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Top Picks for Affordable Face Makeup

Top Picks for Affordable Face Makeup

Saving money is my favorite hobby, especially when it comes to makeup. If you’re like me, you find it hard to shell out 50 bucks for the newest palette or a bottle of foundation that lasts a month. In my mission to save my bank account, I’ve searched out some of the best affordable face makeup picks that I have found so far, including moisturizers, foundations, blushes, and setting products.

If you are looking for more great deals, check out my posts about affordable makeup for the eyes and for the lips, too.

Daily Moisturizer: CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Price: $12

My affordable face makeup pick for a daily moisturizer is the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. Retailing from $10 to $15 in my local drugstores, this is a bit more pricy than other drugstore moisturizers. It is definitely worth it though. This moisturizer goes on lightweight and dries quickly. It also has 30 SPF to protect your skin even on cloudy days. Other moisturizers I’ve tried have caused acne, taken too long to dry, or had strong fragrances which tend to irritate the skin.

Nightly Moisturizer: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Price: $12

Use CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for a nightly moisturizer.

To restore my skin’s moisture at night, I use a different moisturizer from CeraVe, their moisturizing cream. This thick moisturizer is the only thing that stopped my nose from flaking this past winter after trying countless products. It comes in a tub and can be used on all problem areas—the face, the elbows, the knees, etc.

Tip: For problem spots, apply moisturizer with a layer of Vaseline over it to seal the moisture in.

Primer: Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer

Price: $7

The perfect drugstore primer: Rimmel Stay Matte Primer!

After my moisturizer sinks in, the next thing I look for is a primer. Primers are really great to improve the look of your foundation and skin texture. My favorite drugstore primer is Rimmel’s Stay Matte Primer, a silicone-based, lightweight primer. Compared to other drugstore primers, I would say that this one is a thicker consistency, making it easier to apply it by pressing the primer into the face to reduce the appearance of pores.

Tip: Make sure your foundation is also silicone-based to avoid blending issues between foundation and primer.

Liquid Foundation: L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation

Price: $13

L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation, the best drugstore foundation.

Cheap foundation is hard to come by, especially in a formula that doesn’t cause breakouts and is your true shade. I’ve tried many different brands from Covergirl to Rimmel without much luck, but the stand out so far has been L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Foundation. It comes with a pump dispenser and has a dewy finish without feeling wet throughout the day. It also has the bonus of being SPF 20. There could be more shade choices, but it at least comes in 12 shades, so far, which are reasonably inclusive of all skin tones. Whether I use my hands or a beauty sponge, it always applies well with medium coverage and wears great throughout the day without getting cakey.

Mineral Foundation: L’Oreal True Match Mineral Foundation

Price: $10

L'Oreal True Match Mineral Foundation with SPF 19.

My personal foundation fave is the L’Oreal True Match Mineral Foundation. As someone with dry skin, I actually find that mineral foundations are less harsh on my skin and don’t stick to dry patches throughout the day. Like the True Match Lumi, it comes in 12 shades with SPF 19 protection and is about a medium coverage foundation. Though it comes with a brush, it’s pretty scratchy, so I would buy your own brush to apply with. I’ve had mine for over a year, and there’s still so much product left which is quite a deal when it comes to affordable face makeup products.

Blush: Covergirl Cheekers Blush

Price: $4-5

I like the Covergirl Cheekers Blush because comes in 17 different shades and all the ones I’ve tried have consistently had good color payoff and blendability, which is why it is one of my affordable face makeup picks. The colors have a nice range of pinks, plums, and bronze colors that are flattering on every skin tone. They also offer bronzers, as well. All of these come with a brush, but I’d suggest using one of your own, instead. Just make sure to look out because some shades are shimmery if that’s not your sort of thing.

Contour: L’Oreal Colour Riche Eyeshadow in Café Au Lait

Price: $5

While contour sticks and palettes are aplenty, I find the cheaper (and better) option is to use a taupe eyeshadow instead. Most contour-specific products lean orange, which doesn’t work well on many skin tones. My favorite eyeshadow single that I use is the L’Oreal Colour Riche Eyeshadow in Cafe Au Lait. It is a cooler taupe color with no shimmer and is buildable, so it’s hard to go to overboard with it.

Tip: Use a soft, fluffy brush to apply for better blending and color distribution.

Setting Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder

Price: $6

Stay Matte Pressed Powder from Rimmel

For the final touches, especially in hot weather, I like to apply Rimmel’s Stay Matte Pressed Powder. It comes in various shades including transparent and has a matte finish without being drying to your skin. I apply it with a big fluffy brush to seal my foundation, but I also can use it on top of lipstick to avoid transfer.

Setting Spray: E.L.F. Makeup Mist & Stay

Price: $3

For a setting spray, I use E.L.F.’s Makeup Mist & Set. It’s only $3, has a variety of vitamins, and helps blend in my layers of makeup while keeping me fresh through the day. It’s a really cheap solution, which is why I like it. It also leaves me a bit less matte than using powder, which sometimes I prefer.


I’m always looking for more ways to save a bit of cash with my affordable face makeup picks. If you have your own product secrets or love any of the ones mentioned, please share with us in the comments below.

Note: this article contains referral links.

Prices may vary depending on your location and store.

All products images were retrieved and credited to the original seller.



  • I live in South Africa and we have a range of products here called Essence. They are affordable and actually quite lovely. I am new to doing the whole make up thing (never really bothered before now) and I use almost exclusively their products. I do believe they are available in other countries as well. Perhaps you could showcase some of their products and looks? I am terribly boring and stick with basic old brown / bronze / gold type colours. Would love some inspiration. Another reason I love them is that they are bunny friendly / beauty without cruelty recognized. Rather rare in our country.

    • Brynn Tweeddale

      Hey Jessie! I’ve never heard of them before, but apparently they sell at my local Ulta. I’ll definitely look into it! I noticed they sell eyeshadow singles if you are looking to add more color to your looks.There’s flamingo pink and dark berry singles that I think would pair for a pretty pink smoky eye!

      • I am not very good at makeup, nor at knowing what looks good on me. I don’t have the most fabulous self esteem :). I don’t know that flamingo pink or dark berry would look good on someone with, I am told, warm undertones.

        I also wouldn’t have a clue how to apply them. The only reason I wear eye shadow at all is because I found the Essence 2 in 1 eye shadow and liner and I quite simply love it. It is soooooo easy to use as well.

        • Brynn Tweeddale

          I think practice makes perfect! I usually apply eyeshadows with a brush but I used to use my fingers and it worked, too. Luckily pink/berry tones are usually considered universally flattering, whether you have warm, cool, or neutral tones. Don’t be worried with what others think; I think the more you practice, the more comfortable you will get with yourself. 🙂

          • Thank you very much for the advice. I shall go explore pink’s and barry’s

  • This is such an in-depth post! I love drugstore products.

    • Brynn Tweeddale

      Thanks! 😊