Best Budget Makeup
The newest foundations offer light-to-medium coverage (so they look and feel natural) and include benefits you once found only in separate products, including light-reflecting ingredients and sunscreen.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Foundation ($7.50) contains silk proteins and caffeine extract to boost radiance and tighten skin instantly, plus SPF 18 to protect you from UV damage.
Tip: To get the most even coverage, apply foundation with a clean, damp makeup sponge, starting at the T-zone (where you need it more) and blending outward, says New York City M.A.C makeup artist Luc Bouchard.
Make the most of your cheekbones and draw attention to your eyes by using a highlighter cream. Choose one in a color close to your skin tone for a "you-only-brighter" effect. (Avoid the contrast of pale pink highlighter on warm or olive skin -- you'll look like a teenybopper trying on mom's makeup.)
Wet 'n' Wild MegaGlow Face Illuminator ($3) in Blushing, Rosy, and Toasty
Tip: Choose one feature to highlight -- cheeks (rub the cream sparingly, in circular motions, on your upper cheekbone and temples) or eyes (dab it at the inner corners or on the brow bone).
Coral for lips
It's the go-to hue to wake up any skin tone -- and coral complements the now-trendy warm shades for the rest of the face. Opt for sheer versions, since they're easiest to wear, says New York City-based makeup artist Gita Bass. To avoid a grandma-from-Miami look, steer clear of shades that are very orange, as well as heavier, opaque formulas.
e.l.f. Soothing Lip Gloss ($1) in Pink Lemonade perks you up with its minty scent.
Stýli-Style L3 Lip Stain ($6.50) in Hudson works like a magic marker.
Tip: For long-lasting color that won't dry out your lips, apply the stain after priming lips with balm.
"Chocolate liner with a little shimmer is great to wear with spring's warmer makeup since it's softer than traditional black," says Gita Bass. Smudge it with a Q-tip for a smoky effect or leave as is for a classic look.
Almay Intense i-Color Eyeliner ($7) in Brown Topaz
Tip: Swipe eye shadow (in the same hue) on top of liner to make it last all day.
Earthy eye shadows
They're soft and subtle, and there's a choice for every skin tone: If you have fair to medium skin, choose a sage green or rosy beige; if you have olive to dark skin, go for a deeper bronze or moss.
L'Oréal Wear Infinité Long Wearing Eyeshadow Singles ($4) in Spring Leaf and Copper Penny
Tip: Toss the applicator that comes with shadow and invest in an eye shadow brush instead -- it distributes color more sheerly and evenly.
Black mascara is the choice for spring since it will help define eyes against softer, natural-looking shadow. Look for the newer, densely bristled brushes to avoid spidery fringe, and be sure to wipe excess mascara off the brush with a tissue before each use. Apply it only to upper lashes, unless it's date night.
Revlon Fabulash Mascara ($7) in black has both shorter bristles to coat and thicken lashes, and longer ones to separate.
Tip: Curl your lashes before putting on mascara and you won't need multiple coats, suggests Bouchard.
All products are available at drugstores nationwide.