Zoeva has some really incredible brushes for its price point. The 227 soft definer, for instance, is a really nice crease brush that’s just the right size to do a good job of diffusing your eyeshadow. The bristles lie a little more flat than those of a typical crease brush, which makes it easier to shape your crease and blend it in a single direction if you wish. The blush brush is also on the smaller side, which I personally prefer to big fluffy blush brushes. You should also try the 109 Face Paint brush for precise contouring; the 231 petit crease brush for darker crease shades; the 142 concealer buffer for spot and under eye concealing; and the 102 Silk Finish brush for liquid foundation. Also good to know: The brand has vegan options and gorgeous rose gold versions of each brush.
#2 Sephora Collection Exfoliating Face Disc, $10
If you aren’t willing to splurge on a cleansing brush or a device like the Foreo Luna, but want a tool that will make your face wash more effective, I think this handy little face disc is a surprisingly effective compromise. The silicone exterior makes it a cinch to keep clean, and it helps to really work your cleanser into your skin, making sure your pores get a deeper cleanse and that virtually all of the day’s grime and makeup is lifted off your skin. Plus, it’s got a little suction cup on the other end so you can stick it on any surface so it won’t take up counter space.
#3 RCMA No Color Powder, US$12 from beautylish.com
The No Colour Powder in particular is a super fine blend of talc and silica that helps to set your makeup, blur imperfections, and as the name suggests, is completely pigment-free. This also means that it can be used on quite literally every skin tone without leaving that awful white cast that is an unfortunate side effect of some setting powders. I first heard of it from KathleenLights, one of my favourite young beauty YouTubers. As soon as she featured it in a video, numerous others on YouTube were quick to pick it up and rave about it as well.
What I love about the powder is that it gives your skin a gorgeous matte finish without making your skin look overly dry or crepey, even if you have typically dry skin. My favourite way to apply this is with a damp makeup sponge, so the powder sinks into your skin without a trace.
#4 Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream or Butter Gloss, $13 or $11
Depending on whether you prefer a matte or glossy lip, I have two Nyx lippies to recommend. The Soft Matte Lip Cream is the perfect drugstore option if you like a velvety matte lip. It doesn’t emphasise the lines in your lips if you blot it down and apply a second coat, and also won’t dry out your lips like regular liquid lipsticks. The Butter Glosses are incredibly pigmented with high shine, so you can wear them without any lip liner or lipstick underneath and be done with it. For the price, you really can’t go wrong. I just wish there was a larger shade range available in Singapore.
If you’re looking for a high-coverage concealer, skip this. Think of it as a highlighting pen with modest coverage more than a concealer per se. For this second purpose, it’s amazing. I recommend going in with a small amount of your regular concealer or colour corrector under the eyes, and then using this to brighten up the under eye area and hitting any other high points of the face like the bridge of your nose, forehead, chin, and cupid’s bow of the lips. It’s also quite moisturising so it’s even better if you have dry-to-normal skin.
#6 L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipsticks, $21.90 each
I first tried these when the brand launched their Color Riche Star Collection last year. I found myself suitably impressed with the formula and colour – indeed, I found them on-par with some of my more high-end lipsticks. I also love that the little “window” allows you to see the lipstick colour from the outside, which isn’t always the case with lipsticks in tubes like this. My favourite red shade is the blue-based Blake Lively one from the Star Collection named Pure Scarleto, though Gong Li’s Barely Moka (pictured) is a gorgeous dark brown nude that should work beautifully for medium skin tones.
#7 Sephora Collection Color Lip Last Lipstick, $23
These skinny lipsticks by Sephora are a surprise. They’re long-lasting, wear really comfortably on the lips, and have great colour payoff. I do like the skinnier tube because it’s easy to be more precise with your lipstick application, and the product has a pleasant scent to it that isn’t too overwhelming. There’s also a really wide shade range, so you won’t have any trouble finding a colour to suit you. If you’re looking for a simple matte lipstick that won’t cost too much, give this a shot.
#8 Colourpop Creme Gel Liners and Super Shock Eyeshadows, from US$5 each
I talked about these briefly back when the brand launched its international shipping, but I never quite got into detail about the eyeshadows. If you like gel or crayon eyeliners, then you need to try these. They also sit in your waterline all day and won’t budge, so they’re amazing on oily eyelids as well. Plus, there are just so many colours to choose from, and you’ll never find a better price here.
The eyeshadows are gorgeous and come in little pots. I find they apply best with fingertips. They’re really buttery and blendable, and also have so many shades that you can easily find your perfect everyday eye colour from the mix. Some are more shimmery and others satin or matte, but a gorgeous dusty pink like the eyeshadow in Wattles would make the perfect all-over lid shade if you want a hint of colour on your eyes with no effort on your part.
#9 Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer, $19
What I love about this concealer is the applicator and coverage. The bulbous sponge applicator fits perfectly under your eye and makes it easy to apply a thin and even layer of product, which provides more than decent coverage for a drugstore concealer. The formula itself is more liquid than cream, but blends out easily. My only gripe is the limited shade range, but if you have medium-to-tan skin you might be able to use the darkest shade Honey. If you’re worried about the hygiene, don’t sweat it as the sponge is supposedly protected by an anti-microbial system which (in theory) makes it perfectly safe for repeated application.
Text: Alyssa Dhaliwal, Her World Plus / Additional Reporting: Arissa Ha