I hope y’all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I celebrated the holiday with one of my best friends. And our holiday went from not-so-glam to super glam. We had take-out Crisp salads for dinner and then we went to Dallas Opera’s The Ring of Polykrates + Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D major. It was the perfect production for Valentine’s Day. I had never heard of this opera before, but it was absolutely delightful. And adorable.
As we were getting ready for the opera and getting the lettuce out of our teeth (glamorous, I know), I started thinking about what I would post today. And then I took a look at my counter and realized I use the same products every time I need to get glam. It’s seriously almost mechanical. I go to so many events that it now takes me less than 20 minutes to go from fresh-faced to fancy AF.
So, I thought it about time I share all of the products in that routine with y’all… as well as the best dupes to help you get glam on a budget. All of my budget-friendly picks are under $15 and almost all of my non-budget-friendly picks are still under $50.
What I’m Wearing:
Dress: Ann Taylor (on major sale!!) / Shoes: Sam Edelman / Bag: Furla
Earrings: Sugarfix, c/o / Rings: Baublebar, similar / Nail Polish: Essie
Below you’ll find all of my get-glam faves, as well as the budget-friendly dupes. Please keep in mind that I am not a beauty blogger (in case there was any question of that). Not to discount the rest of this post, but I honestly don’t know much about makeup. I don’t know if what I do to get fancy-faced is technically right, but I do know it works for me and a few of my friends. So basically take everything I say below with a grain of salt.
Also, keep in mind that I am extremely fair-skinned and I prefer a more natural look with my makeup. Kind of like a my-face-but-better approach. I like for my freckles to show through my foundation. My skin is really dry and super acne-prone, so I’m constantly looking to add moisture so I don’t break out. As a result, not all of the products below might work for you. You know yourself and your skin better than anybody else, so always keep that in mind when buying new skincare and makeup products.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve clearly marked anything I’ve received for free from a brand with “c/o” next to the price. However, that does not mean that these products are weighted differently than the ones I purchased. I donate crates of product each year to charity, full of products that I received but didn’t work for me. I hold my products to a really high standard… so if you see “c/o” next to something below, that means I really love it!
And, with that, here are my best tips and tricks to help you get glam on a budget!
My Best Tips and Tricks to Help You Get Glam on a Budget
Skin – My Routine
Every time I have to gussy up for an event, I like to start with a clean slate. That means using Bioderma Cleansing Water ($14.90) to remove my makeup before washing my face at least two or three times. I always use Neutrogena cleanser ($8.04) first, then La Roche-Posay foaming cleanser ($14.99, c/o), followed by La Roche-Posay gentle cleanser ($14.99, c/o), my favorite cream cleanser.
All of that is followed by my latest favorite moisturizer: Caudalie Vinosource cream ($39 – my friend recommended it while we were in London and I’ve been obsessed ever since!). I then finish off my prep by topping all of that with Exuviance sunscreen in SPF 50 ($26.97).
Skin – On a Budget
As a more budget-friendly approach (this is how to get glam on a budget, after all!), I would start with my favorite makeup removing wipes ($8.97) and the same Neutrogena cleanser ($8.04). As a cream cleanser, I highly recommend the Cetaphil cleanser ($9.49) – I used it all throughout high school and college: it’s great for all skin types!
Finally, even though it’s a bit more expensive, I highly recommend the Aveeno moisturizer in SPF 30 ($13.59). It’s both uber-hydrating and gives you great sun protection. Aka it’s a moisturizer + sunscreen all in one. Worth the extra dollars, in my opinion! Oh and PS I have turned so many of my friends onto this moisturizer. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I’m pretty sure I’ve used it somewhat consistently since I was 16. Because it rocks.
Prep – My Routine
There are a few items by which I swear when it comes to prepping my face for a glam night out. The first is the IT Cosmetics primer ($48, c/o) – it acts as an immediate boost of collagen to your face, smoothing out fine lines and ensuring your makeup stays on with a fresh, dewy look for hours on end. If you have dry skin, I cannot recommend this serum enough! If, however, you have oily skin, try the Dermalogica primer ($47, c/o) – it blurs the appearance of fine lines and pores. Even though I have crazy-dry skin, I like to use this primer in the summer on super-hot (read: sweaty) days when I don’t want my makeup to run.
Next, I add the Kate Somerville eye balm ($38, c/o) as well as my latest discovery: the Dr. Brandt eye gel ($42). The eye balm is really soothing. It adds a bit of hydration to the under-eye area as it reduces puffiness and makes you look more awake. The eye gel takes it one step further by tightening and smoothing the skin under your eyes. It essentially makes all bags and puffiness disappear. I recommend waiting a few minutes in between applying the eye balm and the eye gel so the balm has time to soak into your skin.
