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Truth be told, nixing a dull complexion with skincare takes a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, ingredients like vitamin C and kojic acid can work wonders, but more often than not, you’ve got to use a product for at least a month before seeing a hint of a result. So in the interim, the best makeup for bright skin definitely comes in handy. The best part? Most of it doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money. (Okay, some of it does, but you’ve got choices.)
Regardless of the coverage you choose—BB cream, CC cream, foundation or some sort of hybrid—there’s a myriad of ways to glow-up in mere seconds without exerting too much energy or time. My personal faves are serums that you can mix in your coverage, thus covering two bases at once. But there’s also the underrated color payoff of a blush, iridescent illuminators, creamy highlighters, and baked bronzers.
Regardless of what you choose, remember that a little goes a long way and a consistent skincare routine will only make that end result that much more selfie-worthy. Ahead, the best under-$20 options for getting lit, because I know you love a bargain.
Beauty Bakerie Scoops Elysee Face & Body Palette
Four iridescent shades you can use as a blush or all-over illuminator.
$38 at Beauty Bakerie
essence cosmetics Brighten Up! Banana Powder
This translucent setting powder is what you need to bake concealer and keep highlighter in place.
$4.99 at Ulta
Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops
Just a few drops of this liquid formula, available in six different shades, will give your cheeks a natural-looking flush.
$9.99 at Ulta
INCredible You Glow Girl Iridescent Jelly
Available in four shades, this jelly highlighter applies wet and dries down for all-day wear.
$12 at Sephora
Juvia’s Place Serafina Blush
A next-level blush that’ll deliver just the right amount of color to any ‘no makeup’ makeup look.
$8 at Ulta
Kaja Beauty Mochi Glow Bouncy Highlighter
This cream-to-powder formula is available in four subtle, but stunning shimmer shades, from white gold to golden bronze.
$19 at Sephora
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion
Apply this lotion under or over makeup to hydrate and brighten your complexion.
$14.99 at Ulta
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator
A lightweight powder that’s safe to use all over the face for a glowier makeup finish.
$11.99 at Ulta
Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter
Apply a few drops of this liquid formula to the cheeks or body for a dewy finish.
$9 at Ulta
Makeup Revolution x Soph Highlighter Palette
Eight different shades (baked and pressed) for a blinding highlight.
$12 at Ulta
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream
‘No makeup’ makeup coverage that provides a healthy-looking sheen to the skin using hydrating ingredients.
$8.99 at Ulta
Milani Cosmetics Baked Blush
Matte and shimmery shades included in this buildable formula for adding color to cheeks.
$7.99 at Milani Cosmetics
Milk Makeup Mini Holographic Stick
Three iridescent shades powered by nourishing ingredients that won’t dry out the skin.
$14 at Milk Makeup
Neutrogena HydroBoost Illuminator
Creamy but non-greasy, this highlighter stick blends seamlessly into the skin for a luminous finish.
$16.99 at Neutrogena
NYX Cosmetics Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator
Just a small dollop is all you need to brighten your complexion with a hint of shimmer.
$7.50 at Ulta
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer
This creamy bronzer is infused with Murumuru Butter to soften and moisturize the skin in addition to brightening.
$14.99 at Ulta
Sephora Golden Hour Liquid Highlighter
Three shimmery finishes delivered in a lightweight, easy-to-use liquid.
$14 at Sephora
Too Faced Mini Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
The perfect matte bronzer for adding color to a clean, but dull complexion.
$15 at Sephora
Use this powder as a highlighter or eyeshadow, depending on where you want to glow.
$8.95 at W7 Makeup
wet n’ wild Mega Jelly Highlighter
This bouncy gel-to-powder highligher is also infused with cucumber and chamomile to cool the skin.
$7.99 at Ulta