Your Ultimate Guide to the Best New Drugstore Makeup of 2018: Cruelty-Free Edition

July 1, 2018

One of the hardest parts of living on my own has been learning how to budget, especially as a makeup-obsessed college student. 2018 has seen plenty of tempting launches, from high-end brands to - luckily for me - some more affordable options. And if you’ve been keeping up with the beauty world, you know that plenty of these drugstore names have been stepping up their game not only with their makeup quality, but also with expanded shade ranges and more inclusive products.

 

Needless to say, it’s been a good year for makeup so far. But when there are so many new products to choose from, how do you know what to get? Whether you’re a beauty beginner or a guru on a budget, we have you covered with the highest-rated affordable products of the year as we reach the halfway point.

 

P.S. We’re defining “affordable” as $20 or less (although most products mentioned hover around $10), and “best” includes products that consumers rated at least 4/5 stars. Also, every product mentioned is cruelty-free, according to Cruelty-Free Kitty’s comprehensive guide!

 

Photo: Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash 

 

Primer

Physicians Formula Spotlight Illuminating Primer

Price: $14.95

Target.com Rating: 4.5/5

 

Like any primer, the Spotlight formula aims to even your skin tone and create a smooth, flawless surface. It may be perfect for you if you love a dewy look: this primer contains microscopic sparkles! It’s a little pricier than most drugstore primers, but its frosted-glass packaging makes it look and feel super luxurious, and it’s been getting high reviews consistently across the internet. Some have even called it a dupe for the famous Becca Cosmetics Backlight primer line, which runs for a steep $38 a bottle.

 

Foundation

ColourPop Cosmetics No Filter Matte Foundation

Price: $12

Influenster.com Rating: 4.5/5

 

It’s not exactly a drugstore find, but this highly-anticipated product is super affordable and well-received; you may have seen the enormous PR packages beauty gurus across the internet have been raving about. At just $12, ColourPop’s first foundation ever is full-coverage, oil-free, and lightweight, and it boasts an impressive 42 shades, so everyone can find something for their exact undertone and skin color.

 

Concealer

Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Full Coverage Conceal & Contour

Price: $7.00

Influenster.com Rating: 4.6/5

 

With an impressive range of 25 shades and a satisfyingly matte, full-coverage finish, this new product from UK brand Makeup Revolution has been touted across beauty communities as a dupe for the famous Shape Tape concealer from Tarte Cosmetics. Lightweight and blendable, it will illuminate your undereyes, combat dark circles or uneven skin pigmentation, or work as a liquid contour without settling into fine lines and pores. It’s also certified vegan!

 

Highlight

NYX Holographic Halo Shimmer Sticks

Price: $9.00

Influenster.com Rating: 4.4/5

 

NYX Professional Makeup’s enormous 2018 launch includes the out-of-this-world, unicorn-inspired Holographic Halo line, complete with eyeshadows, cream liners, finishing powders, eyeshadows, lippies, and these iridescent highlighter sticks. They come in three creamy, pastel, duochrome pigments perfect for #FestivalSzn: Arctic Crush, a blue to lavender; Primal, a lavender to blue; and Reflector, a pink to peachy-gold.

 

NYX Away We Glow Liquid Booster

Price: $17.00

Nyxcosmetics.com Rating: 4.8/5

 

Got a little more to spend on the glow? The four shade options let you choose which of NYX’s spring launches you want to play with. Channel their unicorn obsession with the dimensional blue Zoned Out and Snatched, a rose base with blue and gold glow, or keep it classic with the illuminating, champagne-colored Glazed Donuts and the deep bronze hue of Untamed.

 

Bonus Product: Wet n Wild Beauty MegaGlo Highlighting Palette

Price: $14.99 (currently on sale for $10)

Influenster.com Rating: 4.4/5

 

This cult fave isn’t entirely new, but it is newly discounted - you can save five dollars on these four vegan shades on Wet n’ Wild’s website!

