Assembling a makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot


By Alyssa Prado

Assemble a makeup kit in the United States

I haven't bought makeup in Brazil since I started traveling, with a few exceptions (hello who said, Berenice?).

Not that Brazilian brands aren't great, but the price of pharmacy products in the United States is unbeatable. There's eyeshadow for $0.99, highlighter for $1 and so on, and the quality leaves nothing to be desired.

Looking through my drawer, I think at least 80% of the items were purchased at Target, Walmart, and Walgreens. I can do a complete makeup look, from skin preparation to a smoky eye and false eyelashes, without investing much.

And that's what I wanted to share with you in this post today! Several options for putting together a makeup kit in the United States on a budget!

Here are the best products in each category according to what I have already tested, or heard good things about, both from readers and other bloggers and y.

To make it easier, I linked all the products directly to the Amazon website. If you don't have time in your itinerary to shop, you can buy online and have it delivered directly to your hotel. The store accepts Brazilian credit cards and has almost all the products mentioned here available. It's also the best option if you're going to ask a friend to bring it, as this way you can choose the products and send them directly to where she's staying.

Remembering that I I only use products that have not been tested on animals. You won't see Maybelline, Loreal, Revlon and other similar brands here! There are alternatives better, cheaper and free from suffering : )

Assembling a makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot


See the best cheap primers to put together your makeup kit in the United States!

For US$16, the NYX Angel Veil It's not that cheap, but it's a dupe of Mineral Veil Primer from Hourglass, which costs US$54. It is silicone-based and is usually sold out in pharmacies and Target, until today I haven't been able to buy it because I never found it!

Another option is the Milani Prime Shield Mattifying + Pore-Minimizing, released this year. Its main ingredient is also silicone, and it promises to disguise the appearance of pores and fine lines, leaving the skin soft and ready for foundation application.

For those who want to save as much as possible, or still don't know if they like this type of product, I recommend buying the elf Poreless Face Primer, which has vitamin A and E.

You might also like: 7 Cheap Makeup Brands to Buy in the USA!


Discover in this post the best cheap foundation options to put together your makeup kit in the United States!

Until last year, there weren't many cheap foundation options for putting together a makeup kit in the United States, but Photo Focus by wet n wild this scenario changed. A craze on YouTube, it promises high coverage and an illuminated finish, all for US$6. I have the color Buff Bisque and, although it is a little too pink for my skin tone, the finish is beautiful!

If you want a product that covers all types of stains and “imperfections”, I suggest Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation, whose purpose is to be a base and concealer. For a brighter finish, the LA Girl Pro Coverage HD Illuminating is the most recommended, with a light, high-coverage formula and 16 different colors.


Discover cheap concealer options in this post to put together your makeup kit in the United States!

Pharmacies are full of cheap concealer options! From the same baseline, the Photo Focus Concealer It's a luminous concealer that doesn't reflect flash, and can be found for less than $5.

Another sensation on YouTube, The LA Girl Pro Conceal HD has already been considered holy grail by multiple gurus, and offers high coverage for less than $5. I bought three different colors in LA and paid $2.50 for each!! A similar alternative is the NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand, which also offers shades for correction, such as green and purple.

One of the most anticipated new features of the year, the No Filter by Colourpop It has 15 colors, and is ideal for most skin tones. The only downside is that it needs to be purchased through the website, as it is not sold in physical stores.

Face Powder

Discover cheap face powder options to put together your makeup kit in the United States in this post!

Available in loose and compact versions, the elf HD Powder It's a dupe of Make Up For Ever's Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder. I have both versions, and for me the only problem is that they reflect in flash photos, as they are silica-based. O NYX HD Studio Finishing Powder It is very similar, but its main ingredient is Mica.

Already Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder I had never heard of it until recently, when suddenly everyone on YouTube started talking about it. From what I understand, it has been around for many years and is still the choice of many grandmas out there! It can be found at Target, Walmart or online at Amazon.

You might also like: Best makeup dupes to buy in the US


Discover in this post cheap contouring powder alternatives to put together your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

It's no longer possible to talk about putting together a makeup kit in the United States without talking about contouring, right?

elf has several cheap palettes, including two for contouring: one in cream e one in powder. Both have lighter and darker versions, to suit the most diverse skin tones, and come with two contour colors and two highlighter colors. wet n wild also has a similar product, the Megaglo Contouring Palette, which comes with two shades instead of four.

For those looking to invest a little more, one of the contouring favorites found at the drugstore is actually a bronzer! And the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer, with a finish satin and the smell of pina colada. Its biggest flaw is that it only has a clear and “less clear” version.


