Back-to-School Beauty | A Drugstore Makeup Lineup


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I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.






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Makeup and education are two very important aspects of my identity, and today I am honoring them both by sharing ten drugstore makeup products that I expect to use and love this back-to-school season!

When I am aiming for a more glamorous makeup look, I always enjoy a light layer of foundation. The Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation has a thin, lightweight texture with medium coverage, which is great for evening out the skin tone while still appearing natural. This is a very versatile formula in that people of all skin types enjoy it. I have dry skin and do not like matte foundations, and although this is not dewy, it does have a skin-like finish that lasts from my earliest meeting until my last class.

Although the Too Faced Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer is not a drugstore product, I am including it in this post because I purchased it at Marshall’s at a drugstore price. This is similar to my go-to Maybelline Fit Me Concealer but it is less dewy and less sheer. In addition to adding coverage on top of foundation, my favorite way to use this is to spot conceal discoloration on foundation-free days. This technique allows my skin to shine through while still looking put-together.

Lately, I have been very loyal to the Ulta Beauty Face Sculpting Color Stick, whose soft, blendable texture shaves minutes off of my morning routine. Unlike many of its powder counterparts, it is essentially impossible to end up with a patchy contour, and I always get so many compliments on my makeup when I wear this. 

I have never been one to love bright pops of color on my cheeks, so the Ulta Satin Touch Blush in ‘Satin Love’ is my ideal everyday blush. It is a neutral rosy shade and maintains a slightly glowy finish without any shimmer. It is difficult to be heavyhanded with and lasts beautifully throughout the day.

When I am running on little sleep and a lot of stress and Starbucks, highlighter is a step I simply cannot skip! I sweep a small amount — a little goes a very long way — of the Pixi Glow-y Glossamer Duo in ‘Delicate Dew’ along the high points of my face to add an intense luminosity. This particular product has one of the most stunning shade combinations I have ever seen, with an icy pink champagne and a pinky peach.

Although creating eye makeup looks is one of my favorite things to do, I often forego eyeshadow when busy. When I have a little extra time, however, I like to reach for the L’oréal Paradise Enchanted Scented Eyeshadow Palette. It has all of the shades I need and want for a back-to-school look and is a wonderful palette to help you transition from summer to fall makeup. The formula is pigmented and blends well, making it accessible to beginners, as well.

Long, separated lashes are an absolute essential in any college-ready makeup routine. If you are a regular to Makeup By Makena, then you have probably been hearing me rave about the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara. If mascara is on your shopping list, this one is both amazing and affordable.

After hearing several positive reviews from YouTubers, I decided to purchase the Maybelline Color Sensational Shine Compulsion Lipstick in ‘Baddest Beige’ — a sheer, shiny light nude with peachy pink undertones. Since this is not opaque by any means, I recommend layering this over lip liners or other lipsticks. It is not very long-lasting but it is extremely comfortable and will be ideal for a casual but cute day.

If you have smaller lips like me and are looking for a little boost, plumping lip glosses are revolutionary. The Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Pillow Plump XXL Lip Plumping Gloss in ‘Nude in Town’ is a beautiful mauvey nude that tingles and visibly plumps my lips.

Self-care is so important amidst the craziness that is college, and one small way to do that is with rosewater. The scent is so relaxing after waking up and before going to bed, and, of course, it is amazing to prime the skin and refresh makeup throughout the day. I have been loving the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin Spray, which has simple, clean ingredients.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading about the products I plan to use as I immerse myself in homework these upcoming weeks. Which beauty products get you excited for school?

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Hey, I'm Makena.

I’m Makena, the creator and editor of Makeup By Makena — a beauty blog dedicated to empowering others through the art of makeup.

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If you want to elevate your everyday makeup routine, you’ve come to the right place. I share approachable, aesthetic, and, most importantly, authentic content for beginners and professionals alike.