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.

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4 small makeup touches that will make a big difference

I have picked up a few tips and tricks that I think make the world of difference to your makeup. None of them are groundbreaking, but just little touches that will really enhance any makeup look you’re going for – no matter how natural or glam.

Brow Gel

Brow gel is the ultimate tool to make your brows look realistic. Often when you have drawn your brows on with pencil or powder, they can look very flat and one dimensional as they’re all the same colour. To bring the dimension back into your brows, finish them with a brow gel. It’s up to you whether you’d like to choose a coloured one or just a clear one, but the difference will be massive! Not only will your brows now look much more natural and as though you’re seeing them in 3D rather than 2D, you can more precisely shape them as you’d like and they’ll be glued exactly where you want them all day.

Nude waterline

If you have fair-light skin, you may find that your water line can look a little red once you have all your base products on. In order to brighten that part of your eye and look more awake and generally more put together is to line your waterline with a nude eyeliner. You don’t want to use a white eyeliner because it will look far too stark and make your eyes look a little over exaggerated and anime-esque. It would be fine for more costume makeup or if you’d like to look like an anime character. A nude eyeliner should match your skin tone, or nearly at least and will brighten the eyes in a natural way. It is one of the smallest steps that makes the biggest difference in my makeup routine. Even when I’m wearing more natural makeup, I will do this trick.

Lower lash mascara

This one is down to personal preference because some people might not like the look of lower lash mascara on them. However, I find that it opens the eye and brings the whole eye look all together. Play around with different mascaras to find the best one for you. You may find that some will transfer onto your under eye area (which is SUPER frustrating) so be sure to play around with setting techniques too.

Colour correcting

This one may not be for everyone if you don’t need it, but colour correcting your redness or dark circles before you start can make a world of difference when applying your foundation. Especially if you have redness from acne, colour correcting with a green corrector will make it much easier to cover your spots. Often the redness can still poke through foundation. However, if you apply green, it will neutralise the redness and create a much easier base to cover. Likewise for dark circles, if you use a salmon/orange corrector, it will make the area much more one tone and will improve the coverage of your foundation when you apply it.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Do you have any small touches that make a massive difference to your makeup routine? Leave them below!

Xo

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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

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Products I always repurchase

There are certain products that I absolutely cannot be without and repurchase as
soon as they start to run low.

These are the products that I always repurchase:

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – Β£4.19

This concealer is super cheap and gives such full coverage! The shadeΒ Fair (01) usually matches my foundation colour and gives me any extra coverage I need. I’ve heard that some people have found this drying, but for me this is dry skin approved! It never picks up on dry patches and leaves my skin feeling moisturised and even. They’re recently launched a new shade Extra Fair (0) which is a great shade for me to highlight with. If you’re super fair too, this will be a great shade for you. This concealer doesn’t dry down too quickly, so gives you a good amount of play time. Since buying this, I haven’t even bothered trying any others – whether affordable or high-end.

I think this picture below speaks for itself!

img_9155.jpgMaybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick in 725 Tantalizing Taupe – Β£6.99

Tantalizing Taupe is my go-to nude lipstick shade. These lipsticks are just perfect. They’re really affordable, offer a massive shade range and feel great on the lips. Tantalizing Taupe is a great nude for pale skin. Without a lip liner, I think it would even be too pale for me. But with one, it’s stuuuuuuuunning. I also mix it a lot with other shades to create hybrid shades. I keep accidentally losing them, so I buy more, then find them all, so I’m pretty well stocked up on this!

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara – Β£19.50

I saw a lot of beauty influencers talking about this on Youtube aboutΒ 2 years ago and decided I had to try it out.Β Despite the hefty price tag, this mascara gives me the length and the thickness that I want and is totally worth the splurge in my opinion. You don’t even need to curl your lashes for it to give them a good curl! As soon as I feel the formula getting a little bit dry, I buy a replacementΒ straight away!

MAC Velvet Teddy Lipstick – Β£17.50

I have never actually come to the end of this lipstick before, but I do seem to lose them a lot. I often take this on a night out with me (mistake lol) and lose it. But it’s one of my favourite lipsticks I own and just have to replace it. It is quite a brown-nude, so I usually combine it with a more pinkish-nude to create a hybrid. Despite it being a matte lipstick, it is comfortable on the lips and still has a slight sheen to it. It is nice and pigmented with just one swipe.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara – Β£15

For a long time, my lower lash mascara would transfer onto my under eye, ruining my make up. I did some research into the best bottom lash mascaras and found this gem! I have not had this problem since! It’s a shame how little product you get with this product, but I don’t dare try another mascara for fear the same problem will happen again. My lashes are never clumpy or spider looking so I’m happy!

NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Ash Brown – Β£8

This shade matches my hair colour perfectly. I really like how thin this pencil is and it allows me to get a nice sharp line, but also lets me do create realistic brow hairs. I’ve tried more expensive brow pencils that haven’t performed as well, so why would I stray from one I love!?

img_9160.jpg

MAC Prep and Prime Skin Base Visage – Β£22.50

This was the first primer I ever bought, and was actually in the first high end beauty purchase that I ever made. It’s super soft on my skin and makes it feel really moisturised and smooth before I apply my foundation. One bottle of this lasts a really long time, so I don’t mind paying this much when I’m so pleased with the results. Also, if you purchase from MAC online, they quite often send a sample size of this with your order.

What are your products you always repurchase? Leave a comment here or on my insta! If you try any of these, let me know what you think!

Xo

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When to save and when to splurge

As nice as high end products are, who has the money to use exclusively high end in their make up routine!? Affordable and high end products are going head-to-head to see when you should save and when you should splurge.

COMPLEXION

Primer: HIGH END

A good base for your make up is one of the most important steps. Depending on your skin type, your primer could hydrate, mattify, blur pores etc. By doing these things, a good primer should also make your make up last longerΒ than it would without it.

I can’t say that I have noticed many drugstore primers, and the ones I have tried (NYX Angel Veil and L’Oreal Lumi Magique) left my skin looking dry and broke my make-up up. Maybe that’s because the drugstore options cater more towards oily skin types, which obviously doesn’t suit my dry skin. If you do have oily skin, try them out!

My go-to primers that I use every time I wear make-up (whether minimal or for a night-out) are MAC’s Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage and Make Up Forever’s Step 1 Primer in number 3 Hydrate.

I would always go high end for primer, mainly to cater for my dry skin. The Make Up Forever Step One range of primers is especially good as it has a primer for any skincare concern you might have!

Foundation: HIGH END

For day-to-day make-up,Β  I prefer to use a cheaper foundation that I’m not so worried if it runs out quickly. However, I do find it difficult to find an affordable foundation in a shade that matches my pale skin. My favourite one is Boujois Healthy Mix, which I have in the palest colour 51 Light Vanilla, but even that isn’t quite light enough for me and leaves me with white neck syndrome. Alternatively, The Ordinary have recently come out with two foundations – the Coverage and Serum foundations – which are super cheap at Β£5.90. Their shade range isn’t bad to start with, and I’m sure they’ll expand it further. However, the more affordable foundations just don’t have the same staying power and break up on me throughout the day. If I really want to look good, or really want my make up to stay all day,Β IΒ use Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation. It gives beautiful, buildable coverage, and creates a lovely glow from within. It is one of the only foundations I have that has survived my commute so far! I am definitely willing to pay more for foundations that match me well and I know will stay well, while making me look like a glowing goddess.

Concealer: AFFORDABLE

This is definitely a win for team affordable! There are so many great concealers in the drugstore that do the job of a high-end concealer just as well. The Maybelline’s Eraser Eye concealer is full coverage and moisturising and is super affordable. My favourite concealer is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer which is only Β£4.19 and comes in a shade pale enough for me! Also, recently a ‘super fair’ shade has been launched which is the perfect highlight shade for under the eyes and the middle of the face. It is the same colour as the fair neutral shade by Urban Decay and like a quarter of the price!

Powder: HIGH END

I’ve tried quite a few affordable powders and they just do not work on my dry skin. I often feel like powders are more geared towards oily skin types, but I want to set my foundation too! I’m not about walking around with a wet face! This one is dependent on your skin type, but I’ve found that affordable options make my face look as though it’s going to crack after a few hours. The Nars Soft Velvet Loose powder is great for setting the face, without looking cakey or changing the colour of your face. Using a coloured powder, rather than a ‘translucent’ one doesn’t leave you looking like a corpse (:

Blush: AFFORDABLE

There is not a single high-end colour that you can’t find an affordable version of. The Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is as good as everyone says it is and it’s easy to find on amazon (we don’t have Milani in shops in the UK). Some of the Revolution blushes are also great and they’re sooo cheap!

Bronzer: AFFORDABLE

For bronzer, I just can’t justify spending so much money on this when I know that I can find good affordable options. The first bronzer I ever bought was from Bare Minerals and it was soooo orange in tone rather than brown, it looked absolutely ridiculous on my pale skin. I think since then I’ve been a bit worried about the same thing happening again. Also, many high end bronzer pans are enormous(!) and you pay for a lot of product. If you’re really on a budget, MUA in Superdrug has some great bronzers that are pale girl friendly, but my favourite is a Makeup Geek contour shade called Love Triangle. It’s warm toned, super affordable, lasts a long time and is the perfect shade for anyone with fair skin. What more could you want?

