'I'm a beauty editor with $40 in my pocket. Here's what I'd buy from the chemist.'

Get in, friend. We're going beauty shopping

Because if there's one thing I love to do, it's wandering through the aisles of the chemist and discovering all the glorious beauty goodies. While I froth over the big beauty stores like Sephora and Mecca just as much as the next beauty lover, the truth is — expensive doesn't always mean better.  

The only drawback? With so many great affordable products to choose from (have you SEEN those tiny chemist aisles and overflowing shelves?), it's hard to know what's worth spending on — even if there's a lot of stuff that's as cheap as chips.

Watch: Speaking of me putting stuff on my face, here's a clip of all the products I used for my in-flight skincare routine. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia

So, as someone with a hefty beauty spending habit, I'm here to steer you in the right direction and tell you the best makeup products to pick up for a total of $40. It's the kind of stuff I repurchase time and time again. (And don't worry, I'll do one for skin, too!).

Now, because our go-to places like Chemist Warehouse always have juicy beauty sales kicking, a lot of these products are always, like, half the price. So, I'm listing the discounted prices below.


If I had forty bucks in my pocket and needed some new makeup, this is what I'd buy.

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Liquid Foundation, currently $8.39.

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation. Credit: Chemist Warehouse/Canva.

If you haven't heard the (very loud) buzz around Drew Barrymore's brand Flower Beauty, let me introduce you to the brand's hero product: Flower Beauty Illusion Liquid Foundation. When it hit shelves, it quickly reached cult status — and after trying it, I can totally tell why. It offers a hefty serving of radiance and makes your skin plump and hydrated.


With light to medium coverage, our very own Leigh Campbell describes it as "a lightbulb in a bottle." Is there a better foundation review than that? I think not.

Maybelline Cheek Heat Blush in Rose Flush, currently $9.49.

Maybelline Cheek Heat Cream Blush. Credit: Chemist Warehouse/Canva.


I'm a sucker for a good cream blush — and this sheer gel-cream formula from Maybelline is excellent. It comes in six different shades and gives a lovely natural-looking dewy finish. I also love to use it as a multi-tasker and dab it on my eyes and lips for an easy monochromatic look. Done!

Covergirl Lashblast Mascara in Very Black, currently $10.97.

Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara. Credit: Chemist Warehouse/Canva.


When you think about mascaras, chances are CoverGirl is the first brand to come to mind. These guys just *know* how to make a stellar formula, with many of their mascaras kicking around our makeup routines over the years. 

Now, I'm not loyal to any particular mascara and tend to get around, but I have to say — I love this particular formula because it volumises and boosts my lashes without flaking, clumping or any of that BS. What's more, it's one of Leigh Campbell's favourite savey mascaras. So you know it's good!

Revlon Colorstay Micro Hyper Precision Gel Eyeliner in Beige, currently $12.

Revlon Colorstay Precision Gel Eyeliner in Beige. Credit: Chemist Warehouse/Canva.


This is one of the best nude eyeliners to make you look more awake. I glide it on my upper and lower waterline and it instantly opens my eyes and makes me look fresh and well-rested (even though I totally stayed up to 1am doomscrolling social media). This formula is creamy and long-lasting, and I love the precise tip.

So, there you have it! Four banger products for a total of... $40.85. 

Alright, ALRIGHT — I went over by 85 cents. But come on, let me have it!

Want to hear more from Erin Docherty? You can follow her on Instagram.

At Mamamia, we independently curate and write about products we rave about in our group chats and think you should know about too. If you purchase a product we have recommended, we may earn a small commission.  

What would be your picks for under $40? Go on, share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Erin Docherty/Canva.

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