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Alexandra's $20 Makeup Challenge + Everyday Look

Posted by Alexandra C. | Tuesday June 12, 201220 comments

A while back, I posted a video about the $20 makeup challenge that's been making the rounds in the YouTube world. Here's the scenario: you're traveling and your luggage has been lost (no!).  Oh, and you're also on a budget (double no!). You have $20 and $20 only to go out an purchase everything you'll need to create an acceptable look. This may not seem too difficult, but think about the average costs of drugstore makeup. A foundation usually runs you at least $10, if not more. That's half your budget right there! How are you supposed to find everything else you'll need? And don't forget to factor in the taxes! 

Then, even if you find everything you'll need, you need to think about what type of look you'll be creating and if it will actually look good. I use a mix of drugstore and more prestige products on a regular basis so this wasn't too much of a hardship for me but going from my trusty Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Foundation to a foundation that cost only a few dollars made me a bit uneasy. What if it made me break out? What if there wasn't enough coverage to cover my problem areas? This was definitely going to be a test of quality and hopefully I would find out if price points really make a difference

With this difficult task at hand and with a bit of worry, I set out to my local Wal-mart to find some inexpensive products. I stuck to two brands: Wet n' Wild and NYC. I have used products from each of these brands before so I felt like I knew what I was getting into. I ended up spending $19.06, just under my $20 budget. I was pretty impressed with my thriftiness. Below is a breakdown of what I purchased and how much each item cost. 

The one thing that I had planned on purchasing but didn't have enough money for in the end was a concealer. On my wishlist was also either a blush or eyeshadow brush but I didn't expect to have money for those and in the end, I didn't. Instead I used the brushes that came with the makeup. 

Let the challenge begin! 

Step 1: Foundation

I started off with the NYC Smooth Skin Liquid Makeup in 676 Ivory. It's a generous quantity and inexpensive and I didn't even mind the finished look of the product but I wasn't a fan of the application or the colour. I found that after it oxidized, it turned a pink tone that didn't match the bottle at all. It dries very quickly was thick. It wouldn't even pour out of the bottle! If you didn't blend in properly right away, it was not fun to work with. For such a low price point though, it isn't too bad of a product. I don't think I will repurchase but I don't think that we should discount drug store foundations altogether. I've used Revlon ColorStay Foundation and found it comparable to Make Up Forever HD High Definition Foundation

Step 2: Blush 

I applied the NYC Cheek Glow Blush in Riverside Rose to the apples of my cheeks and then swept up from there for more defined cheek bones. I found the selection of blushes pretty lackluster and I wasn't a fan of the dusty rose colour I chose but that was more of an issue with the store's selection, not necessarily the brand. I found the blush wasn't as pigmented as I like. I had to apply quite a lot and of course, I was using the brush that came with the blush so it wasn't the best application. There was a lot of cast off from the blush too, which got everywhere. This wasn't my favourite piece from my drug store haul. I am pretty married to my NARS Blush right now but I was a long time user of Rimmel Mono Blushes and I've heard excellent things about Physician's Formula products too. 

Step 3: Eyeshadow 

I bought the Wet n' Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Silent Treatment which has a a brow bone shadow, a crease shadow and an all over lid shadow. The trio I chose are all colours I wear on a regular basis: pinks, purples and brown shades. I was surprised at how much I liked this one. It was pretty pigmented and went on fairly smoothly. I liked that it came with all the colours I would need for a complete look. I applied with the brushes it came with which I was not happy with but applied with a regular brush and eyeshadow primer, I think this would do quite well. It was a good price and I think I will continue using this and may even repurchase. 

Step 4: Eyeliner and Mascara 

I've used the Wet n' Wild Color Icon Eye and Brow Liner before and I actually do buy it on a regular basis. I tend to use a lot of black liner so I go through them pretty fast and I don't think it is worth it to buy an expensive one. I find this liner glides on well, it's "smudgeable" and stays put when I want it to. Definitely a recommended product from me! As for the mascara, I had never used an NYC mascara before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not a mascara snob though; in fact I actually think they're all pretty much the same excepting a few differences in brush and formula. I bought the NYC City Curls mascara which boasts a curved brush. I wasn't thrilled with it, but it was horrendous either. It lasted a long time and didn't flake which was nice but my lashes were a bit stiff. I didn't find that the brush made any difference to my lashes either. I don't think I would buy this one again but only because for just a few dollars more, I can buy another one which I love and that really works for me. Right now my two favourite mascaras at the drug store are CoverGirl Lash Blast and Maybelline Illegal Lengths both are around the same price and about $2-3 more than the NYC one I purchased. 

