The Best Affordable Brands for Each Makeup Step

The high end often takes the spotlight when it comes to makeup, but it’s important to remember that the drugstore also releases some amazing products. Just like the high end, not everything is a hit, so I’ve broken down my favourite affordable products for each step of your makeup routine!

Foundation

Finding your shade can be a little bit difficult in ‘drugstore*’ brands, especially if you fall at either end of the spectrum. If you find yourself in this category, your best bet brand-wise will probably be NYX. Their recent Can’t Stop Won’t Stop range was a collaboration with Youtuber Alyssa Ashley and was formulated with POC in mind. Makeup Revolution also offer a pretty good shade range. If you’re looking for something a little less matte and a little more dry skin friendly, consider Bourjois – their Healthy Mix foundation, or even the serum version (even more dry skin friendly) are both great options.

Concealer

The Maybelline concealers are great – the age rewind one is great if you don’t mind concealers with a sponge – and likewise their Fit Me range is great (even though the shade order is a bit messed up). My personal favourite and go-to for many years now is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. It’s full coverage and blends out beautifully.

Brows

For me, there is only one contender here – NYX! Their Microbrow pencil is a dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer and there is a pretty wide shade range. Their clear brow gel is another absolute winner – who needs high end!?

img_0039Blush

You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to blush from the drugstore. Brands like Milani, Kiko, NYX, Bourjois… the list is endless! The pigment is really close to more expensive products but just at a fraction of the price!

Highlighter

This one is a little harder, but Sleek and MUA tend to do pretty good highlighters. These are brands that are pretty widely available in Superdrug here in the UK and are really cost effective.

img_0048Eyeshadow

Affordable eyeshadow can be a little hard to find. I don’t find that the traditional ‘drugstore’ brands (L’Oreal, Maybelline etc.) offer much in terms of good, pigmented eyeshadow. Brands that I have decent luck with are Makeup Geek (their singles are fab, but they’re about to relaunch the brand and half their stock is sold out everywhere), Colourpop and NYX. NYX is easily the most accessible of the 3 brands and offer a great assortment of colours at a really reasonable price point. The Colourpop shadows do have a lot of fall out in the pan, but I personally don’t find that to be the end of the world.

Mascara

When it comes to affordable mascara, I am team Maybelline all the way. I was a Maybelline girl since I started wearing makeup until I started wearing Benefit Roller Lash a few years back, but Maybellina hands down makes the best drugstore mascaras on the market. I never found L’Oreal to be as lengthening and voluminising in one, plus they were always that bit more pricey.

Eyeliner

Hands down Sleek. Their white eyeliner was a staple in my makeup kit for yeeeeears for my lower water line and it would. not. budge. They are lovely creamy formula and last for a really long time! I’m not sure they have a massive array of colours, but for the basics there is none better!

Lips

For lip liners, NYX are very good and offer a great shade range. When it comes to lipstick, there is only one winner for me – Maybelline! Their colour sensational range is SENSATIONAL – there is an amazing range of shades and finishes and they come at such an affordable price point that honestly there is no beating it. Two of my favourites are nude shades 725 Tantalising Taupe and 630 Velvet Beige (pictured above). If you’re a nude fan like me, you need these in your life!

You may notice that there are some steps that are missing – that is because I haven’t found products that I like enough to recommend. I find primers to be a bit hit and miss, bronzers in the drugstore are a mess and setting sprays aren’t that widely available and the ones that are miss the mark.

Let me know what your favourite drugstore products are!

Xo

* I hate the term ‘drugstore’ because we don’t call those brands that here in the UK, but we don’t have a word for it, so I’ll use the American term.

Follow me on:

Instagram|Bloglovin|Twitter|Pinterest

My go-to make-up

My go-to make-up style is full coverage, with glowy, bronzy skin and a fairly natural eye. Even though this is a pretty natural look, it takes a lot of work! Here’s how I get my go-to look:

PRIME:
I apply Mac Prep and Prime Skin Base Visage and Make Up Forever Step 1 Primer in Hydrate, leaving it to sink in before applying foundation.

FOUNDATION:
My favourite is Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in shade 02 Fair. It gives the skin an amazing glow, and has lovely buildable coverage without looking orange and cakey. I take one pump which usually gives pretty decent coverage, but I often take another half pump to cover the redness on my cheeks that peeks through. I use a thick bristled brush (Morphe 439) to buff this into the skin. Using a brush will give more coverage than a beauty sponge.

CONCEALER:
I take the Collection Lasting Perfecton concealer in 1 Fair. I apply it in a triangle shape under the eyes, in three lines on my forehead (from between the eyebrows going upwords), on my nose to correct redness, a little to my cheeks and on my chin. Then I take either the new lighter shade of the Collection concealer (0 Very Fair) or the Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral and put a little under the eye, on the forehead, down the nose and on the chin to give my face a little more dimension. I use a Beauty blender to blend this in with the foundation and make sure that the foundation has no streaks and sits nicely on the skin.

