A wave of panic washed over us as we calculated the actual cost of all the beauty products tested for this story. Could we really have blown through a month’s rent in pursuit of the best foundation and foundation drops, concealer, mascara, black eyeliner, and setting spray? We added up the totals again. And again. Yikes.
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.