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7 Affordable Beauty Products You Should Try If You Be Broke As Hell

Perfect eyeliner for $2.99? *Pulls out $10 and balls TF out!*

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Hey baes! Essence here again with another beauty and style review. I've got some really good stuff, and nothing is more than $20. There's even an eyeliner in here that I SWEAR by, and it's only $2.99!

Secret: I used to suck at eyeliner, guys. Like really suuuuuuuuck! I mean, I'd manage to get it on without looking like that Gaga meme, but I had to keep it super simple. None of that wing-tip shit. That is until I bought this Wet n Wild Megaliner, and now I am feel. lin. my. self!!! I’m hella bold, actually extending my eyeliner beyond my lash line. It’s without a doubt the easiest liner that I’ve ever tried, and I’m low-key salty that I didn’t try it a lot sooner. Thinking about all the dates I’ve went on wingless hurts. Deeply.

For starters, let’s just praise god for this price point. $2.99??? “I’ll actually take three of your finest Wet n Wild Megaliners, ma’am.” —me, every time I’m in Walgreens. On top of the affordability, it actually works. It’s super dark and rich with an easy and smooth application. The applicator is a really fine-point brush, kind of like those felt-tip thingies. I think that’s what helps me to control it. The formula is in this little pot, and you just dip your brush in and apply it. I always wipe the excess liner off on the edge of the pot before applying it to my eyes so things don’t get messy. The brush handle is easy to hold, and it makes the most perfect and straight lines. It’s also easy to make your lines thicker if you want. And when it dries, everything looks so clean and precise. This is def one of my fave — if not my fave — drugstore purchases in a minute.

Price: $2.99

No lie, I have about six of these things in random places: my makeup bag, my purse, my bathroom, my beauty closet that was supposed to be a linen closet but is instead filled with makeup and skin-care products. If I don't have have my Rosebud Salve, I legit go into panic mode.

I typically use it on my lips as a balm. After I cleanse my face and all that good stuff, I scrub my lips with a warm, damp washrag and then put on a coat of the salve. It's a lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer that keeps my lips soft. I especially love it when I'm wearing matte lipsticks. Before putting on a matte, I apply the salve and blot it with a dry towel or kiss my arm to absorb any excess product. It makes all the difference in the world, allowing the lipstick to glide on so much easier. It prevents that chapped, dry feeling, too.

Another plus to this salve is that it's multipurpose. I am an anti-ash activist and I strongly stand against skin dryness. But every now and then, ya girl slips up and has a chalky-elbow or hand-crevice moment (you know, that little dip area between your thumb and pointer finger). Rosebud Salve has definitely come to my rescue in those times of distress. It works, and it's $6. Enough to keep me sold forever.

Price: $6

3. CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream For Oily Skin

Essence Gant

Can't even front, I was not expecting to like this BB cream. I generally don't really care if my makeup is drugstore or department store, except for when it comes to foundations and BB creams. In the past, I've just found it difficult for the cheaper ones to get my complexion right, so I tend to stay within the $30–40 range. When I tried the CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream, though, I was VERY shocked. Not only was it a good match, but it also felt good. (I'm wearing the shade 560 Deep, by the way.)

To apply it, I just squeezed a little onto the back of my hand. Then, I dabbed little dots on my forehead, nose, chin, and both cheeks with my finger. I blended in all the dots with my hands, the same way I do my moisturizer. At first I was a little nervous because it had a yellowish tint, but it was a perfect match once I finished blending.

My favorite thing about this BB formula — other than the $8.49 price tag — is that it is soooooo lightweight. I seriously can't even feel it. You know those days where you want to look put-together and clean, but effortlessly? Like Beyoncé walking through an airport? Well, this is PERFECT for those days. Instead of looking over-glammed or made up, you just look like you have clear, even skin. The wear is also amazing; no reapplications needed throughout the day. The coverage is pretty good, too. I'd say it was moderate — just the right amount to cover minor blemishes.

Now, there are some cons, one being that it does have a slight chemical smell; nothing too crazy, though. And the shade availability is definitely a major problem. There are only six shades, four of them being for fair skin tones. There are only two shades for medium to dark skin tones, and I'm actually wearing the darkest. If you're darker than me, you prob won't be able to wear this product — and that sucks. Hopefully CoverGirl comes out with more shades for women of color because it's actually a really good product.

Price: $8.49

4. Coloring Pins

When I first saw these pins, I immediately went on the site to order all three. Just looking at them brought back so many fond memories, like the fruity smell of Let's Jam! and the questionable aroma of Luster's Pink Oil Moisturizer. I was taken back to all the times the black women in my life demanded that my constantly moving tender head "hold still!" so that they could perfectly part my hair for cornrows. The pins alone are so cute and stylish, and then when I read the inspiration behind them I was like YAAASS!

