I Created this Entire Look with One Makeup Brand, and It Cost Less Than $50

That's right: ELEVEN products for under $50.

I was introduced to the drugstore brand, Essence, forever ago and, to be completely honest, I didn't actually try any of their products until the last couple of weeks. You see, I've been hitting beauty forums pretty hard lately (for work and for my own pleasure), and I kept noticing the brand getting rave reviews. In fact, I've seen people claim Essence makes their HG mascara, and others who swear by the brand's primers, liners and lipsticks.

With the crazy-low price points across the Essence spread and the consistent praise from beauty lovers, I was intrigued. I've since been trying the products here and there, and have found some items that I'd recommend and repurchase again, as well as others I would not.

Today I'm creating an entire look with only Essence products. I'll share my thoughts on each as we go along. of course.

A foundation under $5 sounds too good to be true, but this one actually does work in a pinch. I would recommend Pure Nude for oily skin, or on top of a very hydrating base. The formulation is thin and dries matte, so it can accent dry or flaky skin. The coverage is very light and requires a lot of blending. Overall, I prefer my thick and hydrating BB creams over this foundation.

Say No To Redness/Dark Circles/Imperfections ($2.99 each)

These color-correction crayons are $2.99 each and do a decent job. I found them more chalky than hydrating. The dark circles concealer was my favorite of the bunch.

How to Make Brows Wow ($9.99)

This is one of my favorite products by Essence. I love that it comes with an eyeliner brush and tweezers, and that it includes three shades of brown (I mix all three to get the right shading). It also has a highlighter.

Contour Powder ($3.99)

I used the highlighter to strobe and the contour under my cheek bones. It blends decently and I like how fine the highlighter is. I'm not a huge fan of noticeable glitter in my highlighter and prefer more of a sheen, so this is nice.

Blush Up ($3.99)

The blush is another keeper. I'm a fan of the two-in-one, and found that the blush was easy to apply and build up. You can see the soft, light, natural flush on my cheekbones in the picture above.

All About Bronze Eyeshadow ($4.99)

The color payoff isn't great with these, and there's definitely fallout. However, it's pretty easy to build up color, and I found the shadows easy to blend as well. To my surprise, they don't crease, even when I'm not wearing primer. I think that's partly because they're a drier formulation. I recommend these kits to people experimenting with makeup, or if you need a shadow kit in a pinch.

Smokey 2 in One Kohl Liner ($3.49)

The rumors are true! I love this liner. It's creamy, blends like a dream and is richly pigmented. I applied a fine line across my upper lash line and blended out with the darkest bronze shadow in the kit above. Will purchase again.

Lash Princess ($4.99)

Princess Lashes is a good mascara. No clumping, no crumbling or flaking, and it's easy to apply. It also left my lashes soft throughout the day. I find I get more volume and length with my HG Cover Girl Clump Crusher, which is only a couple dollars more, but this is a really great mascara, too.

Liquid Lipstick ($3.49)

I'm wearing 02 Beauty Secret, a pink-leaning, mauve-ish nude. I absolutely love the color; it's one I've been trying to find for months and numerous brands have let me down. The coverage is fantastic, it's easy to apply, and it actually lasts for hours. I think this is my favorite Essence product out of everything I've tried.

So that's the finished look, and it only cost $50. When you consider the fact that a foundation alone can cost that much (or often half that much), it makes for a pretty noticeable price difference at the end of the day.

Before I go, I'll leave you with some additional product shots:

I'm also a big fan of the Sheer & Shine Lipstick. They're buttery and apply easily. One con is that some of the colors streak, but multiple coats fix that. Once it's on, the color does last. It even stayed put through lunch.

  • Have you tried Essence before? Any favorites from the brand?
  • Do you ever shy away from products because they're inexpensive and you assume poor quality?
  • What's the best low-budget beauty find you swear by?