The $30 Makeup Challenge

The $30 Makeup Challenge

As a full-time beauty blogger, I’m constantly testing products that perhaps are above the average woman’s beauty budget. So I was thinking that it could be a great idea to create a budget-friendly tutorial for my readers. I figured it would be a great opportunity to stay in touch with what is happening in the drugstore makeup market and introduce you to my favorite beauty blogger Shireen Platt. I don’t know yet how Shireen’s experiment went (you can read about her $30 makeup challenge), but my experience with under $30 full-face makeup look happened to be more challenging than I expected.

The main conclusion that I made after shopping at a local CVS is that my math skills are close to non-existent. I might be a smart online shopper, but when it comes to in-person shopping, I got lost in calculations all the time. Saying so, I had an expectation that $30 would provide me with lots of options: from contouring to eyeshadow palettes, and from lip liners to eyelash curlers. I guess I haven’t shopped at a pharmacy for longer than I was thinking as I quickly realized that my three 10-dollar bills do not guarantee me a satisfactory makeup experience at all. Walking in between the aisles, I was like, “What? $18 makeup palette? $11 lipstick? $14 blush? There is no way I can pull it off for under $30!”

Saying so, I decided to forget my dream of a creative, multi-colored look and figured that I need to stick to old good products that I used and loved for years: Maybelline MascaraNYX ConcealerNYX Eyeliner,  Milani Lipstick, and Revlon Eyeshadow. When I went to the register, I realized that I went almost $5 off my budget… Not to mention that I didn’t pick any brushes—how I’m going to fill in my brows then? Also, what about a blush and a foundation? My first attempt to shopping on a budget was definitely a failure!

The $30 Makeup Challenge - Beauty Products

I decided to give myself a second chance and went to the e.l.f. cosmetics aisle. I recalled that last year I did an affordable makeup tutorial with e.l.f. and really loved their brushes so I figured it might be a great idea to add some brushes to my set and then start looking for more affordable mascara and lipstick. Fifteen minutes after researching e.l.f. section I completely changed my plans and picked all of the products for my challenge by e.l.f. I mean, who can possibly resist $2 eyebrow gel? I desperately need it in my life! $3 lipstick? Hell, yes!

Even though this time I calculated my expenses with a calculator on my iPhone, I didn’t take taxes into consideration so I had to drop an eye shadow brush at the register and still went $0.34 off the budget. Well, what can I say—math is obviously not my element!

I brought all the goodies with us to the Hamptons so I can play with them while getting ready for a night out. These are my thoughts about each and every item from my under $30 makeup look.

e.l.f. Flawless Concealer Brush Review

ONE // Concealer

The first budget look disappointment was my concealer. Even though the package stated “Ivory” (aka the lightest tone they had in stock at the pharmacy), it was way too dark for me. I ended up using it as a contouring stick that I blended with my awesome $3 concealer brush.

TWO // Foundation

Since my under eye circles remained uncovered, I ended up using the foundation as a concealer. It worked fine but felt too thick for my taste. The color (Porcelain) was perfect for my pale complexion, but I would have preferred BB-Cream instead as I don’t feel like wearing a full-coverage foundation in the summer.

The $30 Makeup Challenge - How to Fill In Eyebrows

THREE // Eyebrows

The next step—eyebrows—went as smooth as it possibly could be. Using my favorite eyebrow filling in technique (eyeliner plus angled brush), I quickly and effectively added color to my eyebrows and fixed hairs with eyebrow gel (that product is awesome—definitely purchase it!).

FOUR // Eye Shadow

Remember I told you that I decided to get rid of an eyeshadow brush and picked a foundation instead? Well, it was a big mistake as I ended up applying my eyeshadow with fingers. At first, it felt okay when I put on a base beige color. Then, it got more complicated and messy when I tried to create a crease using my fingers. I decided to be creative and used a concealer brush for a darker eyeshadow tone—best of luck to you guys if you decide to repeat this move as concealer brush is the way to big to use on your eyelids! I also used an angled brush for lthe ower lid—it was okay, but not perfect.

The $30 Makeup Challenge - How to Apply Eyeshadow with a Concealer Brush

FIVE // Eyeliner

I figured that one-tone eye makeup is probably good enough if I apply eyeliner. The quality of this product was just meh—it was too hard for my taste and it didn’t stay long enough on my eyelids.

SIX // Mascara

The biggest disappointment was mascara. It didn’t provide enough coverage, had a weird brush, and irritated my eyes so much that I barely write this post. I don’t mean to be negative, but my advice to you is to run away from this product. Save your money on anything else than mascara—it’s better to spend extra few bucks than have your eyes red and in pain!

The $30 Challenge - Blush and Mascara

SEVEN //Blush

Since I didn’t have enough budgets for a blush, I decided to go old-school way and used lipstick on my cheeks. The lipstick blended beautifully and I loved a tiny hint of color it added to my pale complexion.

EIGHT // Lipstick

I finished the look with a bright red lipstick that was simply magnificent! I was very surprised to find the product that tastes and looks as good as a high-end brand and goes for just $3. It’s a miracle! I’m planning on coming back to purchase a few more shades of this wonderful lipstick!

e.l.f. Moisturizing Lipstick in Red Carpet

The Conclusion: Regardless my mascara allergy issue, my conclusion from the experiment is yes, it’s possible to create an under $30 full-face makeup look. However, the process might not be as pleasurable as playing with high-rated products from Sephora. The consistency, aroma, and longevity of the products really make all the difference when you are putting on your look of the day and many of reviewed pharmacy options simply were not able to provide the same quality. I guess, I could have done a better job researching drugstore brands to figure out which products are worth the hype, but my “go and grab” method was only partially successful. Yes, I found just another gorgeous red lipstick, but I believe I could have avoided my mascara allergy drama if I properly researched the product before purchasing it.

Yay vs Nay List

The Yay List: Lipstick (Red Carpet) // Brow Gel // Eyeshadow // Concealer Brush // Angled Brush
The Nay List: Mascara // Concealer // Foundation // Eyeliner

What do you think about the experiment that Shireen and I went through? What are some of your favorite affordable makeup products that you’d like to recommend?