eye crease brush which I use for almost all my eyeshadow. The bristles are very soft and do a great job blending The other is the Wet n Wild brush which is meant for eyeshadow, but I think it works better as a highlighter brush to give a sun-kissed glow.
I hope I have given you some makeup inspirations next time you are at the drugstore. What is great about makeup is that every day you can try something new and keep improving your skills. At the end of the day it’s just makeup and washes off, so don’t stress. Graduate school is a great time to experiment with makeup too, because you are free from a strict dress-code and professional expectations. So happy makeup exploring!
Comment down below if you have tried any of these products or some of your favorites!