'I test beauty products for a living. Here are 12 of the best makeup products under $20.'

In my job as a beauty writer/professional cardboard box crusher, I try a lotta makeup. Not only does this mean I'm across all the good expensive stuff that's actually worth spending on, but all the best affordable products too.

Because, unlike what you might think, spending a lot of money on makeup doesn't always mean you're going to get the best stuff. Confusing, I know.

Watch: You know what you look like you'd like to do? Watch me put lube on my face! Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

I'm not trying to say all the spendy brands are trying to fool you – but it can be a tricky dance, the ol' beauty game.

And because I love you and don't want you to waste money on crappy stuff, I've decided to pull together a list of my favourite makeup products under $20.


Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel, $19.

Image: Sephora


Tossing up on whether to splurge on a new product? But don't want to spend big in case it's... s**t? Mini products are a great way to test the waters before deciding if you want to go all in. 

I have this wee version of Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel (it has seriously lasted me forever) and I love the formula – which isn't particularly surprising as their products have a cult following for good reason. 

Most importantly, it keeps my brows in place for the whole day. No crunchy, gross feeling. No clag-glue-look.

Lanolips Tinted Lip Balm SPF30, $14.95.

Image: Adore Beauty.

My lips are perpetually dry, so I'm not big on lipsticks because I'm ALWAYS. APPLYING. LIP BALM. But that's why I really like this pick from Lanolips – it keeps my lips hydrated and nourished while giving them a gorgeous natural tint to make me look alive.

Sephora Collection Long Lasting Eyeliner High Precision Brush, $18.

Image: Sephora


I love a good liquid eyeliner and have tried many different formulas over the years. This one from Sephora was my go-to for ages – the pigment is great and I love how precise and sharp the application is. 

It's not waterproof, but it lasts pretty well throughout the day (I have dry eyes, though – might be different if you're oily!). The best part? It's $18. We love to see it.

The Ordinary Coverage Concealer, $11.40.

Image: Adore Beauty

Right when we were in the fiery pits of lockdown hell, everyone's favourite brand – The Ordinary – launched a concealer. And YES you should try it. It's high coverage and perfect for covering blemishes and dark spots, with a matte finish. If you're dry like me, just make sure you prep your skin with a lick of hydration first so you don't get all flaky.

Maybelline Lifter Gloss Plumping Lip Gloss With Hyaluronic Acid, $18.95.

Image: Adore Beauty


Word on the street (office) is that the Maybelline Lifter Gloss is a dead ringer for the cult favourite Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb. If you're addicted to these lip glosses (they're around $34), this is very good news, indeed. 

While I haven't yet tested the suspected dupe for myself (for shame, I know), I've heard some VERY good things from my colleagues – so I'm really excited to give it a whirl.

Eleanor Katelaris, who is the social media producer at Mamamia, told me: "I go through this stuff so quickly! It's perfect on bare lips and for everyday use, as it's hydrating (hello hyaluronic acid) but I also wear it when going out – putting it over my lipstick for a glossy look." 

SOLD. I'll take ten.

Designer Brands Pigment Pout Longwear Lip Liner, $9.99.

Image: Adore Beauty


This affordable lip liner has a creamy, buttery texture, and glides onto the lips with absolute ease. I like to wear it alone, with gloss over the top (lookin' at you, Maybelline Lifter Gloss!) – but you can obviously layer lipstick over the top to boost the pigment. 

It also comes with a built in sharpener, which is just a really nice time.

Makeup Forever Mist & Fix, $19.

Image: Adore Beauty

There's a tonne of different setting sprays out there, offering all sorts of benefits for all sorts of skin types. But if you're looking for an all-rounder, Make Up For Ever's Mist & Fix is the easiest way to refresh your skin, boost hydration and set your makeup. Plus, it's cheap as chips.

Mecca Max Single Shadow, $8. 

Image: Mecca


These single shadows from Mecca are the absolute bomb. Have you tried them? There's so many fun shades – and each can be worn alone for a cute pop of colour or a subtle shimmer.

Rimmel Kind & Free Tint, $19.95.

Image: Adore Beauty

If you're looking for the perfect everyday coverage, but don't want to get out of control on the price front – this pick from Rimmel is an awesome option. It's a skincare/makeup kinda hybrid, offering long-lasting hydration (good news for dry or dehydrated skin) while evening out skin tone and blurring imperfections for a lightweight, dewy finish.


Morphe Lipgloss in Frose, $15.

Image: Mecca

Oh, Morphe. Morphe, Morphe, Morphe. You can seriously do no wrong.

This lip gloss is one of my absolute staples – I always have one kicking around. I love to slather it over lip liner or on the rare occasion I wear lipstick so my lips look extra juicy and lovely. It's high-shine, non-sticky (HATE sticky lip things), and this shade gives off a lovely shimmer.

Mecca Max Off Duty Blush Stick, $18.

Image: Mecca


Stick products are the BEST, you guys. Get around them! So handy. Easy to use. Great for lazy gals like me and you.

These formulas from Mecca Max are super creamy, buildable and will make you look more alive. I'm notoriously lazy with my makeup (I like sleeping too much), so I love how this blush stick can easily make you look like you've put in a bit of effort. I like to use it across my eyes and lips for a cute, monochromatic look. (Who do I think I am? A makeup artist?? Ugh.)

Morphe 9T Neutral Territory Artistry Palette, $18.

Image: Mecca

While we all love a bougie beauty buy, you don't really need to spend $200 on an eyeshadow palette, because there are so many great affordable options out there. Case in point: Morphe. The brand has a great range of affordable eyeshadow palette (this one is $18!), proving you really don't need to spend big for quality.

With a mix of neutral hues that can be mixed and blended, something like this is the perfect everyday option.

Have you tried any of the above products before? Share your top affordable products with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Supplied/Mamamia

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