The 5 Best Affordable Makeup Brands

by Erin Bayham

When you’re asked to compile a list of the best affordable makeup brands, you have to step back and really assess. With brands like Revlon, L’Oreal, NYX, Cover Girl, Sleek--how could I just name five?! I chose brands that have a great selection of products for under $12. It was a tough task, but here’s my list:

Black Opal
This is definitely one of those brands you don't want to miss out on. The absolute must-have product is their stick foundation ($10). It comes in a wide range of shades for women of color and it even has built-in SPF. These are insanely pigmented! So pigmented in fact that I heard about them from multiple celebrity makeup artists who use them on the biggest names in the business. I’d also suggest trying the loose powder because they come in various shades and set powder for hours.

Black Opal True Color Creme Stick Foundation SPF 8, $9.50

Black Opal Deluxe Finishing Powder, $8.95

Black Opal True Color Creme To Powder Foundation - SPF 8, $9.50

Black Opal Total Coverage Spot & Scar Eraser, $8.95

This is been one of those brands that has consistently come up with good products. One of their best products is the Bella Gel Powder Eyeshadow $5. They are equally as pigmented as the $15 or $20 shadows that I used to buy at the department stores. They also have glitter nail polish that is only the ranges between two and five dollars and also competes with the $25 nail polish that I was buying the other day.

Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow, $3.99

Milani Color Statement Lipstick, $5.49

Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss, $5.49

Milani Baked Powder Blush, Bella Rosa, .12 oz, $7.49

L’Oreal does really well making those every day essentials--mascara and eyeliner. They are known for Voluminous mascara (although my favorite is Telescopic). They also get major bonus points because I saw a tester unit for their True Match Foundation at the drugstore! I’ve never actually seen foundation tester units, especially a full range of foundation shades.The brand gets bonus points for having products that we can test. 

Sidenote/ I’m cheating: Maybelline and L’Oreal are twins in the “everyday essentials” categories. Maybelline makes really, really great mascaras and liners, and I love using their concealer stick to brighten the inner rims of my eyes. I’m just throwing that out there! 

L'Oreal® Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, $5.89

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Shocking Extensions Washable Mascara, Black, .29 fl oz, $9.95

L'Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup, SPF 17, $11.49

LA Girl
This brand came kind of out of nowhere over the last few years. They have some amazing Pro Conceal Concealers that are five dollars, and they come in 18 shades. Always remember that most makeup items are multi-use, so these work great as foundations and to highlight and contour. Also, I’ve seen their Lip Glaze Paints that have been taking the world by storm. They're less than four dollars they and have vitamin E and peppermint oil.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer, $2.99

L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paint, Blushing, $3.49

L.A. Girl Creme Lip Color, $3.49

Wet N’ Wild
This is not the Wet ‘N Wild that you were used to 10 years ago. This brand makes lipsticks that rival all of the biggest and best department store brands. They also make really great eyeshadow palettes that are perfect for day and night, and any occasion! They are made by the same manufacturer that makes Black Radiance Cosmetics, so make sure you pick up a jar of their creme eyeliner. It’s the best on the market!
Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette, The Naked Truth, $3.99

Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Bronzer SPF 15 in Bikini Contest, $3.99

Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color, $2.99

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Erin Baynham is the author of makeup blog Scandalous Beauty. She's lives with her husband and bonus daughter in Baltimore, MD.
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