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    Here's How To Make Your Makeup Routine Only *Look* Expensive

    No more choosing between designer palettes or food, my friends.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Reverse your smokey cat eye by applying the winged tip from the bottom of your eye with a Rimmel shadow stick, smudge brush, and white eyeshadow. Its unexpected appeal will instantly add some glam to even the simplest looks.

    Check out more from The Beauty Department for the full tutorial!

    Promising review (for the shadow stick): "I have bought several colors of the Rimmel Scandaleyes and have been pleased with all of them. The formula is creamy and doesn't crease. It glides on easily. Sometimes I use it alone on my lid (on minimal makeup days) and other times I combine it with a little darker or lighter powder to give some depth and dimension to my eye makeup. It seems to last a long time, not just per application, but per stick. I will continue purchasing these, especially for the price point." —Barbara

    Get them from Amazon: Rimmel shadow stick for $4.74 (available in nine shades), e.l.f. smudge brush for $3, and Maybelline white eyeshadow for $5.94 (available in 10 shades).

    2. Amp up your glow for little with a highly-rated Maybelline metallic highlighter. Its SUPER-pigmented formula has won over thousands of typically high-end beauty shoppers thanks to its nearly identical ability to show 👏 off 👏 those 👏 cheekbones.,

    Promising review: "Now I know what all the hype was about in the beauty community. This is a MUST and is a much cheaper alternative to the more expensive highlighters." —Joliefemme

    Get it from Amazon for $7.12 (available in four colors).

    3. Achieve a seemingly advanced ombre lip with just one product: Smashbox triple tone lipstick. Three shades + one bullet = no more Youtube tutorials.

    Plus its creamy formula is easy to apply and dries into a demi-matte finish that'll last allllll day.

    Promising review: "I've tried all of these in every color and love them so much!" —VIAA

    Get it from Birchbox for $24 (available in three colors).

    4. Compare popular makeup dupes to their more expensive versions before making any splurges. Chances are a highly-reviewed drugstore product does the exact same job!

    Lauren Zaser / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

    A big winner: NYX Micro Brow ($6.99) vs. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($21). Both are great products, but if you're looking to save, NYX is for you!

    Lauren Zaser / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more for dupes to help you save money.

    Promising review (for NYX): "This is a great brow pencil, especially for the price! It is very easy to apply, not too hard or too soft, and the color is perfectly pigmented. I am really happy with this purchase and will continue to buy this brand! There is no need to spend a ton more money on Sephora-brand-type brow pencils when this one works just as well!" —Jgoff

    Get NYX Micro Brow Pencil from Amazon for $6.99+ (available in five shades) and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz from Sephora for $21 (available in nine shades).

    5. Dab some Body Shop lip and cheek stain on both your pout and cheeks for a monochrome approach. The matching shades will tie your whole look together, creating a more polished aesthetic!

    Not to mention it's cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "I’ve been using this lip and cheek for a very long time and it’s still my favorite! It’s the best lip tint out there!" —RadtechJ

    Get it from The Body Shop for $9.60 (originally $16; available in six shades).

    6. Conquer your fears of the cat eye by secretly stamping in the winged tip with a double-sided eyeliner. Apparently it *is* this easy to look extra sharp.

    It's as easy as two steps: One side has a triangle-shaped tip to create the perfect winged tip, while the other effortlessly glides to complete the look.

    Check out how a BuzzFeed editor mastered her cat eye with this brilliant trick.

    Promising review: "I love, love, love these! I have very oily skin so liner never stays on. I have spent a lot of money on high-end liner and this stuff stays on just as well. The stamp makes it so much easier to get the job done quick. I would definitely recommend to anyone who is new to winged liner, or even if you are a pro and are just in a hurry. I will be buying again!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99 (available in two styles).

    7. Pick your eyeshadow shade based on the color wheel. The hues opposite to your iris shade (aka complimentary) are what will make your eyes look the most prominent — and therefore appear almost custom-made.

    Check out even more from Beautylish for how to pick your eyeshadow based on the color wheel.

