Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Style > Beauty

How I Got the Essentials for a Full Face of Makeup on a Budget

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

I’m sure we’ve all been through some of the makeup phases: just starting out at makeup and bad, bad at makeup but still trying, getting semi-decent at it but, oof, those brows, finally getting the right look and makeup, experimenting wearing full face all the time, wearing full face when you feel like dressing up, never wearing makeup, and so much more.

I myself have been through a lot of those phases – mostly the bad ones – but I realized I’ve never taken the time to master the full face look. The problem is… makeup can be expensive, and it’s not easy to know which products have great quality AND are pretty cheap. So, here are the essentials I got in order to achieve the full-face look on the college student budget.

PS. I didn’t include it, but don’t forget moisturizer and primer! I didn’t include these because there are so many different products to use depending on people’s skins and preferences.


First things first… foundation. I use Maybelline’s Superstay Foundation. I got it for about $9 at Target and it works so well.


Next: concealer. I got the same brand – Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer. Again, I got it for around $7 at Target and it works so well.

Setting Powder

Baking time! I’m basic and use the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. I got the mini one for $23 to be cheap and because I don’t really use it that much!


I got the mini Hoola bronzer for $16. I love this stuff. It’s so cute and small and easy to apply.


For highlighter, I use this cheap Contour Trio kit from Forever21 that I got as a gift years ago. Honestly, it works just as well as any other highlighter.


Brows are essential! I use Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Dipbrow Pomade with the brow brush for about $32 in total. It’s lasted me forever and I love it.

Winged Liner

Wings are my absolute favorite things. I use the Nyx matte liquid eyeliner. Again, it’s about $7 at Target.


For my bottom eyelids, I also line them because I feel like it really makes my eyes pop a bit more. I use Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in black. It’s about $32, but I’m sure you could use any cheap gel eyeliner.

Eyelash Curler

Honestly, in my experience, any eyelash curler will do.


For mascara, I use Maybelline’s Volum’Express The Colossal Cat Eyes mascara for about $7. I love the brush and how even the formula is.


Eyeshadow is one thing in makeup I feel that you can really get creative with. Any eyeshadow palette works, but I’ve been loving Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Modern Renaissance. It’s $42, but worth it.


Lashes are key! Ardell lashes are great. They can be as cheap as $3 at any drug store.

Setting Spray

Lastly, setting spray! I got the mini Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray for $15. It’s a classic and a must to achieve the full face.

Obviously, you can use or buy whatever you want. But these are just the products that I found cheap and convenient that work for me!


Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!

Makeup is definitely a skill that I want to be able to do well. I feel like all makeup artists are so talented and truly make makeup their own craft/form of art. Whether you have a million dollars or you’re a broke college student like me, makeup is something anyone can get into easily.

Caele (pronounced Kay-lee) is a senior at Boston University studying Advertising and Spanish. She loves books, film, music, photography, food, traveling, fashion, and beauty. Before COVID-19, you could usually find her on the MBTA or in a coffee shop.
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.