What has been your best budget beauty product discovery?

ColourPop in general; they’re one of my favorite brands, period, and they have some really nice formulas at affordable price points. Their Blush Stix is a very welcome addition for something long-wearing and luminous without a high-end price point. It’s nice to have higher-performing eyeshadow palettes that are fairly consistent in quality as well.

— Christine
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Explore Temptalia

We're here to help you make better beauty purchases that you'll enjoy and love! We recommend signing up to take advantage of personalized features like tracking products you own, viewing dupes that you already have, and more!

Here are some useful resources for you:

Compare Any Two

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

37 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

I love this question and look forward to reading everyone’s answers.

1. RCMA No Color Powder: Three ounces for $12! Let’s put that into perspective. MAC’s Invisible Set Powder sells for $35 for one ounce, which means it would cost $105 for three ounces. MAC’s Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder sells for $30 for 1/3 ounce, which translates to a whopping $270 for three ounces…seriously? I think the RCMA works just as good, if not better than MAC’s powders. One more comparison: IMHO, RCMA performs much better than NYX’s Finishing Powder, which sells for $10 for .28 ounces, translating to somewhere around $117 for three ounces (if I did my math correctly)!!! So RCMA is a huge winner for me. (Plus it helped stop the leather tongue on my new boots from squeaking when I walk.)

2. NYX Proof It Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer: Only $7 for a tube, but Ulta does NYX BOGOHO sales quite often, so you can get it even cheaper. It works extremely well with powder shadows, and has been one of my HG products for several years.

And, like Christine, I love ColourPop!

Milano luminoso baked blush – it was rated #1 here in one of the “best of” categories so I bought it on amazon over the summer. I finally just used it a few days ago – it’s $7 of pure joy in powder form.

Nyx, ColourPop and Maybelline all have some of my HG products at a minor cost comparatively speaking. Nyx has my Taupe contour powder, the Glide-On Waterproof eye pencils, Slim Lip Pencils, primers. ColourPop has 2 of my favorite everyday palettes with Yes, Please and Going Coconuts, Super Shock blushes and highlighters, regular powder cheek products. Maybelline has my HG mascara Full & Soft waterproof, Fit Me concealer, Rose-gold Molton highlighter.

NYX Proof It
NYX Glitter Glue
NYX Glide On Lip Liners
Black Radiance Eye Khol
Physicians Formula Eye Khol
Colourpop’s White Concealer as eyeshadow base

Catrice! Especially their Camouflage Concealer (perfect color match for this pale olive) and face powders. They don’t receive enough recognition imho!

I love Catrice, too. Their single matte shadows, d/c’d at least at Ulta, were amongst the best in the business. They also made great liners; I think like Zoeva, they stopped. And nine million mascara choices, lol. Their glowy setting spray is superb. If you use powder foundation and it looks dry, masky, whatever….spritz, spritz, all good.

Sleek blush in the shade Pomegrenate
L’oreal liquid eyeliner
the ever impressive NYX lipstick in the shade Cannes.
NYX eye pencils (now discontinued) in the shade Rust
In Germany, we are quite fortunate to have great drugstore products from Essence, Manhattan, Catrice, Lavera and Alterra (the last two being bio companies)
I would say my stash is 50/50 drugstore and high end.

Yay! I discovered it from Temptalia! I had purchased rosegold as an affordable dupe to Nars orgasm a few years ago when I was still in my student days. When Christine reviewed the Fenty Beauty Bordeaux brat stick, pomegranate was listed as the 3rd dupe on the list so I just grabbed it. it’s so great!

*RCMA No Color Powder, Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Full Coverage Foundation and Concealer, ColourPop All Star Mattefying Face Primer, Wet n Wild ColorIcon Blush in Rose Champagne, and Looxi Beauty Highlighters.

*Thanks to Temptalia, SG Paris Skies Blush. I’M. IN. LOVE.

