Breaking News

I’m a beauty reporter and these are the basic makeup products under $50 that I regularly buy



Read in app

Reporter Amanda Krause and her beauty products.

Angle down icon
An icon in the shape of an angle pointing down.

As a beauty reporter, I rarely go a day without my favorite makeup products.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

  • I’m always trying new beauty products, but a few items never leave my makeup bag.
  • Those products include MAC Cosmetics lipsticks, Wet n Wild concealer, and more.
  • Not only do I buy refills regularly, but I’d also recommend them to other beauty lovers.

There’s no way around it: makeup is expensive. But there are a handful of products I’d recommend splurging on.

My everyday makeup bag, at a glance.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

As a beauty reporter and cosmetics fanatic, I’m always trying new products. And though it’s an expensive hobby, it’s one I really love.

That said, the internet is constantly influencing us to try new products, so I know how easy it is to blow your budget and end up with makeup you don’t need or like.

Luckily, I’ve tried so many products over the years that I’ve developed a core set of items I can’t go without.

It’s an ever-growing list, but each product is one I’ve regularly repurchased or is one I’m eager to buy again once I run out. Here’s what I use.

Eye primer is a staple in my makeup routine, so luckily, I’ve found one from Milani that doesn’t break the bank.

Any time I wear eye makeup, I apply Milani’s eye primer first.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

The primer retails for $10 and can be found at most drugstores. I like to pat it onto my eyelids, let it sit for a few seconds, and then apply my eye makeup.

Not only does it help my eye shadow look brighter, but it also helps powders and liners stay on all day without smudging or breaking apart.

I was never a big fan of bronzer and contour until I tried Patrick Ta’s two-in-one product.

This Patrick Ta duo changed my mind about contour and bronzer.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

I’ve tried countless bronzers and a handful of contour products, and I usually find that they’re just OK.

But Patrick Ta’s Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer palette, in my opinion, works like magic. The powder instantly adds dimension to my face, and the cream contour melts into my skin without being muddy or streaky like others I’ve tried.

And though the $40 price tag is high, I think it’s worth it. You get two different products and can use them together or on their own.

I never get tired of Rare Beauty’s blushes.

I’ve been using Rare Beauty’s blushes regularly since they were released in 2020.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

If you spend any time watching beauty videos on TikTok, you’ve probably seen Rare Beauty’s Soft Pinch Liquid Blush. But I can promise they’re worth the hype.

I’ve bought multiple shades over the years — each retails for $23 — and have found each one to be highly pigmented and long-lasting.

Though I have tons of other blushes in my collection, I return to these almost every day.

I’ve also been using Rare Beauty’s powder for months and plan on buying another when I run out.

This powder is ideal for people with dry skin.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

I have dry skin, so I don’t love wearing a lot of powder. Still, I usually want to set my makeup and mattify certain areas like my forehead and chin.

That’s why I love the Always an Optimist Soft Radiance powder, which retails for $25. It sets my makeup and dims excess shine on my face without highlighting dry patches or looking cakey. 

Not a day goes by that I don’t use one of Makeup By Mario’s lip liners.

These Makeup by Mario lip pencils are worth every penny, in my opinion.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

For years, I thought all lip liners were more or less the same. Then I tried the $24 Ultra Suede Sculpting Lip Pencil created by celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic.

I love these liners because they feel creamy and comfortable on the lips but stay in place for hours. They’re also blendable and have an attached lip brush, which always comes in handy.

There are countless lip products I could recommend, but two stick out from the rest.

Most days, I wear either a MAC Cosmetics lipstick or a Naturium lip balm.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

One of the first lipsticks I ever owned was a classic bullet tube from MAC Cosmetics — and I’ve continued to buy new ones ever since.

My current favorite shade is Teddy 2.0, but I swap it for other MAC shades regularly. Each tube retails for $26.

When I need a lip gloss, however, I turn to Naturium. The brand’s $10 Phyto-Glow Lip Balm (I use the shade Petal) leaves your lips with a glossy finish but also hydrates. I rarely leave the house without it.

Everyone prefers different types of highlighter, but my favorite is one from Benefit Cosmetics.

Benefit’s Cookie highlighter can be used day or night, in my opinion.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

The brand’s highlighter in the shade Cookie retails for $35, making it one of the pricier options out there. But as soon as I tried a sample in a holiday kit I bought, I knew I needed to buy the full size.

Sometimes, I use a light swipe of the product to give my skin a subtle glow; other times, I build it up to create a wet, dewy look.

That versatility and its glowing, soft-pink color are why it’s become my favorite highlighter.

Whether I’m wearing a little makeup or a lot, I always finish my look with a setting spray from MAC Cosmetics.

No makeup look is complete without this MAC Cosmetics Setting Spray.

Alexander Calbi/Briana Cuttino/Insider Media Studios

The top question my friends and family ask about my makeup is how I get it to stay put for so long. The answer is MAC Cosmetics’ Prep and Prime Fix+ spray.

I’ve tried other options — both high-end ones and drugstore options — but none keep my makeup in place quite like MAC’s. I only use a couple of sprays, fan my face to help it dry, and then I’m good to go.

Each bottle retails for $33, though there are also travel sizes for $16. 

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Read next


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *