4 celebrity makeup artists tell us the budget beauty products they actually use.

If you're anything like us, you spend a lot of money on important things like rent, health insurance and Uber Eats, so you never really have enough spare change to splurge on your makeup kit.

But then you find yourself using a cotton tip to scrape out the remnants of your foundation bottle, and you start to re-assess whether you need to spend so big on makeup.

Watch: Here's how to add a dash of colour to your makeup. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

While we all love a luxe eyeshadow palette and triple-digit foundations, there is a heap of inexpensive cult-favourite products that fit the bill just nicely. And some perform just as well (or even better) than the super-spendy options. When it comes to beauty products, a steeper price doesn't always mean higher quality formulas.

Now, because we don't want to sit here on our high horses/swivel chairs and tell you what to use and what to buy, we asked a bunch of legendary makeup artists to tell us about some of their favourite budget makeup products (skin prep things included).

Partly because we're extremely nosey about what other people like, but also because we're fascinated to know which brands are making cracking products for a zilch of the price


Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we check out the best budget-friendly moisturisers. Post continues below.

Put it this way – if a makeup artist is carrying something in their kit, you know it's gotta be good.

Michael Brown, celebrity makeup artist.

Ardell Brow Pencil, $7.

"I love the precise tip for a feather application and the shades are the closest to real brow shades – not going by hair colour, which can be too different."

Ardell Brow Pencil. 


Vaseline Petroleum Jelly Original, $4.

"I love this balmy sheen for dry lips or rough skin texture. Mix into body moisturiser for an extra glossy sheen, and amazing mixed through hair when damp to create that glossy wet-look effect. It’s also great as a glass skin highlight and for [achieving] glossy eyelids."

Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly. 


Revlon So Fierce Mascara, $10.97.

"I really like this mascara from Revlon, considering it’s a drugstore product. The flexible head allows for easy application to get as close to your lashes as possible, adding some volume without the chunky lash look."

Revlon So Fierce Mascara. 


Jennifer Horsley, MECCA Senior Makeup Artist.

Mecca Single Shadows, $8.

“Retire your bulky palettes and downsize your makeup kit with these pocket-sized powerhouse eye shadows. With so many tones, textures, and finishes you can have fun with your makeup and play with trends without investing a lot.”

Juno & Co Microfibre Velvet Sponge $10.

“Save yourself product and precious time. This sponge doesn’t soak up your foundation and the microfibre material makes building a flawless face a breeze.”


Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Full-Coverage Concealer $23.

"Long-wear and full coverage, this pigment-drenched concealer will last the distance. Conceal a poor night's sleep in one swipe. A great price point to invest in a few different colours and experiment with contouring."


MECCA MAX Off Duty Beauty Sticks $18.

“The perfect way to add shape, colour and a glossy glow to the complexion. This super-creamy formula can be easily blended with fingers over any other products, without disturbing your base. Try shade ‘Sorbet’ for a summery pop of blush and slather your face in ‘Glow Stick’ to drench your skin in dewiness.”


Mia Hawkswell, celebrity makeup artist.

Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Sculpt Duo, $11.

"I have a lot of Revlon products in my makeup kit, especially lip products, highlighter and contour sticks. If you love the naturally sun-kissed 'no-makeup' skin finish, Revlon PhotoReady Insta-Sculpt Duo is amazing. This is the perfect multi-tasking product as it's a dual-ended highlighter on one end and a sculpting stick on the other. I love to use it on eyes as well!"

REVLON PhotoReady Insta-Sculpt Duo. 


Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid (PGA), $22.

"I love the Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid (PGA) for its ability to retain four times the amount of moisture than hyaluronic acid, meaning it's perfect for skin texture, tone and brightness. Apply after serum and prior to moisturiser, allowing each layer to absorb before applying the next."

The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid. 


Revlon Colorstay Lipliner in Nudes, $11.47.

If you're looking for a solid lip liner (all of us, always), but don't want to drop a fortune, Hawskwell rates this guy from Revlon. "I'm absolutely obsessed with Revlon's 'Nudes' lip liner! Hello, '90s!"

Revlon Colorstay Lip Liner in Nudes. 


Skin Republic Hyaluronic Boost Youthfoil™ Mask, $12.99.

To boost your glow pre-makeup application, Hawkswell recommends reaching for a hyaluronic-rich sheet mask like this one from Skin Republic. "Apply after exfoliating for best absorption," she shared. "I do this mask before I head out as a mini facial."

Skin Republic Hyaluronic Boost Youthfoil Mask. 


Jade Kisnorbo, celebrity makeup artist.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, $7.80.

Fact: Every gal has had one of these in her makeup bag at some point in her life. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara has been upping lash games since the '70s – it's one of those cult-faves that has stood the test of time.

"I love Maybelline Great Lash Mascara – it has and always will be my favourite mascara for bottom lashes. The mascara applicator is fine and precise, letting you pick up every single lash. It is my key product for moulding the lash into the direction I want it to go. I love it."

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.


Maybelline Superstay Ink, $11.

"I love Maybelline Superstay Ink in shade 'Laugh Louder'. The pigment is so good and the red shade is so chic! I find it universal on so many skin tones, whether on set for camera or face-to-face for an event. I also feel this shade is a real mood lifter."

Maybelline New York Superstay Matte Ink.


Maybelline Cheek Heat Blush, $17.

"I can’t go past Maybelline Cheek Heat Blush in shade 'Coral' – it has this amazing, glossy-glow finish and is the perfect colour shade. I apply this product as the last step with my fingers, just above the contour or carving of the cheekbones. I feel it instantly adds youthfulness and elevates skin health. I often press the coral shades into the lips and even the lids, and I love how it transforms a beautiful base."

Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Sheer Gel Cream Blush.


This article was originally published in 2020 and updated in November 2023.

Feature image: Instagram/@miamakeup; @jade__kmakeup.

What are some of your go-to budget beauty buys? Share with us in the comment section below.

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