EYES

Eyeliner: AFFORDABLE

I only have one high end eyeliner, because I just can’t justify spending Β£18 on a stick! I’m a real fan of the Sleek eyeliners – I’m pretty sure they only have black and white, but when applied into the waterline they don’t go anywhere all day! If you’re a fan of brighter colours, maybe you’ll have to turn to the high end, but be sure to check the more affordable options first. There are some really good options in Boots or Superdrug that give really good pigment.

Likewise with liquid eyeliner, I can’t justify the hefty price tag, plus I suck at liquid liner. Maybe if you can actually do a winged liner and do it every day, you could find justification in paying more, but I’m happy with my Rimmel and NYX eyeliners for the foreseeable future!

Eyeshadow: AFFORDABLE

I have a few high end palettes and have some cheaper shadows, and while the high end shadows are very good, there are cheaper alternatives that give the exact same pigment. Most of my eyeshadow kit is Makeup Geek because Marlena (the owner)Β just understands how to make amazing eyeshadows with great pigment. If you haven’t tried any of the Makeup Geek shadows, I’d highly recommend Beaches and Cream, Shimma Shimma and Vanilla BeanΒ just to get you started.

Mascara: DRAW

This one comes down to personal preference. There are great affordable mascaras, particularly Maybelline ones (I’ve never been a fan of L’Oreal mascaras). Recently I’ve been trying out the Maybelline Temptation Mascara and been really pleased with the results. It makes a great every day mascara. However, my true love will always be the Benefit Roller Lash. I get so much lift and volume with this that no other mascara compares. But this one is entirely up to you and your budget.

Brows: AFFORDABLE

I tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer when it first came out because I’d heard her products were cult faves and gave you perfect brows. I found it really disappointing. All the different angles on the brow pencil end made it very difficult to use and get the shape I wanted.

Instead, I love using the NYX Micro Brow Pencil, the one that is like a drugstore version of the Brow Wiz. The applicator is pretty small and thin so I can get natural brow hairs and get a nice thin line. They have a really good range of colours and even with very pale eyebrows, I don’t even use the lightest colour!

LIPS

Lipstick: AFFORDABLE

I think the drugstore might win this one. My faaaaaavourite lipstick is a Maybelline Colour Sensational lipstick in 725 Tantalizing Taupe. I have gotten through so many of these and seem to have about 3 at once in different bags. This is mainly because I misplace them, panic, and buy a new one rather than because I’m that extra πŸ™‚Β  Maybelline also have so many colours and tones that I’m sure you can find any colour you could want right there.

Lip liner: HIGH END

However, for lip liner, the higher end comes out as the winner. Mac Whirl Lip Liner is just brill. Some people find these a little dry, but I’ve always found that these go on well, and it compliments the colour lips I usually go for (nude). However, if you are looking for something a little cheaper, the NYX lip liners are pretty creamy and come in a nice array of colours.

Lip gloss: AFFORDABLE

THEREπŸ‘πŸΌISπŸ‘πŸΌNOTπŸ‘πŸΌAπŸ‘πŸΌSINGLEπŸ‘πŸΌHIGHπŸ‘πŸΌENDπŸ‘πŸΌCOLOURπŸ‘πŸΌYOUπŸ‘πŸΌCAN’TπŸ‘πŸΌGETπŸ‘πŸΌFORπŸ‘πŸΌLESS! (CAUSE WHO HAS THE MONEY HONEY)

If you want some great lip glosses, go to NYX. Swatch around in Boots/Superdrug. If you want a clear gloss, go to Natural Collection. You do not need to spend Β£15 on MAC’s clear lip gloss that is half the size when you can get it for a couple of quid. In terms of lip toppers, I love Jouer’s ones. They are GORGEOUS. I’m not really sure how these fall as they’re not super high end, or affordable. These are starting to emerge in more affordable forms now, and I’m super excited to try them out.

The overall score is: Affordable 9 – High end 5

I am actually a little surprised that the affordable products did as well as they did, but it just shows that as good as high end is, or perceived to be, if you look in the right places then you can really save your money! (to buy more high end lol)

High end is definitely better for the complexion products, especially as they usually cater for a wider range of skin types, skin colours andΒ undertones. Foundations are so hard to find for anyone lighter than ‘nude’ and darker than ‘tan’, but looking to certain high end brands makes this much easier.

At the end of the day, as long as you love the make up you are putting on, that is all that matters.

Xo

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