The Perfect Back to School Makeup Kit

Back-to-school shopping was always a fun and stressful time for me. While I loved the opportunity to pick out a few new things for the school year, I’d spend hours debating which items to buy. My parents wanted to get in and out of each store as quickly as possible, but I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. My decision-making skills were especially tested when it came to my back-to-school beauty purchases. While I could try on clothes to make sure they’d fit, my local drugstore didn’t give me the opportunity to test makeup before making a purchase. I’d try to guess which product would be good based on the packaging, but more often than not, I’d get home and realize my purchase was a total dud that I’d be stuck with for the rest of the semester. 

Since my school years, I’ve done my fair share of makeup testing, and I’ve become a bonafide expert on drugstore makeup. This skill may not have any merit in the real world, but I’m hoping that it will save you time and money during your annual back to school shopping trip! I’ve put together a shopping list for three different back-to-school makeup kits, and I can personally guarantee that each and every item is high-quality and effective. Whether you prefer a natural, polished, or totally glam look, there’s a makeup kit that’s perfect for you!

Naturally Pretty Back to School Makeup Kit

If you prefer a quick, “no makeup” makeup look, the naturally pretty back-to-school makeup kit is your perfect fit. These products will enhance your natural beauty without looking too thick or unnatural. naturally-pretty-back-to-school-makeup-kit-natural-girl
Foundation: Burts Bees BB Cream can be applied with your hands, and it will help even out your skin tone in seconds. 

Concealer: The Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is my all-time favorite drugstore concealer. It easily hides dark circles and blemishes, and the lightweight formula blends like a dream. 

Powder: If your face looks shiny half-way through the day, the Neutrogena Shine Control Powder will be your new BFF. It’s a translucent powder that will make you look matte in seconds.

Bronzer: Wearing foundation and concealer on their own can make your face look one-dimensional. I like to apply the E.L.F. Warm Bronzer along my hairline, jawline, and underneath my cheekbones with a big, fluffy brush to fake a tan and add dimension to my face. 

Blush: I resisted blush for years, but I promise you that it will make a huge difference. Sweep Wet n Wild ColorIcon Blush in Rose Champagne on your cheeks, and you’ll instantly look a little bit healthier – even when you’ve been studying all night long!

Eyeshadow: If you’re going for a natural look, eyeshadow is optional; however, the L’Oreal Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadows are basically fool-proof to use. I like to sweep Paris Beach across my entire lid to hide any discolorations and create a blank canvas. Then I’ll use a big fluffy brush to apply Little Beige Dress through my crease, and I’ll use a pencil brush to add a tiny bit of Cafe Au Lait to the outer corner of each eye. This 3-step eye look takes about 30 seconds to complete, and it makes your eyes look bigger and brighter.

Lip Gloss: NYX Butter Gloss is the ultimate lip gloss. It’s not sticky, and it’s available in every color of the rainbow. Did I mention that it smells like sweet vanilla cake? My favorite natural colors are Creme Brulee, Angel Food Cake, and Tiramisu.

Eyebrow Gel: I neglected my eyebrows in high school, and now I have to look back at my teenager pictures in disappointment. Even if you’re not a beauty maven, take two seconds and sweep the Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara through your eyebrows each morning. It adds a light wash of color to fill in any gaps, and it will also keep your brows in place all day long.

Mascara: A quick coat of Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara will make your lashes look long, beautiful, and fluffy. It looks just like your natural lashes- just better!

Setting Spray: The key to a natural makeup look is setting spray. Spritz NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray all over your face when you’ve finished your makeup, and the spray will take away any powdery residue.

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Perfectly Polished Back to School Makeup Kit

If you don’t mind spending a few extra minutes on your makeup each morning, this makeup kit will help you look perfectly polished for school each day. This kit is extremely versatile, so you can use different combinations of products to create a natural or glamorous makeup look!perfectly-polished-back-to-school-makeup-kit-drugstore-makeup
Foundation: The CoverGirl Ready, Set Gorgeous Liquid Makeup Foundation evens out your skin tone and hides blemishes without looking too thick or unnatural. 

Concealer: As I mentioned earlier, the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer can’t be beat. In my opinion, it’s the best concealer at the drugstore!

