Behold: My All-Time Favorite Drugstore Makeup Brand and Holy Grail Products

E.l.f Cosmetics has been my go-to brand for basic makeup essentials for years, and everything I use costs $5 or less.

E.l.f. Cosmetics concealer, eyebrow kit, and lipstick

My Affordable Favorites

Affordable makeup can be hard to come by, but e.l.f. Cosmetics has been a complete game changer for me. The brand offers high-quality, cruelty-free products that are my secret to achieving flawless looks without depleting my bank account. Even when I order all six of my holy grail items at once, my total is never more than $25, which is equivalent to one bottle of foundation at other retailers. Needless to say, I'll never use anything else.

The e.l.f. HD Lifting Concealer is available in three shades (fair, light, and medium) and provides full coverage all day without feeling too heavy or "cakey." A little goes a long way with this lightweight formula; a bottle usually lasts me about two months. (Note: I only wear a full face of makeup maybe twice a week.) It blends really well using the e.l.f. Total Face Sponge and easily hides any blemishes or discoloration on my skin, which is all I ask for from a concealer.

I've tried various blending techniques (including brushes and other sponges), but nothing has compared to this $5 option. The e.l.f. beauty sponge has an ultra lightweight construction that doesn't absorb all my product (thank goodness, I'm trying to save money over here!) and leaves behind a smooth, streak-free finish. I dampen the pointed side with water before applying concealer and leave the flat top dry to sweep my face with powder to lock in my look.

Once my face is prepped and concealed, I move on to lips and brows. I always start by using the e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator in clear to get rid of any dead skin or uneven texture — this ensures my liner and lipstick applies smoothly. Since it's only $4, I keep one exfoliator in my makeup bag and another in my purse so I can use it before applying lip balm while I'm on the go. Then, I line my lips with the Matte Lip Color in Natural, and sometimes I even use it as a lipstick when I'm in a hurry. On my light skin tone it has a dark pink tint that adds color to my makeup look without being overwhelming. And when I pair it with the Srsly Satin Lipstick in the shade Crème, it gives my lips more dimension. Both products are made with a creamy formula that's easy to apply, and they leave a matte finish that lasts for hours even while I'm sipping cocktails with my friends.

A look is never complete without filled-in brows, and I swear by this e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit. It's available in three shades to match almost all natural hair colors; since I have dark brown hair, the medium palette works best for me. The kit fits in the palm of my hand, making it great for travel, and comes with everything I need to shape and fill my brows including a two-sided brush, wax, and powder. I start by defining my natural shape with the dark wax, and then I set and fill with the light powder.

Ever since I discovered this incredible brand I've been getting compliments from both friends and strangers about my natural-looking makeup. Every product feels and looks high-end, but it's actually super affordable. I call that a win-win.