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We have yet to meet someone who doesn’t get jazzed about finding high-quality, budget-friendly makeup. And while that once was no easy feat, these days, it’s gotten easier and easier to find a new go-to foundation or signature lip color at an affordable price. One of the best places to shop for amazing, makeup that won’t break the bank? Walmart. Believe it, the megastore offers some of the best of the best beauty finds, from drugstore classics to new indie brands—and everything in between. “Walmart offers a great range of beauty products—there really is something for everyone,” says New York City makeup artist and beauty expert Neil Scibelli.
The number of awesome options can actually be somewhat overwhelming, so we narrowed it down to Walmart’s must-try makeup staples. Try one or try them all—at these prices, you easily can.
Best Primer: Flower Beauty In Your Prime Primer
Yes, you need a primer, and yes, it should definitely be this one. From Drew Barrymore’s line (which makes some of our all-time favorite affordable makeup goods), this formula smooths skin and ups the staying power of your makeup. There are also three variants to choose from—hydrating, illuminating, and pore-minimizing—so there’s a little something for everyone.
Best Sheer Foundation: CoverGirl Fresh Skin Milk Foundation
Scibelli says this is one of his favorite new complexion products. “Although it says foundation, it’s made with hydrating coconut and aloe and goes on super sheer, more like a tinted moisturizer,” he says. You can use it as an everyday base to help even out your skin tone, or use it as a concealer and just dab onto strategic areas, he adds. Either way, it leaves what he calls, “a beautiful, skin-like finish.”
Best Full Coverage Foundation: Maybelline Dream Radiant Liquid Hydrating Foundation
On the flip side, if you’re looking for a foundation that has some more coverage to it, Scibelli recommends this guy, which he says is comparable to a luxury formula. It’s infused with both hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-boosting collagen, never a bad thing, and comes in 20 shades. It is super pigmented, so if you want to sheer it out a bit, try Scibelli’s tip and mix a few drops with a bit of moisturizer.
Best Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer
One of the all-time best-selling drugstore concealers, ever, this cult classic truly can’t be beaten. Indeed, it works beautifully under the eyes; with a daily sheer formula that counteracts darkness and shadows without ever looking cakey or mask-like. But it’s great for using on other areas of the face too, no matter whether you’re trying to camo blemishes or dark spots. Bonus points for the included sponge applicator that makes blending a breeze.
Best Blush: Revlon Insta-Blush
Super sheer and extremely blendable, this blush is pretty much foolproof. Swipe it onto the apples of your cheeks then rub it with your fingertips (no tools required) for the perfect amount of just-pinched color. Even though it goes on like a cream, it dries down like a powder, making it great for all skin types.
Best Bronzer: Rimmel Natural Bronzer
To look perfectly sun-kissed without ever stepping foot in the sun (and risking sun damage, ahem), dust on this bronzer. All four tones blend beautifully into the skin and aren’t in the least bit orange-y, so you never have to worry about looking like an Oompa-Loompa. Also nice: It’s waterproof, and claims to last up to 10 hours.
Best Highlighter: Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter
This aptly-named product does indeed go on like buttah. Credit three different types of hydrating butter—murumuru, cupuacu, and tucuma—that give its beautifully creamy texture, which dries down to a perfectly powdery finish. Light-diffusing particles make the highlighting effect perfectly shimmery and radiant, without ever veering into disco ball territory.
Best Lipstick: Maybelline SuperStay Ink Crayon Lipstick
This is a take on the brand’s long-lasting liquid lipstick, offering the same mind-blowing staying power (truly, it doesn’t budge) but in what we find to be an easier-to-apply crayon format. While the finish is matte, it’s not drying, and there are over 20 shades to choose from. Given the affordable price, we strongly suggest picking up more than one.
Best Multi-Tasker: Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment
While you won’t find this in the makeup aisle, it easily could live there. Of course, it serves all of those functions you’ve obviously used it for in the past: protecting chapped lips, alleviating irritation on the skin, hydrating dry cuticles, you get the picture. But it can—and should—be worked into your makeup routine, too. Scibelli says it’s a staple in his makeup kit; he uses it as a base to mix powder pigments with and turn them into cream formulas. You can even dab some onto cheekbones in place of a highlighter, or layer it over lipstick to add sheen.
What Our Testers Say
"While the fragrance-free balm is on the thick side, it also pairs well with lipstick provided you let it sink in all the way and wipe off any excess." — Sarah Y. Wu, Products Tester
Best Mascara: L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara
Scibelli is a big fan of drugstore mascaras in general (as are we), but this classic is one of his favorites. The formula adds volume, while the fluffy brush grips and curls the lashes upwards at the same time, he says, adding that it’s also smudge-free. He loves the carbon black shade, though there are eight colors to choose from.
Best Eyeshadow: e.l.f. Cosmetics Need it Nude Eyeshadow Palette
We guarantee you’ll reach for this palette of 10, super wearable, beautifully neutral shadows time after time after time. Ranging from creamy tans to shimmery champagnes to deep chocolate, this checks all of our neutral eye boxes. Not to mention that the versatile formula can easily be used wet as a liner, and the pigment is buildable, too.
Best Brow Pencil: NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
“This is one of my favorite drugstore finds because it’s really comparable to many luxury brow pencils. The precision point is great for zeroing in on exactly the spots you need to fill it, and then you can blend in the color with the spoolie brush on the other end,” says Scibelli. He also calls out the range of undertones, a notable point when it comes to brow products, many of which come in a limited array of shades, and the impressive staying power.
Best Body Makeup: Jergens Natural Glow Self Tanning Daily Moisturizer
Let’s not forget that makeup isn’t just for your face. Scibelli says this moisturizer-self-tanner hybrid is his go-to for adding a hint of skin-perfecting color on arms and legs before a big event. Plus, you never end up smelling like a self-tanner or having to worry about streaks.
Walmart is a veritable treasure trove of awesome makeup finds. The Covergirl Fresh Skin Milk Foundation is an excellent sheer foundation, infused with skincare ingredients for added benefits. Also in the complexion department, don’t miss the cult-classic Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Concealer, while when it comes to eyes, the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara remains a perennial favorite among pros and consumers alike. It’s also worth picking up at least one (if not more) color of the Maybelline SuperStay Ink Crayon Lipstick, an easy-to-apply lippie that can withstand pretty much anything.
What to Look For in Walmart Makeup
The hardest part about shopping at Walmart (or any drugstore-type store, for that matter) is that you can’t try on most things, says Scibelli. He suggests reading reviews and doing some research before hitting the store or online shopping.
Again, since you can’t try it on, finding the right shade can be tough. Scibelli suggests holding the bottle or tube against your inner arm or even jawline to find the best match. You can even purchase a few colors and bring them home to see how they look in your normal lighting.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. True story, she once purchased an entirely new makeup wardrobe at Walmart after forgetting her makeup bag while traveling.
Meet the Expert
Neil Scibelli is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert. He focuses largely on fashion, celebrity, and television, as well as sharing his beauty education via contributions to various makeup outlets.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any Walmart makeup products from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.