The Broke Girl's Guide To Fall Makeup

September, with its crisp smell of fall in the air, tends to inspire us to start fresh. As we turn our new leaves — and as the leaves themselves turn — we feel invigorated by the powers of chunky knits, statement-making coats, and badass boots. But, after we’ve invested in all of the clothes, what’s left to spruce up our beauty game?
Here at Refinery29, we often feel the urge to spend beyond our means on amazing investment pieces. So, we understand that you might be a little strapped for cash when it comes to cosmetics. To help you out, the beauty team joined forces with some of our favorite experts to find a killer roster of products — all under $25 each. Some of these, you’ll find, are worth forking over the Andrew Jackson for — while others are killer bargains.
Click through to find the most affordable fall shopping list ever — and let us know your favorite drugstore diamonds in the comments. (Sharing is caring, you guys.)
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Photo: Via Cetaphil.
"This cleanser is a godsend for people with oily skin. I can rely on it to leave my face feeling clean — but not overly tight or dry.” — Taylor Bryant, beauty production assistant
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Photo: Via Boots.
Facial Scrub
"Whenever my skin is looking a little sallow, this is what I reach for. It sloughs off dead skin to reveal a brighter complexion. It’s like my mini-facial in a bottle.” — Maria Del Russo, beauty writer
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Photo: Via Kate Somerville.
"This is the toner that changed the way I feel about toner. It's absolutely clutch on oily skin, but it can be a touch drying for normal or sensitive types.” — Megan McIntyre, beauty director

(Editor’s Note: If that’s you, try Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Lotion instead.)
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Photo: Via Vichy.
“This is packed with anti-aging ingredients and glycolic acids to renew skin and improve the complexion’s appearance. Usually, products like this can be upwards of $100, but this drugstore find is a lifesaver for my routine!” — Kirin Bhatty, celebrity and editorial makeup artist
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Photo: Via Simple Skincare.
“I’m combination, so I need to change up my moisturizer depending on what the weather’s throwing at me that day. Nine times out of 10, I like to stick to gel moisturizers, because they keep oil at bay throughout the day. Simple’s is a really great option, even without that enticing price point. Any skin type would fall in love with it." — Phillip Picardi, senior beauty editor
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Photo: Via Embryolisse.
"But, if you’re on the dry side, or if you have some anti-aging concerns, then I suggest you grab the French pharmacy favorite Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè. It’s a winner in everybody’s book.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Supergoop!
“Sunscreen is the most important part of your daily beauty routine. So, don’t get confused into thinking that SPF goes away once summer does — that’s not the case! I love this product, because it can easily transform the sunscreen hater into a total convert — it feels just like a nice, lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly without an icky, white cast. Sometimes, I mix it with a bit of liquid luminizer for added radiance.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Laneige.
Night Cream
"A bestseller in Asia, where one is reportedly sold every 15 seconds, this overnight mask lives up to the hype. A thick, gel-like consistency means it glides on easily, but it sinks in overnight to plump up and hydrate your skin. One night of using this and my complexion was dewy and glowy. And, it doesn't aggravate my acne-prone skin like all those other super rich night creams.” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Olay.
Eye Cream
“An eye massager and a cream, this lightweight potion is soothing and cooling on contact, and it helps visibly de-puff eyes and make them look fresher and more awake. It makes me look like I actually got a good night's sleep, when the reality is I stayed up way too late binge-ing on Scandal and yelling at my TV." — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Heritage Store.
Face Mist
"This delicious, rose petal-scented spray is perfect for setting makeup — or to use as a refreshing midday (or post-flight) spritz. I also spray it on my sheets!” — Robin Black, editorial makeup artist
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Photo: Via Acure Organics.
Facial Oil
"This product is super rich in all the good things your skin needs, but it's still lightweight and quick to absorb. I love it for dry patches, fading old acne scars, and all-around daily moisture — without the clogged pores." — Katey Denno, celebrity makeup artist
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Photo: Via Aztec Secret.
Spot Treatment
"This inexpensive jar of powerful, pore-cleansing, skin-healing clay works wonders when used regularly to clarify and calm. Plus, it's fun to mix the powder and water and watch the paste come to life!" — Katey Denno
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Photo: Via Manefit.