POWDER:
Using a stippling brush, I apply Nars Soft Velvet Loose Powder so my skin feels a bit more matte and less sticky, making sure to pay particular attention to powder my eyebrows so the brow pencil sits better.

BROWS:
I usually do my brows after I’ve powdered and before blush and bronzer. I use the NYX Microbrow Pencil in Ash Brown. I start by outlining the shape of my brow on the underside. Then I outline the top side, and start to make hair like strokes from the front towards the back of the brow. I use a brow powder to go over the entire brow to match it to my hair colour and to make the brow look sharper. I think finish things off with the NYX Clear Brow Gel, combing the hairs at the front of the brow up, and the hair at the end down to keep the perfect shape.

EYESHADOW:
I always like to set my eye with a skin colour shade before I start, my favourite is Vanilla Bean from Make Up Geek. I then like to take Beaches and CreamΒ and put some warmth into my crease. Using a more tapered blending brush, I start to add dimension into the outer corner and crease by taking Malt and Quarry by MAC. If I want to add any more drama, then I apply more Quarry, but I like to keep my eye looking quite neutral and natural. I then take Shimma Shimma by Make Up Geek to add a pop of shimmer to my inner eyelid.

MASCARA:
My favourite mascara is Benefit Roller Lash. It is great for curling the lashes up, and making them nice and thick. Even if I don’t curl my lashes, my lashes still stay nice and curled up.

LOWER LASH LINE:
To make my eye look bigger and more defined, I like to use a cool toned darkish brown on my lower lash liner. I then use the Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl in Eye Cheat, which is a creamy/nude shade to brighten the waterline and to look more awake. I then use Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara to coat my lower lashes. I find that this makes my lashes look really good, but also doesn’t leave that suuuuper annoying black mark underneath your eyes when your mascara touches the area under your eye.

BLUSH:
For blush, I love the Fenty Beauty Match Stix in Trippin’. To make the Fenty Beauty blush work, I don’t apply it straight to the skin as it removes the base. I warm the product up with my fingers first and then tap it into the skin, starting on the apple of the cheek for the most colour pay off, and move it backwards towards the top of the ear.

BRONZER:
To bronze, I have always used the Make Up Geek Contour in Love Triangle. Even though it is technically a bronzer, it is warm enough to be the perfect bronzer for my fair skin! Make Up Geek products are super reasonably priced and the ‘contour’ shades take into account warm and cool skintones, so it’s to find the perfect shade for you.

HIGHLIGHT:
As my highlight, I like The Balm’s Mary Lou-manizer. It’s a gorgeous gold colour that is not too dark on pale skin.

LIPS:
I aaaaadore a pinkish-nude lip. My go-to combination is Mac Lip Liner in Whirl and Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Ex-Girlfriend. To make it a little more glossy, I love the Jouer Lip Topper in Frost.

TO SET:
To finish everything off, I spray my face with Mac Fix + and fan my face dry. I do this once I’ve finished all of my make up, rather than just my skin.

And there we have it! My everyday make up look that still consists of a ridiculous amount of products (:

What is your go-to make up look? Leave a comment on here or on my instagram!

Xo

Follow me on:

Instagram|Bloglovin|Twitter|Pinterest

Full face of forgotten favourites/rarely used products

It’s super easy to get into a routine of wearing the same products day in, day out. I went through my make up collection recently and found so many old gems that I had forgotten I even had, or stuff I had bought on impulse and never used. I’m going to compare these to my favourites I use everyday, and see whether there was a reason I stopped using them!

savingpng

Foundation – Make Up Forever Ultra HD foundation in 117/Y225
Concealer – Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer in Chantilly
Powder – RCMA No Colour Powder in Translucent
Blush – Nars Orgasm blush
Bronzer – MUA MosaicΒ bronzer
Highlighter – Sleek highlighting palette
Eyeshadow – Morphe 35T palette
Lip pencil – Nyx Peekaboo Neutral
Lipstick – Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick

Foundation/Concealer
I love the Make Up Forever HD foundation and it just fell out of the regular foundations I use because I tried out new ones. It has always been quite dark for my skin tone because when I bought it online, Make Up Forever wasn’t easily found in stores. So to make the foundation work, I thought I would mix it in with the Nars Radiant Creamy concealer. When I bought this, I colour matched myself online and the shade was too light to use as a regular concealer. However, together these two made the perfect shade for my skin tone. So I will definitely be using this combination again! I have the same trouble with some of my other foundations, so now I know I have a concealer that can be mixed in, lasts a long time and has a lovely finish.

