As part of my no-buy year, I’m trying to really get to know and love my collection and starting a “favorite products under $X series” to help me in that process. I’ll be doing posts every month for different dollar amounts, and I’m so excited to dive into my collection in this way. This time, I’m writing about my favorite products under $30. I would love see your favorites and recommendations for under $20 beauty products in the comments! And, of course, thank you so much for being here, and it would mean so much to me if you subscribe here or on Instagram @liftbakelove for new posts.

Glossier Futuredew ($24) – This continues to be one of my favorite products, and it’s one of the only things I consistently use every day in my makeup routine. It provides the most amazing glossy, hydrating base that makes me look like I drank enough water (and if you know me, you know I have never had enough water). It works beautifully with any foundation, concealer, and powder combo I put on top of it and makes them look way better on my skin – no dry patches, no clinging, no flatness. I’ve also used it mixed in with other base products to sheer them out a little bit and make them more hydrating, and that works great too.

Melt Cosmetics Cream Blushlights ($22) – I have the shades Polished (warm pink) and Daydreamer (rich cinnamon), and I love having both a warm and cool option in this formula. It has a really beautiful luminosity to it from a slight amount of shimmer that makes this really special. These are my favorite formula for when I want a super glowy from within blush look. The formula blends so effortlessly and quickly, and I just love the super thin but hydrating texture. They also have great staying power for such an emollient cream blush.

Melt Cosmetics Cream Blushlights in Polished and Daydreamer

Viseart Petite Pro 4 ($30) – I got this during a sale at the end of 2019, and I still reach for it all the time even with all the other eyeshadows I own now. I’m so happy I decided to get it and that I have it in my collection. It’s the perfect mix of neutrals, and I’ve loved how small and compact this is for travel and how easily I can put all the shades into my Salt New York palette with my other single eyeshadows when I’m at home (which is why it’s missing from the picture above). Like all Viseart shadows, these blend seamlessly with little fallout and aren’t overly glittery, so I can put together a look for work super quickly too. I love using the mattes to blend out another look that might need it or use the shimmers as a sophisticated topper.

Urban Decay 24/7 Moondust Eyeshadow in Space Cowboy ($22) – I own a ton of single glittery/topper type eyeshadows and love them all, but I think my absolute favorite is this one. I’ve used it on top of my eyeshadow almost every single time I’ve used my eyeshadow since I bought it, and I’m so happy with the effect it has. It’s a sheer shimmery eyeshadow that adds a wet look to any shadow without really adding any color or changing the color of the look underneath. It’s also incredibly reflective and glossy, doesn’t have any fallout, and is so easy to apply with a brush or fingers (and doesn’t require any glitter glue).

Lisa Eldridge Liquid Lurex Eyeshadow in Angelica and Bianca ($27) – I absolutely love this eyeshadow. This formula is so quick and easy to use. It’s almost like a mousse and feels halfway between a cream and a liquid. I’ve tried using a brush and fingers, with and without a primer, and applying directly from the doe-foot and from my hand – nothing I tried didn’t work out amazingly. The formula doesn’t crease and looks exactly the same all day. I tested it on a 17-hour makeup day, and it honestly could have just been applied. I even did an hour and a half long gym session, and it didn’t budge. I’ve used it as one sheer layer, a thicker application, and layered on top of itself, and it looked great all three ways. I love how I have enough time to play with it and blend it out however I want before it sets down. They’re also some of the more spangly eyeshadows I’ve ever used, which may be the thing I love about them the most. Angelica is a rosy bronze that is the absolute perfect shade for me – I feel like I’ve been hunting for this color for years, and here it is. Bianca is a warm, purply-pink that really makes my brown eyes pop. Regardless of price, these are some of my favorite eyeshadows in my collection.

Angelica (left) and Bianca (right)

Chantecaille Brightening Eye Nude Kajal ($29) – This is the only eye liner I’ve found that is the right color to brighten up my eyes when I use it in the waterline – it’s not too white or pink. It just looks like I actually get enough sleep and makes my eyes look less red, even if it’s from allergies. It also stays all day and doesn’t irritate my eyes. It’s on the pricier side for an eyeliner at $29, but mine has lasted me so long, and I think it’s completely worth it.

Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion in Magic Hour and Venetian Rose  ($23) – I’m honestly surprised I haven’t panned one of these yet. I keep them at my desk to have an easy, full pigment lip color that’s incredibly easy to swipe on without a mirror. The formula is incredibly moisturizing and has enough thickness to not disappear right away even if I’m talking a lot. Either color completely brightens up my face, and I love having both a brighter pink and dusty rose shade at hand.

Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion in Magic Hour and Venetian Rose

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Foundation Brush ($28) – This is one of my favorite foundation brushes (and I have a lot of brushes). I find myself continually going back to it instead of any others I have. It has such a perfect shape for foundation and even concealer because the angles and edges make it super easy to get into all the contours of my face. It’s also really densely packed which ensures it maintains the level of coverage of any product I’m using it with. It also never creates any streaks and cleans really well even with consistently using it with liquid products.

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Repair Perfector ($28) – Every time I use this, I feel like my hair has been transformed. It feels way smoother, stronger, and shinier without being weighed down. I notice a huge difference when I don’t use this treatment, and it’s incredibly worth it to me. My hair is normally super prone to breakage, and this is one of the only products I’ve tried that actually helps with that. It also helps my hair feel way less dry than usual without making it greasy. This is one of my only true hair staples (outside of my Bumble & Bumble loves) that I continue to repurchase over and over again.

What are your favorite products under $30? Let me know in the comments below! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see here on LiftBakeLove, and thanks for reading! As always, some links may be affiliate links that support the blog, but all reviews/opinions are completely my own and unsponsored.

Cate the Great Beauty Made Me Buy It

Cate has one of my favorite channels on YouTube, and she is a really great person. She sung me Happy Birthday on a live stream and gave my blog a shout out in a different live stream because she’s awesome! I really appreciate her approach to reviews, and (spoiler) I’ve been incredibly impressed with everything she’s recommended. I’ve even found a few things that aren’t makeup that I’ve fallen in love with because of her channel. If you aren’t following her yet, I recommend it! She also has a bunch of discount codes and affiliate links for various products (including some of these), so I would head over to her channel to use those to support her and save some money.

One of the first things I got that Cate recommended is the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation in 2 Fair. This is a “your skin but better” foundation – it’s incredibly light weight and feels like a moisturizer. It looks incredibly seamless and natural and blends in so quickly. It’s slightly dewy and is low to medium coverage, which are both things I look for in base products. Even though I love this, I likely won’t repurchase it when I run out because I have so many other foundation favorites that are less expensive like the Glossier Skin Tint, Fenty Eaze Drop, and the Typology Tinted Serum.

The Fenty Eaze Drop filled a gap in my foundation collection I didn’t realize I had. It’s a really unique formula that’s blurring, light-weight, not too matte, and doesn’t budge. The formula is almost entirely mask proof and sweat proof, but doesn’t look heavy at all. I love that I can blend it in super quickly with my fingers, and it looks flawless. It also works great with a brush if I don’t feel like using my hands to apply it. I wouldn’t recommend using it with a sponge if you have dry skin, but otherwise, I have no issues with it. I was on the fence given some folks had issues with it, but I trust Cate, and she was right! It’s my pick when I want a bit more coverage than the Charlotte Tilbury Foundation or any of my skin tints.

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder in 2 Fair, Fenty Eaze Drop in 2, Kosas Concealer in 02, Glossier Stretch Concealer in G11

I’d heard about the Kosas Revealer Concealer from a bunch of people but Cate finally convinced me to pick it up. It blends out beautifully and doesn’t dry out the area under my eyes – it really does feel like a concealer & eye cream hybrid. It doesn’t lose coverage when you’re blending it out, which is super important to me with concealers since I have incredibly dark under eyes. I can use it both under my eyes and on my face and alone or with foundation. Cate uses the concealer in shade 1, and I think that would have been a better match even though 2 is a good match for my face. I’m planning on trying the new Thrive Causemetics concealer next but would absolutely grab the Kosas in shade 1 otherwise.