Step 5: Lipstick 

I loved the colour of lipstick I picked out: a bright magenta that worked really well with my eye colour. I bought Wet n' Wild Lipstick in 511B. For the price, I think this lipstick is a great buy. It was very pigmented and stayed on for a fairly long time. Of course, it rubs off when you eat or drink but for that price, I will gladly reapply it! It was a bit drying but most matte lipsticks are and I paired mine with a lip balm underneath to combat the dryness. This is a great product to pick up at the drug store to give yourself a little treat! 

The Final Look 

I had my doubts but I think I pulled off this $20 challenge and quite nicely at that! What I found through this challenge was that you shouldn't discount all drug store brands. The trick is finding the ones that work for you. Also it doesn't matter whether you are going with inexpensive or high end brands, either way you need to get some good brushes! This is going to make your life so much easier. Again, don't go out and spend a fortune on brushes but rather find ones that work for you. I have some ELF brand brushes that I swear by and that were only a dollar or two. 

Next up, I am putting my fellow CA Staffers to the test and asking them to complete the challenge! Between you and me, I think they're going to have a hard time beating me. 

Let me know chicks, are you drug store or high end shoppers? Does it matter to you? Do you have any drug store beauty faves? 
More by Alexandra C.
More on Eyes, Lips, Face, Makeup Tutorials

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on June 19, 2012  GetaUkami  503 said:

I am a drugstore makeup lover since I can't really afford high end products and it doesn't bother me at all! My favorite drugstore makeup brand is Maybelline. =) You really pulled off the look Alexandra!

on June 15, 2012  loganachris  401 said:

Everything but foundation is a go for drugstore brands. I would almost rather go without foundation than deal with the hell cheap ones bring.

on June 14, 2012  ellstar  4,799 said:

That is really inspiring! I can't remember the last time I bought any NYC products (I was probably 12) but if I'm in the need for a quick replacement product maybe I should give it a looksee.

on June 13, 2012  GoneBatty  3,196 said:

you look great!

on June 13, 2012  TashaCat  6,762 said:

Frugal Glamista! Nice work, Alex! It goes to show that looking fab can be done on a budget.. .but also that there are one or two worthy splurges that make the difference. If this was a daily thing, then you'd want your fab one or two basics because that make THAT much difference.

I totally shop both high and low ends.... high for foundation and powders and low for colours mostly. And its super cheap to change from season to season that way. From working in the biz I can say this... many of the cheaper brands are just fine .... since the cost savings come from mass production and large scale buying of ingredients which are not patented.

on June 13, 2012  takanikki  2,265 said:

Wow, you really managed to pull that off. I don't have any preference for drugstore or high end, I just buy the colours I like and the shades that fit. Although, I suppose if I were in the desperate situation where an airline loses my luggage (big surprise there if it ever happened...) it would only be a matter of days before my skin reacted.

on June 13, 2012  Becky  13,068 said:

You look gorgeous! I think all of your makeup finds were great (especially the lipstick!) except for the foundation. You look great, but I've swatched NYC foundation and I totally know what you mean. Horrible consistency and changes colour. Pretty much all drugstore foundations do that on me though.

Can't wait to see what the other girls come up with. I'm with you, I don't think they can beat $19.06! ;-)

on June 13, 2012  Kewald  2,141 said:

Great Look, shows what you can get for very little :) Beautiful pic :)

on June 13, 2012  farouknabela  3,424 said:

This is great but not suitable for those who have extra sensitive skin. You look great, Alexandra!

on June 13, 2012  KatelynRose1984  20,704 said:

That's fabulous!

I love the magenta shade for your lipstick - awesome! Really works for you.

I'm going to create my own challenge, and see what I can find.


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