I personally wear makeup every day. Whether it be drag-adjacent or that “trying to look like I didn’t try at all but this actually took me an hour” feel, I really do love makeup and trying different products. However, I am also Asian.
In turn, my cheap af roots can show themselves when browsing brands at Sephora. Yes, I have spent the $29 on a Kylie Lip Kit. And yes, I have shelled out the $54 on the coveted Urban Decay Naked Palette. But, I didn’t like doing it.
After watching countless YouTube beauty guru videos about drugstore makeup, I did a haul myself and found many of the items to be absolutely amazing for their price points. So, why not save yourself the cringing and spend your $50 beauty bank on six versatile items that add up to the price of just one higher end product.
Here are my top daily favorites and a few alternatives for your next trip to Target. We all know you’re going to buy five things you don’t need while you’re there. Might as well make some of those items some new makeup products!
I only recently started using primer once I realized some are literally made to minimize or erase pores, which is something I desperately need. The cult favorite is Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer. However, it retails for $31 and contains only .08 oz more in product than its drugstore Maybelline dupe. The Baby Skin Pore Eraser Primer by Maybelline makes your skin extremely soft, creates a smooth surface for your makeup, and does a great job of erasing large pores. For almost a fifth of the price, this is a no brainer.
I am still a fan of Benefit’s Hoola Matte Bronzer and will always be a fan. However, I found myself hitting pan far too often to justify spending $29 every few months. Yes, I wear hella bronzer. I have a round face. No beauty influencer seems to have found a perfect dupe for Hoola, but they have found their favorite drugstore bronzer in general. For less than half the price and with .1oz more product, this Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is my favorite find on this list. The shade isn’t as deep as Hoola so it gives a more natural tone and finish to your skin. It’s more suitable for daily use and also has an amazing coconut, island scent. I still use Hoola for a night out, but I reach for my Butter Bronzer on a daily basis.
I am a total cheap-ass when it comes to brushes. I should probably throw half of mine away and wash the other half far more often. But, that’s a whole other post. Brushes can retail for upwards of $20 or $30 for ONE BRUSH. There are also sites like Morphe that offer great quality brushes for as low as $2, but you also have to spend $60 for free shipping. What am I going to do, buy 30 brushes in order to get free shipping? Do you hear my Asian-ness coming out? Instead, I buy a few brushes from Sonia Kashuk’s line ever so often. Her brushes aren’t as cheap as Morphe but she offers every brush you’ll need at a reasonable price. I personally love her contour brush that softens with use so it gives your bronzer a nicely blended, natural look.
I mentioned that I had purchased the Urban Decay Naked Palette. While I do love it and it offers versatile looks, I wanted a matte palette that was strictly for work and day looks. This e.l.f. palette retails for a fraction of any high end palette. I’ll admit, the shadows definitely don’t blend as well as Anastasia or Urban Decay shadows, but you shouldn’t expect them to. Still, they are surprisingly well-pigmented and with the right brush, the shadows can be applied and blended out really nicely. I use it daily and am nowhere near hitting pan on any shade.
Since middle school I’ve followed every major mascara trend. I tried DiorShow and BadGal by Benefit. Remember those? #tbt. However, I quickly realized that the mascaras that were working for my friends, were not working for me. For thin, Asian eyelashes, I will always recommend a curved, rubber brush with hard rubber bristles. This type of applicator catches our sparse lashes better and keeps them from clumping. I really do adore Benefit’s Roller Lash. However, for how much mascara I use, spending $24 on a .3oz tube seems excessive. I also feel that I have gotten more compliments on my eyelashes when using Lash Sensational over Roller Lash.
While my friends may call me high-maintenance, I’m confident that they would say my lip makeup game is not. I went through a phase of trying all of the Kylie Lip Kits, Anastasia Liquid Mattes, and their corresponding Colourpop dupes. However, I quickly found that I don’t have the energy for that. When I do feel the need to add some lip color to my daily look, I just apply this rose nude shade by L’Oreal. It’s a moist formula and is far from opaque, which helps me avoid that done-up look. A sales associate at Target recommended it to me and it has been a easy favorite of mine every since.
If you don’t need or use some of the above products, here are some alternative items that I have yet to try but know have stellar reviews online and in YouTube videos. They have all been mentioned and raved about time and time again by numerous influencers. Plus, they’re all under $10!
Hopefully I’ll find a need for them in the future and try them out for myself.
I personally don’t use concealer, but I have heard multiple times that this Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer is a fair dupe for the industry loved Shape Tape Concealer by Tarte. A major set back may be that the Age Rewind is only .2oz and Shape Tape contains .3381oz of product. However, the almost $20 price difference might sway you anyway.
Both of these highlighters have been positively reviewed and give you the opportunity to try it in either a powder or liquid form. I personally have never understood why highlighters are so expensive. MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish retails for $28 while Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector is $38! This Maybelline powder contains the same amount of product, .28oz, and according to beauty experts, it does more than just a good job of highlighting your face. The powder formula will for sure be my next highlighter purchase.
I don’t wear blush so I’m a bit of a novice in this realm. However, whenever beauty influencers discuss a drugstore blush they love, it’s almost always Milani’s Luminoso. I wasn’t even paying attention to blush recommendations but it was mentioned so often that the name stuck in my brain. Some even say they prefer it over any high end blushes.
I hope you find this list helpful and grab some of these items for yourself and save some money. Which you will inevitably spend on something else at Target. I know how it goes.