For me the biggest `budget` beauty discovery was that I don’t need to ever buy mascara, I can just live with free minis or redeemed products from Sephora. Zero money, get to try all the latest high end mascaras. 😆

Otherwise, since I only purchase products as replacements and I’m financially stable, I always prefer to get the `slightly` better more expensive stuff, even when I find good budget stuff. But if I were to choose:
* NYX has some amazing brow pencils, and great dupes for Hourglass and ABH products (the NYX Micro Brow Pencil highly impressed me); some are flops, but it also might be user preference. I would still buy the Hourglass as a first option, but NYX is definitely a good budget discovery on this segment.
*The Inkey List, The Ordinary and ELF have some good skincare items, they’re great especially when you just want to try a new ingredient and how it works for you. I would still buy the more expensive complex formulas, but this doesn’t make these budget products a bad option.
*ELF brushes are a hit or a miss… but when you get a hit, it’s sometimes better than big brands like MAC.

Catrice 1 Minute Face Perfector is the best blurring primer I have used in a long time. From e.l.f., I love the Prep & Blur Stick, a cream eyeliner in Espresso, and an eyeliner felt tip pen, also in brown. And shedding tears for the discontinued CYO foundation, for which I broke my rule against stockpiling.

I just watched a Sarah Hubler 2019 award video today on YouTube. She said the CYO Lifeproof Foundation had a dupe in its parent company, Soap &Glory, called Kick Ass All Day Wear Foundation. I have no idea if there were multiple foundations that were discontinued but, as I just heard it today I thought I’d pass the info along.

Because I almost exclusively shop in-store, a lot of great budget products aren’t available to me. For skincare, a wonderful “budget” moisturizer is Astral cream – it’s for face and body and it’s cheap and cheerful (meaning it’s good quality!) For colour cosmetics, probably Wet n Wild – they always seem to have some good products at amazing prices (though I lament the passage of their older eyeshadows and eyeshadow palettes). Essence is also amazing – their crayon eyeshadows, mattifying powder, highlighting powder – all incredible!

Etude House Lovely Cookie Blushes, absolutely. Pigmented, affordable, and smooth. I have a bunch of colors; Yesstyle is my go-to when I order them and they’re usually around $6. I’m on my third Strawberry Choux pan!

YesStyle is the bomb for newer products in 2 of my go-to s/cares, Purito and Cosrx. They launch at YS long before they trickle on to Amazon. I consider both budget, not as budget as Inkey or the Ordinary, but far less expensive than mainstream US brands. Why Cosrx is prestige at Ulta baffles me. Lots of Olay, etc. is far more pricey.Also, NYX lip products, though too vast an array. I like the 3CE from YS, too. CP and SG are incomparable.

I still want to try some 3CE blushes!! They have some MEGA pretty ones out right now. I’ve heard they are quite a lovely finish. I also quite like the look of their eyeshadow palettes; have you tried them? I got one of the Heimish palettes not long ago and was unfortunately unimpressed—despite the great colors, they seemed cheaply made. I would think 3CE would be better.

Wet n Wild, in general, but the Micellar Makeup Remover is just as amazing as Lancome Bi-Facil, but I can use it every day, whereas the Lancome irritates the skin around my eyes after a few days. The WnW takes a few more seconds to completely break down waterproof mascara, but at $4.99, and no irritation, I can deal with that minor “inconvenience”. Also, even with the amount of HE highlighters I own (ABH, OFRA, Kevyn Aucoin, Illamasqua, etc…), I reach for WnW most often.

Essence Long-Wearing Waterproof Eyeliner; it’s the only one that stays all day on my waterline, and I’ve tried dozens over the decades… It’s only available in Black & Brown, but I really only use black eyeliner, so it’s not an issue.

L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara; I’ve been using this for over 30 years. I’ll try different ones, especially if I get them free, but I always go back. I actually have more than enough mascara to get me through 3-4 years, but as I type this, I can’t help but want to pick it up this weekend…

NYX lip products, in general; there’s a constant flow of new shades and/or formulas, and I’ve even stumbled upon some HGs. Also, I have to mention blush & the microbrow pencil.

L’oreal True Match Lumi foundation. Good for dry skin, can’t go by their color definitions becaust they run peachy, but if you can find a color that matches, you have a budget foundation similar to MAC’s discontinued MIneralize Moisture SPF 15, which was a favorite of mine.

I love this question and it’s great to read what everyone else here on the blog loves!

My best budget beauty discoveries are:
L’Oreal True Match foundation in porcelain rose. Previously I had been unable to wear L’Oreal’s foundations as they had yellow undertones and didn’t work on me. When the brand extended their True Match Line and incorporated porcelain with pink undertones, then I was in heaven. This foundation is easy to apply, lasts all day and suits me perfectly.

