As an aspiring makeup artist, you know that there’s a certain financial investment that needs to go into your professional makeup kit. But what if you’re on a budget? Furthermore, what if the world happens to be in the middle of a pandemic (ahem), and money’s a bit tighter than usual?

Does that mean you’re SOL and can’t be a proper MUA? Not at all! The truth is, there are tons of options at your disposal that will allow you to purchase awesome products for your professional makeup kit – without going broke in the process!

In the past, we’ve looked at drugstore makeup products that are just as good as their pricier counterparts. We’ve also broken down 5 useless items that you surprisingly don’t even need at all. This time, we’re instead going to look at 5 makeup brands that are not only of excellent quality, but also affordable for most budgets!

True story: when I first discovered NYX at a local shopping mall, I practically lost my mind with excitement. A friend described it to me as “Sephora, but without the crazy high dollar signs”. Not to knock on Sephora (heck, I’m obsessed with Sephora), but it turned out to be true.

If there’s a product you’re looking for, NYX is more than likely to have it. Case in point, I was looking for a bold, blue liquid lipstick, and found it for less than $20.00 CAD. (And it was awesome, by the way.) Because their products are much more affordable than competing brands, this is a wonderful place to start for aspiring MUAs.

You can take advantage of their lower prices in order to play around with different makeup products, and learn which ones you like, versus which ones you don’t. That way, if the time comes that you want to switch over to more luxurious brands, you already know exactly what you’re looking for.

As a makeup artist, you need experience working with all sorts of different skin tones. Similarly, your professional makeup kit needs to offer products for ALL skin tones (or as close as you can realistically get). The last thing you want to do is make a client feel ostracized because you carry every shade except hers.

There are plenty of makeup brands out there that boast about their mindfulness of diversity, only to offer products that go no darker than a mild tan. In reality, there are so many different, darker skin tones out there, and they are all beautiful and worthy of inclusion.

Black Radiance is an affordable brand that actually lives up to what they promise!

While there is a vast range in the types of products they offer, Black Radiance is primarily geared towards darker skin tones. That being said, there’s something for everybody in their cosmetic line, such as:

  • Color correctives
  • Foundations, concealers, primers, and powders
  • Bronzers, blushes, highlighters, and contours
  • Eye makeup
  • Lip products
  • And so much more!

The best part? The majority of their products can be purchased for LESS than $10.00 USD!

A leading name in the cosmetics industry, this Aussie-based makeup brand is not only high-quality and affordable, it’s vegan and cruelty-free, too! On average, their products range anywhere from $8.00 AUS to $30.00 AUS. Especially for how great these products are, this is an absolute steal!

On top of the individual makeup items they offer, one of our favorite things about Australis’s website is that they have an entire section devoted to collections and bundle offers. There’s also a separate, easy-to-find section that lists all of their current sale items.

Australis definitely makes it effortless to get the most out of your buck! If you happen to live outside of Australia, don’t worry! This company also ships internationally to the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Don’t let their low prices fool you – this UK makeup brand is wildly popular, and used by professional makeup artists all over the world! Like Australis, their items are all cruelty-free. Many of them are also vegan.

One of the things Revolution is known for is their insane pigments. (Seriously, just take a look at their eyeshadows if you don’t believe me.) One of the very first things you’ll notice about their products is that they provide extensive palettes for a super low cost. To illustrate:

  • Many of their eyeshadow palettes offer 20+ pigments, for less than €20.00!
  • Their 5-piece lipstick collections each cost a mere €7.99!
  • Even their highest-priced brush sets are less than € 25.00!
  • The MOST you’ll spend on foundation is € 11.99 per product (and many of these products are even cheaper)!

In addition, Revolution also offers a wide array of skincare products as well! While they’re currently limiting international shipping due to the current COVID-19 crisis, they do typically provide international shipping all around the world.

This is definitely a brand you’ve at least seen once, if you’ve ever stepped inside a drugstore. But as a whole, Maybelline has climbed the ranks of the cosmetic industry to become a world-wide name. It’s definitely easy to understand why!

For starters, you’ll be able to purchase the majority of their cosmetics for anywhere between $2.50 USD and $32.00 USD. On top of that, they have just about any product you can possibly think of (including a wide variety of foundations and concealers for different skin tones)!

But the real pièce de résistance worth mentioning are the virtual services offered on their website.

Not only does Maybelline’s business site provide color matching services, they also offer what they call “Virtual Try-On”. With this technology, you can upload a photo to their platform, and then let you see what their various products would look like on that person – before even buying anything!

For up-and-coming makeup artists, this would allow you to get the best possible idea of the cosmetics you want to stock in your professional makeup kit before spending any money. Then, once you know exactly what you want, you can buy them at a super cheap price.

Could there be anything better? We doubt it!

What other cheap makeup brands would YOU recommend for an MUA’s professional makeup kit? Let us know in the comments!

Want another way to stock up on high-quality makeup at an affordable price? Enroll in QC’s leading Master Makeup Artistry Course, and receive our 14-piece Elite Makeup Kit as part of your tuition!

Author Sloane Seguin

More posts by Sloane Seguin

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