For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Sep 03 2016
by Natalie Day

A College Girl's Guide to Makeup on a Budget

By Natalie Day - Sep 03 2016

It's not uncommon for girls in college to wear makeup on a daily basis. However, it seems very difficult to achieve a flawless face on a budget. Fortunately for us broke college girls, it isn’t as difficult as it seems. Below you will find a list of affordable products that are also of high quality. Many of these products are dupes to high end products that can break the bank, which means you can save money for ramen and your Netflix subscription.


Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Powerless Foundation - $8

The latest makeup trend has been matte everything, from lips to face. Maybelline's Fit Me Foundation comes in both matte and dewy finishes. They both have excellent coverage and last all day, but the matte finish also keeps you shine free. At only $8, this product will last you a few months, which is perfect for those of us on a budget.

Concealer: Revlon Photoready Concealer - $10

Revlon's Photoready Concealer may be one of the more expensive products on this list, but no other product will give you as much coverage. This product is perfect for everyday wear and can help you achieve that flawless face look we all want. Another benefit of the Revlon Photoready Collection is that it looks just as good in pictures as it does in person, which will help step up your Instagram game.

Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder - $4 

You definitely cannot find a better powder at this price. For only $4, Rimmel's Stay Matte Pressed Powder is the perfect product. Its matte finish keeps you from looking shiny all day. Since it's a pressed powder, application is quick and mess-free, making this product perfect for on the go.

Bronzer/Blush: ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder - $4 

This blush and bronzer duo is amazing. It has durable packaging and lasts for years. I’ve had mine for about three years, using it almost daily, and haven’t hit pan yet. The color St. Lucia is great for lighter skin tones and creates a natural look for darker skin tones. This product is often compared to the Nars blush and bronzer in the color Orgasm/Laguna, which is $42. That's a $38 difference. Clearly, the ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder is an amazing buy.

Highlighter: Wet n Wild MegaGlo Illuminating Powder - $5 

When I first picked up this product, I was a little skeptical. I had tried some Wet n Wild products in the past and was never too impressed. That is not the case with this product. For only $5, you get four shades of highlighter: gold, white, pink, and bronze, all with a shimmery finish. I was so impressed with this product that it quickly became a daily staple in my makeup routine. You can choose one color individually or mix them. I apply them on the tops of my cheekbones with a small fluffy brush to create a shimmering glow.


Eyeshadow: Maybelline The Nudes Eye Shadow Palette - $12 

When it comes to quality eyeshadow on a budget, you can't beat Maybelline The Nudes Eye Shadow Palette. I've used this palette many times and it is perfectly pigmented. The shadows come in a variety of colors, allowing you to create both natural and dramatic looks. With twelve shadows in the palette, you really can't beat the price.

Eyeliner: Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Liner - $8 

Personally, I love this eyeliner. It’s great for everyday wear, but also has a sharp felt tip to create a perfect cat eye. I've gone through five or six of these eyeliners, having sworn by them for years. I would highly recommend them to new makeup users, as well as those who use makeup daily.

Mascara: Loreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes - $11 

This is the perfect mascara for the college girl. Not only does it create volume and curl, but it is a double ended mascara, complete with a primer. You apply the primer first, then top with the mascara. The very best thing about this product is you don't need makeup remover to take it off, just water! The product tubes around your lashes and with direct contact with water, it slips off your lashes. It's perfect for the college girl that's too lazy to take their makeup off at the end of the day.

Brows: NYX Micro Brow Pencil - $10 

NYX's Micro Brow Pencil is a great product to help you perfect your brows. With it's super thin tip, it mimics the look of individual eyebrow hairs to help you fill in naturally. It's double ended design with the skinny tip is similar to Benefit's Precisely, My Brow Pencil, which is $24. This is the perfect was to save a few bucks on your daily makeup routine.


Lipstick: Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip - $6 

Lips are a big part of the new matte makeup trend. The world is freaking out over Kylie Jenner's Matte Liquid Lipsticks. However, at $29 a pop, they're way too expensive for the college girl. I suggest you try out Colourpop. Their Ultra Matte Lip products are virtually the same as Kylie's. I have both Colourpop and Kylie matte liquid lipsticks and the only difference is that Kylie's have a vanilla scent. Colourpop has many more color options as Kylie and their lipsticks are only $6 a piece. I would highly recommend picking up a few.

Colored Balm: Revlon Balm Stain - $6 

If you want something a little more casual, but still want a little color, you should pick up Revlon's Balm Stain. They come in a chubby crayon shape and in a variety of colors. The colors are somewhat pigmented, but they're buildable, so you can choose the amount of color you're wearing. On top of this, they're somewhat moisturizing, leaving you with soft lips at the end of the day.

Liner: Jordana Easyliner For Lips - $2.50

If you like to use liner under your lipstick, Jordan Easyliner is a great choice. The formula goes on very easily and almost moisturizes your lips. I love these liners because of how pigmented they are and how smoothly they can be applied. Most importantly, they really do help your lipstick last longer.

Gloss: NYX Butter Gloss - $5

NYX's Butter Gloss is perfect if you're a glossy lip girl. The smooth formula feels like butter on your lips and it is incredibly pigmented. NYX couldn't have named the product more accurately. The variety of colors and amount of product is really a bang for your buck.


Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge - $7 

The Beauty Blender is the latest makeup application craze. The egg shaped sponge applicator can be upwards of $20. However, Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is the perfect dupe. At only $7, it applies foundation, concealer, highlighter, and anything else you might use it for just as well as a Beauty Blender.

Overall, these products cost less than $100. With the quality of these products, you can't pass them up, making them the perfect choice for the college girl on a budget.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Alysa Bajenaru

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Natalie Day - Columbia College Chicago

Natalie Day is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago and is double majoring in acting and writing. She has traveled to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Jamaica for mission trips. Natalie spends her free time binge watching Netflix and working on her life long goal of becoming an old dog lady. Follow Natalie on Twitter and Instagram @nat__day.

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