We tried $1 makeup, and here’s what’s worth your time and $$$.
Here's our previous review, in case you want to get to know us a little better.
Taylor Miller / Hanna Wong/ BuzzFeed
'Cause we're real and transparent AF, you should know that we get a lot of stuff for free. Perks of the job. BUT, that does not mean, whatsoever, that we a) are required to write about any of it, b) have to write nice stuff about any of it, or c) get paid to write or mention any of it. These are our real and honest feelings and experiences.
Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed
I'm a changed woman. AOA's highlighter made me shine like a warm, glazed donut straight out of the Krispy Kreme oven, their lipsticks reassured me that money doesn't always buy happiness, and I'm now seriously considering wearing eyeshadow every single day of my life.
OMG I don't even know to where to start. I'm SO PUMPED I discovered AOA! I love makeup, and I like exploring different trends, but like most people, I don't like committing to something I'm not sure about. By committing, I mean paying more than $20 for something I'm not sure I'll ever actually wear.
My makeup routine is pretty simple: good foundation, great concealer, eyebrows are always a priority, highlighter if I'm in the mood, and depending on where I'm going, a bold lip or eyeliner. Eyeshadow is not part of my day-to-day look, like, ever. But my whole word has been turned upside down after trying a2o Lab's liquid eyeshadows. They're so pigmented and easy to use, it would be unnatural not to want to slather it all over my lids. Plus, they have a gorgeous pearl finish that'll make you feel extra glamorous.
Now let's talk about their highlighter...HOLY SHIT. It's so perfect, honestly, and I don't use that word lightly. I mixed two shades, Cream Puff and Fresa, and they made the high points of my face look better than ever. I was scared I would breakout because it's so cheap, but I'm happy to report I remain pimple-free!
Last but not least, their matte lipsticks are worth so much more than just $1. I tried two orangy reds, Doll and Pumpkin, and they're now my go-to bold lippies. They're long-lasting, highly pigmented, and despite them being cheap, their formula feels like a million bucks! I'm ready to stock up for the season with like, only $20. —Dani, Beauty Writer
Daniela Cadena / Instagram: @danichain
I gave AOA's "Frost Pout" lipstick a test drive during dinner with bae and that bad boy held its own, despite me stuffing my face with maaad spicy chili oil.
If you've been rocking with me and my makeup reviews, then you already know that I LOVE me a bold, colorful lip. So it was obsession at first sight when I spotted the lovely metallic blue lippie that is Frost Pout from the Wonder Liplock collection. According to the company, these lipsticks last 24 hours and "you can eat and drink all day while still having perfect lips." Witchcraft or nah?
I decided to investigate later that night at dinner. Before heading out of the office, I opened the packaging (the silver lettering started flaking, fyi) and applied the lipstick. It didn't give me the smoothest glide, and I had to apply way more than the 1-2 coats suggested by AOA. It also took a while to dry, so I couldn't move my lips too much. But, y'all: IT COSTS ONE FRICKIN' DOLLAR!!!
Application struggles aside, the color looked BOMB.com and held up pretty well through a big ass meal full of chili oil and fried rice. (Please excuse my hella shiny face in that post-dinner selfie. I shot it on the subway ride home #MTAlightingisaLIE!!!) —Patrice, Beauty Writer
Get AOA Wonder Liplock "Royal" Frosted Mattes in "Frost Pout" at AOA for $1.
And their on-point makeup remover wipes helped this bad girl go good again. *angel emoji*
Ya'll feeling my Halloween beat??? Well it was done by yours truly! (FYI: Did I see Suicide Squad? No. But was Jared Leto the most swagged out Joker of all time? Yes.) Anyhoo, I NEVER sleep with makeup on, but this look was too bomb and had me ready to risk it all. Then I realized I had an all-day photoshoot with an iconic celeb hairstylist, so should probably not show up looking like a #Jokerbae.
That's where AOA's Makeup Remover Wipes in Rose Water come into the picture. I went hard with the makeup as you can see in the before picture, so I was skeptical. First of all, the wipes are pretty soft and have a great, light scent. And best of all, no soapy, chemical-y residue! I did have to use both sides of three sheets to remove my look, but I chalk that up to the heavy, multi-layered look. These wipes definitely got the job done without making me feel like I was beating up my skin in the process, so what more could I ask for?
Get Makeup Remover Wipes in Rose Water from Miss A for $1.
And to my pleasant surprise, the eyeshadows are AMAZINGLY pigmented, even without primer.
There are many plus's to these pans, the first being the color payoff. The pigment is extremely good, especially for a brand that's so affordable. I won't blast names (bc ill, tacky), but there are high-end brands out there that charge heavy coinage for their shadows, and the pigment doesn't even compare. Which brings me to my next point: THE PANS ARE ONLY $2.50 EACH!!! They're part of the a20 Lab brand, so there a little more than the AOA products. But it's a decent amount of product in each pan; plus you don't even need a lot bc the pigment is so good. One of my favorite things about the shadows, tho, is that you can customize your own palette bc the shadows are magnetic, just like the cases.
We all have palettes lying around where we use the same colors over and over again. The others kind of just sit there, like awkward plus-ones at a party. I'm not a frequent shadow wearer, so it's great for people like me who hardly ever do shadow and don't wanna spend a lot, or for people who do wear it often but don't wanna spend a fortune on crazy-expensive palettes.
Get them from Miss A for $2.50 each.
Tip: Finding them on the site can be a bit tricky, so hover over "Shop AOA," hover over "a2o Lab" in the dropdown, and click "Single Pressed Powder" to the right.
"AOA Studio is basically dupe heaven. Great products that look just as amazing as many cult-favorites." –Daniela
"Where was AOA when I was growing up??? This super affordable brand aims for high-quality results and I dig it! I highly recommend it for makeup lovers looking to ball out on an extra tiny budget." –Patrice
"Honey, I live for some cheap shit that actually works. And AOA is cheap, it works, so I'm living." –Essence
Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed
Share your favorite cheap makeup brands with us in the comments! See ya next month.