Facial Mask
“Hands down, sheet masks are the best. They’re super effective, because they’re saturated in tons of product — which means your pores get all the good stuff — and, they leave you feeling incredible. (Bonus points for being awesome Instagram and Snapchat moments.) The super cheap options on Korean website Soko Glam are great — and affordable enough that you can stock up for the whole season.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Dr. Hauschka.
Lip Balm
“It’s all-natural, but moisturizing enough to combat seasonally dry lips.” — Robin Black
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Photo: Via Rituals.
Body Wash
“A foaming body wash that feels rich and creamy on the skin, but doesn’t break the bank? Yup: This foam lathers up good, smells amazing, washes clean, and makes my skin feel so soft. Like, fuzzy, angel-wing soft.” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Mullein & Sparrow.
Body Scrub
"Handmade, coffee-based, sloughs off dead skin and leaves you smelling like mint, orange, coconut, and coffee — what more could you want? Perfect for getting rid of all the gunk that built up on your skin all summer.” — Gabrielle Korn, beauty editor
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Photo: Via Vaseline.
Body Lotion
"I have used this product religiously since I was a pre-teen. Nothing moisturizes my skin and leaves it silky-smooth like this bottle does.” — Maria Del Russo
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Photo: Via Olivina.
Hand Cream
"This artisanal hand cream is super nourishing and smells like the woods." — Gabrielle Korn
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Photo: Via Degree.
"I am a sweater. And, not a dainty, light-dew-upon-my-lip lady sweater — more of a, 'How the hell do I hide these giant puddles under my arms?' kind of sweater. This is the only deodorant I have ever tried that keeps that ish under control." — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Malin + Goetz.
Aluminum-Free Deodorant
“Much like my boss, I’m also a sweater. And, also much like my boss, I’m definitely not a lady sweater. However, I avoid traditional antiperspirants at all costs: The laundry list of ingredients terrifies me. Malin + Goetz’s stick is, by no means, a budget beauty product. But, it really does last forever: I’ve had mine for three months now, and it has none of the nasties I’m worried about.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via NYX Cosmetics.
“I was genuinely surprised at how luminous these look once they’re applied to the skin. They’re super easy to use, and they come in a wide color range.” — Benjamin Puckey, editorial makeup artist
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Photo: Via Lumene.
BB/CC Cream
"There are a lot of BB duds in the drugstore — formulas with chalky finishes or formulas that just don't blend — but this one, from Finnish brand Lumene, isn't one of them. It goes on so smooth, is lightweight on the skin, and doesn't leave behind any gray-ish residue. Now, if only it came in more color options…" — Megan McIntyre

(Editor’s Note: If you fall on the medium-to-dark end of the spectrum, try IMAN Skin Tone Evener BB Cream.)
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Photo: Via Sonia Kashuk.
Tinted Moisturizer
“This has a very smooth application with moderate coverage, and also a nice range of colors.”— Kirin Bhatty
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Photo: Via L'Oréal.
"I hate foundations, especially since they never seem to match my skin tone correctly. But, L’Oréal’s True Match adjusts itself to your unique tone, so you get a perfect match every time. Don’t believe me? Try arguing with math." — Maria Del Russo
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Photo: Via Nudestix.
Cheek Color
"I'm seriously impressed with this two-in-one stick from upstart indie brand Nudestix. I don't usually like lip-blush duos, because I find they're either a great color and formula for the lips or the cheeks — but rarely both. This is the exception to the rule. Its creamy consistency means it blends super easily on the cheeks but won't slide off the lips, and the colors are just spot-on." — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via IMAN.
"Not only is Iman gorgeous and an icon, but she also knows a thing or two when it comes to cosmetics. I love how warm and sultry these bronzers are, and how they’ll work for any skin tone. Apply with a super soft, fluffy face brush during the cooler months, as your tan starts to fade, for a more subtle glow.” — Kirin Bhatty
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Photo: Via MAC.
"This is a staple in my kit, because I can use it to hollow out cheekbones on any color face, from Nicole Kidman to Naomi Campbell." — Sir John, celebrity and editorial makeup artist
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Photo: Via Revlon.
"There's a reason there was a black-market eBay business around this luminizer — it's good. [I'm] so glad Revlon recently brought it back from DQ land, because I was getting desperate enough that I was actually considering dropping $100+ on a bottle." — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via CoverGirl.
