Best Budget Buys: The 2023 Glam Beauty Awards

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The saying "you get what you pay for" exists for a reason and usually holds some weight, especially when it comes to beauty products. In fact, a 2018 survey found that a massive 70% of American luxury-brand consumers "prefer luxury cosmetics over conventional products" because of the "quality" (via Statista). But what if we told you that you could find some of the best quality products at your local drugstore?


That's right. We're in our budget-friendly beauty era, and since the hashtag #BudgetBeauty has racked up over 228 million views on TikTok, we know we aren't alone. Why spend hundreds of dollars on makeup when you can spend a fraction of the price on options that deliver both quality and affordability? You may even wonder if luxury beauty brands are really worth the extra money, and the answer really depends on the person.

But if you're looking to save a dollar (or, let's be honest, hundreds) on some top-notch makeup products, look no further than Glam's 2023 Beauty Awards: budget buys edition. We tried out the best affordable products on the market, from setting sprays and foundations to powders and lip products, and we have a the top picks you'll definitely want to get your hands on. The best part? It's conveniently sold at most drugstores. We've got your back — and your wallet.


Read more about the 2023 Glam Beauty Awards methodology and all the top picks here.

Best Overall: e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer

Are we even a bit surprised that the queen of affordable makeup brands earned the crown? e.l.f. has pumped out several wow-factor, wallet-friendly products lately and deservingly made its way onto our top spot with its Power Grip Primer. If your base makeup could use some longevity, and your complexion could use a bit of a boost in the smoothing department, then run — don't walk — to get your hands on this stuff.


This primer was applied underneath several foundation types: dewy, matte, full-coverage, stick, and tinted serums. The takeaway? It made every base absolutely flourish. Regardless of your skin concerns, e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer has you completely covered. Large pores? Dry skin? Makeup that never stays put? Apply a thin layer of the Power Grip Primer, and thank us later.

This primer went viral on social media within the past few years, particularly because it's very similar to the highly rated Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer, which is more than triple the price of this product. However, we will go as far as to say that this primer outshines its luxury competition. The sticky, gel-based formula does exactly what it promises: grips your foundation. It glides on the skin and gives a supple, hydrated sheen that encourages every complexion to live its best life. If you aren't a primer girlie, you will be after using this.


Purchase e.l.f. Cosmetics Power Grip Primer on Amazon for $10.

Best luxurious-feeling moisturizer: Revolution Pro Miracle Cream

If you're anything like us and have endlessly scrolled social media for viral beauty products, then Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream is certainly on your radar. But if forking over $100 on face cream makes you cringe, Revolution Pro is here to lend a helping hand (as it often does with its affordable versions of high-end products) thanks to its Miracle Cream. And we don't mean it's an acceptable, lower-end alternative; we mean it feels just as luxurious.


The Revolution Pro Miracle Cream has "sold out twice" since its release in May 2022, and 10 units of the cream "were sold every minute, which is 600 an hour, and one every six seconds" (via The U.S. Sun). And honestly, we aren't shocked. Not only does this cream smell heavenly with natural floral notes, but the packaging and formula also look and feel expensive. A perfect mix of thick and lightweight, Revolution Pro Miracle Cream leaves the skin feeling and looking hydrated, smooth, radiant, and overall brighter.

Not only can you expect immediate thirst-quenching results, but this cream is also said to revive "tired and dull complexions in just [four] weeks," per Revolution's website. It's jam-packed with "skin-loving ingredients" and gives you everything you could want in a face cream. We recommend using it under your makeup for a hydrated appearance, but you could also use it on its own and look just as stunning.


Purchase Revolution Pro Miracle Cream on Amazon for $14.

Best radiant foundation: L'Oreal Paris True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum

Whether you're a loyal fan of the glazed donut skincare trend or you simply love a dewier finish, look no further than L'Oréal Paris' True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum. This is another viral product that we're sure you've heard of before — and for good reason. The word "hyaluronic" lives in this product's title, which tells you everything you need to know about the glowy finish it provides.


If you've ever been on the hunt for a foundation that covers acne flawlessly, provides a dewy finish (but isn't too shiny), and leaves your complexion looking radiant, then congrats! You found it. Over 10,000 consumers have left reviews of this foundation on Amazon, with 70% giving it five stars. Offering 14 shades  — which, frankly, is on the low end — from "very light" to "very deep," we hope this foundation complements your stunning and unique skin tone.

Coming in a serum-like bottle, one of the main downsides to this product is its applicator, which can be quite messy. The vision, we're assuming, was to have the foundation pull through the tube and out of the dropper, like a classic serum. However, it doesn't perfectly come out that way and often drips. So, we recommend laying a paper towel on your lap or the counter to catch any potential drops. (You're welcome.)


Purchase L'Oreal Paris True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum on Amazon for $14.97.

Best creamy lip liner: Milani Understatement Lip Liner

Lip liner is one of those makeup products that some people could admittedly live without (we would never admit to such a thing, but to each their own!). Nevertheless, one of the biggest criteria for an exceptional lip liner is its creaminess factor. Nobody wants to vigorously push a lip product on their pout to reveal a lackluster color. But when we tried Milani Understatement Lip Liner, it was clear from the first swipe that this product meant business.


Not only does the lip liner glide on beautifully, but the color payoff is also pigmented and stunning. Our favorite color out of the bunch is Desert Rose, but you can't go wrong with any of the 12 gorgeous shades of brown, cinnamon, pink, mauve, beige, cocoa, cherry, and more. While the pigmentation is truly its most impressive feature, the liner lasts a fair amount of time, especially for such a creamy formula. However, this isn't the one to reach for if you're looking for ultra-long staying power.

Moreover, this lip pencil doesn't require sharpening (yes, we, too, hear the angels above singing in glorious harmony). Gone are the days of removing the cap on your favorite lip pencil only to be met with a flat tip, prompting you to search your makeup bag for a sharpener and get pencil shavings everywhere. What more could you ask for in a liner?


Purchase Milani Understatement Lip Liner on Amazon for $7.97.

Best affordable full-coverage concealer: e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer

We have some news for you full-coverage concealer lovers: It is possible to put down those high-end luxury concealers you spent over $40 a pop on and still achieve the full-coverage undereye of your dreams. Don't believe us? Give e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer a try and see for yourself just how full-coverage and hydrating this concealer is.


Nobody has a perfectly smooth undereye area unless you indulge in a little self-care in the form of undereye cosmetic procedures or are under the age of 12. But this concealer gets you as close as humanly possible while providing staying power that makes you wonder if you actually got it at your local drugstore. Whether you use concealer to highlight your undereye area, hide blemishes, or simply provide some extra coverage in certain areas, the Hydrating Camo Concealer can do it all.

This product gets bonus points for its shade range, which currently stands at 25 shades. While it can always be better, and 25 still feels on the low end, we'll take the progress. If you're ready to trade in your expensive full-coverage concealer for something more budget-friendly, check out this concealer and accept our congratulations. We salute you for saving your money and slaying all at the same time.


Purchase e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer on Amazon for $7.