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Trying to put your best face forward without breaking the bank? According to experts, many cheap makeup products can work just as well as, if not better than, their more expensive department store counterparts. What follows is a quick guide to getting what you need to look good for less.

Must-Have Cheap Makeup. Good Housekeeping hit the drugstore aisles with a celebrity makeup artist, as well as a hair stylist and a dermatologist, who pointed out a basketful of recommended beauty products. Large brands such as Revlon, Cover Girl, Maybelline, and L'Oreal are the reigning queens of high-quality, cheap makeup, thanks in part to the large budgets they devote to product development.

How much makeup you choose to buy is a personal thing. Some women like to wear a fully made-up face every day, while others like to go with the bare minimum. Even if you fall into the former camp, don't be tempted to fill your cosmetics bag to bursting just because many makeup products cost only a few dollars. Real Simple points out that all those individual items can amount to a lot. If you're on a tight budget, stick to the essentials.

Real Simple also consulted experts to find out which types of cheap cosmetics can do the job just as well as pricey ones. They say it's safe to skimp on items including cheap mascara, which is formulated much the same as an expensive tube. Cheap lipstick works for a special occasion, if not for all-day-every-day wear, and cheap moisturizer wins the approval of dermatologists -- so long as it includes SPF.

Where to Buy.

Are you in the habit of picking up your makeup wherever you happen to be shopping, whether it's the grocery store, the drugstore, or the mall? Well, break that habit. As with any other purchase, getting the best deals requires comparison shopping.

Photo by Dottie Mae

Contrary to popular belief, the drugstore may not be the best place to find the cheapest makeup. ABC affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas, pitted Walmart, Kroger, and Walgreens against each other in a small test that compared the prices of four popular cheap makeup products: Revlon Colorstay eye shadow, Cover Girl LashBlast mascara, Maybelline SuperStay lip color, and L'Oreal True Match foundation. The total turned out to be lowest at Kroger. Drugstore prices were higher even when coupons were factored in. That said, the article does point out that if you are an Extreme Couponing type who combines manufacturer coupons, store coupons, and reward points, you can probably finagle a way to get the cheapest prices at drugstores. But who has time for all that?

Cheap Cosmetics Online.

Looking online is also a great option for those who seek cheap makeup. Amazon is a reliable place to look for anything on a budget, and the site doesn't disappoint here, with competitive prices on cheap cosmetics. is another go-to source for cheap makeup, with a wide selection of popular items. The site will even alert you if there is a coupon available for the product you're looking at.

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