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Let's get right to the point: You want to enhance your face's natural iconic-ness with makeup, but shopping for products amid the bajillions in the beauty store is more overwhelming than doing your taxes or figuring out how to cancel your gym membership. With so many product options, advertising, and social media publicity, scrambling through the static to find out what in the world is actually worth buying can feel impossible. That's especially true if you're a busy human being, either don't care to or don't have time to devour every single lastВ makeup review on Byrdie.com (which, like, we get it), want products that actually perform, and have a strict dollar limit to adhere to.
We're not huge onВ fuss here at Byrdie, so in the name of telling you exactly what you should buy, no-nonsense, no brouhaha,В we'veВ assembled aВ face makeup starter pack for three different price points,В comprised of a foundation, blush, and highlighter. Certainly, everyone has a different skin tone and type (not to mentionВ varying tastes in shades, textures, etc.), but we're still pretty confident that the following products should do you right no matter what you're working with.В
The Best Face Makeup Starter Packs
Budget: $30Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation SPF 20 $12Shop
For $12, you really can't find a better value foundation than this cruelty-free, skincare-infused find.В The product comes in 16 shades, each packed with good-for-you ingredients like hyaluronic acid; SPF 20; vitamins A, C, and E; and a unique brightening ingredient calledВ Chinese Wu-Zhu-Yu extract. The coverage is lightweight to medium but genuinely very buildable and leaves a glowy (but not greasy) finish. It also comes with an oversized doe-foot applicator to make things extra easy.В
It's no accident that Milani's tried-and-true Baked Blush wins awards year after year-it's quite simply the best blush you can find at the drugstore. For less than $10, you get a deliriously pretty selection of matte and shimmery shades, all of which are highly pigmented,В but not clown-like, and were baked on Italian terracotta tiles in the same style of blushes three times the price. Our favorite shades include Corallina, a coral pink, andВ Bellissimo Bronze, a glowy taupe.ВMaybelline Face Studio Master Strobe $7Shop
Ask anyВ member of Team Byrdie whether she prefers cream or powder highlighter, and she'll tell you cream every time. That's simply becauseВ creams look way more natural and dewier, as opposed to sparkly and artificial. Speaking of products Byrdie editors agree on, thisВ luminous cream stick has been a team favorite ever since it launched. SwirlВ two fingersВ into theВ product, and then pat it on your cheekbones, theВ tip of your nose, Cupid's bow, and inner corners ofВ your eyes for a dewy, brightened effect that you'll be hard-pressed toВ get from any other drugstore highlight.
Budget: $100Benefit Cosmetics Hello Happy Soft Blur Foundation Shade $30Shop
Benefit's foundation is so good-the texture is so absurdly lightweight you can barely feel it, yet its formula,В loaded with smoothing shea extract and soft-focus "blurring spheres," still manages to create an airbrushedВ effect. Like the Physicians Formula pick,В it has light to medium coverageВ and a finish that's matte but still skin-like.Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tint $28Shop
What makes these cheek tints special is that they don't have that slippery formula that slides right off your face like other cream blushes-the balmy texture really locks the pigment into your skin so it stays all day. This is especially positive considering that the shades are really too pretty to be true, but also blend really naturally into different skin tones. (I'm a big fan of the shades Poppy and Sunny.)В The product is such a hit among makeup artists and their followers that it's one of the top 10 best-selling productsВ at Violet Grey. If your budget allows for $30, this is the one blush you should snag.
Another Team Byrdie obsession, Rituel de Fille's subtly holographic creamВ luminizers are arguably the best makeup product you can buy for $29, period. As our editorial director, Faith Xue, describes, "These creamy, velvety highlighters areВ so goodВ I actually can't shut up about them. The solid cream formula melts instantly when you swirl your finger in it, and then it becomes one with your skin wherever you tap it.вЂ¦ Try these; I promise you'll be obsessed as I am."
Budget: $200Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation $64Shop
If celebrities, makeup artists, and beauty editors all recommend a single product over and over again, it means it's probably the best. Such is the caseВ with Armani's iconic Luminous Silk Foundation, which comes in 24 shades, all of which have a ton of pigment but a super-lightweight texture,В creatingВ a flawless and radiant finish with very little product used. TheВ formula is incredibly blendable, buildable, and leaves the skin looking like real skin. At $64, it's definitely a splurge butВ totally worth it if your budget allows.Kjaer Weiss Cream Blush Compact $56Shop
What could make a cream blush worth $56? In the case of Kjaer Weiss's killer product, it's a little bit of everything. You have a gorgeous natural formulation, containing ingredients likeВ jojoba seed, beeswax, castor seed oil, and Rose Rubigniosa seed oil, which make the product both blendable and healthy for the skin. You've got the five richest,В most beautiful shades of blush I've personally ever seen (my favorite is Sun Touched), which make theВ cheeks look naturally flushed and lit from within. And you've got stunning, well-made packaging that's refillable, so you're doing something good for the planet.ВRMS Luminizer X Quad Highlighter Palette $48Shop
If it's theВ crГЁme de la crГЁme of highlighters you're looking for, let us point you directly to RMS's palm-sized palette of coconut oil-based luminizers (because why buy only one highlighter when you can buy four)? Nevermind that theВ highlightersВ are vegan, cruelty-free,В and USDA organic; they're also high-impact and stunning, able to be worn alone or blended for your own custom glow. Every time you use this quad will feel like a luxurious experience, making the $48 price tag well earned.