Broke Girl Beauty: Inexpensive Staples For Your Makeup Bag

By Kaitlyn Midgett

Almost everything that I know about makeup, I learned from my best friend Jenni. The below list is a combination of makeup that she’s told me to try and makeup that I’ve found on my own. I’ve always liked to keep my look very simple, but more recently I’ve been expanding. These are the products in my makeup bag that I cannot get enough of lately and turn me into a fashionsta: most of them being under $10.

1. Eyebrows

NYX Slim Eye/Eyebrow Pencil

NYX slim eye

Where to buy: Amazon for $1.99

Why to buy: I like to use brown eyeliner because I have light blue eyes. This pencil was perfect for me because it doubles as an eyeliner and an eyebrow pencil. The taupe color really makes my eyebrows pop.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder

NYX cake powder eyebrows

Where to buy: Both Target and Ulta carry it for $5.99

Why to buy: This was the first product that I ever bought to fill in my eyebrows. The finished look is very natural looking, and the mini palette even provides two different colors for shading purposes and comes with both a comb and applicator.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

The Balm Cosmetics’ Brow Pow (splurge!)

Where to buy: The Balm’s website, for $15

Why to buy: I was much happier with the way my eyebrows turned out with this product. I definitely would buy it again. I feel like the application was a little more smooth and it didn’t look as noticeable that I had powder on. If I had to choose between the two, I would pick this eyebrow powder, but the NYX one does its job nearly as well.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Watch a tutorial:

2. Eye shadow

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil (Milk)


Where to buy: NYX website for $4.50

Why to buy: I also use this eye pencil as my “first coat” in order to keep my eye shadow intact for the longest time possible. I’ll be honest with you, I always use this product with Almay Smart Shade, so I don’t know for 100% certain that it works. I just know that my face is very oily and it provides another layer between my skin and my eye shadow.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Almay Smart Shade Luminous Primer

almay smart shade primer

Where to buy: Target for $9.99

Why to buy: Applies clear so it will blend to your skin tone. Will help keep your eye shadow on longer. Seriously, I can go all day without having to reapply with this stuff. If you’re just using it for your eyes, it’ll last you a long time so it’s worth the money.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Essence’s How to Make Nude Eyes Palette

essence how to make nude eyes

Where to buy: Ulta for $9.99

Why to buy: I’m a big fan of basic eye colors. I prefer to make my eyes pop with my eyeliner more than anything. This palette comes with six colors, all a little bit sparkly but nothing too overpowering. This makeup box comes with a dual applicator and step by step tutorials for different looks (which I have yet to try).

Cruelty-free?: They do not test on animals, but sometimes use products such as synthetic beeswax and lanolin. They list all of their ingredients on each product’s page if you’re interested.

Watch a tutorial:

3. Eyeliner

Jane Cosmetics Water-Resistant Eye Liner (Rose Gold)

jane water resistant rose gold eyeliner

Where to buy: Amazon for $6

Why to buy: The application of the product is very smooth because of the soft texture. It has a metallic color that really makes the look. This is definitely my favorite brand of eyeliner that I’ve ever used.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Watch a tutorial:

4. Lips

NYX’s Lip Primer

NYX lip primer

Where to buy: NYX website for $7.00

Why to buy: I’m a lipstick girl. While my eye makeup stays relatively the same, I like to switch it up lipstick-wise. The one thing that stays the same is my lip primer. I love not having to worry about my lipstick getting all over my face and this product certainly helps with that. I’ll never put on a lipstick without this product again.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream

NYX soft matte lip cream

Where to buy: NYX’s website for $6

Why to buy: It’s a long lasting lipstick that dries with a matte finish. It’s not sticky like gloss is or as creamy as lipstick is. It’ll stay put. Personally my favorite color is Tokyo because it adds a little something extra to the lips for everyday use. I would use something a little brighter for a night makeup look however.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Watch a tutorial: 

NYX’s Matte Lipstick

NYX matte lipstick

Where to buy: Ulta or NYX website for $5.99

See Also
ethnic woman with folded lips doing skin care procedure

Why to buy: These colors really pop and come in basically any color you would ever want. My personal favorite is Indie Flick because it’s red but not too red. Since I have a fair complexion it’s not too dramatic and I feel comfortable wearing it out and about.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Watch a tutorial:

Lipstick Queen’s Lip Liner (splurge!)


Where to buy: Lipstick Queen website for $18

Why to buy: When I realized that I needed to buy a lip liner, I knew that I was in trouble. In my experience with lip liner, it stinks. However, this lip liner is soft and applies comfortably to my lips. The color is so nice that a couple of times, I’ve almost left my house without putting lipstick on. Their colors match my lipstick collection very nicely. I’ve bought three lip liners from them and I am not ashamed.

Cruelty-free? Yes!

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pressed Powder (splurge!)

too faced powder

Where to buy: Sephora and Ulta both sell this product for $30

Why to buy: I use this product as the final step in my five step lipstick routine (shoutout to Ella Ceron, who taught me how to properly apply lipstick and make it last forever). This product was a little more expensive than I wanted it to be, and since I don’t put on foundation or anything, it will definitely last and be worth the money. If I found a product that was cheaper, I would definitely go with that instead.

Cruelty-free? Yes! You can find a complete list of their cruelty free products on the FAQ section of their website.

5. Makeup Removal

Simple Micellar Facial Cleanser Water

simple mycellar water

Where to buy: Target for $6.99

Why to buy: Micellar water combines both water and multivitamins. It’s made for sensitive skin and is friendly to all skin types. You don’t have to worry about wiping the cleanser off of your skin afterwards—it’s perfectly safe. I’ve always used cotton rounds for makeup removal. I’ve only ever used water, so this product was perfect for me and I think that it gets the makeup off better than plain water does.

Cruelty-free?: The Simple Skin company is owned by Unilever, and their stance on animal testing is essentially “we don’t like it, but sometimes.” You can find more information on that here.

Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner

cinema brush cleaner

Where to buy: Amazon for $9.28

Why to buy: I use my makeup brushes every day and I don’t like having to buy new ones if I can extend their shelf life. This product is perfect for me because it helps to get out all of the excess makeup on my brushes, no matter their texture. It’s an easy process and the formula is quick-drying.

Cruelty-free?: Yes!

Well, there you have it. The contents of my makeup bag. It’s short, sweet, cheap enough for a girl on a budget, and to the point.

About Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn MidgettKaitlyn was kicked off of her rec soccer team when she was six years old and has been trying to make up for it ever since. She acts as a manager, street team leader, social media aficionado, music journalist, and sometimes a publicist, but the most important job she’s ever had was being a big sister.

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