Polished Makeup Look | Easy + Affordable (all drugstore!)

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It’s been a hot minute decade (or more) since I did an entire *ENTIRE* face of makeup from the drugstore. It’s easy for me to do an eye makeup look or find incredible lip colors at the drugstore, but my big issue is always foundation and powder. It’s like my face has a radar for anything under $25 – it ALWAYS freaks out. Then again, I have a 50/50 shot at things OVER $25 breaking me out, too. But I wanted to bring some balance to Brighter, Darling this week considering I dropped a few bucks at Sephora last week. Let’s take it down a notch and do something basic, easy, affordable and pretty – a polished makeup look in six steps for the ‘every woman.’

Polished Makeup Look that's Affordable and Easy | All Drugstore Items

Polished Makeup Look that's Affordable and Easy | All Drugstore Items | Maybelline Matte + Poreless Foundation, Maybelline Better Skin Powder, CoverGirl TruNaked Golden Eyeshadow Palette, Wet n Wild Eyeshadow Primer, Milani Luminoso Blush, Essence Contour Palette, Pixi Eyeliner, Maybelline Stormy Sahara Lipstick, Loreal Butterfly Sculpt Mascara

Now, full disclosure here: there’s a high probability my face is going to hate me in 24 hours after using the foundation and powder, but I’m doing this for my beautiful readers to show you that you CAN get a gorgeous makeup look without spending a fortune and no one would know the damn difference (as long as your skin can handle it).

However; I will tell you upfront that I could certainly tell a big difference in the texture and performance of certain drugstore items compared to their higher-end counterparts. In the end, I think the results look very similar, but after using higher-end products for so many years, I could see and feel a difference (albeit minor).

step 1 | foundation, concealer, powder

I applied Maybelline Matte + Poreless ($5.99) in shade “Soft Tan” to my entire face. The coverage was light/medium initially, so I layered a second coat for medium/full coverage. It did not feel drying – something I worry about with matte foundations – and has more of a semi-matte/satin finish. I applied Maybelline Master Concealer ($7.99-9.99) in “Medium” to my under eye circles and anywhere else I needed coverage (blemishes, etc.). I set everything using the Maybelline Better Skin Powder ($8.99-10.99) in “30 Warm Nude.” This powder is finely milled, smooth and has light/medium but buildable coverage. It’s not at all cakey and one to check out (as long as it doesn’t break me out).

*I filled my brows in using the light taupe matte shadow from the CoverGirl palette used later in the tutorial. Double duty!

Affordable Polished Makeup Tutorial | Maybelline Matte and Poreless in Soft Tan, Maybelline Better Skin Powder in 30 Warm Nude

step 2 | blush + bronzer

I used my old drugstore favorite from essence ($3.99) to add some bronzer to my forehead, cheeks, the tip of the nose and chin (where the sun naturally hits) and finished it off with a pop of Milani “Luminoso” ($7.49) on the apples of the cheeks.

Affordable Polished Makeup Tutorial | Milani Luminoso, essence contour in medium

step 3 | prime + prep upper lash line

Apply an eyeshadow primer to your lids. I used this AWESOME one ($4.69) by Wet n Wild. Then, take a black pencil liner, I used this one by Pixi ($12.69), and messily line your upper lash line and smudge with your finger or a q-tip. Don’t be afraid to pull this up a little higher than normal. It’s going to blend together with the shadow and the darker the area closer to the lashes, the better. It makes your lash line look thicker. This is especially true for those with brown/dark eyes. If you have lighter eyes, don’t feel like you need to go *as* thick.

Affordable Polished Makeup Tutorial | Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen Black Noir, Wet n Wild Eyeshadow Primer

step 4 | eyeshadow

You’re going to take just ONE eyeshadow shade for this entire look. ONE. Because this is an easy look. We don’t have time for cut creases, multiple brushes, and tons of blending. I used the bronze shade (third from the right) in this amazing CoverGirl TrueNaked Goldens eyeshadow palette ($9.99-11.99) – which you NEED in your life if you don’t yet have some sort of neutral shadow palette – it blew my mind how well the shadows swatched and performed. Take a fluffy blending brush (like this one from Sephora) and apply the color all of the lid, even over the liner because it’s going to mute it down, up through the crease. Feel free to take the color up slightly above the crease if you have hooded or semi-hooded lids (like me).

On the lower lash line, take a brown pencil liner and line the waterline (I used this $2.99 essence one that I’m obsessed with and have used for months now). Take the other end of that Crown brush and smudge the bronze shadow on the lower lashes to soften the liner and add depth to your lower lash line. If you line your lower lashes and don’t smudge a shadow overtop, you’re missing out. It’s a game changer and softens your entire look!

Affordable Polished Makeup Tutorial | CoverGirl TruNaked Goldens Eyeshadow Palette


step 5 | mascara

I am a drugstore mascara girl through and through. There’s nowhere better to save on makeup than mascara because you should be replacing your tubes every 3-4 months because of bacteria. I certainly don’t want to be replacing a $30 mascara every three months. Currently, I am using and liking the L’Oreal Butterfly Sculpt ($7.99), but my all-time favorite is still the Maybelline Lash Sensational pink tube.

I applied two coats to the top and bottom lashes.

Affordable Polished Makeup Tutorial | L'Oreal Butterfly Sculpt Mascara

step 6 | lips

I lined my lips with a rose lip liner by NYX in “PeekaBoo Pink” ($3.49). NYX makes great lip liners that remind me a LOT of my MAC ones (except the MAC Pro Longwear Lip liners are no comparison).

My favorite lipsticks from the drugstore are by Maybelline. I think they have the best variety of finishes (creme, matte, frost, etc.) and shade options. I also like that they don’t really add any flavor/fragrance. L’Oreal lipsticks have that floral fragrance and I just can’t deal. Revlon lipsticks are great, too. I just prefer the options Maybelline makes – I also feel like they’re more on-trend. Anyways, I used my all-time favorite Maybelline shade, “Stormy Sahara” ($4.49). It’s a [you guessed it] peachy/brown nude.


That’s all! You’re finished and you literally only used ONE eyeshadow. You can’t get much easier than that.

***Oh, btw, the earrings/ear climber and pendant I’m wearing in this tutorial is part of my newest Rocksbox delivery and I really love the pendant! If you’re not familiar with Rocksbox, it’s an unlimited monthly jewelry rental subscription that I’m trying lately. Read more all about it here.***

Affordable Polished Makeup Tutorial

Polished Makeup Look that's Affordable and Easy | All Drugstore Items

I hope this tutorial helped inspire you to play with makeup now that you can see there are LOTS of great options. Also, stay tuned for another tutorial I’m going to do using this eyeshadow palette that’s going to be a little more complex so you can see how versatile it is.

How To Get A Polished Makeup Look Easy and Affordable | All Drugstore Products | Drugstore Makeup Tutorial

What are some of your all-time favorite drugstore items? Leave it in the comments and maybe I’ll start playing a little more with affordable stuff if I have some strong recommendations 🙂

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