In middle school, my makeup stash would have made my current beauty-editor self cringe. I wasn’t allowed to touch my mother’s collection (though I did sneak her eyeliner and foundation a million and a half times, which was met with a screeching “Lindsey Denise!” heard round the house), so I opted for whatever I could buy on a 12-year-old’s budget. My purchases were mostly were sold on the end caps of CVS’s beauty section, only cost a handful of dollars, and left me enough to buy ice cream from the lunch room the next day (you know, priorities), but the quality often matched the price tag.
I mean, there weren’t many middle schoolers walking around with Diorshow on their lashes, but whenever I look at old yearbook photos (and because I’m not a masochist, that’s rare), I do it with one eye open. The glitter, the mismatched foundation… It’s all just too much.
Recently, I discovered a site called Miss A that sells products for a mere $1 each. I immediately flashed back to my tween days, imagining each product would have low-grade pigment and last for a total of three minutes after application, but the site has been met with rave reviews from bloggers, so I figured I’d at least give the products a shot. I even went so far as to do an entire face of $1 products from Miss A and wear them for a full day. To my pleasant (and shocked) surprise, some of the products were quite good.
Take a look at my final look below, which costs a total of—wait for it—$8!
As you can tell from the picture above, the foundation shade I chose was a bit too peach for my coloration (I called the products in online and didn’t have a chance to shade match), but the overall quality of the product was astounding. Upon first dispensing it onto the back of my hand, I noticed that the consistency was quite thick, but once I began blending it in with my Beautyblender, it behaved like a high-quality BB cream—light yet full-coverage. As the hours went on, my skin was completely glowing—not in a greasy way, but a luminous, healthy-glow sort of way.
The cashier at West Elm even complimented me on my skin. I thought for sure it would have moved and worn away as the day went on, but it lasted all day and actually looked incredible.
I tried the blush duo on the left (dubbed #1 by the brand) and focused mainly on the left coral shade, though I did blend both shades to add a bit of variation. Because the powder isn’t very pigmented, I had to layer it on, but its subtlety makes it great for someone who likes just a hint of color on their cheeks.
I was also pretty surprised by this concealer. It was creamy, blended well into my skin, and provided the amount of coverage I usually require. However, I noticed shortly after application that it was creasing in the corner of my eyes. I blended it in some more with my finger and found this to help.
I’m drawn to eyebrow pencils with a tiny point and waxy consistency so that I can draw small eyebrow hairs for a more natural look, so I had pause about using a pencil that was thicker than my usual tool. But because this one is shaped at an angle, the point was perfect for filling in my sparse brows. My shade, Ash Blonde, was perfect for my coloring, too. The only problem was that the longer I used it, the more rounded the tip became, so I wasn’t consistently able to create such precise strokes.
As a highlighter fanatic, I was most excited to try this product. Instead of drawing it on straight out the gate, I decided to rub it on my finger tips first, then blend it into my skin in circular motions. The level of shimmer wasn’t at all what I expected from a $1 highlighter—instead of a glittery residue like I’d anticipated, it gave off a super-subtle glow that lasted me all day.
For my lids, I chose #2 (the top palette) because it has my usual browns, rusts, and golds. The colors are intensely pigmented, so you only need a bit on each finger before blending (I’m a big proponent of applying shadow with my fingers rather than a brush). Generally, I like to mix matte and shimmery shades on my lids so there isn’t too much glitter happening, so this palette was a bit too glitzy for my liking. However, the color was long-lasting and didn’t crease in the slightest.
This pencil has a nice creamy consistency, but the color payoff was very light. I needed to retrace the line a few times, and even still, the level of color wasn’t as dramatic as I usually like it.
I like a thinner silicone brush (like my beloved Mary Kay Lash Love) to grab onto every lash and give me mega lift and volume. This brush was much thicker than I’m used to, and the formula was very thin and… gooey. I put on a bunch of layers, but it still didn’t lift my lashes or provide volume like its moniker claims.
Final thoughts: I was shocked at how good the foundation and highlighter were—so much that I’d consider using them again. The blush, shadow, brow pencil, and concealer were good, just perhaps not worth a revisit. The eyeliner and mascara are definite nos. All things considered, I still can’t believe I did a full face of makeup for $8 and that it looked as good as it did. Also, Miss A has a ton of other products that I’d still be willing to give a shot and that may perform better than my least favorites in this experiment, so if you’re on a budget, I highly recommend giving the site a glance.
Up next, check out the $1 beauty tools you didn’t know you needed.