Bronzer: If you want to add warmth to your complexion, the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer is absolutely amazing. It blends easily, smells like a tropical drink, and creates a completely natural-looking glow.

Blush: The Essence Silky Touch Blush is filled with the perfect nude shades of blush. A quick swipe of this blush will light up your face, and the $3 price tag is such a bargain!

Eye Shadow: I’ve been so impressed with the eyeshadows in the NYX Go-To Palette in Wanderlust. The palette includes six eye shadows that look beautiful in any combination. Plus, you’ll get a gorgeous blush, bronzer, and highlighter!

Eyeliner: After perfecting your eye shadow, swipe the NYX Slide-On Eye Pencil along your upper lash line to make your eyelashes look long and full. This eyeliner comes in a wide variety of colors, so you can choose a shade that accents your eye color. I like to use a deep brown pencil most days.

Eyebrow Pencil:  The L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer is just as good as the infamous Anastasia eyebrow pencils, so you can create the perfect brow for way less money! 

Mascara: The CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara is a mascara miracle. It lengthens your lashes without leaving behind any clumps, and it layers evenly to help you achieve a voluminous look. I use this mascara almost every single day layered with another mascara, but it’s also fabulous on its own if you prefer natural-looking eyelashes.

Lipstick: The Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Sticks are incredible. They leave your lips looking colorful and shiny, and the moisturizing formula is comfortable all day long. Oh, and it smells like tropical fruit. Trust me, you need to pick one of these lipstick crayons up on your next shopping trip! Pink Grapefruit is a beautiful light pink that matches almost any makeup look.

Setting Spray: Maybelline FaceStudio Master Fix Setting Spray will remove any powdery residue and help your makeup last all day long.

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Picture-Perfect Back to School Makeup Kit

If you’re a beauty maven, the picture-perfect makeup is for you. This collection of makeup will help you look glamorous each and every morning!

picture-perfect-back-to-school-makeup-kit-for-yearbook-photos-drugstore-makeup

Foundation: Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer is one of my latest drugstore discoveries, and I’m completely hooked. This full-coverage formula will hide blemishes, even out your skin tone, and leave behind a flawless finish. 

Concealer: Can you tell that I like the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer yet? Every one needs at least one shade of this concealer in their life!

Setting Powder: If you’re a fan of baking your concealer, there’s no need to spend all of your money on a high-end setting powder. The E.L.F. High Definition Powder is only $6, and it works like a charm. 

Bronzer: A matte bronzer is one of the most useful makeup products in your kit. I like to use the NYX Matte Bronzer as a bronzer, contour powder, and even as an eye shadow. 

Blush: The Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow Blush is a girly girl’s dream come true. If the pretty hearts don’t win you over, the perfect pink color will!

Highlighter: If you’ve been dreaming about the famous Champagne Pop highlighter from BECCA, the L’Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in Golden is extremely similar for a fraction of the cost. It creates a beautiful glow worthy of J-Lo!

Eye Shadow: I just can’t resist shimmery eye shadow. In my opinion, the L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows in Iced Latte and Amber Rush should be in everyone’s makeup collection. They look stunning on your eyes, and Iced Latte also doubles as a show-stopping highlighter.

Eyebrow Pencil: The NYX Micro Brow Pencil is another drugstore dupe for the Anastasia eyebrow pencil. You’ll get picture-perfect brows for a bargain with this product.

Liquid Eyeliner: If you want to create the perfect cat eye, the Pixi Lash Line Ink makes the process extremely quick and easy. Plus, the formula won’t smear or smudge after it’s applied.

Mascara: My go-to drugstore mascara combo is CoverGirl The Super Sizer Mascara layered CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara. The Super Sizer mascara adds length and volume, and the Clump Crusher removes clumps to create a stunning lash!

Lipstick: Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Airy Fairy is my all-time favorite nude lipstick. It’s such a flattering nude-pink shade, and the formula looks beautiful on your lips.

Lip Gloss: On any given day, you’ll usually find one or two  shades of NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in my purse. This lipgloss is extremely affordable, but it has beautiful color and shine. Plus it smells exactly like red Starbust candy! My most-worn shade is Beige, which is a gorgeous mid-toned pink.