Finishing Powder
“I love this product. It’s a simple powder that’s lightweight and works great to keep you shine-free throughout the day.” — Kirin Bhatty
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Photo: Via E.L.F.
Lip Gloss
“I think buying a ton of colors, for diversity, is important with a good gloss! These are tons of fun, and they get the job done. Plus, you can’t beat the price.” — Kirin Bhatty
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Photo: Via Topshop.
“These are like the unsung heroes of lip colors. They’re vibrant, super creamy, and hydrating all at once. Love!" — Kirin Bhatty
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Photo: Via NARS.
"Opaque and intense, I use this gel eyeshadow to create both graphic shapes and smoky eyes. Baalbek, Snake Eyes, and Solomon Islands are my favorite shades!” — Robin Black
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Photo: Via Eyeko.
Liquid Eyeliner
“If it’s good enough for Alexa Chung, cat-eye queen, it’s good enough for me.” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Jillian Dempsey.
Kohl Eyeliner
"The look of a kohl pencil in a long-lasting formula. Plus, it’s full of organic ingredients. Sold.” — Robin Black
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Photo: Via L'Oréal.
“It’s the blackest formula on the market. Plus, it somehow manages to deposit just the right amount of product every time.” — Beau Nelson, celebrity makeup artist
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Photo: Via Maybelline.
Eyebrow Pencil
"This product is great for filling in sparse brow hairs. It's easy to apply, I love that you don't have to sharpen it every other week, and the comb allows you to blend and keep hairs in place after the application process.” — Taylor Bryant
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Phoot: Via Benefit.
Brow Gel
"The name of this little genius does not lie — it gives good brow. Thanks to tiny microfibers in the formula, [you] brush it on and it immediately fattens up and fills in your arches.” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Flower.
Face Brush
"True story: I had an event to rush to on my first week of working at Refinery, and I had no brushes with me and needed to touch up my concealer in a bad way. When Megan handed me this, I was dubious — I have a collection of NARS, Kevyn Aucoin, and Make Up For Ever brushes at home that are some of my most prized possessions. But, once I started blending my By Terry liquid concealer underneath my eyes and down my T-zone, I was amazed at how effortlessly and evenly this guy worked. Drew Barrymore, you nailed it yet again." — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Sonia Kashuk.
Eye-Makeup Brushes
"Sonia’s a makeup artist who is constantly on the go, so it’s no wonder her makeup brushes are also killing it. There’s nothing I hate more than blending a crease with a sharp-bristled brush: They always make me sneeze! Sonia nailed it with this super convenient, all-you-could-need kit." — Phillip Picardi

Sonia Kashuk Essential Eye Kit, $11.49, available at Target.
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Photo: Via Caudalie.
Makeup Remover
“Cleansing waters are all the rage among the models and the pros backstage, so I was surprised to see that Caudalie delivers a beautifully scented one at the most reasonable price on the market.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Dove.
"If you’re looking for a great shampoo that will keep your hair soft without all of the bells and whistles, this is your go-to. Even though it’s intensely moisturizing, it will never weigh down your hair, which is something I appreciate.” — Maria Del Russo
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Photo: Via Living Proof.
“I’m less picky about my shampoos than I am about my conditioners. That’s mostly because sometimes, I just hop in the shower, throw in conditioner, and rinse it out, skipping the cleanse part altogether. I love that this product is silicone-, oil-, and sulfate-free, because that means it doesn’t leave a nasty coating of synthetic ingredients on my hair — which would make styling all the more difficult.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Carol's Daughter.
Cleansing Conditioner
“This is the perfect cleanser for curly hair, because it doesn't suds up, which creates friction and frizz in the hair. Plus, it smells divine, has so many nourishing elements like agave and biotin, and [has] no sulfates. Also, unlike most cleaners, it's a wonderful way to condition the scalp.” — Paul Norton, celebrity hairstylist
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Photo: Via Macadamia Natural Oil.
"I am someone that uses a deep-conditioning treatment on my ends with every wash. I had heard of this brand, so I decided to pick this up at my drugstore and give it a try. I love it! It smells so yummy, and you can find it almost anywhere.” — Kylee Heath, celebrity hairstylist

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque, $16, available at Ulta.
