#1 For your base
Using a smoothing primer is the easiest way to erase the appearance of any large pores or texture on your skin. I do love Benefit’s The Porefessional, and they do have a mini version that’s just 20 dollars, but if you want more bang for your buck, Sephora’s smoothing primer is also really decent. It’s a clear silicone-y primer that fills in the fine lines and pores so your foundation looks smoother.
When it comes to foundation, it depends on the finish you want. If you want a lightweight mattifying foundation, L’Oreal Paris’s Mat Magique is going to keep you free of shine for a good few hours without any setting powder. I also really like cushion foundations from L’Oreal Paris (the new Lucent Magique Porcelain Cushion), Innisfree, and Etude House (specifically the Any Cushion Cream Filter). Cushions also make it easy to touch up if you need to on the go.
Need an affordable and amazing setting powder? I’ve mentioned the RCMA No Color Powder before precisely because it’s really cheap and won’t leave your face looking white in flash photography!
My favourite affordable concealer at the moment has got to be the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer, though the shade range is extremely limited. You can look for the Maybelline Fit Me concealer on Shopee or Carousell if you want to browse a bigger shade range, though the coverage is perhaps not as high as the former.
#2 For the eyes
Eyeliner: If you want something really dramatic, then I say go for a gel eyeliner that’s really pigmented and long wearing. The L’Oreal Paris Super Liner 24H Gel Liner glides on smoothly and looks amazing throughout the night! Plus, the brush makes it really easy to control and perfect your eyeliner for a polished and professional finish.
Eye shadows: When it comes to eye makeup, some of the affordable brands I like that offer really decent eyeshadow palettes include Zoeva ($36 for a palette of 10 shadows, available from Sephora), Morphe Brushes (less than $40 for a palette of 35 eyeshadows), BH Cosmetics (under $30 for most of their Youtube celebrity collaborations) and Milani. The last three brands are available online from Beautybay.com, Shopee and Carousell.
Lashes: Sephora stocks really affordable lashes by Ardell, and they come in a variety of styles, depending on whether you want something more natural or more intense. If you’re going for a more luxe look, then less is more and you might want to opt for a more subtle and less spidery pair of falsies.
Brows: The style of brow you prefer will determine what products will work best for you. See our guide on how to choose the right products for the style you want! I do recommend keeping your brows in place with a brow mascara, and opt for a tinted one to match your hair if you have dyed tresses. When in doubt, fill in your brows with a thin brow pencil using hair-like strokes, and use a clean spoolie to diffuse the product. I really like the K-Palette 3-in-1 brow pencil and powder, as well as the L’Oreal Super Liner Brow Designer 3-in-1. Both are under $30 and come with a spoolie.
#3 Lips, lips lips
If you want to go down the liquid lipstick path, Nyx Cosmetics has a great range of lippies. The Soft Matte Lip Creams are less drying and yield a more velvety matte look, but they aren’t transfer-proof. The Lip Lingerie is a lot more matte, budge-proof and dries down completely.
I find that a nude lip shade in a more forgiving cream finish holds its look better through the night, especially if you’re using more of a budget product. Again, L’Oreal has some of my favourite drugstore lipsticks in the Color Riche range, and they come in both satin and matte finishes that look just as good as luxury lipsticks.
#4 Flush and highlight those cheeks
Milani has a baked blush that’s said to be a drugstore dupe of Nars’ fan favourite Orgasm. While I can’t say for sure, I can tell you that Nyx Cosmetics has some great powder blushes, while Sephora’s Wonderful Cushion Blush is a gorgeous cushion blusher that looks incredibly natural on the skin. The key is finding a blush that blends well and doesn’t just sit awkwardly on top of your skin or look too powdery.
For some sparkle, ELF Cosmetics’ Baked Blush is one of the most popular affordable highlighters out there. If you just want to pop into a Watsons or Guardian, you can try out the illuminating highlighters from the brand Catrice! Whatever brand you go for, I will say that if you want a more luxe look, then you want a highlighter that has more of a sheen or shimmer with less sparkle. So avoid highlighters with obvious glitter particles in them, because those will get all over your face and leave you looking like a hot mess over the course of the night!
READ MORE: Want soft and clean skin? Read this before using a cleansing device! 7 hair rules to follow for the healthiest hair possible. Choose the right perfume to wear based on the impression you want to make.