What if I had $100, not an ounce of makeup and needed to build a makeup kit from the ground up? The premise of the $100 makeup challenge is to try to get everything one would need for a fully stocked makeup kit while also getting the most bang for your buck, all for $100.
Eyeshadow – I’d hands down recommend the BH Cosmetics ($16) 120 palettes for those who are getting started out or those on a budget. These palettes come in five editions, each offering varying color choices to suit anyone’s needs. The huge variety of 120 shades makes this a great product to have in your arsenal and I find that the color payoff on most of these shades is really good! As a whole, they are mostly very pigmented, apply smoothly and last well. For the price and variety, I don’t think they can be beat.
The 1st Edition is mostly very bright colors with a handful of neutrals thrown in. It has both matte and shimmer shadows and is probably best suited for those who really dig neon and colorful makeup.
The 2nd Edition still contains both mattes and shimmers as well as a lot of colorful shades but the difference here is that this palette contains twice the amount of neutrals as the 1st edition, making it really easy to create casual neutrals looks with this as well as bold colorful looks and pops of color.
The 3rd Edition contains a lot of neutral colors, many of them being cool toned, as well as some pastels and bright shades. This is a great palette for creating many different types of smokey eye looks while still giving you the ability to create colorful or soft looks. It also has both matte and shimmer shades.
The 4th Edition contains many, many neutrals but also some more colorful shades. The colorful shades in this palette are more subdued than earlier editions though and are nice for adding color without looking too bold and bright. Another big difference with this edition is that all of the shadows are shimmer. This palette leans cool toned.
The 5th Edition is the final edition in the 120 palette collection. This palette contains shimmer and matte shadows and a good variety of both warm and cool shades. The 5th Edition is neutral heavy making it easy to create many, many neutral looks from natural to super dramatic and smokey while also containing many shades of pinks and purples for a girly kick.
Primer – I think eye primer is a necessity. A good primer makes a dramatic difference in the longevity of your eyeshadow, the color impact and it cuts down on creasing. The NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base ($7) is a great primer that I think can hold it’s own in a side to side comparison with high end primers. It cuts down on fading, creasing, smudging, etc., all without breaking the bank.
Another NYX primer product that I really like is the NYX White Eyeshadow Base ($7). I like to apply a thin amount of this cream product all over my eyelids on top of my primer but it can also be used on it’s own. It feels slightly tacky to the touch and the white base is great for holding onto eyeshadow and really making bright colors pop. Eyeshadows that aren’t living up to their potential over bare skin often look much more vibrant over this white base. Be careful to only apply a thin layer, though. You want your lids to have a white cast, not to be opaque white. Applying this too thickly can cause creasing but if you apply the right amount, it’s a fantastic product.
Foundation – This is a toss up for me between two really nice products. No one foundation will be perfect for everyone but both of these are good contenders for many people.
First is the L’Oreal True Match ($9.50) One of the biggest reasons that I love this foundation is because it not only comes in an impressive 33 shades but the shades are also separated into warm, cool and neutral undertones making it easy to find a great match. I know the struggles of being a pale girl with warm leaning undertones and the majority of pale foundations are cool, making me look like I’m wearing a pink mask. L’Oreal True Match comes through for me though! It’s coverage is light to medium and looks and feels very natural.
Another good one is Revlon Colorstay ($11). It comes both in a formula for combination/oily skin and a formula for dry/normal skin. This is a medium to full coverage foundation. It gives great coverage while still feeling light on the skin. It works wonders for covering acne, blemishes, discoloration, etc. and it has some serious staying power that lasts all day.
Mascara – My favorite drug store mascara is probably Maybelline’s Colossal Volum’ Express. ($5) I bought this mascara for years before trying out some others and forgetting about it for a while. I recently picked up a new tube and was reminded all over again why I love it so much. The formula really coats and separates my lashes while adding lots of length without any clumping. I also don’t have any issues with this mascara flaking. If you plan on being around water or live in a very hot or humid climate, there is also a waterproof version which really lasts until you want it to come off.
Blush – I love variety and think that different looks call for different blushes making this Glamorous Blush Palette ($15) from BH Cosmetics a great option. The palette is very versatile and has 10 different shades of blush ranging from nudes, to soft pinks to bold berry shades with a variety of matte and shimmer finishes.
Lips – It seems like NYX is making a few appearances in this post but what can I say? I’m a big NYX fan and am very rarely disappointed by any of their products. I am so much in love with their Matte Lipstick ($6). These shades last and last and are somehow miraculously much less drying than many matte lipsticks, especially ones with such good staying power. Staying true to the idea of this post, I’d recommend someone who had no other lipstick to get one natural shade for every day events and one bold shade for special days. A few of my favorite shades are Shocking Pink, Hippie Chick and Indie Flick.
If matte and opaque isn’t your thing, Revlon Lip Butters ($6.50) are a great option. They are sheer yet buildable, easy to apply and feel really moisturizing on the lips.
Eyeliner – My favorite inexpensive cream eyeliner is the Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner ($8). The creamy consistency is really easy to work with, the color payoff is good and it even comes with a brush! It’s a good gel liner although it does smudge a little sometimes. You can combat this by using it over primer and also by dusting a little translucent powder over it to help set it.
If liquid is more your style, I like the Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise Liquid Liner ($6). The precise tip makes it easy to apply and it stays put really well.
For a good pencil eyeliner, the L’Oreal Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner ($8) is a winner. It’s smudge resistant, long lasting and self sharpening. It also has a smudger on one end making it easy to smudge out your eyeliner for a smokey effect.
Brushes – Without decent brushes, you’re going to have a difficult time getting your makeup to look the way you want it to. Fingers and those little disposable eyeshadow sponges just don’t really cut it. Brushes can be an expensive investment but until you’re ready to upgrade, you’re going to need a good set of brushes to use in the meantime. I would suggest the BH Cosmetics 24 Piece Synthetic Signature ($24) makeup brush set. This brush set contains both eye and face brushes and covers nearly every brush you could need to get started with and then some! The bristles are very soft, the shedding is minimal and they do a good job at picking up and applying product. They also come in a convenient brush roll which is great for keeping your brushes safe while traveling. For the price point, they are absolutely worth it and are a great starter set.
Based on my recommendations, if you were to buy 1 eyeshadow palette, 1 eye primer, 1 foundation, 1 mascara, 1 blush palette, 2 lip products, 1 eyeliner and the 24 piece brush set, you’d be looking at ~$98.
Keep in mind sales and coupons too! Ulta nearly always has a $3.50 off $10 coupon in their weekly ad and occasionally a coupon for 20% off one item. These are available online to print if you don’t get their ad and are also able to be used for online orders. Ulta also takes manufacture coupons. Coupon websites often have coupons for brands such as Covergirl, Maybelline, Revlon, etc. Check the weekly ads of local drugstore such as Walgreens, CVS, etc. because they very often have sales on cosmetics and you can use coupons on top of these sales. BH Cosmetics often has really awesome sales so be sure to sign up for their newsletter.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to help!