Discover in this post cheap blush alternatives to put together your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

I confess that I don't care much about blush, but I bought one ColorIcon Blush by wet n wild and I loved it! It is pigmented but not exaggerated and lasts a long time on the face, in addition to having a satiny appearance and not matte. I paid around $3 at Target.

Another choice that I have already mentioned in other posts is the Milani Baked Blush. The most famous color is Luminoso, peach with golden sparkles reminiscent of NARS Orgasm, but the others are also very beautiful. I recommend buying at Walmart, as it is usually cheaper than Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.

An even cheaper option that can be found even in Brazil are the Jordana's blushes. Well pigmented and long lasting, they are great for those who are starting to put together a kit and want to invest in different colors.


See in this post the best highlighters available in drugstores to put together your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

There was no space in the image for the number of good, cheap and cruelty-free highlighters!

Lately the most popular on YouTube is Megaglo Highlighting Powder by wet n wild in Precious Petals. I have this one and I would describe it as a little pink, a little champagne, I don't know... All I know is that it's beautiful, very eye-catching and I still can't believe I found it for less than $5 at Rite Aid.

I also have the Glisten Up Highlighter Chubby by Flower Beauty, brand by Drew Barrymore. It's only sold at Walmart and it's not cheap, but it leaves a beautiful and very natural glow, as it's a cream.

Other options are the recently launched Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder, the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips and the elf Baked Highlighter (The trick with this one is to scrape the surface before using, as there is a kind of film on the product. It's expensive on Amazon, you can find it for around US$4 in physical stores).

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See in this post cheap eyeshadow palettes to put together your makeup kit in the USA without having to spend a lot!

And who said you need to spend $50 on a good eyeshadow palette? You can find some to put together your kit for much less! An example is the Au Naturel Palette by wet n wild, with 10 neutral shades for under $10.

For US$10, you can also buy the Mad for Matte by elf and even one of Beauty Bricks by LA Girl, inspired by Urban Decay's Naked Palettes. The shadows are very pigmented and can be used to create anything from an everyday look to a smokey eyand for ballads.

If you want to put together a makeup kit in the United States with individual eyeshadows, I recommend the Color Icon Eyeshadow Single by wet n wild. They cost less than $1 and several colors are MAC dupes.

You might also like: Where to buy makeup in the United States

Eyeliner Pencil

See the best cheap eye pencils to put together your makeup kit in the United States!

Practically every brand has its own version of eye pencil, but the hard part is finding one that doesn't smudge or doesn't cost a fortune.. Jordana solved this problem with Easyliner For Eyes, a retractable option and with 15 different colors.

A little more expensive, Milani also has a launch in this category, the Stay Put Waterproof Eyeliner. The design is very reminiscent of Urban Decay's famous 24/7 Glide on Eyeliner Pencil, and the formula is gel for greater durability.

Two options that can only be found online, the Colorpop e Makeup Geek they also offer quality alternatives with a wide range of colors.


See the best cheap eyeliners to put together your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

Do you remember the series In search of the perfect eyeliner? I never include cheap alternatives, but I should! O Jesse's Girl Liquid Eyeliner It's been on my list for a long time, but I never found it in stores. It's a favorite of YouTuber Kathleen Lights, and from the videos it appears to be a very black pen.

Again, Milani and elf also have cheap and great quality versions. O Infinite Liquid Eye Liner It's one of those old-fashioned ones, where the lid is also a very thin brush. Already the Cream Eyeliner It is for those who like gel eyeliner, and its more than two thousand reviews gave the product an overall average of 4.3.

Mascara for eyelashes (Mascara)

See the best mascaras to buy at the pharmacy and save money when putting together your makeup kit in the United States!

Essence hasn't appeared on this list yet, but when it comes to mascara, there's no other brand.. lash princess, the volume and false lashes versions are highly recommended by several American YouTubers, and I agree with the hype. With just one coat my lashes are lengthened and full of volume! A I Love Extreme Crazy Volume It is also well talked about on foreign makeup forums.

Other alternatives are the Max Fanatic from wet n wild, which I have also tested and loved, and the Lash Trifecta by Milani.


Discover cheap eyebrow products and build your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

I really like the Colourpop Precision Brow Pencil, which was inspired by one of Anastasia Beverly Hills' best-selling products. You can create a very smooth filler that lasts all day, and for me the only negative point is the lack of cooler colors.

For those who prefer to use gel versions for this part of their makeup, Milani and NYX There are options with similar prices, and the Stay Put Brow Color It has more shade options and comes with a brush.

