If there’s one thing that having a baby is going to have to teach me it’s how to budget. I have to return to work, and that means nursery costs – tip: if you’re thinking of having a child in this country don’t look these up before you do it as you’ll freak out and never do it… And while I’m not paying for this yet, maternity pay for a year is a tricky beast to live with too when you’ve been used to a regular salary. All-in-all, cutting back is necessary for the future and while I love makeup, I can admittedly throw money away on it.
Consider me a somewhat changed woman as I’ve been making it my mission over recent months to try to find budget alternatives for the products that make up my regular and more dolled up face. I haven’t quite managed a full face, but I’m proud that I got close! I’ve seen ‘save or splurge’ guides about makeup before and I’ve never agreed completely with them, but of course makeup is such an individual thing. They do always help in some way though so hopefully someone else out there will find my opinions useful…
Mascara – Collection Lash Surge £4.99
Let me be the first to say I never thought I’d come over to the ‘save’ side on this one. When I first started wearing makeup I bought ALL the mascaras. I must have tried nearly every brand out there back then. It wasn’t until I invested in Lancome that I was finally satisfied and stuck with variations of their iconic Hypnose for years. No more! I picked up Collection Lash Surge for a fiver and I’m never looking back. It’s easily as good as Lancome for lengthening and volume and £20 cheaper. It scrubs the floor with the likes of Maybelline Great Lash (I can’t stand that mascara, incidentally). Try it, you know you want to.
Concealer – Collection Lasting Perfection £4.19
Sticking with this brand, this concealer is excellent. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I’ll buy it as long as they make it. And if they don’t make it, I’ll cry. It’s a liquid concealer that applies with a little wand and it’s great coverage, sets well and lasts the day. On me, I don’t find it creases into my lines which is a rarity for concealer and my oily and, er, ageing skin. Bonus points if you can pick up the mascara and concealer on a 3 for 2 and get something for free…
Lipstick – Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink £9.99
I’m late to this party but I was waiting for a red in more my shade – and thanks to a new release I finally have my hands on shade 118 Dancer, which is a neutral bright red. Finally, I have a replacement for my beloved Smashbox lipstick that was discontinued several months ago (full credit to Miss Amy May for finding the lipstick and testing this shade). It lasts a super long time and while I don’t love the slightly tacky feel, it doesn’t transfer. I don’t understand the sorcery that makes this happen, but it happens. They have a few red shades now and a more classic deeper red (Pioneer) in the range that many modern pin-ups love. (Only slight negative – it’s not completely matte.)
Brow pomade – Revolution Pro Brow Pomade £5.00
I’d been using the expensive Anastasia Beverley Hills pomade for a while but had never been truly happy with the colour – I knew this was a product I’d want to replace if I could. I’ll never buy it again as long as this alternstive is available – it’s basically identical. It applies the same, it looks the same, it lasts the same. But bonus for me is that I now have a colour that’s an even better shade for me and far more money in my pocket.
Setting powder – Collection Pressed Powder £1.99
So I wasn’t done with Collection after all. I will use setting powder on days I want my makeup to last longer and be more flawless in photos, as actually with my usual foundation (below) I don’t find it’s completely necessary for everyday use. I love the Mac Studio Fix powder and it’s my favourite, but this one does a good job and I don’t have a problem switching to it while the purse strings are a bit tighter. It has quite a strong talcum smell which I don’t enjoy, but good pigmentation and does the job.
Blusher – Nyx Professional High Definition Blush £6.00
I’m not a fussy blusher wearer – I’ve always found this is the one product it makes no sense to spend a tonne of money on. I’ve never had a blusher that disappears off my face or doesn’t go on nicely. I currently wear this Nyx one most often and it’s a bargain.
Eyeliner – Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner £14.50
I used a Collection liquid eyeliner that cost a few pounds for years and years. I was never quite happy with its durability, though. On long days little chunks could flake off and it didn’t look great. I spent a while looking up alternatives online and kept coming across recommendations for this eye liner pen. I don’t usually like pens – they run out fast, they fade and some don’t seem to have the ink to get through one solid application well. This pen is nothing like the others I’ve tried (including Kat Von D) and is well worth the money. It’s almost a brush-like pen with a fine tip and I find it easy to use and it both lasts the day and comes off easily at night. It also doesn’t dry out too quickly – although yes it does run out faster than liquid pots. For ease of use and staying power I’m prepared to pay the price.
Foundation – Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid Foundation £29.50
I’ve swung between using drugstore foundations and high-end all my makeup-wearing years and at times have been happy for long periods with either, but at the moment nothing can budge my love for this foundation as my go-to for a full face of makeup. I actually often skip foundation on my 5-minute-face days, as my skin since being pregnant hasn’t had many blemishes. I don’t know why or if they’ll return, but it’s a pretty good side effect that’s for sure. But when I’m doing a proper face, this foundation for a full matte finish can’t be beat in my opinion. It does slightly oxidise so I wear a shade lighter than I expected to (0.5), but once it’s on and dry it lasts. And I don’t even get that shiny wearing it – a real problem for me usually. So yes, this is a splurge but actually the bottle lasts ages and I don’t have to buy it very often at all, so cost-per-wear is pretty darn good.
Eyeshadow primer – TheBalm Put A Lid On It Eyelid Primer £14.00 (sample size pictured)
I’ve tried cheap eyeshadow primers e.g. from Nyx and found they made creasing worse if anything. I like my primer to do its job and keep shadow in place all day – and ideally brighten up the appearance of it. This one does what it’s supposed to and it’s still cheaper than the likes of NARS so it’s the one for me. But by all means, if I’ve missed a bargain lid primer hit me up!
Eyeshadow – Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette £39.00
I’ve tried a lot of eyeshadow, but I always come back to luxury brands for pigmentation and durability. Charlotte Tilbury is one of the best around – it goes on beautifully and stays put even without primer. If I just want a quick bit of definition in the crease I use her matte palette for a quick sweep of colour. If it’s not this palette, you’ll find me using my TheBalm or Urban Decay ones. I really think eyeshadow seems a better quality if you spend more from what I’ve seen…
JURY’S STILL OUT
I’ve tried lots of different brands of falsies but I always prefer my Eylure ones. The fit seems better and they don’t shed lashes on multiple wears. I’m currently loving the 116 lengthening lashes. I also really like the Ardell Demi Wispies for adding flutter at the corners of the eyes and have worn them multiple times on this blog.
I’m just a bit behind the trend here – I’m yet to find a highlighter that a) doesn’t disappear completely because I’m so pale or b) look like I’ve smeared butter on my cheeks. I hear good things about expensive brands, but I’m not willing to invest in a product that just might not really suit me, y’know?
Another one I’m not sold on. I’ve tried lots of different ones but don’t find any of them better than good ol’ hairspray if I’m honest. Which is probably horrendous for my skin, I realise. I only ever bother for blog shoots when I know I’m going to be going out afterwards and want the thick layer of makeup to last. I know lots of people love the Urban Decay spray, but it’s not for me. My spray has to keep makeup in place and stop me getting shiny and I just haven’t found The One.
I’ve used both cheap and pricey bronzers and while I think I could use a cheap one, I’ve got a bit hooked on NARS’s iconic Laguna. I love the shade and the subtle way it applies but can be built up. I find a lot of bronzers are quite strong on my skin and not as easy to blend as my expensive one… may be coincidence, may be quality…
I’m curious to know how far you agree with me – have I missed a trick with any of my luxury items?? I genuinely want to know if you’ve found a budget product that works for you!