    This waterproof eye shadow palette ($11.88 on Amazon) has 35 shades and 552 five-star reviews! Each color is super-pigmented, easy to blend, stays on all day, and give you lots (and lots) of options.

    8. Choose an inexpensive eyeshadow palette with a BIG range of shades (this one has 88!) so you can explore different looks to your heart's content without ever going over budget.

    This beauty even has 12 highlighting and liner shades, as well! AND it's cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "I was a little skeptical because you usually get what you pay for with makeup, however this set is amazing. I am honestly shocked at the depth of the colors and their staying power. They are better than some of my more expensive makeup for a fraction of the cost. If you are on the fence, you won't be disappointed if you just go ahead and order it." —Autumn

    Get it from Amazon for $14.23 (available in four styles).

    9. Benefit from the effects of high-end mascara without actually investing in one by replacing a drugstore mascara's wand with a thick spoolie. Its bristles will give you all the volumizing, minus the depleted bank account.

    If you're wondering "how the heck am I supposed to cap my mascara," don't worry! Most mascara wands come with a removable lid. Simply screw off the cap and replace the old wand with these spoolies!

    Promising review: "Wow! I am REALLY impressed with the quality of these brushes! I had purchased some at the store for twice the price that weren't nearly as nice! These are just perfect for application! Not only is the brush long and ample, but the handle is very long so you don't have to be holding it with just two fingers. I am thrilled with this purchase!" —Chasin' That Glow

    Get a 25-pack from Amazon for $1.09.

    10. Begin your routine by creating a seamless, smudge-proof barrier by ~sandbagging~, or blending a thick layer of setting powder under your eyes with a makeup sponge. It'll keep your eye shadow, liner, and mascara perfectly in place all day! Farewell, 5 p.m. raccoon eyes.

    Maybelline setting powder ($6.40 on Amazon) not only effectively sets your makeup, but blurs and smoothes your skin for a flawless finish. You'll also need this highly-rated sponge blender ($6.97 on Amazon) to smoothly apply the powder like a pro!

    Check out even more from Beautylish for how to learn the sandbag technique!

    11. When shopping for foundation, ask for help from a sales associate to narrow down which brand and shade is right for you. Even inexpensive picks will look high-end when closely matched to your skin tone for a seamless application.

    Nina Mohan / BuzzFeed

    Check out how a BuzzFeeder found her perfect foundation with sales associates.

    Feeling antisocial? Totally understandable. Try out Maybelline Fit Me Foundation ($5.64+ on Amazon) instead! It boasts ~35~ shades so you have a great chance of finding one that works well for you! Btw, this is a holy grail foundation for oily skin — its formula blurs pores and mattifies shine!

    12. Add a subtle glimmer to your lips on days you want that no-makeup-makeup look with Burt's Bees lip shimmer. It only takes a swipe, but a little sheen goes a long way in upgrading you to a natural glow.


    Promising review: "I love Burt's Bees products in general, but I especially love the lip colors. The caramel shade is a beautiful, warm color with just the right amount of sheen. I usually apply it in the morning and then after lunch and that is enough during the work day." —Angie

    Get it from Amazon for $6.41 (available in two shades).

    13. Know every detail of your makeup palette — both before and after you apply it. There's a place for everything, and once you get the hang of it, you'll look like an *artiste*.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    This eyeshadow palette ($12.99 on Amazon) has a full range of nude shades for all you need: crease shading, highlighting, and contouring for your eyelids!

    Check out even more ever-so-helpful makeup charts to really just become a know-it-all on all things beauty.

    14. Give foundation you already own a head-turning update by finishing your routine with L'Oréal glow drops. The extra highlight will instantly bring your foundation from drugstore to designer WITHOUT that scary credit card bill.,

    You can either highlight specific features or add it to your foundation for an all-around glimmering effect! OR you can even mix it with your moisturizer for a whole new meaning to *natural glow*!

    Promising review: "I love this! It's super light, not heavy, and blends wonderfully. I have gotten such great compliments on my skin!" —Shannon Walters

    Get it from Amazon for $11.44+ (available in two shades).

    15. Cover your lids with a bold eyeliner, then layer the base with a pigmented shadow. The combination ensures a truly saturated and vibrant look that not only won't fade, but will deliver the same appearance as luxury eyeshadow.

    Taylor Miller / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    Celebrity makeup artist (hello, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Serena Williams), Sir John, gave us step-by-step tutorials for unique yet totally achievable makeup looks. Check out all his easy-to-follow tutorials!

    Get the products you need from Amazon: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Eye Silkissime Eyeliner for $5.74 (available in 10 shades) and L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow for $4.97 (available in 20 shades).

    16. Hit the refresh button all day (even in 90 degree heat) by spritzing on some Mario Badescu rosewater facial spray, which'll not only give you a naturally dewy finish, but avoid foundation caking altogether! Take THAT, humidity.,

    It's good for your skin, too! The formula of fragrant herbal extracts and rosewater saves the day with a pick-me-up for dehydrated skin.

    Promising review: "I use this spray not only in my daily skincare routine to help my very dry skin stay hydrated, but it's the ONLY thing I'll use to set my makeup! It's a MUST as I have dry skin. While I don't use a ton of powder on my face, this spray helps make everything melt into my skin and look as natural as possible! I just can't recommend this enough!" —Tracy Cabanting

    Get it from Anthropologie or Amazon for $7.

    17. Blend your under-eye concealer fully into your foundation with a concealer brush so your complexion is totally ~harmonious~. This especially comes in handy when taking pics (camera flash bounces off makeup)!

    John Gara / Via BuzzFeed

    Regan Rabanal, senior artist at MAC cosmetics, came to BuzzFeed to show us super-handy makeup tips that everyone (even beginners!) can master. Check out all his tips and tricks!

    This concealer brush duo ($4.49 on Amazon) works as a team to cover and blend any spots or areas for a totally smooth complexion. First, use the detail concealer brush to target any discoloration (hello dark under-eyes) and spots (goodbye le pimple). Then, blend your concealer and foundation together with the airbrush concealer brush for a natural-looking finish!

    18. Ensure your hard work stays put all day by finishing off your routine with translucent powder. It'll minimize pores, acne, and fine lines PLUS keep foundation from creasing so your complexion looks ~flawless~ 24/7.

    It's available as both transluscent setting powder and as powder foundation!

    Promising review: "It's perfect! It comes with so much product, and the puff it comes with is pretty handy. The application is smooth and is great for baking. My makeup comes out flawless. I set my makeup with this and worked out right after. There was no separation or creasing! This powder blessed me." —andrea

    Get it from Amazon for $5.59 (available in six shades).

    19. Get creative with bold looks like sparkly eyeshadow that only ~seem~ extravagant. A little NARS eyeshadow primer and cosmetic glitter is all it takes to turn heads all night.

    Check out more from Nordstrom's The Thread for bold makeup looks.

    Promising review: "This is one of my favorite products. I have more of a hooded eye, and have a hard time with shadows creasing up. This has eliminated that completely without having any negative effects on my rather sensitive skin. I love it!" —LAUREN9

    Get the look from Nordstrom: Obsessive Compulsive cosmetic glitter for $15 (available in two shades), Nars pro prime eyeshadow base for $26, and Sigma Beauty medium sweeper brush for $16.

    20. Take your *glow up* into your own hands — or fingers that is. Just a dab of Glossier Cloud Paint gives you the same effects as a designer creamy blush, but lets you decide how much you'd like to build.


    It's designed to work with a wide range of skin tones AND has super-beneficial ingredients like collagen to plump skin, lightweight gel cream for a silky application, and blurring powder pigments to avoid streaking.

    Promising review: "This cream blush really stands apart because even though it goes on very light and not cakey, it somehow fills in your pores so you look naturally flawless. It also has a very natural finish. It's not matte or drying, but it's also not shiny or oily so it doesn't slip off during the day. It blends super easily even if you're not wearing foundation underneath." —almondmilk

    Get it from Glossier for $18 (available in six shades).

    21. Combine primer and foundation together if you have dry skin. This will avoid product from "sitting" on your face and instead seamlessly blend in for a flawless (and natural-looking) complexion. Who said cheap foundation can't do that?