Lipstick (Lipstick)

See the best cheap lipsticks and build your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

For me, Colourpop has the best lipstick options compared to any other cheap brand. Liquids, both mattes and satins, last all day, even when I eat or talk a lot. I never tested the Lipstick Stix, but due to their fame I also believe they are great.

Another liquid lipstick that is cheap and easy to find, as it is sold in physical stores, is NYX Lip Lingerie, with colors that are Kylie Cosmetics dupes.

If you are a fan of more traditional lipsticks, I recommend Megalast Lip Color by wet n wild. The Bare it All color was even chosen by Allure as one of the best of 2015.


Discover cheap brush brands and build your makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

It's difficult to do elaborate makeup without the right brushes. Luckily, there are also lots of cheap ones to buy in the United States, and you don't need to invest a fortune. Preferably those with synthetic bristles, which tend to have even lower prices.

I really like the elf studio line, with black cable. They are all vegan, soft and usually don't cost more than US$6, even the ones for the face. They've also launched a new line called Beautifully Precise, with prices as low as $12 and the promise of even softer bristles.

Two brands that are also cheap are wet n wild and Morphe. This first one, I think the brushes could be better, especially the eye brushes, but I think they're beautiful because they're white with white and pink gradient bristles. Morphe's are amazing quality, but they are difficult to get as there is currently only one store in California and most sales are made online.

You might also like: 7 Cheap Brush Brands to Compose Your Kit

And these are all my suggestions for products to put together a makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot!

Do you love any other drugstore items that aren't on this list? Tell me in the comments! 🙂

Don’t forget to share this post with that friend of yours who has a trip coming up!

24 comments on “Assembling a makeup kit in the United States without spending a lot”

  1. Hi Alyssa! All good?!

    It's a shame I only discovered your blog now. I traveled to Los Angeles and Las Vegas in September now, would it have helped me a lot ????

    Do you know where to find Mary Kay in the USA? And is it worth buying this brand there?

    I'm loving the Blog, I've already become a fan ❤.

    Iara Rocha

    • Hi, Iara!

      Mary Kay in the USA works like it does in Brazil, you need to find a consultant. Personally, I think there are better and cheaper brands to buy there, Mary Kay has a good price in BR and I think it's worth leaving to buy here 🙂

      Kisses and thanks for the visit!! <3

  2. Hi Alyssa, how are you?
    Your blog is really cool, I loved the tips!!
    I have a friend who lives in the USA, and I want to buy some makeup and send it to her house, and she will send it to me. However, I'm looking for makeup on the Target website, and all the ones I choose (following your tips) can't be purchased online, only in stores. Do you know of any other website that I can buy from and have it delivered to her home?
    Thank you!

  3. Hello Alyssa, how are you? I loved her blog, her tips are great. I'm going to the USA in June and I would like to know a tip on where and which brand to buy false eyelashes and glitter eyeshadow, could you help me? Kisses. : )

    • Hi Luiza!

      I love the ones from Ardell for false eyelashes, they come in a box with one pair or a box with four, which is more affordable. If you have more $$ you can invest in the Huda Beauty ones which they say are great, they are available at Sephora!

      Glitter eyeshadow has incredible more expensive options like liquid eyeshadows from Stila and some colors from Urban Decay. Personally, I prefer to buy individual glitters from NYX (they cost US$6 each) and put them on top of my eyeshadow. 🙂

      I hope it helped you!

  4. I loved all your tips!! I live in NY and decided to start putting on makeup, so nothing better than cheap products! Thank you for the initiative 😀

    • Hi Stephanie! I'm glad you liked the tips, you can find several excellent products for little money! And how wonderful it is to live in NY, huh?

      Thanks for the comment <3

  5. Girl, I've been going there for a while and I've never paid attention to these brands at these prices. I'm shocked at how I wasted money lol. Thank you so much!

    • You need to take a look, there are great makes and some even better than those sold at Sephora!!! I'm sure you'll love it <3

  6. Hi Alyssa, how are you?!

    I'm delighted with your tips! I was looking for exactly this and couldn't find it here on the internet! Easy, cheap tips, with quick explanations and photos! 😻
    Your tips will help me a lot!!!!!


    • Hello Alyssa, how are you??
      Amanda, your tips!!
      I don't know anything about makeup, but I would like to put together a practical, basic and pretty set.
      I'm going to Orlando in July. Where could I buy these toads that you indicated in one place or in which places? Also, anything else to recommend? Thanks!! Big kiss and success!

  7. I'm going to Orlando in August and I've already written down all your tips for looking for products there, I loved the tips, thank you.

  8. Hey Alyssa, I'm in New Jersey!!! I'm glad I found these tips, I'll be back full of makeup from the USA with these wonderful tips!!! kisses, thank you


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