Budget Beauty: Where to Find the Best Affordable (But Good Quality) Makeup

Adelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante

Tis the season for swanky cocktail parties! Since everyone’s purse strings are tight in December, I wanted to talk about all my favorite affordable but good quality makeup under $5 from essence cosmetics! They’re bringing the bash this season with bright, bold, and all-around fun makeup that’ll make you look and feel your best without breaking the bank. The essence brand is all about high quality beauty products at affordable prices and celebrating real beauty– two things my brand is also all about. Plus, they launched their “60 Days of Celebration” back in November. That means 60 days of deals, fun downloadables, Instagram live takeovers, and more– yep, something fun every day for the rest of the year! Check them out on Instagram for more information.


All of the products used to create this holiday look are from essence, who is, in my opinion, the best of the best affordable makeup brands. Keep reading for a full breakdown of products used, including my picks for the best lipstick under $5, best eye makeup under $5, and best blush and bronzer under $5. Full outfit details are also listed at the bottom of this post!

Best Lipstick under $5

First and foremost, essence Matt Matt Matt lipstick is hands down my favorite lipstick under $5. Each shade is $3.99 aka the definition of affordable but good quality makeup. I’m wearing 06-Kiss Me If You Can in these photos. Three of my other favorite holiday shades are 01- Natural Kiss, 03- Wow Effect, and 07- Purple Power. Essence’s lip liners are incredible, too, and you can’t beat their $1.99 price tag!

The best affordable but good quality makeup from essence cosmetics (including the best lipstick under $5) by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a DebutanteAdelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante


Adelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante

Best Eye Makeup under $5

Of all the affordable makeup brands, essence takes the cake for consistency. All of their products are reliable and get the job done. Their eye makeup is no exception. Lash Princess False Lash Mascara gives your lashes a bold false lash look for just $4.99. I hit my quota of false lashes while competing in pageantry, so anything that gives me bold lashes without having to apply that nasty glue to my eyelids is a godsend. So, when I need to my eyes to pop in photos or if I want a more dramatic eye for cocktails, Lash Princess is my go-to! I also love essence Make Me Brow Tinted Eyebrow Gel Mascara in 02- Browny Brows. This product instantly makes my brows look and feel more put together, while filling in sparse brow spots nicely.


Also, I’m not always a fan of liquid eyeliner, but I love pairing my mascara and eyebrow gel with essence’s Super Fine Eyeliner Pen. It’s $2.99, it goes on easy, and stays on all day. Plus, the tip is super fine, so if you have shaky hands like me and you make a mistake, it’s not a “let’s start all over” situation. Also, here’s a tip if your eyeliner starts to run out: store it upside down.

The best affordable but good quality makeup from essence cosmetics (including the best lipstick under $5) by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante

Even though it’s $5.49, I couldn’t leave out the All About Roses Eyeshadow Palette. It features 8 gorgeous rose-toned shades that are buildable and blend well. I use this palette just about every day (and night in particular). Whether you’re getting ready for work and want something subtle or you’re doing a dramatic smokey eye for New Year’s Eve, All About Roses really does have it all!


The best affordable but good quality makeup from essence cosmetics (including the best lipstick under $5) by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a DebutanteThe best affordable but good quality makeup from essence cosmetics (including the best lipstick under $5) by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a DebutanteAdelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante


Adelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante

Best Blush and Highlighter under $5

I’m not a big contour girl, so I rely on a great blush, highlighter, and bronzer to shape my face. I’m also extremely picky, since I have very sensitive skin. Affordable but good quality makeup is hard to come by when oily skin is factored into the equation. Satin Touch Blush in 20- Satin Love is amazing. It’s $2.99 and highly pigmented with a light pearl effect. A little bit goes a long way, so the product lasts a while, especially for being so small. As far as highlighters go, you can’t beat their Pure Nude Highlighter either. It’s $4.49 and rivals the prestige highlighters you’ve probably paid $30+ for.

Adelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante Adelyn Rae Whitney dress styled with a Vera Bradley RFID All-in-One Crossbody and Sam Edelman red patent leather pumps by southern fashion blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a DebutanteShop the Look: Adelyn Rae Lace Dress, $38 (on sale) | Red Patent Leather Heels, $120 | RFID All-in-One Crossbody, $128 (one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for 2017!) | Pearl Stud Earrings, $29 | Matt Matt Matt Lipstick (06- Kiss Me If You Can), $3.99 | False Lash Mascara, $4.99 | Browny Brows Eyebrow Mascara, $2.99 | Super Fine Eyeliner, $2.99 | All About Roses Eyeshadow Palette, $5.49 | Satin Touch Blush, $2.99 | Pure Nude Highlighter, $4.49



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