Makeup Capsule: budget friendly drugstore options

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Makeup adds up quickly and nothing is more annoying than purchasing a cosmetic item only to get home and realize it isn’t right. Oftentimes retailers accept returns of cosmetics, but to save you the hassle I rounded up tried + true drugstore makeup items to complete a budget-friendly makeup capsule.

I use the term budget here loosely because it didn’t take long for this to ring in over $100 ($104 to be exact, before tax) and I was hoping to land in the $50 range! I’ll continue testing products, as always, and will share when I find great drugstore items for you!

The most expensive item of the capsule are the brushes, they came in at $25, and it’s a great value for the brushes you get but that could be an optional add on!

I didn’t include an eyeliner because I was trying to just hit the basics here, so if this were my personal capsule I would wet one of the smallest eyeshadow brushes from the brush kit, then dip it in the darkest eyeshadow and use that as eyeliner.

One. Milani Rose Powder blush : This is such a stunning blush that creates the prettiest glow of pink to the skin.

Two. Pixi Natural Brow Duo : I love that this brow product offers a pencil and a gel in one tube.

Three. Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara : I’ve been using this mascara off and on for the last month or so and every single time I use it I’m more pleased with the instant thickness and impact it offers.

Four. Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer : A much loved drugstore concealer that really does a great job of covering dark circles.

Five. ELF Clay Eyeshadow palette : If you don’t have an eyeshadow primer use concealer as the base, and then follow that with any of the pretty taupe shades from this palette.

Six. Revlon Photoready Insta-Filter Foundation : This is a great blurring, medium coverage foundation. I dislike the applicator but the product itself is really great!

Seven. Sonia Kashuk makeup brushes :  I’ve been a fan of this brand for a long time and this is a great starter set for brushes!

Eight. Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer : This has a coconut smell and warms the skin up so nicely. It doesn’t get splotchy or anything either!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I’m happy to share that I have a few other “makeup capsules” coming soon! One is called “quick and easy” and the other is “stay all day”. Is there another theme you’d like me to include? Let me know in the comments!

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Comments (67)

  1. Posted March 26, 2019

    Thank you for this post, Kate! I’m not much of a makeup person myself and try not to spend too much on the few essentials I need. Wish some of these products were available in Hong Kong!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Christina says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    This is so helpful! The only thing I’d also like to see on this list is a lipstick or lip tint.

    Thanks!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      oh good thought!

  3. Posted March 26, 2019

    Would love to see a capsule using only “cruelty-free” products

    • Melanie Davis says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      I love this idea!

  4. Erin says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    You read my mind, a post I’ve been wishing for! This is helpful for a busy Mama who only has time for a quick drug run to restock the make-up and not break the bank!

  5. Jaime Bochet says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Thank you, Kate! I’m going back to work this coming Monday after having my second baby, and my work-day makeup routine is in dire need of updating. I’m treating myself to a trip to Ulta to grab some of these today, especially the concealer – the dark circles are no joke. This tired-looking mom thanks you!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      Great!

  6. Ashley says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Can you do makeup that is worth the high price tag?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      yes!

  7. Maureen says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I’ve used most of these and highly agree with your recommendations! It is crazy that even drugstore cosmetics add up this quickly. Ouch.

    • Kate says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      I know it truly surprised me!

  8. Megan says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I love this! I would like to see a seasonal makeup capsule. I recently found myself searching for new spring/summer products to add to my daily makeup routine. I always love changing up my makeup when the seasons change. It makes me feel like the season is here even when the weather isn’t cooperating.

  9. Lauren says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I loved the lipstick you were wearing in stories about this post…was it the Sugar “Petal” again?

  10. Claire Dise says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I would love your high end recommendations for a makeup capsule!

  11. Marta says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Milani rose blushes but at such a low price and they look so beautiful I might give them a try. And the butter bronzer is on my list of products to try, I’ve only heard good things about it so I might just do it and get it because I need a new bronzer that isn’t too warm, do you think that one would do?

    • Sarah says
      Posted April 5, 2019

      I tried this Milani blush and I LOVE it!

  12. Carol says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I can’t get the links to work.

  13. Kaitlyn says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    What shade do you wear for the concealer??

  14. Susan Reid says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    How about a travel capsule?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      great idea!

  15. Amy says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    THANK YOU! I was just working through my makeup these past few months to get back to basics at a drugstore price.

  16. Candace says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I’d love to see a capsule using more natural/low-toxin options.

  17. Julie says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Could you include a “clean” makeup capsule?

    Thanks Kate!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 26, 2019

      great idea!

  18. Charitie Martino says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I would love to see a theme of the most nourishing or even healthy makeup products for your skin.

  19. Lauren says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Hi Kate! Any recs for drugstore skincare? I know you talked a while back about using Neutrogena Hydro Boost products but couldn’t remember if you liked them or not! ❤️

    • Kate says
      Posted March 29, 2019

      They were fine but I didn’t love them as much as PTR! Olay is one of my go-to’s for Drugstore skincare. I love their Eye gel!

  20. Angela says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    The Milani blush and PF Bronzer are faves of mine as well and the Pixi duo brow sounds like something to try next.

    Angela at Blush & Pearls

  21. Megan says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I love this idea of a drug store make-up capsule! Is there any way you could put together a tutorial on how to apply these products? I think that would be really helpful for us make-up *newbies*. : ) Thank you!

  22. Lynn says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Do you still use Maskcara products? Thinking about trying their products!

  23. Maria says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    This is wonderful! I’ve been using a handful of these for quite some time and will have to check out some of the others. Have you checked out the “think dirty” app? It is an app that provides you with the information of what is in beauty products. As it states, Think Dirty is the easiest way to learn about the potentially toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products. It’s pretty interesting and has definitely made me think about the products I’m using. I’d love ❤️ if you could come up with a “clean” makeup capsule!! Thanks, you are one of my favorite influencers!

