Upgrading your beauty collection will have you looking and feeling like a million bucks, but that doesn’t mean you should break the bank to do it. Gorgeous glam can come at any price—you just need to know where to look. That’s why we’ve asked some of the best makeup artists in the game to reveal the beauty products under $15 they can’t live without. Read on to discover which products experts recommend when you want to update your look without spending a fortune.
Best Life’s editors have scoured the internet to bring you the best products out there, and we’re hoping you’ll love them as much as we do. Full disclosure: we may earn a commission for anything you purchase through links on this page, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pay more for them (we’d never do that to you!). Pricing and availability are accurate as of the piece’s initial publication date, but it’s the internet and we can’t guarantee that these sweet, sweet deals will last forever, so scoop them up before someone else does!
Essence Pure Nude Highlighter
Makeup artist Carl Ray has a formidable résumé of celebrity clients, including Michelle Obama, Anna Wintour, Natalie Portman, and Adriana Lima, and his work has graced the pages of just about every major fashion magazine you can think of. One of his secret weapons for low-cost glam is the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, which he says is easily buildable and flattering on a range of skin tones. With a light, subtle sheen and flattering tone and texture, “it’s a great option for anyone interested in emphasizing the glow factor,” he says.
Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer
For a nourishing and hydrating lip balm that gives long-lasting protection, give this Malin +Goetz Lip Moisturizer a spin. Stephanie Jones, a makeup artist and owner of The Blushery, a beauty bar in Beacon, NY, swears by the product for its silky-smooth finish and versatility. “The tiniest little dot will coat your full lips without any excess residue,” she raves. “Wear it on your lips, or dab it on top of cheekbones for a dewy highlight.”
L’Oréal True Match Super-Blendable Blush
For a budget-friendly blush that looks like a million bucks, Ray recommends L’Oreal’s True Match Super-Blendable Blush. “I like to keep this product on hand for how well it matches skin tone…while adding a natural flush of color,” he says. In addition to praising its formula, which works well on oily skin, Ray says that the wide range of shades offers “something for every skin tone.”
Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder
Maria Fassrainer, a makeup artist and recent recipient of an American Influencer Award, shares that Wet n Wild’s MegaGlo Highlighting Powder is among her favorite everyday beauty products. “I am a huge fan,” she says. “It’s the best for achieving effortless, glowing, healthy looking skin.” Infused with ultra-reflective pearl pigments, it gives skin a radiant glow at an affordable price.
Ardell Lash Wispies Clusters
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance alternative to lash extensions, lash clusters achieve a dramatic look without the upkeep. Jones recommends Ardell Lash Wispies Clusters in particular for her clients. “The flat base makes them easy to apply along the lash line, and they could be worn as naturally or as fluttery as you prefer. There’s no hassle of keeping up with weekly fills the way lash extensions require, because they come off at the end of the day!”
L.A. Girl Shockwave Neon Eyeliner
When it comes to eyeliner, fortune favors the bold. “If you love trendy colorful eyeliner (like me), you have to get some L.A. Girl shockwave neon eyeliner,” says Fassrainer. “I love how creamy and pigmented these are.” And for more great beauty buys, check out these 15 Eyeliners Makeup Artists Can’t Live Without.
Wildflower Mini Palette
Looking for a the perfect eyeshadow palette for transitioning from summer to fall? Makeup artist and beauty CEO Marlena Stell recommends Makeup Geek’s Wildflower Mini Palette, which comes in four rich shades of purple. According to Stell, this matte eyeshadow set blends like a dream, and is “buttery smooth and richly pigmented, perfect for an everyday, smoky, or bold look.”
E.L.F. SRSLY Satin Lipstick
“This lipstick is seriously brilliant,” says Kerrin Jackson, an Emmy-nominated makeup and prosthetic artist. “It goes on with a creamy, rich texture and contains ample pigment for instant coverage.” Jackson says the lipstick is so good that it’s better than formulas that cost 15 times as much!
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Looking for a lightweight moisturizer that won’t feel heavy or greasy on your skin? Jackson describes this one as “a new personal favorite,” saying it leaves her clients feeling seriously soft. “This jam-packed moisturizer is a miracle in a bottle,” she says, noting that it “soaks into your skin instantaneously and you can almost feel it going to work.”
Maybelline Fit Me Loose Powder
Not one, but two makeup artists raved about Maybelline’s Fit Me Loose Powder. Fassrainer shared that this is her favorite loose powder because it “doesn’t feel heavy or cakey.” Jackson agreed, explaining that she loves the product’s beautiful finish. “Despite its plentiful coverage, it feels very lightweight on the skin. I am using this one currently, and it definitely stands up to its higher-end competitors,” she says.
L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Waterproof Mascara
If you’ve been scouring the drugstore shelves for the perfect budget mascara, look no further: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Waterproof Mascara is the product you’ve been searching for. Jones always has this on hand for clients when she needs to add natural-looking volume. “It coats, thickens, and lengthens lashes without clumps or flakes,” she says.
KNC Beauty Lip Mask
If it’s soft, full lips you’re after, KNC Beauty’s Lip Mask is a must-have, says Jones. “It’s all-natural and infused with collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins, leaving lips instantly smooth, plumped, and hydrated” she says, calling it “the perfect prep” before applying lipstick. It’s no wonder Emma Stone wore a KNC lip mask to get ready for the Golden Globes!
Face Stockholm Wake Up Spray
Perfect for setting makeup or as a refresher spray, Face Stockholm’s Wake Up Spray is a staple in Jones’ makeup kit. “I use it to prep skin and lock in moisture before applying makeup. It contains ginger root oil, which is anti-inflammatory and helps even out red undertones,” she says.
Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser
For a powerful makeup remover and skin-soothing moisturizer rolled into one, Albolene Moisturising Cleanser is hard to beat for the price. “This is one of my go-to beauty products for its ability to remove makeup while also cleansing and moisturizing to keep the skin soft,” says Ray.
Revlon Skinlights Prismatic Bronzer
For a beach-ready, sun-kissed look, Fassrainer recommends Revlon’s Skinlights Prismatic Bronzer. “It gives you a believable bronze that adds depth and dimension, all while capturing light for a radiant finish,” she says.