    Taylor Miller / Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more for makeup tricks from a pro!

    Promising review (for the primer): "I have been a holdout for years with using primers before foundation. I thought they were a waste of money, either too slippery or sticky and would make my skin feel weird. This is perfect! It helps the Fenty Beauty foundation to stay with less lines, less creasing, and I don't need to apply as much foundation to get that 'my-skin-but-better' coverage. Love it!" —kindagirlygirl

    Get them from Sephora: Fenty primer for $32 and Fenty foundation for $34 (available in 40 shades).

    22. Check that your makeup translates well outside (the ultimate test) by enlisting the help of an LED magnification mirror that mimics natural light. Your foundation will never betray you once the sun hits again.

    The lights dim as you press and hold your finger on the touch-sensitive button so you can get your lighting justttt right. Plus, its high-definition technology makes sure NOTHING goes unnoticed. Perfectionists rejoice!

    Promising review: "This is perfect. The light is just the right amount and helps ensure a flawless makeup application. It also helps me see all the little hairs that need to be plucked. It's big enough to use in all the ways I need it while also being small enough to store out of the way or travel with. I definitely recommend!!" —andrea

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99.

    23. Explore different ways to show off your lashes by applying your mascara with new techniques. The way you angle the wand makes a huge difference. For example, holding the brush diagonally and pulling upward and outward at the corner of your eyes gives you exaggerated wing lashes.

    24. Upgrade your beauty routine with a luxurious-looking NYX honey primer. But its appeal isn't only ~skin deep~. Its formula is packed with rewards: gold flecks to increase radiance, collagen to strengthen skin, and (you guessed it) honey to neutralize redness.

    Promising review: "I love this stuff. I wear it under makeup, or just by itself when I'm not wearing makeup. It's very easy to apply, I just use the applicator to swipe it across my cheeks and forehead then rub it in with my fingers. It has a nice soft feel to it, not heavy, and gives your skin a lovely moisturized feel, while giving a little dewy look as well. I can definitely see this product lasting very long because you don't need a lot at all." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $14.91.

    25. Use a kabuki brush to evenly apply powder, mineral foundation, or bronzer in light circular motions. This simple technique helps give off an airbrushed effect without any other products (or filters for that matter).

    Check out even more from Birchbox for all things makeup brushes!

    Promising review: "I used to use a beautyblender before trying this brush. Now this brush is the only thing I use. My foundation blends in so nicely it looks flawless. The important thing is wash the brush often! This is an amazing makeup brush hands down!" —Sarah

    Get a Sigma Beauty Kabuki brush from Birchbox for $25.

    26. Streamline your routine (and your spending) with a Benefits Cosmetics foundation that also does the work of a primer and concealer (so you don't have to buy all three). Not only does it blur pores and other concerns (hello pimples), but its buildable formula smooths and mattifies your complexion.

    It even contains shea extract to smooth and protect skin! And it's cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "So I’m not even going to lie, the packaging caught my eye and I had to have it. But the product is good! The formula is very light and almost radiant when applied. I did two layers because I’m a full coverage kind of girl, but the color is beautiful! It’s such a light summer foundation, but full of coverage. It looks so natural while hiding and blurring what you want to cover. I’m loving it!" —AshleyCline

    Get it from Sephora for $29 (available in 12 shades).

    27. Pump up your lashes' volume without ~maxing out~ your card on high-end mascaras by prepping with an eyelash curler. It may seem obvious, but your lashes look automatically plusher and fuller, as it helps your mascara's (at any price!) wand latch on easier for a fuller effect!

    It's recommended to hold down the eyelash curler for three to five seconds, then pulse halfway down the lashes three times — one second per pulse. Btw, this specific eyelash curler has 2,739 five-star reviews, thanks to its ability to effectively curl without any tugging or pulling!

    Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in three colors).

    28. Bend your mascara wand to fully fan out your lashes (pricey Givenchy mascaras do the same thing!). The wand will be able to reach the base of your lash line and stamp the roots, instantly achieving a widening effect.

    Check out even more from The Beauty Department for why you should bend your wand!