  24. Emily says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    This post was so helpful! It’s nice to splurge on a palette here or there, but I love that you did a capsule of affordable options!

  25. Kristin says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Idea for capsule (if you aren’t already) – easy makes in under 5 minutes. And less than 5 products. Basically, just how to scale waaaay back when you don’t have the time (#momlife)

  26. Lynn says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Not long ago I started paying attention to all the coupons that CVS gives you when you check out. Coupled with emailed coupons from them, a 30% off entire purchase received in the mail, and Extra Bucks off, I recently was very pleased when my drugstore haul went from $120 to $55! Use those coupons ladies!

  27. Kate says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I love the physicians formula bronzer, and the Maybelline concealer. They both work so well! Thanks for sharing, hope you are having a great day.

    -Kate
    https://daysofkate.com/

  28. Terri says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Hi! What color in the Milani rose blush do you use?
    There are several Rose shades.
    Thank you so much!
    Love following you!!!❤️

    • Maureen says
      Posted March 28, 2019

      Agreed! I just went to the store but there were a bunch of rose shades and I didn’t know which to get!

      • Kate says
        Posted March 29, 2019

        Sorry about that, I’ve been using the shade ” blossomtime rose ” 🙂

        • Maureen says
          Posted March 29, 2019

          Thanks!

  29. Rachael says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    I am excited to try out the exhibitionist mascara, your lashes look so great with it! I love the Milani blush and PP butter bronzer as well. I tried the age rewind concealer after hearing so many influencers rave about it and it was terrible on my skin, kinda separated and looked scaly, any idea why that would be? I tried making sure to prep the skin properly and everything, just did not work for me at all. My fav drug store concealer so far as been the maybeline fit me. Loved this post, keep em coming 😊👍🏻

  30. Kate says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    What brand of face primer do you recommend?

  31. AA says
    Posted March 26, 2019

    Some “basics” for an easy evening look would be great! Like, smoky eye and red lip or something.

  32. Claudia says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Another capsule that would be great is “how to fake ten hours of sleep if you had only two” for new moms or moms that added a new member to the tribe

  33. Susan Ritzenthaler says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Purse essentials

  34. Nedra says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    How do you apply the foundation you mentioned in the budget capsule?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 27, 2019

      With my fingers or a damp beauty blender!

  35. Valerie says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Any recommendations on a budget friendly foundation primer

  36. Sherry May says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Hi Kate

    I would love to see a demonstration of how you use a bronzing powder during the summer months. You mentioned in your stories how you use the sunless tanning lotions (St. Tropez) on your body but never on your face, you just use bronzers. I would love to see a demonstration of how you do this in order to get a summer glow on your face.
    Thanks !!

    • Kate says
      Posted March 28, 2019

      Ok I’ll do that soon!

  37. Carolyn says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Love this SO much. Have already bought blush and mascara here, per your recommendation. Can’t wait to complete my capsule! Is there a place with you wearing all of this at once or tutorial of how you’d do a look with just this stuff?

  38. Lauren says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    A capsule with products you can apply without brushes to do a full face but get out the door quickly, i.e. creams, sticks, ideally something multipurpose too–like using a NARS multiple, lip/cheek stain, or something similar. Would be a great new mom, still feel like a human option!

  39. Sherry May says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Hi Kate,
    I would love to see a demonstration of how you apply bronzer in order to get your summer glow. I know in your stories you talked about how you apply the St. Tropez self tanning lotion to your body, but not your face. (just use bronzer). Would love to see a demo of how to use it.

    Thanks !

    • Lynn says
      Posted March 27, 2019

      I agree! A bronzer tutorial would be very helpfu!

  40. Megan says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Do you recommend going lighter in your shade or under eye concealer? I have a hard time with picking the right option to make my eyes look brighter and more awake,

  41. Lindsay Bertram says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Maybe a ‘fancy night out’?

  42. Natalie says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Love this concept! I like things streamlined curated and simple. But would love another capsule that’s more upscale with products not super $$$$ but just a step or two up from drugstore. Also would love any info for aging skin and older faces 😊

  43. Lauren says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    Love this! I like to have a second set of makeup in my travel bag for work. For that purpose- budget friendly is where it’s at!! What color foundation do you use in the revlon?

  44. Lisette says
    Posted March 27, 2019

    There’s 4 shades of this blush, which one did you like?

    • Kate says
      Posted March 28, 2019

      The rose one!

  45. Emily says
    Posted March 28, 2019

    I love this idea! I really wish I could get my hands on the Butter Bronzer, but Physicians Formula is so hard to get hold of in the UK!

    Emily | Snippets of Emily’s Life xx

  46. Kristi says
    Posted March 28, 2019

    I have followed you for years and my preteen daughter is starting to wear makeup. How about a makeup starter kit for teen girls?

  47. Kiersten says
    Posted March 31, 2019

    Thank you for this! I use a mixture of high end and drugstore makeup, but whenever I’m at Target, I can never remember which products you’ve recommended. Now I know where to find it!

  48. Elizabeth says
    Posted April 2, 2019

    A carry on makeup capsule please!

  49. Emily Muia says
    Posted April 5, 2019

    I rarely wear makeup, but on those rare occasions I come here to see all your tips and tutorials and of course check in on IG! You’re a fantastic bloger; keep up the great work!

  50. Posted April 15, 2019

    Would love to see your favorite lip colors! Just found you in IGTV and love your videos! Keep em coming! 😉 http://www.dorothypro.com

  51. Katina says
    Posted April 19, 2019

    What shade of the age rewind do you use?