My Favorite Drugstore Make-up: Eyes and Brows

Yay! I saved the best for last. If there was only one kind of makeup that I could were for the rest of forever, it would be eye makeup…probably eyeshadow…although I am fond of liner…but that looks quite odd without mascara. Oh, you get it! My eyes are probably my favorite feature about myself. They’re the thing I get complimented on most (aside from the brightness of my hair), and I love that I can play them up with all sorts of fun colors. I mean neutrals are gorgeous and all, but sometimes don’t you just crave a good purple?
(true story: When I was pregnant I actually wished that our kids would have blue eyes instead of brown like Anthony’s. Me-2 Genetics-0!)

My favorite affordable eye makeup
Any product with a pink star is one that I have not personally be able to try yet, but I’ll be sure to add updates when I do.

Before we get started today I should probably acknowledge that…

Yes, there are a lot of e.l.f products on this list. No, I am not affiliated with them, and wasn’t compensated in any way.

They didn’t even sponsor the gift card giveaway I’m hosting. I paid for that myself because I simply love e.l.f products and thought they’d make a nice Mother’s Day gift for us ladies who rarely take time for ourselves.  We deserve it, and it doesn’t hurt that e.l.f. has TONS of sales to help us justify treating ourselves every so often. In fact all the e.l.f. products in this post today were purchased for 50% off the price I’ve listed and I got free shipping. Like I said…We deserve it!

Lid Primer

Save: e.l.f. Essential eyelid primer ($1) – I havent tried this primer yet, because I still have almost a full jar of a thick cream primer that I love from a another brand that has been discontinued. The review are god though, and it’s only a dollar. If I happen to see it in Target one day, maybe I’ll give it a try.

Splurge: Hard Candy eyes the limit shadow primer ($5) – I haven’t tried this primer either, but only because they’ve been sold out at my local Walmart for quite a while. I’ll give it a go if it ever comes back in stock though, and let you know how it works.


Save: e.l.f. Essential brightening eye color ($1)*butternut & matte mauve – Nice color combinations that make getting ready easy for folks who need to get ready quickly, or are just starting to explore eyeshadows.

e.l.f. Essential smudge pot ($2)*cruisin chic – LOVE! This is my go to shadow when I’m just trying to get the kids out the door. Swipe it on with your finger, or a brush (I actually use a small craft paint brush), and you’ve got gorgeous crease free shimmer that last all day! Cruisin Chic is a beautiful deep bronze color that I adore, but I’ll definitely be ordering more shades.

Splurge: NYC individual-eyes custom compact ($5) – Having the primer, shadow, and highlighter all in one compact seems sooo convenient – especially when traveling. I’ve been looking for these palettes everywhere but they’re always sold out. (Get it together wlamart.) It’s mainly just the primer and highlight that I’m curious about, because I already have a few nice NYC trio kits that I use quite often.

Covergirl eye enhancers quad shadow ($5)*berry&cream, soft blossoms, & stormy lights – Back in high school these used to be my everyday shadows, but now that I’m older the colors tend to be too shimmery when used together, so I use these shades individually with my other brands. I wish Covergirl made more matte versions.

e.l.f. Essential little black beauty book ($6)*warm – I’ve only had it for about a month, but this is a great little palette full of highly pigmented neutrals and a few pops of color. I may never use all the shades (some are just too orange for me) but it’s a fun little kit to experiment with.

I’ve also tried:

e.l.f. duo eyeshadow cream ($1)*black licorice – It looks like this one has been discontinued, and thank goodness! It feels so greasy and creases in only a few minutes. It’s definitely not up to normal elf standards. yuck!

e.l.f. Essential duo eyeshadow ($1)*butter pecan – This is a MUCH better duo palette from elf. Great for teens just getting started with make up, or those crazy in a rush mornings.

e.l.f. Studio long-lasting lustrous eyeshadow ($3)*toast – I’m much more of a silver person, but this a lovely gold shadow. It would be a great glittery “night on the town” kind of color. But since my date nights are practically nonexistent, I apply a very sheer layer as a base on days that need a bit more sparkle. 

e.l.f. Studio cream eyeshadow ($3)*teal party – Meant as either a shadow or a liner; I haven’t used this one yet, but it’s and interesting teal shade with tiny gold fleckles. It’s a little dark for everyday use for me, so I’m just waiting on a fun time to test it out.

e.l.f. Studio endless eyes pro mini palette ($6)*natural & everyday – I love both of these palettes. The colors are gorgeous, and the pigmentation is great. BUT…if you’re new to makeup, it can be a little overwhelming to have so many colors to choose from. Some days I just stare at the box for 10 minutes trying to figure out which shades will blend well together. They’re perfect for experimenting though!

MAC eyeshadow ($15)*trax & hepcat – Some folks swear by MAC products, and I’ve had no problems with these shadows. I bought them at a time when I was still trying to be what I call “corporate conventional” though, and my life has changed A LOT since then. Now I just couldn’t find a way to justify the cost when I’ve found so many other affordable alternatives. I just don’t live a “name brand” kinda life anymore. 😉

Pencil Eyeliner

Save: e.l.f. Studio mineral eyeliner ($3)*black – This is the smoothest eyeliner I’ve ever applied. Ever. It does smude if you rub your eyes, but it’s still one of my favorites.

Splurge: Ulta automatic eyeliner ($8)*tropics & starlet – Don’t let the Splurge heading fool you. Ulta runs sales on these liners all the time and I scored mine for $2 a piece. This week they’re on sale for $1. One dollar! They glide on very smoothly, don’t smudge easily, and I LOVE that they come in a huge range of colors. I absolutely adore the turquoise pencil! It’s the perfect contrast to my hair and is just ridiculously fun to wear. And the metallic silver color looks surprisingly cute without any other makeup at all. It really makes my eyes pop!