Finally, I like to finish my face with a spritz of the Caudalie grape water ($18). The cool mist instantly wakes me (and my skin) up and gives me a dewy, refreshed look all night long.
Prep – On a Budget
So those are my faves currently… But there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg just to prep your face. To help you get glam on a budget, I recommend starting with this e.l.f. primer ($5.79) and following it with the Neutrogena eye gel-cream ($14.88). I haven’t used either product but a few of my friends swear by that eye gel-cream, so it’s worth the price tag!
Finally, finish up by lightly spraying your face with this mist ($7.50) – I recommend the rosewater mist!
Eyes – My Routine
My everyday mascara is the new Yves Saint Laurent mascara ($29). The packaging is so sleek… and – weirdly – it smells absolutely delicious. Partnered with the Shiseido eyelash curler ($20 – I’ve had versions of this curler since high school!), my favorite black Stila eyeliner ($22) for a sleek cat eye, and either the Naked ($54, c/o) or the Naked2 palette ($54), it creates a truly dramatic look.
Eyes – On a Budget
To get the same look for a whole lot less, I recommend using Maybelline waterproof mascara (under $5). I actually used this mascara throughout high school and most of college. And then rediscovered it a few years ago and fell in love with it all over again. The angles of the brush really help you get into the corners of your eyes, while the widest part really kills it on your longer lashes.
I personally really like Maybelline’s eyelash curler ($4.99) accompanied by L’Oreal Paris eyeliner ($7.12) to nail that cat eye. In terms of colors, you can get almost all of the same shades from the Naked palettes with this N.Y.C. palette ($11.08), the COVERGIRL palette in “goldens” ($12.99), and the COVERGIRL palette in “nudes” ($8.64).
Face – My Routine
I always do my face last when getting ready. That way, I can easily cover up any mistakes I make with the eyes. You know, like when I sneeze right after doing my mascara and get mascara all over my face. What, that’s never happened to you?
About three years ago, IT Cosmetics sent me their CC cream in “fair” ($38, c/o). And I’ve been replenishing it ever since. This foundation gives me the perfect amount of coverage. It hides any discolorations while still letting my freckles show through. Added bonus: it doesn’t make me look like a ghost, which is sometimes a concern when shopping for porcelain-toned foundations. If I decide I want a bit more coverage, I’ll use Clinique’s foundation ($26, c/o)
I recently added the IT Cosmetics treatment concealer in “fair” ($28) to my lineup. As I mentioned earlier, I have acne-prone skin. This concealer not only hides but also treats my breakouts. Combined with the IT Cosmetics under-eye concealer in “light”($29), these products give me a natural finish while still hiding all of my breakouts and under-eye circles. If, by some horrific occurrence, these products don’t cover everything I want to cover, I then do spot-focused and all-over powder with the Bare Minerals powder ($29). I’ve used the Bare Minerals powder just about every day since middle school. Not even kidding. It’s great for all-over coverage or for mattifying an existing look.
I then use the Naked Flushed palette in “naked” ($34) to take care of my contouring needs. I fill in my eyebrows using the Anastasia brow pencil in “blonde” ($23), and then top it all off with IT Cosmetics translucent powder ($24, c/o) to set the whole look. In all honesty, I’m not a big lips person… so typically I’m wearing (a) Vaseline, (b) lip balm, or (c) one of my 5 lipsticks. Lately, I’ve been loving the Urban Decay “naked” lipstick ($17, c/o) – it has a really pretty finish and is super hydrating!
Face – On a Budget
Now, to get glam on a budget, I recommend starting with either the Maybelline Fit Me foundation ($5.60) or the Maybelline Mousse foundation ($6.89). I haven’t used either of these products, but I’ve heard great things about both! In terms of concealers, I’ve heard great things about the Almay concealer ($6.37) and the NYX concealer ($3.49). From my understanding, both of these concealers are great for covering both blemishes and under-eye circles. Next, I recommend topping off with L’Oréal Paris’s powder ($10.99) to polish the look.
For cheeks, I’ve heard great things about e.l.f. ($4.99), NYX ($9.99), and Revlon ($7.58). If you’re looking for an all-in-one bronzer-blush-highlighter trio, the Revlon palette is your best bet. Plus it also has eye and lip colors included… so basically it’s like three birds with one stone! Movin’ on up to the eyebrows, this pencil ($7.97) is – from what I hear – your best bet for helping you get glam on a budget. And then set it all with the NYX powder ($6.99) before adding a bit of lip color with either the L’Oréal Paris lipstick ($5.79) or the e.l.f. lipstick ($1.49). And at those prices, you can buy both!