Let’s be real, many of us have that nearly empty tube of gloss that we just can’t seem to part with, but spring is the perfect time to clear out the clutter and make room for new, fresh cosmetics. Try playing with color this season by using lightweight, buildable formulas that let you control coverage without sacrificing impact. Check out these beauty brands that make affordable, fun cosmetics in colors and textures perfect for spring. Bonus? They don’t test on animals. Budget babes, don’t fret! Everything item in this story costs less than ten bucks apiece. Seriously.
Naturally, the first color that springs to mind this time of year is green, but this might seem like a tricky hue to pull off. Not so. Not sure which shade of green suits you best? Head to Walmart, where Hard Candy, of the iconic nineties nail polishes, has reemerged as an affordable cosmetics line. The Green with Envy eyeshadow palette, part of the Top Ten Eye Shadow palette collection, is a personal favorite not only for its lustrous range of jewel-toned greens but also for the frosted neutrals included. It’s the perfect starting point for those who want to try fun colors as well as those who are low-key obsessed with green shadow and want to create a variety of looks.
Speaking of neutrals, a bare face paired with a neutral eye look is a great way to experiment with color that doesn’t feel too outrageous. Wet ‘n Wild, every broke cosmetic junkie’s drugstore savior, has created what will surely become the workhorse of your makeup arsenal with the Studio Eyeshadow Palette in Coming in Latte, a collection of stunning shades, including metallic peach, gold and bronze and matte hues from the quintessential vanilla — great as a highlighter — to a soft brown and, of course, velvety black. Oh, and forget about those measly sponge-tip applicators. This palette is equipped with a two-sided brush: a fluffy end to sweep on sheer washes of color and a compact angled tip for using the shadows as liners or depositing richer, more precise color. The possibilities are endless!
Wet ‘n Wild’s MegaSlicks Balm Stain Moisturizing Lip Color is an ingenious chubby crayon that imparts gorgeous color with a single swipe and does a great job of staying vibrant through multiple meals and cups of coffee without giving you a parched pucker. Try Coral of the Story, an irresistible combination of coral cosmetics and clever bookish puns.
Shiny lip glosses are great, but the ones with any staying power tend to be sticky. This is why you must check out MUA Makeup Academy Lip Stain. The UK-based brand, sold stateside exclusively at CVS Pharmacy, has whipped up liquid lip color that is shiny like a gloss, but which outlasts most glosses, all without any stickiness. I kept waiting for my hair to get stuck to my lips when I wore it on a windy day, but it didn’t happen. After a while it does lose a bit of its luster, but what’s left behind is a beautiful plush stain with a hint of shimmer. The fuchsia shade is perfect for when you want to try something a bit more daring without going full purple.
NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick is a sheer formula that feels fantastic on the lips. While many of the candy-inspired shades such as the violet Razzle and bright pink Gumdrop are the perfect way to add a hint of spring color to your face, my pick is the peachy-pink Candy Buttons. If you’re looking for hours of long wear, this isn’t the product for you, and even though the lipsticks are creamy, if you have any dryness, it will show. Still, the fun colors and dreamy feel make up for any drawbacks.