I wasn’t sure about the Glossier Stretch Concealer in G11, but I figured I would give it a go because Cate loves it so much. I’m really happy I did – it’s my favorite pot concealer and is great for someone with skin as dry as mine. My favorite way to use this concealer is all over like a foundation. It looks incredibly skin like, lasts all day, and provides just the right amount of coverage for me. It also feels very light weight, and everything I put on top of it looks great. I would recommend using setting powder on top of it if you don’t have dessert dry skin like I do or if you’re planning on doing any amount of sweating.

I know I talk about the Auric Glow Lust all the time, but it really is such a great product. It gives both a super smooth and glowy effect to the skin, whether I use it as foundation, a primer, a mixer, or a highlighter. Of all of my glowy, liquid products, this is definitely my favorite of the bunch. The packaging is also amazing, especially the pump – it’s so much easier to use than something like the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. It feels like much more of a luxury experience, from the packaging to the formula. I have a full review here if you’d like to see more comparisons!

I have no idea why more people don’t talk about the Chantecaille Brightening Eye Nude Kajal – I think Cate may be one of the only people I’ve seen mention it! It’s the only eye liner I’ve found that is the right color to brighten up my eyes when I use it in the waterline – it’s not too white or too yellow. It just looks like I actually get enough sleep and makes my eyes look less red, even if it’s from allergies. It also stays all day and doesn’t irritate my eyes. It’s on the pricier side at $29, but mine has lasted me so long, and I think it’s completely worth it.

I had wasn’t planning on buying the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Sculpture Unlocked palette, especially because it was $58, and we all know I don’t really use powder products or need any more of them. Then, I saw it on sale for $35 and decided to grab it after watching Cate’s review of it, and I honestly have no regrets. It’s so quick and easy because the powders are very finely milled and blend seamlessly into my skin (see swatches below). I can do a full face is about a minute, which has been fantastic. If you don’t need a full palette (or can’t find a version for your skin tone which is likely because Hourglass really needs to do a better job at making sure these work for all skin tones), I would recommend getting a mini version of the product you want. They make minis of most of their powder products, and they last forever.

The Pat McGrath Lust Glosses (I now have Pale Fire Nectar and two Pat McGrath Mini Lust: Gloss Trios) is one of my favorite gloss formulas all of time. Cate is obsessed with the Pale Fire Nectar shade so I started there. Everything Cate said about these is true. There is just the right amount of glitter to make my lips look amazing, and the color is perfectly pinky coral without going overboard. The formula is incredibly hydrating and smoothing, even with the glitter. When I saw the trios on sale for $9 at Sephora, I knew I had to get them. Every color in the trios are great for me, and they all have the same great formula. They also have amazing lasting power – you can’t go wrong with this gloss, and there’s usually always a couple of shades on sale on the Pat McGrath website.

Video swatch of Pale Fire Nectar

The Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask is my HG face mask, and I am so thankful to Cate for introducing it to me. This mask warms up as you massage it into your skin, so not only does it work to deeply moisturize and calm my skin, it’s also a really great relaxing experience. It is the perfect mask to use after an exfoliating treatment or when your skin is feeling extra dry. It really is the best face mask of all time. My skin feels so smooth, hydrated, and glowy after using this. It’s my go to for when my skin is feeling stressed, irritated, overly dry, or anything else that requires help. It always comes to the rescue, and my 1.7oz jar is still going strong so it was totally worth the investment.

Cate is known for her amazing headbands, and I love how they look on her. I decided to pick up some of the ones from Soulvation Society after she talked about them. They are so soft and comfortable and feel incredibly high quality. They also stay put and don’t put any dents in my hair. They don’t give me a headache even if I wear them a long time, which I normally have issues with. I got the neturals twist pack which comes with 5 super pretty shades that go with anything else I’m wearing. I’m honestly set for headbands for a long time with these!

