So, I've found a relatively cheap makeup setup for more formal events that doesn't seem to aggravate my skin.
I have acne-prone, oily skin, but I'm also using Retin-A, so I peel intermittently, as well. Usually tough to balance out.
Went to a friend's company party last weekend, had to dress up, so I wanted slightly heavier makeup than my usual tinted moisturizer.
First tried to balance out my skin & give it a good deep clean before using heavy makeup. Cleansed with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish cleanser. The AHA/BHA in it aren't enough to fight wrinkles or blemishes, but it's a gentle, effective cleanser, regardless.
Used a charcoal & black sugar polishing mask after that - gently removed any flaky skin caused by the Retin-A. Skin feels super smooth after, not tight or dry at all.
Applied a clay mask after rinsing the charcoal stuff off. I used to really like Queen Helene masks, but they take awhile to dry, and tend to dry out my skin. This one seems to clean well without irritation or drying me out. The clay itself dries in under ten min, & rinses easily.
Toner - used Thayer's Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch Hazel w/Aloe Vera
To keep oil at bay, I applied Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Treatment. 2% BHA & rice proteins. Super gentle. It's been discontinued, sadly. Best acne-fighting mattifying cream I've ever used.
Topped off with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream (night). Didn't bother w/a sunscreen since this was an evening event.
On to the actual makeup - all drugstore stuff.. I've used Revlon Colorstay foundation in the past. It's got full coverage & really does STAY. Feels like a mask, though, & I felt like I could never fully clean the stuff off. It was useful as a makeup for theatre, didn't melt under the hot stage lights, etc.
Anyway, Revlon came out with another kind of Colorstay foundation - Colorstay Whipped. It's like a light, airy mousse. Has a lot of lightweight silicones in it, so you don't even need a primer. Full coverage without looking fake. Stayed on all night, & seemed to help balance my oily & flaky areas perfectly.
BEFORE I applied that^ stuff, I applied a green concealer, Maybelline brand, to my red scars. Very lightly/gently. Thanks to @cm81, @Codex, & @ceecee for the tips on this.
Applied my foundation, & touched up my scars a little bit more with an ivory Dermablend concealer stick
Added a little blush, Physician's Formula brand. I really like the shape of the brush for a quick, very light application. This stuff is very sheer, which gives a more natural contoured effect.
I set all of that with Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder (Translucent)
For the eyes, I used this sample of liquid shadow (Blush brand, "slate" shade) I got from a Dermstore.com order. The shimmer is minimal, & I was able to blend it into an extremely light, smoky effect.
Tried out an eyeliner that comes with a brush- that was new for me (usually use pencils). Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner (black). I really liked how easily I could create a neat, thin line, with added little flicks at the corners in one go.
Before putting on a heavier-than-usual (& waterproof, which I usually avoid) mascara, I used a lash serum.
The mascara I used was another free sample I got when I ordered stuff from Dermstore.com. Guerlain Maxi Lash. Pretty dramatic result; it almost looked like I'd put on a set of false lashes.
For the eyebrows (I have some sparse spots due to scarring from trauma from a bad waxing, serious infection, & subsequent scar revision surgeries in/around that area)
I just used a 99-cent Wet n' Wild brand light brown pencil. It goes on super light, compared to more expensive pencils. I find it doesn't create that 'drawn on' look most others do.
For lips, mine are kinda big, and dark - and since I like heavier eye makeup, I keep my lips neutral to avoid looking clowny. I just applied this lightly tinted lip balm (yet another free sample from Dermstore.com). It goes on very sheer, & actually lightens my lip color, slightly. Kinda balances out everything. Made with petrolatum, beeswax, olive oil, soybean oil & sweet almond oil. Not sticky or excessively shiny looking.
I think this setup will be my go-to routine for formal events. Much too heavy/expensive/time consuming for daily stuff, but really great for formal stuff, or auditions. Haven't broken out at all since that one-time use, either, so that's a good sign. Returned the Revlon products (drugstore allows it) since I won't use those often enough for it to be worth the money. Kinda rented it, basically.
Anyway, yeah.. if you have fair, combination, acne-prone skin.. this stuff is wonderful.