Setting Spray: A few spritzes of the L’Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray will make your face look absolutely flawless, and your makeup will last for hours on end. It’s a beauty must-have for long school days.

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Drugstore Makeup Brushes for Your Kit

While it’s important to choose the right makeup products, the correct makeup brushes will make your finished look even better. I’ve rounded up my favorite drugstore makeup brushes that are perfect for your back to school makeup kit. back-to-school-makeup-kit-best-drugstore-makeup-brushes


Powder Brush: The E.L.F. Flawless Face Brush applies setting powder like a dream, and it can also be used to blend out harsh edges from your bronzer, blush, or highlight.

Bronzer Brush: School days don’t call for heavy contour, so the EcoTools Domed Bronzer Brush is your best bet for bronzer. This large brush will create a diffused layer of bronzer around the contours of your face, so you’ll look naturally sun kissed. This brush really does all of the work for you! 

Makeup Sponge: A heavy application of foundation or concealer can lead to disastrous results. While I apply many foundations with my hands to allow it to sink into my skin, the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is a great option for creating a natural look with your foundation and concealer. Simply wet the sponge until it increases in size, and then ring out all the water until it’s just slightly damp. Then use the sponge to apply and blend your foundation and concealer across your face. I like to use a bouncing motion to really push the product into my skin. You can also use this makeup sponge to pack setting powder underneath your eye to “bake” your concealer.

Blush Brush: The EcoTools Precision Blush Brush is a great option for applying blush to the apples of your cheeks, and it’s also a great contour brush if you want more precise application of your bronzer.

Fan Brush: If you’re a highlight addict like me, you’ll want to add the EcoTools Deluxe Fan Brush to your collection. The bristles are extremely soft, and it transfers the perfect amount of shimmery highlight along your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose. 

Flat Eyeshadow Brush: I use the E.L.F. Eyeshadow “C” Brush every single day. This flat eye shadow brush will apply a concentrated amount of color to your eyelid, so I like to use this brush when I’m using a skin-toned eye shadow as a base. 

Fluffy Crease Brush: The secret to a great eye look is a fluffy blending brush, and the E.L.F. Flawless Concealer Brush is my top choice for natural makeup looks. This brush is slightly larger than most blending brushes, so it creates an extremely diffused and well-blended look. It makes applying your crease shade a piece of cake, and you won’t have any harsh edges with your eye shadow. It’s a lifesaver!

Pencil Brush: If you’d like to add definition and depth to your eyes, use the E.L.F. Contour Brush to apply deep shades of eye shadow to the outer corner of your eye and along the upper and lower lashlines.

Blotting Paper: When I was in high school and college, I went through dozens of packs of blotting paper each year. The NYX Blotting Paper will soak up excess oil on your skin without removing your makeup. I like to use this blotting paper during my lunch break and in the late afternoon if my skin is starting to look greasy.

These three back to school makeup kits are guaranteed to help you look fabulous for school each day, and the drugstore prices can’t be beat. While these kits are geared for school days, they’re honestly perfect for anyone looking for a naturally pretty makeup look. They work just as well for running errands or long days at the office. I’d love to know what your favorite drugstore beauty products are. I’m always on the hunt for new products to try, so please leave a comment with your favorite drugstore makeup and brushes!

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Affiliate links are used in this post, which means that I make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking through the link. As always, all opinions are my honest thoughts. I value your trust and only recommend products that I truly love. 
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3 Comments

  1. September 12, 2016 / 10:00 am

    This is such a great post! So detailed and thorough, good job. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is the concealer I’ve been using for about half a year now, and I swear by it. Veleza gives it a rating of 4 stars! https://veleza.com/product/maybelline-new-york/fit-me-concealer (its a beauty app where people review products and give advice, https://veleza.com).
    I think your whole selection of products is pretty accurate and are well worth it.
    Thanks for the great read, Lucy.

    • September 27, 2016 / 3:30 pm

      Thanks for the kind words!

  2. September 15, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    I’m a very very long time out of school, but I still get that thrill from cool weather, the September Vogue, fresh notebooks and the first golden leaf. I’m familiar with most of these products and you’ve chosen some really good ones. And you’ve put them together just right.