Since living in Boston and working almost full-time, my makeup routine and budget for makeup has certainly changed a bit! For one thing, I hardly wear any makeup at work, so a lot of the products I do pick out are more so designed to enhance my features a little bit and make me look awake, rather than a full-coverage glam beat. It’s noteworthy to add that while I wish all of these products were cruelty free (it’s an ideal I strive for,) L’oreél and Maybelline are unfortunately not cruelty free at this current point in time. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy reading about some of the makeup I’ve been using lately from the drugstore! 

Lightshow Palette Fire Fit | POPBeauty | $12

I normally steer clear of drugstore eyeshadow palettes because I just don’t think they hold up to the more expensive ones (nor do I find the color stories interesting,) but this one just looked too beautiful for me not to try. I’d never heard of POPBeauty before, but since the price was decent and the entire collection of products looked adorable and clean, I decided to give it a go. As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of warm browns and oranges, and that’s exactly what this palette has to offer! The colors are gorgeous and the shimmers are especially stunning, but the mattes were not quite as pigmented as I had hope. Nonetheless, I’m definitely going to keep using it this fall and I’m glad to add it to my eyeshadow collection! 

Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in “Matte-Traction” and “Matte-ly in Love” | L’oréal | $11 each

I definitely don’t need another red lipstick in my makeup bin, but oh well, I really loved the look of these two colors. I think $11 for a lipstick is super reasonable, particularly since they all perform relatively the same and look all alike once applied on the lips. I was expecting these lipsticks to be a bit more matte, considering the names, but they still looked very flattering despite being a more cream-based formula. I also really like the packaging on these lipsticks: for a drugstore item, I actually think they look quite sleek and expensive. 

BrowFast Sculpt | Maybelline | $6

I’ve been meaning to buy a brow mascara for forever now, because I’ve finally grown my brows back in and I think they look much more natural when I use a mascara wand as opposed to a brush or a pencil. Although I really love this product a LOT and I think it’s so simple to use, I wish I had gotten a lighter color! My natural hair color is quite a warm brown, and the brow mascara shade I picked out is quite an ashy, dark brown. Nonetheless, for $6, I’m super impressed and I’m definitely going to keep using it because I love the formula. 

Matte Lip Stain in “Empower” | L’oréal | $12

Right behind a classic red, my second favorite lip color is a nudey pink. This time, I decided to opt for a lip stain formula and go with this one, also by L’oréal. I love this formula because it’s not too drying- something I pay attention to as the weather starts to get colder. There’s nothing worse (makeup-wise) than putting a drying lip stain onto your cracked lips! Because this lip stain is so soft and smooth, I think it could also double nicely as a cream blush. What do you guys think? 

MasterCamo Crayon Corrector | Maybelline | $10

I’ve always had very red, uneven skin, and since I’ve had luck with green concealers in the past, I decided to buy a new one. One of my biggest reasons for wearing such a heavy foundation in the past was because I wanted to erase my redness, but now that my makeup is on the softer side these days, I’ve found it looks more natural for me to just counteract the redness and then put a BB cream on top. I really like the spongy design of the brush, and I think it’s been doing a pretty good job so far! This is definitely going to become an everyday item for me. 

Lip Liner in “Brandy Wine” | wet n wild | $4

Last but certainly not least, I decided to pick out a dark lip liner that I could wear with my nude-colored lipsticks. I think that adding more emphasis to your lower lip and cupid’s bow can make them look more defined and rounded, which is why I decided to pick a color that may mimic a shadow of my natural lip color. I’m pretty happy with the color, and for $4 there isn’t much I can complain about. What do you guys think?

In general, I’d say I’m a pretty all-or-nothing person. I’d rather wear a full face of makeup and do the whole shebang or nothing at all, but sometimes, I just don’t have an hour to spare painting my face. Particularly in the humid summer heat, when I’m with my boyfriend, or when I’m simply just lounging around, there doesn’t seem to be any point in loading on the foundation and powder. I already have quite oily, sensitive skin, so putting on tons of makeup on a daily basis isn’t exactly prime for my skin, either. 

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Anyway, today I’m going to guide you through how I personally do my makeup in around ten minutes. It doesn’t feel (or look) as glamorous as a full face beat, but it gets the job done for me!

No matter what day it is, even if I decide not to wear any makeup, I will always apply moisturizer in the morning and evening. I used to think it was silly to do so, since my skin is already so shiny and oily, but I actually feel like constantly moisturizing has helped to combat my acne a lot. Right now, I’m using a couple of moisturizers by Soap & Glory. I use the ‘For Daily Youth’ moisturizer in the morning, and ‘The Fab Pore’ in the evening. If you are also interested in using those two products, keep in mind they are fragranced and may not be ideal for all skin types!

The next step for me is to prime my face. Priming only takes two seconds, and doing so will prevent the minimal makeup I’m wearing from sliding around or wearing off throughout the day. The primer I’m using right now is the Dermablend Insta-Grip Jelly Primer, and I’m really impressed with how it works. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but I’ll probably buy it again because I think a good primer is a reasonable investment. I just coat my face with a thin layer of this primer, and that’s all I need to keep my face looking fresh all day.

