10 High-Performing Beauty Buys Under $25


Ah, the Interwebs. At any given time, we’re only a click away from retiling our bathrooms or making a mean Beef Wellington. Not that I’ve got the patience for either of those, but I’ve definitely watched plenty a makeup tutorial in my day. My attention span can only handle an Instagram video, which seems fair, since my daily makeup routine generally takes 10 minutes or less. I’ve gotta say, I like that more makeup artists and fans are incorporating budget beauty items into their makeup bags. There are so many brands whose products are on par with their high-end competitors.

When I first started dabbling in makeup, I bought mostly high-end brands because I wanted to get help with the perfect match at the counter and get application tips. Now that I have a good handle on all of that and what works for my skin, I’m more comfortable branching out to incorporate high-performing budget brands. Social media has been a big help, as I follow accounts and artists who feature products and a range of price points, as well as products that compliment darker skin tones. So, I definitely recommend that: Seek out people whose approach to beauty aligns with your own. You’ll not only learn from them, but also their communities…there’s always an Instafriend in the comments waiting to help with your beauty questions! I’m going to play that role today and share with you my fave budget beauty buys!

 My Fav Budget Beauty Buys


The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

This works well with my oily, sensitive skin. I even like putting it on when I’m not wearing makeup, just for the blurring effect and oil control. But it totally gives my makeup a smooth foundation.


Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer

I love a good liquid/gel concealer because I’m always on the go. I use it under my eyes without any other kind of color corrector. It conceals and brightens just enough that I don’t feel like I need anything else. I also love that it has an impressive 20 shades (mine is toffee) and it doesn’t settle into my creases.


Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation

You guys, Anastasia Beverly Hills was one of the early brands I noticed offering more extensive shade ranges for deep AND fair skin tones. I love that this product works well with my oily, sensitive skin (see a theme, here?) and a little truly goes a long, long way! The coverage is buildable, which I appreciate for my daily and glam looks. It’s so easy to blend, I managed to do so with my fingers flawlessly after realizing my makeup brush had fallen out of my bag at home. Sheesh! I just love putting it on, it feels so nice and buttery.


Juvia’s Place Blush Palette (The Saharan Vol. II)

I discovered this brand on Instagram, and I am so excited Ulta has started selling it online and in some stores. The pigment is insane! I already have a tendency to over-blush, so I’m definitely learning to edit myself with this product. Some of the blush shades have shimmer, so you can layer on the glam or use as a highlight. Oh, and did I mention this is a women-owned, minority-owned brand? Bonus points, indeed! P.S. I also have the Saharan Vol. I blush palette and love it, too!


Juvia’s Place Eyeshadow Palette (The Nubian)

OK, I’m sticking with Juvia’s Place for this eyeshadow palette, too! I love that it’s neutral, but the dark shades are dark enough for darker skin tones, like mine, or for a smokey eye on fair to medium tones. I don’t wear eyeshadow daily, but when I do, it’s this palette. I like to keep it idiot-proof…I have yet to mess up a work or glam look with this palette.


NYX Professional Makeup Super Fat Eye Marker

Who has time for uneven eyeliner? Not me, especially since I struggle with eyeliner to begin with! This is a great product if you start looking like an adorable little raccoon after applying eyeliner. It’s just thick enough, and it’s even every dang time. It lasts all day without smudging, and it looks so sharp when applied. It’s literally like a marker, y’all. Leave the fancy eyeliners to the pros…this one is for the rest of us!


Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recognize I’ve been wearing this the last few weeks. I tried it on a whim, after experiencing sensitivity with other products. Well, glad to say I’m about a month in and my lips and my heart love this formula. It’s long-lasting, and looks great even after eating. I don’t always use lip liner, so I love that this stays put without it. It comes in dozens of shades that include matte, satin, and metallic finishes. This matte shade, Cherry Moon, from Sephora is beyond gorgeous. Pucker up, babes!

ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick

If you thought the Sephora liquid lip was a seal, you’re going love this one! It’s about half the price with all the benefits. ColourPop was the first brand of long-wear liquid lipstick I tried a few years ago. I’ve always loved lipstick, but just wasn’t sure about liquid formulas. Well, the ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick definitely sold me on it! You know the deal: It stays put, and there are a more than a dozen shades on the Ulta site. This shade, ‘More Better’, is a good daily shade, if red feels too intense. I can’t wait to see how many more shades and products they add.

Mario Badescu Drying Mask

Another oil buster for the win! Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not makeup, but you have to start with great skin, right? If I were really serious about my skin, I’d apply this mask once or twice a week. But, you know, life gets in the way. The silver lining is that it really feels like a treat when I get around to using it. Slather it on, let your face get crazy stiff, and bask in the glow of not being able to yell at anyone for 10 minutes. Just let the mask absorb your oil, impurities, and mom guilt. I’ve also been known to dab a small amount on a blemish and leave it overnight, if it’s really giving me problems. Bye Bye Blemish is another good option for that, too.

Amazon Prime Makeup Brush Set


Last, but not least: A fab brush set. I think I’ve gotten all my brush sets from Amazon, and I’ve never had a bad experience. If I’m being honest, I probably only use one-third of them, but it sure makes me feel good to have options. Who knows, maybe I wanna get crazy sometimes and apply my highlighter with a foundation brush? You don’t know my life! But, you do know my brush set. And at well under $20 and thousands of awesome reviews, you’re only two business days away from using the wrong brush, too. If you just want the brushes without the bag, here’s another highly-rated brush set to check out.

I just updated my closet with my full arsenal of beauty items, so you’ll find everything there, too. I hope you’ve found a few good budget options to rotate into your makeup bag. Let me know if you have any others I should try. I mean, if it’s a budget buy, that means I get more, right? Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Liketoknow.it to instantly shop everything from the post!


Photos by Sweet Leaf Photography


  1. I only use eyeliners that are like markers anymore. It’s so much easier than trying to get that perfect cat eye point with a brush or pencil. Usually just one swipe of it and I’m good! I’ve tried this one before and liked it, too! Nyx also has a really good matte liquid lip color that I find myself using more than anything else I have. The color Amsterdam is the perfect everyday red for me. Love this post! Thanks!

    • Elizabeth, I wish someone had told me sooner. I literally just started wearing eyeliner maybe two years ago and I love the look. I’ve tried to use it a few times, but the NYX marker is the only one I’ve mastered. I’ll definitely check out the liquid lipstick, too!

  2. Thank you for this! I just can’t justify spending crazy money when I don’t wear makeup every day. One of my favorite new products is Sephora’s powder foundation. I live in Atlanta and liquid foundations look like oily, sweaty skin soup a few hours in. This one doesn’t settle into creases and isn’t too powdery in appearance either.

    The one splurge that I find worth it is NARS lipsticks. I love, love, love their colors and how it feels.

    • CS, I’m with ya…I’ll splurge here and there, but everything doesn’t have to be high-end to look amazing!

    • So, the bathroom is insane, but sadly, it’s not mine, LOL. It’s from one of our fav local hotels, Hotel Leveque. We stayed there for my birthday. There may be one more bigger picture in my birthday post. The entire property gives me all sorts of design inspiration.

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