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Photo: Via Paul Mitchell.
Thermal Protectant
"I went to a Paul Mitchell hair academy, and this is one product I have never grown out of. It protects the hair really well, but also gives a slight hold, which means you don’t have to layer tons of product on afterwards.” — Kylee Heath
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Photo: Via O&M.
Styling Cream
“This offers flexible hold, touchable texture, and the perfect amount of shine with a delicious, coconut scent. A blowdry essential.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Toni & Guy.
"Sometimes, a girl just wants a whole lot of body in her strands, and this is just the mousse for the job. It adds hold (but not too much!) and visibly plumps up your strands to create full, gorgeous volume that just won't quit. I like to apply it to dry hair before I use my curling iron to get big, bouncy curls that I brush out to create fluffy and full waves.” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Davines.
Anti-Frizz Product
"Anti-frizz products and fine hair are two things that usually don't go together: Mostly, because the majority of anti-frizz products contain smoothing agents that weigh down hair, which can make fine hair look limp, greasy, and straggly. That's not the case with this lightweight serum from Davines: It feels weightless, but it also has a mild texturizing effect, so you get a cool, second-day look along with a hint of shine and anti-frizz benefits.” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Suave.
Hair Oil
"Suave’s oil is a lot less heavy than other hair oils, so it’s perfect for people who haven’t used one before. I like to work it into damp hair, after I’ve smoothed in a leave-in conditioner, for extra shine and reduced frizz.” — Maria Del Russo
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Photo: Via Verb.
Dry Shampoo
“This is just the best. It's a loose powder, not a spray, and you only need a pinch to make a mega difference.” — Gabrielle Korn
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Photo: Via Olivine Atelier.
Beach Spray
"I couldn't have more good things to say about this texturizing spray. Unlike every other one I've tried, this doesn't make hair crunchy, sticky, or the least bit stiff. Instead, it creates truly soft texture and actually hydrates hair in the process. I was skeptical, but after just a few spritzes on my mane, I can't imagine using anything else. Did I mention the clincher? It can also be used as a hydrating body spray, has the most lovely, subtle scent, and costs all of $10. You don't own this already because…?” — Megan McIntyre
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Photo: Via Mixed Chicks.
Kinky-Curls Styling Product
"I love this leave-in for very curly types, because it’s soft to the touch and doesn't weigh the hair down. The way it separates and defines the curl is actually long-lasting, and allows you to still touch the hair how you normally would without it becoming frizzy. I love it on set, because it can be used on both real and synthetic hair." — Paul Norton
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Photo: Via TIGI.
Loose-Curls Styling Product
"This is a super fun curl enhancer that really adds a lot of bounce to the hair. It's really effective if you run it through damp hair, and then take small sections and twist with your fingers for a spiral effect before lightly diffusing with a dryer. It controls frizz so well that you can frequently play with your hair and even separate the curls once it’s dry.” — Paul Norton
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Photo: Via L'Oréal.
"In truth, I don’t really see a difference between how this works compared to other hairsprays. But, this stuff smells so good, it’s worth the praise. Plus, it’s a backstage MVP." — Maria Del Russo
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Photo: Via Ojon.
Taming Product
“I go longer between hair appointments than I’d really care to admit. (It’s partially my fault, and partially my hairstylist constantly being booked solid.) I like to keep my sideburns and the edges of my hairline clean with a quick swipe of this genius hair mascara, which offers strong hold that’s not crunchy or gross.” — Phillip Picardi
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Photo: Via Sonia Kashuk.
Paddle Brush
"This is an awesome brush with boar-and-nylon combo bristles. It detangles wet or dry hair with ease, works super fast with a blowdryer, and is totally affordable. It’s great if you can't splurge on a Mason Pearson." — Kylee Heath
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Photo: Via Tangle Teezer.
Detangling Brush
“It’s the classic. But, you already knew that.” — Paul Norton
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Photo: Via Bio Ionic.
Round Brush
"This is an awesome brush for a nice, voluminous blowout, because it allows you to keep constant heat on the hair while still protecting it. It has a mix of boar and synthetic bristles, which leaves the hair super shiny and helps to control [it] with less effort than most people are used to. But, as a pro, the weightlessness is my favorite part — it helps my arms when I’m blowing out super thick hair!” — Paul Norton
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