Though no actual bank accounts were harmed in the making of this story (we snagged products straight from the beauty closet), that big-time dollar figure represents just a sliver of the time and money that we’ve unknowingly parted with over the years while trying to find the blackest
liquid eyeliner or a foundation that would not only match our skin tone, but would most closely mimic the look of skin itself.
In an effort to help minimize the amount of cash wasted on makeup that isn’t quite right, we’ve tested 49 products across a spectrum of categories and on a range of faces in hopes that you don’t have to. Ahead, see the very best products we’ve tried so far. The big takeaway: Half the time,
affordable drugstore finds beat out much pricier options — a revelation that we can take straight to the bank.
How does a $5 concealer stack up against a $70 one? In writer
' experience, the drugstore option blows a fancier version right out of the water. In fact, this full-coverage formula rated so highly, it surpassed all others that Rollings tested at every price point. “I was shocked by how well it masked my under-eye circles and brightened up my face,” she wrote. “The coverage on this product is AMAZING...it also looked so natural.”
After 12 hours of wear, Rollings
seeing nearly flawless-looking skin, something she calls “a small miracle for me.” With 19 shades available, and at the price of a frozen yogurt, the rest of us can try covering up with this clear winner, too.
Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand,
The four pillars that construct a hero
: definition, volume, length, and curl. It’s a lot to ask, but this drugstore brand rose to the challenge. “I absolutely loved the balance of curl and volume that this mascara gave me,” Rollings raved. What’s more, the tapered brush shape helped fan out lashes for added definition. This lash enhancer was such a standout, it’s since become the only formula that Rollings uses.
Prêt-à-Volume Smokey Velvet Black Mascara,
It’s no wonder why this
is frequently sold out: When testing it against eight others, Rollings found this formula to strike the perfect chord for setting makeup and balancing skin. “It controlled the oil around my T-zone, softened the dry areas on my cheeks, and kept my concealer and highlight glowing all day,” she reported. More impressive still, Rollings swore that a spritz helped extend the wear of her eye makeup.
Continuous Setting Mist,
plenty of great foundation formulas
out there, but few of them offer a truly
range. This SPF-spiked foundation not only comes in 29 shades; it also gets top marks for delivering a lightweight feel, shine-free finish, and marathon 24-hour wear that required no primer or setting spray to achieve, according to our tester.
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Shameless Youthful-Look 24H Foundation SPF 25,
Opaque, high-shine pigment that doesn’t fade or budge after 16 hours of wear? Oh, it exists — and it’s stocked at your local drugstore. This liquid liner also ranked for its fast, smudge-free dry-down and for its overall ease of use,
according to our tester
Master Precise Ink Metallic Liquid Liner,
According to writer
, these foundation drops racked up points for doing exactly what they say they will: provide smooth application and weightless wear with minimal fading, while covering redness, dark spots, and any other skin concerns like a champ.
Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Pigments,