Milani Colour Statement Lipsticks – beautiful bronzey shades in the range. Their new ones, I am Confident etc. are impossible to get here unfortunately. I do want to try their blushes.

Colour Pop Lux Lipsticks – absolutely stunning and rate just as well as many HE brands. I haven’t tried their eyeshadows as quite a few lean to pink/red for me. But the monochrome grey one was excellent.
I wish the brand would not delete some old goodies like Snakebite so quickly.

City Color – I have some of their stunning eyeshadow singles and eternally regret not getting Cheers to Life….

Covergirl Blush – I picked the Covergirl Clean Air blush in peach up on a whim at half price and what a stunner it is.

Rimmel Mascara – a slim line one that I picked up on sale and bought a couple for myself and my daughter in law. She thinks it’s the best one she has ever used.

I love this question! I have a lot of budget products that I fell in love with over the years. Some people have already mentioned ones like Sydney Grace, e.l.f. Brushes, NYX glitter primer and Colourpop. I have some others that I would like to add to the list.
Milani: eyeshadow primer, color statement lip liner, The Everyday Eyeshadow palettes
LA Girl: eyeliners, Pro Concealers and correct or
Maybelline: Fit Me blush, Fit Me loose powder, Instant Age Rewind Concealers and Brightened
E.l.f.: lip primer, Poreless Putty Primer, Primer Infused blushes, Bounce Back. Jelly cleanser, Moisturizing Lipstick, Gentle Peeling Exfoliator
Juvia’s Place: eyeshadow palettes
Pixi skincare products: their toners and Milky Spray are my favorite
Revlon: Super lustrous lipsticks
Makeup Revolution: Conceal and Define concealer, Conceal and Hydrate concealer, Cut Crease Canvas, Renaissance Flick eyeliner
Holika Holika: lipsticks
Shop Miss A: AOA Wonder Blenders
Thayers Witch Hazel Rose
Morphe setting spray
Docolor liquid eyeliner
BH Cosmetics /ecotools /Real Techniques: brushes
There are probably more, however, these are things that I use regularly. I feel that I have a good balance of budget friendly, higher end and Indie brand products in my stash.

I forgot. Probably my fave concealer is Revolution, not the most recent one, the one with a bazillion shades. It was a threefer at Ulta, got 3, on the lighter cool side, and all of them work. My problem w/foundation and concealer is that everything is too yellow…not too warm, too yellow.

Maybelline creamy matte lipsticks
Cerave lotion
Makeup Revolution setting spray
WnW eyeshadow primer
Sydney Grace singles
Mac singles – very affordable now, especially during 25% off sales

Another one I forgot. Lottie London blushes. They compare favorably to almost all HE. Think they are only matte, though. If people want the news on DS/LE and Asian, they should read Muse.

It was Sydney Grace in 2018 (already wow!) and last year, though they are hit of miss, Makeup Revolution (as a brand), because I like certain fo their powders, Lace, (it’s not Laura Mercier, but it will do in a pinch with light usage) and some of their palettes (quality for price) and they have more interesting color schemes to me than ColourPop (quality of course not as good as CP’s, but they’re improving).

Monistat Anti Chaffing is a dupe for Smashbox primer, Micellar water is the best remover of tubing mascara I’ve found, and Just for Men Facial Hair dye has saved me a fortune in eyebrow pencils/pomade.

As far as brands, NYX Butter Glosses are like iron on my lips, Revlon Colorstay liquid liner is the only one that actually stays on my eyes, and I won’t buy anything other eyeshadows except Colourpop any more

Colourpop in general — they’re the proud distributors of my now HG foundation (Hyaluronic Tinted Moisturizer), as well as any number of lipsticks that I really enjoy; I like the concept behind, and application of, the super shock shadows; and they have a couple unusual eyeliner and mascara colors that make me smile.

Aromaleigh powder highlighters; I use the hell out of them (a daily staple) and they’re inexpensive for how great they are. Also, for as much as I use them, they last a long time — even the small-sized jars. If Aromaleigh ever decided to go out of business, I would climb over countless bodies to get a lifetime supply of Diana highlighter, and as many of the others as I could lay my hands on.

From a skincare perspective, The Ordinary, in general — there are a lot of their products that I use.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!