 

Setting & Finishing Powders

ColourPop No Filter Loose Setting Powder

Price: $9.00

Colourpop.com Rating: 4.6/5

 

ColourPop promises to give you “selfie-ready skin” with the No Filter translucent powder. Set your bake and sharpen your contour with confidence and get ready for Snapchat, because this product has received almost as much acclaim as the famous No Filter concealer which preceded it and the foundation listed above.

 

NYX Holographic Halo Finishing Powders

Price: $12.00

Influenster.com Rating: 4.7/5

 

Want a pop of color in your powder? NYX’s Holographic Halo line can give you a rose gold glow (shade Magical) and blue duochrome shimmer (shade Mermazing). While these probably won’t become part of your everyday makeup routine, they’ll be your go-to for special events and concerts, or even if you’re just in the mood for a ethereal look.

 

Eyeshadows

NYX “Love You So Mochi” Collection

Price: $19.99 each

Influenster.com Rating: 4.1/5

 

NYX released two beautiful duochromatic palettes in this collection: Electric Pastels and Sleek And Chic. Each palette contains “10 plush, pigment-packed shadows with a lightweight, shimmer finish,” but with different color combinations. Electric Pastels delivers what you’d think something with that name would -- bright, fun colors that scream “summer” -- while Sleek And Chic provides neutral and pink mattes and shimmers.

 

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Quad

Price: $2.99

Ulta.com Rating: 4.3/5

 

Want to keep it simple? Wet n Wild understands. They now offer three mini-palettes (“Quads”) with four shades each, labelled for where you should apply them if you need a little guidance. Stop Ruffling My Feathers provides deep neutrals, Flock Party features light brights and pinks, and Hasta La Costa Baby is a vibrant palette with blue and purple shimmers.

 

Milani “Most Loved Mattes” Eyeshadow Palette

Price: $20.00

Influenster.com Rating: 4.6/5

 

It’s the most expensive item on this entire list, but with good reason: people are calling this super-pigmented, 12-shade palette a “must have” for a complete beauty collection. From light base shades to medium transitions to deep hues, find all your matte needs in this celebrated palette from an increasingly popular drugstore brand and Target mainstay.

 

Eyeliner

Wet n Wild MegaLiner Liquid Eyeliner

Price: $2.99

Influenster.com Rating: 4.5/5

 

Don’t be caught off guard by the incredibly low price or by the strange shape of the packaging, because this eyeliner does not mess around. It’s pigmented, quick-drying, comes in several colors from black to electric blue, and stays on all day.

 

NYX Strictly Vinyl Liquid Eyeliner

Price: $6.99

Influenster.com Rating: 4.5/5

 

Part of NYX’s new grunge line that dropped this spring alongside Holographic Halo, the Strictly Vinyl liquid liner comes in eight vibrant, ultra-pigmented colors that vow to stay put all day long.

 

Mascara

Essence #lashes of the day super volume mascara

Price: $4.99
Influenster.com Rating: 4.4/5

 

Essence is an underestimated brand from the UK that’s been turning out reliable products for years now. Volumizing and lengthening, the ultra-black #lashes of the day is one of their two 2018 mascaras. Don’t sleep on their other products either, though; for example, if false lashes are your thing, Essence just dropped a whole new line for $3.99 a pair.

 

Lips

e.l.f. Liquid Matte Lipsticks

Price: $5.00 each

Influenster.com Rating: 4.3/5

 

A slim applicator, a low price, a matte finish, and vitamin E infusion to keep your lips moisturized -- what more could you need? e.l.f. always delivers, and this liquid lip line is no exception.

 

Have you tried any of these products? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

​Emily Rose is an 18-year-old Journalism major at Mercer University, where she also plans to minor in Women's & Gender Studies and possibly Graphic Design. Aside from her work with Step Up, she is the Lead Writer of the News section of the Mercer Cluster, a media intern with Girls Rock Athens and the Campus Relations Chair of her sorority. She spends most of her time writing, editing, organizing, and changing her mind. You can read her other work on her website.

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