I also have:

WetnWild mega last retractable eyeliner ($2)*navy & charcoal – I rarely ever use these because you have to press pretty  hard to get a good amount of color, and they’re very draggy on my lids. Oh, and there is definitely nothing “mega last” about them. Not worth it.

NYC automatic eyeliner ($2)*bold brown – This pencil is smooth, but the color is not very deep. It looks faded minutes after I’ve applied it.

Liquid Eyeliner

I didn’t add these to the collage, but figured I should share my thoughts anyway.

NYC liquid eyeliner ($3)*pearlized black – I’m terrible at getting an even line with these tiny paint brushes on a good day, but this liner gets clumpy inside the tube in a matter of weeks.

NYC high definition liquid liner ($4)*very black – This pen is easy to apply, but the color is very streaky looking and not a true black. I’ll be on the look out for a good marker-like replacement though.

MAC liquidlast liner ($20)*black and deep purple – Another product from my earlier days: they’re smooth to apply and very dark, but Holly Cow are they killer to get off! They aren’t kidding when they say liquidlast. This stuff might be on there for days! Sure hope you’ve got a steady hand.


Save: e.l.f. Studio mineral infused mascara ($3)*black – Everything I want in a mascara. It darkens, lengthens, and doesn’t clump up. I love the way the silicon wands define my lashes.

Splurge: Covergirl lash exact mascara ($6)*very black – The only difference between this and the e.l.f. one above, is that this comes in a waterproof version.  Same great look.

I also have the Covergirl professional super thick lash mascara but I find it to be super clumpy.

My favorite affordable eyebrow makeup

Eyebrow Pencil

Save: NYC classic brow/liner pencil ($1)*dark brown & white – These glide on very smoothly, but the brown I have is much too dark for my brows. It works well as n eyeliner though, so I’m happy. 

WetnWild color icon brow and eye liner ($1)*black – Before I started using retractable pencils, this my my favorite black eyeliner. It’s very smooth (almost creamy) and I could easily see the brown being a great brow pencil.

Splurge: Maybelline expert wear twin brow and eye pencils ($4) or Covergirl brow and eye makers pencil ($4) –  I haven’t tried either of these brands recently, but their reviews proclaim them to be good basic brow pencils.

Eyebrow Kit

Save: e.l.f. Studio eyebrow kit ($3) – I haven’t tried it, but this looks like and exact copy of the much pricier version I own.

WetnWild ultimate brow kit ($4) – I’d like to try this and see what the difference is between the clear and brown waxes. I like the idea of the two colored powders too.

Splurge: NYX eyebrow cake powder ($6) – This just looks like a slightly more expensive version of the WetnWild kit above. If anyone has tried either of them, I’d really like to hear how they work.

Super Splurge: Benefit brow-zings ($32)*light – This is the kit I own, but only because I didn’t know any better when I bought it. I never even knew that these sets existed, let alone that I could get a cheaper version elsewhere. Luckily there was a promotion where I got this kit, the Eye Bright pencil below, my eyebrows waxed, and a little makeup bag (almost a $90 value) all for about $35. That make me feel much better about my ignorance. I’m pretty sure this one little compact will last me forever, which is great, but the tweezers included are terrible. They cut the hairs instead of plucking them. Oh well. 

Brow Highlighter

Save: e.l.f. Studio eyebrow lifter and filler ($3) – I really like the idea of a dual brow pencil to help make getting ready even easier. I can’t wait to try this one.

Milani brow and eye highlighter ($7) – I like that this pencil is both a shiny and matte highlighter in one. I’d love to try it if I happen across it in the store. Does anyone know where they sell Milani products?

SplurgeNYX push up bra for your eyebrows ($10) – Like I said above, I like the concept. The name totally annoys me though. I know that’s petty, but why couldn’t it have been called the Push up Brow? Who cares? I’d use the e.l.f. one anyway because it’s cheaper.

Benefit high brow lifting pencil or the Benefit eye bright instant brightener ($20) – I own the Eye bright pencil, but I honestly can’t tell what the difference is supposed to be between these two. They look exactly the same, and are both used to highlight your eyebrows, but if you watch the videos, they use the eye bright to highlight other areas around the eyes too. Why couldn’t you use the High Brow to do that? Oh well, I like the one I have, and it was practically free so whatever.

Wow, that was waaaay longer than I expected, but it’s over now. I promise. Thanks so much for following along with my little makeup adventure in honor of Mother’s Day. Monday I’ll be returning to my regularly scheduled program full of sporadic posting, random rambling, and the all to infrequent sewing or crafting project. 😉 Until then, I hope all you Mom’s out there have any amazing weekend with your families, and a chance to take some time for themselves.

You deserve it! Happy Mother’s Day!

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If you liked this post you should also check out the 15 things no one told me about makeup, 

and the rest of my drugstore makeup favorites…

Skin Care and Makeup Tools | Face and Cheek Color | Lips 

5 thoughts on “My Favorite Drugstore Make-up: Eyes and Brows

  1. Oh the eyebrows… I just don't get it! Ipsy has sent me a ton though and I promised myself I'd try. As for primer, a lovely blogger sent me the sweetest gift box and included her favorite by Urban Decay… LOVE it.

    1. I didn't get it either until the girl at Ulta was finished with me. Pretty sure I lived in my own little world where eyebrow makeup didn't even exist. Now I love it!

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