Budget beauty essentials under $30 for skincare and makeup beginners
Garnier micellar water, $17.90
I think micellar water is the perfect beauty must-have for anyone at any level of beauty expertise: Most formulas are fast, effective and kind to your skin. If you’re feeling like the ever-popular Bioderma ones are just a tad out of your price range, consider checking out the more affordable version from Garnier that works just as great. Even if you aren’t wearing much makeup, cleansing your skin with some micellar water is a good way to get rid of the grime and dirt from the day.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Renewal Serum, $24.90
I think regular use of a really intensive hydrating serum is key to good skin. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one from Neutrogena, especially since it’s so affordable and lightweight – it sinks into your skin virtually instantly and feels hydrating even on its own. Women with oily skin types can try this with a mattifying moisturiser so your skin is still hydrated but won’t get greasy during the course of the day. Dry or combination skin types might want to layer this under another moisturising lotion or gel cream on areas where your skin is driest for targeted hydration.
Sephora Collection Soothing Cleansing Milk, $24 for 400ml
I’m a huge fan of cleansing milks because they’re really gentle on the skin. And while I have an oily T-zone, the rest of my face is actually quite dehydrated from sitting in air-conditioning all day. This cleansing milk from Sephora is really affordable and does a great job of ridding my skin of grime without leaving my skin feeling greasy after. It’s perfect for anyone looking to double-cleanse their skin as well because it isn’t too harsh and will work well with other cleansers.
Sunplay Skin Aqua Sarafit UV Floral Essence SPF50+/PA++++, $16.90
Sunscreen is pretty much a skincare necessity if you want to avoid sun damage or skin cancer, and are hoping to age as well as possible. This sunscreen essence from Sunplay has a really lightweight but also moisturising texture that dries down to a more matte finish. It also makes for a really good primer beneath your foundation! This one has a slightly floral scent, but it isn’t too overwhelming or noticeable once you’ve applied it. The brand also offers handy sunscreen mists for topping up your sun protection throughout the day.
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal, $7.90
You don’t need to go high-end to find a good concealer with a large shade range. This concealer is one of my favourites for how well it blends, its extensive shade range (especially for darker skin tones), and the really decent price. You can order it off Shopee for less than eight dollars, shipping included! You’ll just have to study a bunch of swatches online to determine your shade. Bonus: It’s got such a blendable formula that it also works as a contour or highlight!
Maybelline Super BB Cushion SPF 29/PA+++, $28.90
Foundation can be really pricey in Singapore, even if you’re looking at the budget options. There are very few that come in under $30, and that’s a shame. It might be easier for you to find an affordable BB cream instead. A cushion is a fuss-free option for everyday use, because it comes with its own applicator sponge and you can take it around with you for touch-ups.
That said, drugstore options in Singapore rarely cater to a range of skintones deep enough for many of us, which means you might need to look elsewhere to find an affordable foundation. My favourite option is the Maybelline Fit Me foundation that you can find on Carousell or Shopee for about $17. There are two versions that cater to dry or more oily skin types, and the colour range is really good.
ELF or Real Techniques brushes, from US$3 each
If you’re looking to delve into makeup brushes but really don’t want to spend more than $10 a brush, you’re going to need to head online to find some. Two brands that have decent quality brushes are E.L.F and Real Techniques, and so far I’ve found that iherb.com has the better prices. With E.L.F., I’d recommend the stippling brush, blush brush and mineral powder brush. With Real Techniques, any of the starter kits will work, but I really like the buffing brush for foundation application.