I pretty much immediately bought the Frâicheur Facial Ice Globes after watching this video. I love using them at night to help my nighttime skincare absorb quickly and in the morning to depuff my face before putting on makeup. I think they really help my skin improve over time, but even if it’s just a placebo, I love the way it feels when I’m using them. My favorite thing about them is that they really help me with headaches and migraines. They really came in handy when I was experiencing a few terrible migraines last week, and I was so glad I had them. I love that you can keep them in the freezer so I always have them ready to go, which is particularly great when it starts getting really hot.

If you like these influencer made me buy it posts, comment below who you you’d like me to focus on next! Thanks as always for reading!

My Favorite One and Done Single Shadows

My favorite eye look to do right now is one shadow all over the lid. It’s super quick and easy, but with the right shades, can still be complex and impactful. These are my favorite six products to use for a one and done look! To easily compare, swatches of all 6 are in the middle of this post if you’d like to jump straight there.

I’ve written about how much I love the Vesca Moonlit Dream Cream Eyeshadows, especially the shade Lyra. This formula is still the easiest cream shadow I’ve ever worked with. They stay blendable for long enough to get your look just right, and then they dry down and don’t crease all day. I’m also still in love with the packaging – it’s super easy to only get what you need, and I don’t have to worry about them drying out. The color Lyra is described as a champagne rose with an iridescent reflect, and it’s the perfect coppery, rose, shiny, glittery, works for day and night color for me.

I just mentioned this Bodyography Glitter Pigments in my April favorites, but it’s quickly risen to the near top of my favorite shadows list. Off the Hook has been my favorite. It’s a beautiful taupe/bronze color that makes it perfect as a one and done shadow, especially when I’m looking for something more neutral than Vesca’s Lyra and with way more glitter impact. Their site says that these are a unique formula that incorporates “the saturation of a loose pigment, the cushion of a cream, and the silkiness of a powder”, and that describes it better than I could. I can throw them on with a brush or finger create a lot of impact and dimension quickly with one shade. They stay all day even with a regular eyeshadow primer, but they work great with a glitter primer too.

I’m a big fan of glittery/shimmery eyeshadows, but sometimes I just want something that’s a super easy matte look. I always rely on the Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot Eyeshadow in Groundwork for that. It’s a neutral taupe that goes with any blush and lip color I’ve chosen. The formula is incredibly easy to work with and doesn’t require a primer because these are a hybrid primer shadow. It doesn’t crease and stays all day without fading. I know this formula and shade has a lot of hype around it, but it’s my only matte cream shadow for a reason – it’s really the best.

When I want something warmer and brighter, I always reach for the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rose Gold. I’m not a huge fan of eyeshadow sticks because they tend to dry out on me and become hard to apply and blend. I’ve never had that issue with any of the caviar sticks I have, and the rose gold one in particular has continued to be reliable for much longer than I expected. Like the rest of the shadows on this list, it’s super easy to blend and stays all day. I particularly like this one for travel since it’s compact and I can swipe it on, quickly blend with my finger, and then I’m good to go.

From left to right: Vesca, Bodyography, Mac, Laura Mercier, Hourglass, Chantecaille

When I want a one and done with even more glitter than the Bodyography, the Hourglass Scattered Light shadows are my go-to choice. The shade reflect is a beautiful pink leaning champagne. I love using this when I want a fun look with one shadow, something impactful for a night out (remember those?), or used sheerly as a topper. The only issue I have with these that I don’t find with any of the others is that I sometimes experience fall out, so I recommend using a glitter primer if you have one.

I put this one last because even though I love it, I can’t seriously recommend it because it’s so expensive. Especially with all the other amazing options on the market, you don’t have to ever spend $52 on a single eyeshadow. That said, the Chantecaille Luminescent Eye Shadow is truly special, and I am so happy I have it in my collection. I have the shade Cheetah, which is a beautiful warm champagne. It has just the right amount of gold for me, and I find that it manages to bring complexity even though it’s quite light. I love how much impact this creates so quickly, and I continue to have to convince myself not to get another one.

What round up would you like to see next? I’d love to know, so leave it in the comments!