When I don’t feel like putting on a full face of foundation, I’ll usually opt for spot concealing instead. My face does have a few acne scars after years of cystic acne, so I like to even out my skin tone by using a bit of concealer in those areas. The current concealers I use right now range from tarte Shape Tape, a classic, to cheaper alternatives, like the Covergirl TruBlend concealer. I should probably use a color corrector as well to combat some of the overall redness, but I haven’t found a brand that I’m satisfied with yet. Let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments.

Brows are one of my favorite parts of my makeup routine, and I also think it’s the step that really cements everything. Because my brows are so short and sparse, it really makes my face feel clean and pulled together to throw on a couple of good brows. Right now, I’m using a reddish colored eyeshadow to fill them in, and that’s it. I don’t really go in and conceal them unless I’m planning on doing eyeshadow and face makeup as well, so I can skip that step for now.

Sometimes I’ll go in with a little liquid liner and give myself a little wing, but other times, I’ll just use some brown eyeshadow and apply that to the other corner. I don’t like to add a lot of liner to my eyes unless I’m wearing shadows as well, because I think eyeliner alone makes my eyes look tiny, so I try not to go too ham with the pen. Today, as you can see, I went a little bit over the top. Of course, I also follow that up with a couple of quick coats of mascara. In particular, my go-to is the Covergirl Lash Blast mascara, because I’ve been using it for years and I really appreciate the intensity of the color. 

The last two steps for me are a few coats of lip balm, and a few good spritzes of setting spray. Setting spray will lock my makeup into place and keep it from fading off, and lip balm, of course, will help keep my lips hydrated and shiny throughout the day. I’m using Morphe setting spray right now, but I have to say, I’m not a fan of the pink bottle they released with the Jeffree Star collection. I like that they tried to go for a strawberry scent in theory, but I honestly think it just smells like cough medicine.

Anywho, that’s how I do my makeup in about ten minutes! I hope you guys found this article helpful and informative. Let me know what makeup you’ve been loving lately in the comments below.

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Apologies for being a bit behind on posting! Life has been crazy with all the turbulent changes in Massachusetts, particularly with moving home and trying to sort out the rest of my education. Luckily, I’m currently on spring break anyway, so I’m trying to dedicate extra time to writing and other creative projects. As you know from clicking on this article, these are all my product empties in March. Several of them were purchases I made over winter break, so four months isn’t too bad for a shelf life! I hope you enjoy and find this helpful. 


I Am Magic Full Coverage Foundation | Juvia’s Place | $20

As someone with oily, textured, and sensitive skin, I am always looking for a new full coverage foundation to try. I was especially drawn to this one because of its low price point, and I was really impressed by NikkieTutorials’ review of the product as well. Even though the tube looks small (it is), a little drop of this product goes a long way. I’ve been using this foundation almost every day for the past three months, and it’s still got a bit of product left in it! It probably goes without saying, but I will definitely order another bottle of this foundation once I officially run out of my current tube. It’s affordable, it works incredibly, and the shade range is inclusive for all skin tones.


Insta Grip Jelly Primer | Dermablend | $33

I’ve been a die-hard fan of the e.l.f primers for years now, but I decided over winter break that it was probably time for me to expand my horizons a bit. I was initially surprised by the consistency of this primer- it feels like putting a lip gloss on your face- but I came to love it immediately and started using it every day. If you also struggle with oily skin, this is the perfect primer for you. It literally makes your foundation stick to your face like glue, and the mattifying qualities help to prevent me from getting shiny throughout the day. The bottle isn’t completely empty yet, but it’s getting there. I’ll definitely be sure to buy it again in the future!


Gentle Cleanser | Differin | $11

I’m a pretty adamant face-washer, so I go through cleansers more quickly than any other product. Lately, I’ve been using the brand Differin on my skin. My mom bought me a few of their products for Christmas, because my skin was absolutely atrocious and my forehead was popping up with cystic acne. The formula for this brand is definitely very aggressive, and my skin even went through a pretty intense ‘purging’ period, but it’s definitely been clearing up over these past couple of months! My skin at this current moment looks great, with only a few little blemishes here and there. Everybody’s skin is differen(t), but for me, this brand is really doing the trick to combat my acne!


Redrum Liquid Lipstick | Jeffree Star Cosmetics | $18

I’ve tried quite a few red lipsticks in my life, and this one is up there in the top three with Lisa Eldridge and Ohii Cosmetics. I got this lipstick in the rainbow Equality bundle, which means I only have the sample size, but I have efficiently used it down to the last drop. The sturdy applicator helps me to make clean, crisp lines, and the lipstick manages to stay on my lips all day without any signs of smudging. Being a Jeffree Star Cosmetics product, it’s definitely a bit out of most people’s price range, but I would say it’s definitely worth the investment (if you’re looking for a great-quality liquid lipstick). Because I don’t have a paying job, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to buy it again for a while, but I’ll definitely order it again at some point in the future.  