The Original pin was inspired by cornrows, a hairstyle started and worn by black people for centuries, while Culture was inspired by the cultural significance of black hairstyles so often appropriated by white media. And GOAT, my personal favorite, pays homage to all the black haircare staples we grew up using. The designer told Blavity that the pins will represent the under and misrepresented.

I love my pins so much, and I'm buying a new denim jacket just for them! They're not too heavy, which is perfect so that your thin garments don't tear. If you're wearing all three at once, though, I would suggest pinning them to a heavy material, like denim, a really thick tee, or a sweatshirt, so that they don't stretch your clothes over time.

Price: $9–11 each; $29.50 for a pack.

5. Black Moon Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick

Essence Gant / blackmooncosmetics.com

I'm such a fan of Black Moon's liquid matte lipsticks. The color is rich, and unlike so many mattes, they don't dry out your lips. I got two of their other colors last year and immediately loved them. They're everything you want in a liquid matte: pigmented, non-drying, smooth, and long-wearing. Most recently I tried the Myth (left), which is limited edition, and Selene (right). Myth looks like an emerald or forest green with a metallic finish, and Selene is this pretty pearlescent that can look more mauve or more plum, depending on how much you put on.

Even though I had good experiences with Black Moon's mattes in the past, I expected both of these to be at least a little drying because of the shimmery effect. I find that lipsticks with any kind of sparkly finish can get really dry, hard, and flaky, but these were surprisingly moisturizing. They apply smooth and even, and my lips never dry out when I wear them.

The company has nine colors right now, a mix of metallic and regular matte finishes, plus a limited-edition three-pack with more cool colors. If you love mattes, I'd seriously recommend trying these.

Price: $18

6. Too Faced Sketch Marker

Essence Gant / toofaced.com

Too Faced has these Sketch Markers, and I'm obsessed. They're eyeliner markers that come in a bunch of cool colors, and they have felt tips for easy application!!!

When I first saw these in Ulta, another big makeup brand had also come out with a similar product. It was more expensive, the pigment was faint, and the formula was weirdly runny and watery. I figured these would be the same, but I put a few swatches on my hand and they were so much better. In the pics above I'm wearing Steel Blue on my upper lash line and Canary Yellow on my lower one. The blue showed up so beautiful and pigmented, even with only one swipe. I made the line thicker because I was in love with the color; I kinda wanted to just paint my whole face with it. The yellow showed up a little more faint, but that's only because I'm not good at lining my lower lash line. When I drew on my hand with it, it was just as pigmented as the blue.

Each pen is $20, which isn't crazy expensive — but it's not exactly what you expect to pay for a liner, either. The reason I find it worth it, though, is the color is out of this world! I'm one of those people where makeup can never require a lot of work. When I have to start using primers and all that stuff, I'm immediately turned off. If the package of something is steel blue, I expect the formula to show up steel blue — without having to prep my skin first with another product. With the Sketch Markers, what you see is really what you get. It's also easy to use, thanks to the fine felt tip. Check out all 12 of the colors here.

Price: $20

7. Rad Soap Co. Suga-Bubs Moon Candy

Essence Gant

My relationship with makeup is like, You're cool. I'll inconsistently text you and send you mixed signals, making it hard for you to ever know how I truly feel about you. My relationship with skin care is like, To you I commit my mind, body, and soul. You are the air I breathe, and I'd straight up give you my last lemon-pepper wing. That being said, I LOOOVE me a good exfoliator. I started using Rad Soap Co. Suga-Bubs Moon Candy like two or three months ago and it's everything!

It's pretty abrasive, which I love, but I also don't use it every day because of that. I use it about three times a week, alternating days, before my cleanser, and my face always feels so smooth after. It's black and literally looks like some space moon rocks or something. I scoop a little with my finger and then wet another finger and kind of rub it together to soften it up and activate it. I always start with a little water just to activate it and make it spreadable, and then I apply it evenly over my face. Next, to soften it up so that I can really work it in, I wet my fingers more and start rubbing the scrub in circular motions. That's when it starts lathering and turning white. It's important to know that the less water you use, the more abrasive. The more water you use, the more gentle. Once I work it in, I rinse it all off with room temperature water. Even as you're rinsing, you feel how much smoother your face is. My moisturizer and foundation always go on so nicely after I use this stuff. There's this soothing warm sensation while it's on your face, too, and it lingers a little after you wash it off. I don't know why, but I'm guessing it's because its made with activated charcoal.

You can also use this as a body scrub in the shower, too. I've done it a few times, but I mainly use this one for my face. It's $20 for a big 12 oz. jar, and you literally only need a fingertip amount. Translation: It will last you an eternity, especially because it's not something you'd probably use every single day. You have to try it, and then tell me how you like it. Careful, though, if you have sensitive skin. I haven't had any problems and my skin is pretty sensitive, but just read all the ingredients first and maybe patch-test because skin care can be tricky.

Price: $20.

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