    Don't want to bend your actual mascara's wand? Get some cheap spoolies ($1.09 on Amazon) instead! Or if you're feeling lazy, this Givenchy Noir Interdit Mascara ($29 on Sephora) already has a wand that bends 90° to create buildable volume and a praise-worthy lash extension effect.

    29. Avoid faded or bleeding lipstick by prepping your pout first and THEN applying color with a L'Oréal two-step lipstick. It has a dual-sided applicator: one to moisturize and prime, the other to gloss with a color seal balm.

    Not to mention the conditioning balm allows the color to last up 24 hours!

    Promising review: "The past two years I've really gotten into liquid lipstick. I've invested quite a bit of money to sample as many brands as possible to find one that lasts more then a few hours. After trying over a dozen different products (ranging from $30 to $4) this is without a doubt everything I've ever wanted. It has the perfect color, easy application, and no feathering or drying. I can eat, drink, and smoke with no transfer at all. I can even shower without it coming off or feathering. Last night I tried a new color and fell asleep with it on, woke up and looked like I just applied it. I have six different colors so far. I'll never buy anything else." —rachel

    Get it from Amazon for $8.51+ (available in 32 shades).

    30. Master Kim-K-level contouring without her makeup artist's bill. This guided contour and highlighting kit will take you by the hand and give you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve professional-looking contouring on a budget.

    It comes with six blendable, silky creams, guided instructions, face shape diagrams, and a contour mapping guide! Insta-fame, here I come.

    Promising review: "I absolutely love Aesthetica Contour kits. This is the second time I’ve purchased the cream kit and I can’t say enough about it! At first, I had no idea how to contour, but this kit made it so easy!" —Shira

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99.

    31. ~Polish~ your look with just a dab of creamy metallic eyeshadow. The only tools required: your fingers. Amount of potential compliments? Limitless.,

    Its all-natural formula of raw mineral pigments and organic essential oils will give you an effortless glow! And it's cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "I love using Lunar as a highlight on my face! It gives you the perfect glow and makes you feel dewy and fresh. I put it high on my cheek bones, on the inner parts of my eyes, bridge of my nose, and cupid's bow. I seriously love this eye polish!" —anna_rose

    Get it from Free People for $28 (available in four shades).

    32. Show off your cheekbones even more than usual by applying a little Maybelline moisturizing lip balm on top of your highlighter. It'll easily lend some extra shine!

    Plus, this lip balm's formula is made to last up to eight hours so you can depend on it to keep your shine going as long as you need it.

    Promising review (for the lip balm): "I can't live without this lip balm. I have about five of them in rotation between the kitchen, the car, my purse, the office, etc. A makeup artist taught me a great trick: keep this in your purse and use as a cream blush for a little color pick-me-up when needed. It works wonderfully! Best product Maybelline has ever made!" —Amazon Customer

    Get them from Amazon: Maybelline lip balm for $3.98+ (available in six flavors) and Maybelline highlighter for $7.12+ (available in four shades).

    33. Gild your brows with NYX gold liner. The unexpected touch will upgrade your whole look without any *hair-raising* spending. I guess there really is such thing as a good case of fool's gold?

    The Beauty Department

    Check out even more from The Beauty Department for how to dress up your brows!

    Ulta's liquid liner ($4.49 on Ulta) comes in a luxurious gold and has a super-fine tip for precise application!

    34. Brighten your complexion starting from your base with some dewy The Body Shop CC cream. You can wear it alone for the epitome of a ~natural glow~ or mix it with foundation for a more full-coverage approach.

    Its multitasking formula takes care of everything: it illuminates, blurs pores, reduces shine, and moisturizes for 24 hours!

    Promising review: "I love this stuff. I don't wear foundation ever, but I do use this because it gives clean skin a beautiful glow that looks natural. It is very sheer and gives a dewy/moisturized appearance. I stock up every time there's a sale, so I never run out! Body Shop, please don't ever discontinue this magic product." —GypsyMoon

    Get it from The Body Shop for $22 (available in three shades).

    Your friends learning how much you saved after they spent $$$ for the same results like:


    Some reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    Ryan Pattie/BuzzFeed

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