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

It has taken me months to perfect my makeup routine. I have gone through different primers, concealers, and foundations in order to find the products that work for me. I find that it is difficult to find shades that match perfectly with my skin tone – even outside of base products, I have struggled to find eyeshadows and blushes that are pigmented enough to show up on my skin. I have outlined the following products that have worked well for me and their drugstore dupes.


Milk Hydro Grip ($52)

Elf Power Grip Primer with 4% Niacinamide ($14)                                                                     

Primer is a step that I have incorporated into my makeup routine in the past couple of years. I find that applying a hydrating primer really helps with getting a smooth base for my makeup that lasts throughout the day. The primer contains hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, providing that extra boost of hydration to the skin. The Elf Power Grip Primer with 4% niacinamide is a great, some say even better, dupe for the Milk Hydro Grip.


Hourglass Airbrush Vanish Concealer: ($49)

Elf Hydrating Camo Concealer: ($8.49)

I have found that I need hydrating concealers for my under eyes. I have gone through Nars and Makeup Forever, among a few others. My favorite right now is the Hourglass Vanish concealer. It’s hydrating, easy to blend, and provides full coverage under the eyes. The closest drugstore dupe that I have found is the Elf Hydrating Camo concealer. There are a variety of shades for different skin tones, and it provides a similar finish to the Hourglass concealer.

Setting Powder:

Up until recently, I didn’t know how to incorporate two different types of setting powders into my makeup routine. Loose powder can be used to keep your concealer in place and is meant to blur your fine lines. Pressed powder comes in a solid form and is applied to help manage oil control. I use loose powder during my makeup routine and touch-up throughout the day with my pressed powder.

Pressed Powder:

Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Setting Powder ($65)

Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder ($14.49)

I recently purchased this after seeing it all over social media and I love it! I take it everywhere with me to touch-up throughout the day as I tend to get oily. It mattifies the skin without making it look dry.

I used the Maybelline Fit Me pressed powder before I purchased the Charlotte Tilbury pressed powder and they are almost identical. There is a minimal difference between the two products – I could apply both to either side of my face and it would be difficult to tell the difference. These setting powders instantly blur my pores and provide an overall smooth finish to the skin.

Loose Powder:

Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking and Setting Powder ($52)

Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder ($14.49)

Huda Beauty offers multiple shades in their loose setting powder. It’s a weightless formula that blends seamlessly with the skin. It helps with the creasing under my eyes, and I use it to further contour my face. This is a popular beauty product on social media and I feel like I have used Huda Beauty’s powders enough to say that they are worth the purchase. For the drugstore alternative, I will once again suggest Maybelline Fit Me, but in the Loose Finishing Powder. Their products provide similar finishes to high-end makeup brands.


Fenty Beauty Contour Stick ($43.50)

Elf Halo Glow Contour Stick ($12.99)

Contour is the only element of my makeup routine that I have not switched out over the years. I use the Fenty Beauty Contour Stick in the shade “Truffle” which has lasted me for quite a while. I find that there are a range of shades to choose from, and it’s so easy to blend. A drugstore contour stick I would recommend is the Elf Halo Glow Contour Stick. The formula is different compared to Fenty’s, but I have found that it achieves a similar effect in subtly contouring the face while adding some warmth.


Fenty Beauty Cream blushes ($35.50)

Elf Camo Blushes ($10)

One of my favorite cream blushes by far are the Fenty Beauty cream blushes. I purchased one two years ago and it recently ran out. They’re highly pigmented, and stay for hours on the skin. A good drugstore dupe are the newly released Elf Camo blushes. They’re highly affordable for the product you get, a little amount can go a long way, and I can see them lasting me for years.

Although I recommend these products, I suggest doing your research to find what works for you. It took time for me to find a makeup routine that compliments my skin type and features, and everyone is different.

Maham Qaiser

U Toronto '24

Hey! I'm a full-time writer and editor for Her Campus at UofT. I'm majoring in English, and minoring in Indigenous Studies and Urban Studies. I hope to pursue journalism in the future. When I'm not writing for Her Campus, I'm reading, exploring new cafes in the city and feeding into my shopping addiction. I draw from personal experiences for my articles, and hope to impact those who read them.