Stay All Day Liquid Liner | Stila | $22

RIP to my fourth tube of this amazing liquid eyeliner. If you struggle with making your eyeliner look clean and perfect, I promise this is the perfect product for you. The thick yet precise felt-tip makes it easy to use and navigate, and the pigmentation of the black is extremely opaque. It is a bit pricey, but if you wear liquid eyeliner every day like I do, it’s honestly worth the investment. I can’t afford to buy more of this eyeliner right now, but the good news is, I have a cheaper dupe lined up next. 😉 


Matte Liquid Liner | NYX Cosmetics | $8

This is yet another fabulous liquid liner I have sadly come to the end of. I bought it a few months ago after realizing the Stila liner was a bit too pricey for me at the moment, and while they aren’t exactly the same, they both do the trick for me. The brushes are different, for one thing, and this liner may be a bit more difficult to use than the handy felt-tip I love in my other liners. Nonetheless, once you get the knack of it, using this liner is easy peasy. Even better, the tube has lasted me quite a while, so I know that I can stretch this product out and make it last for four months, at least. I will almost definitely be buying this again, unless I somehow find an even cheaper and even better alternative. 


Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner | Thayers | $11

If you’re an OG reader, you probably recognize this product as being one of my all-time favorites. Seriously, I’ve been using this stuff twice a day for what feels like forever, and I continue to be happy and amazed with the results I see on my face. Not only does it smell wonderful, it also makes my skin feel incredibly soft and acts like a primer/base for my foundation. Also, a little goes a long way- I’ve been using the same bottle for months and months on end. It probably goes without saying, but I am definitely going to be purchasing this again once I use up that last little bit. I’ll probably go for the rose petal bottle again, though the rest of the scents sound equally fresh-smelling and lovely.

I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but I genuinely don’t like to do a lot of makeup shopping at drugstores. It’s not because I have anything against drugstores or cheaper makeup- I’ve just found through a lot of research that many drugstore brands are not cruelty-free. If you want high-quality makeup that is cruelty-free and possibly even vegan, you’ll simply have better luck at Ulta and Sephora. Cruelty-free makeup isn’t a priority for everyone, of course, but for me, it’s definitely a deal-breaker.

That being said, there are some drugstore brands I love that I’m happy to report are cruelty-free. More specifically, I’m going to be sharing my favorite individual products from these brands, and why I think you’ll love them as well.

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Above all, my favorite drugstore brand of all time is e.l.f. It’s very rare that I’m unsatisfied with an e.l.f. purchase; in fact, I think they consistently deliver great product better than most higher-end brands. Some of my favorite products from e.l.f. are their primers (I’m using the Poreless Face Primer right now), their Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette, and their extremely affordable face brushes. E.l.f. is a cruelty-free brand, and all of their makeup brushes are synthetic and vegan!

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Another one of my absolute favorites is NYX. Their products are available in slightly higher-end stores, like Ulta, but you can also pick up their products at Target and CVS (among other drugstores). Some of my absolute favorites are the Pin-Up Tease mascara (of course!) and their matte lip creams/liquid lipsticks. Just like e.l.f., NYX is extremely affordable, but with a high-quality guarantee on everything. Their liquid lipstick range is absolutely amazing, too- you can get a lipstick in every color imaginable. Another fun little tidbit about NYX is the symbolism behind their name- “Nyx” is the name of the Greek goddess of the night, which correlates nicely with the brand’s dark, vampy aesthetic.

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Upon extensive research, Milani is certified by PETA and the Leaping Bunny program, making me 100% positive that they too are a cruelty-free brand! I haven’t purchased too much from Milani, but they are available through the Hush app, so that’s subject to change. I absolutely love the illuminating face powder I purchased by them- it has quickly become an everyday staple in my makeup box. I’m hoping to do a drugstore liquid lipstick review + show-and-tell in the future, so I’ll have to pick up some more Milani products when I do!

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I used to buy a lot of Physicians Formula back in the day, and to be honest, I still really enjoy their products. They’re one of the “pricier” drugstore brands, if you can call a drugstore brand pricey, but I remember them being one of my favorite makeup lines when I was in late middle/ early high school. You’ve probably heard of their famous Butter Bronzer, but my personal favorite product from them is the Natural Nudes eyeshadow palette. The palettes are organized by eye color, so you can be sure you’re getting the best color array to complement your face (something I was grateful for as a fourteen year-old experimenting with makeup!). From personal experience, I know that Physician’s Formula is easy to locate at most Drugstores, including Walgreens and CVS.

There are quite a few other cruelty-free drugstore brands, but these four are my top favorites that I’ve tried and tested over the span of six years. Even as my disposable income is bound to increase in the next few years of my turbulent life, these are the products that I’ll continue to use and value, no matter how many other higher-end products come out. Let me know what your favorite drugstore brands are in the comments below!

Sources: https://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/1108311/drugstore-cruelty-free-makeup-brands/

Photo links: https://www.boots.com/elf

https://www.nyxcosmetics.com/lip-lingerie/NYX_315.html

https://www.centralcloseout.com/products/liquidation-milani-powder-blush-assorted-mrrbliquidation

Physicians Formula Review 2019: Just What The Doctor Ordered!

Coming up next: 2019 Spring Moodboard