Nars creamyMUF foundation

Powder
I saw a lot of people raving about this translucent powder so I decided to try it out. It was my go-to powder for quite a long time, but I didn’t like that it left a white cast on my face when I took pictures with flash. I’d often use this to set my foundation before a big night out, so I wasn’t happy that I looked like a ghost. I used this to bake under my eyes again and lightly applied it to the rest of my face and was pretty content with how it looked. It did take the colour out of my face a little bit, but not as much as before. The finished look didn’t beat the Nars Soft Velvet powder I usually use, so I won’t be turning back to this again soon.

rcma

Blush
When I was living in Spain and got a bit Sephora obsessed I got a set that was Nars Orgasm Blush and Laguna Bronzer in one. But I then thought that the Blush was too pink and the bronzer was too dark for my skin. But I thought I’d give the Nars Blush another go. It actually was a really flattering shade of pink that wasn’t as bright pink as I thought it would be. I was really pleasantly surprised and I’d definitely start rotating this in to my usual routine!

nars blush

Bronzer
I decided to use my old favourite which is the MUA bronzer. I was pretty excited about using this one again because I actually liked this one and only stopped using it because I discovered the Make Up Geek ‘contour’ instead. However, when I applied this I did one swipe and was shocked at how red it looked on my skin. Rather than looking like a nice bronzey tan like my MUG one, I just looked really strange. I really loved this a few years ago, but I’m not sure I’ll be grabbing for this any time soon.

MUA bronzer

Highlighter
This palette was huge in 2015/2016 when American Youtubers stumbled across Sleek for the first time (when us UK gals have known about it for ages). It’s a little annoying to buy a palette and only really be able to use one colour, but I bought it anyway. I used to use this every day after I shattered my Mary Lou-maniser. I decided to try the slightly darker shade in the pan (bottom right) combined with my usual shade (bottom left). Somehow, I think some of the purple residue had fallen onto the darker shade, as my cheek had a purple sheen to it, which I wasn’t happy with. The lighter colour also wasn’t as golden and luminating as I remembered, which was a little sad. Even though my current Mary Lou-maniser has smashed AGAIN, I’m going to carry on using it because it’s just such a beautiful golden glow, especially for pale skin.

Sleek

Brows
This was one I was really nervous for. I had bought the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer when it first came out because I’d been dying to try ABH brow products. But it was such a disappointment! The idea is that you’re supposed to use the wide end of the Brow Definer’s triangular ‘nib’ to fill in gaps and then use the narrow end to draw on thin hair-like strokes. However I found it really difficult to use, it looked patchy and I couldn’t get the brows I wanted. So using this again, I felt like I really had to take my time (which I don’t usually have the time to do that!) The end result was okay – they were a nice shape, they were even (after combing through a lot) but the colour was not quite as dark as I’d like. The NYX Micro Brow pencil is just so much easier to use as the nib is very small and I can get theΒ result I want with less effort and lessΒ stress.Β I would potentially try this again, but with a brow powder as well and not during the week when I’m in a rush to get ready.

abh2ABH

Eyeshadow
I thought I’d find the eyeshadow portion of this make up experiment easy because I do tend to use most of my palettes fairly regularly… except this one. When I reopened this again, I hadn’t realised how dark the shades all were. There is no light shade for a base. There are no lighter transition colours. All of them are dark and that made it really hard for me to do a wearable look. I took one of the ‘lighter shades’ thinking it would be okay to use as a transition colour… NOPE. It was really dark straight away and I was a bit like… oh shit. I stuck to the lighter shades in the palette (aka 4 shades) and had to dive in to my usual go-to palette to make it more wearable. I really don’t think I’ll be able to use this as an every day palette. I’d certainly dip into this for night out make up, but I have other eyeshadow pans in my go-to palette that I’d much rather use.

mobr0053f_1_l

Lip pencil
I used to use Peekaboo Neutral all. the. time. It was really tricky to get a hold of and I used to buy it in bulk from Amazon. Because it was tricky to get my hands on, I stopped buying it when I fell for MAC Whirl lip liner. It was much more pink than I remembered, but it wasn’t unpleasant! I prefer a pinkish-brownish nude and this overall look was maybe a little pinker than I would have liked but I was happy with it (: As it is so difficult to find in the UK, I’m probably not going to repurchase this for a while.

nyx

Lipstick
Again, when I was living in Spain and was v. make up happy, I would buy the same nude shade by different brands. I got the Rimmel lipstick in 45 and basically never used it. Then accidentally bought it again lol. When I used it again, it was pinker than I like now, but it felt really nice on the lips, so I’ll definitely be using it again! It won’t be my go-to lipstick, as I prefer my Maybelline and MAC ones, but it’s one I would consider when I want a more pink lip.

rimmel

VERDICT:
I was pretty pleased with the over all look. I thought my base make up looked brill, but the red bronzer kind of ruined it a little bit. I did actually apply my Makeup Geek ‘contour’ in Love Triangle before I left the house just to warm my skin up and tone down the redish hue. I was really disappointed how the eyes ended up because I expected more of the eyeshadow palette. However, I. AM. SO. PLEASED. WITH MY WINGED LINER! I never do winged liner (because I can’t do it) but I thought I’d try and it came off really well.

img_9438

What products have you rediscovered lately? What do you think of the ones that I used? Leave me a comment on here or on my instagram

Xo

Follow me on:

Instagram|Bloglovin|Twitter|Pinterest