When it comes to makeup, I’m proud to say I’m not a snob. There are so many great products out there at wallet-friendly prices that I don’t see the point in spending more than needed to get a colour fix. I invest in the things that need it – decent foundation, good concealer, soft, well-pigmented eyeshadows, luxury lipsticks in colours I wear a lot – and I have to confess I do get sucked in by pretty packaging and thus have a lot of Stila, Benefit and Too Faced palettes and gift sets. But when it comes to day-to-day makeup, a lot of the stuff I love the most comes from drugstore brands like L’Oreal, Revlon, Rimmel and Maybelline. I think these brands do brilliantly at bringing us cheaper versions of the coolest new formula or makeup trend, and when I’m trying something new like a bold lip or a strong blusher, I always go for a cheap fix. Here are five of my current favourites…
I always go a bit mad in Walgreens when I’m in the USA stocking up on brands that are either unavailable in the UK, or much cheaper in the USA. Maybelline is one such brand, and after buying one of these tint glosses on my first day in Vegas, I ended up going back for another the day I left. I love the melty texture, long-lasting tint and soft feeling on the lips, and the colours are beautifully wearable, even the bolder shades. The texture and feel is almost identical to the much-loved YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain, right down to similar shaped applicators. The gloss of the Maybelline one fades quicker, but I don’t mind that given that a more matte look is more stylish at the moment.
I love the really polished look you get from a brow wax and powder applied through a stencil and I have a great kit for this (from Shavata) but to be honest I can’t be bothered to do that every day. But because my hair is now a bit darker, I really need to add a bit of definition to my brows. This great 2-in-1 product was a brilliant find. On one end is a tinted pen, the other a self-sharpening pencil. I use the ‘Love is Blonde’ colour which just defines my light brown brows enough. The tint in particular is really great – I’ve never seen an eyebrow product like it and it really helps to neaten up a permanent gap I have at the bottom of one brow! It only takes a few seconds and really makes a difference to my face.
I get really dry lips at this time of year so I’m currently buying these up in loads of colours. They’re the perfect combination of lipstick and balm, and while they’re not as long-lasting as the Maybelline tint glosses, they’re beautiful to wear and so easy to apply from the pencil applicator that your barely need a mirror. This product is the cheap alternative to the much-loved Clinique Chubby Sticks, and to be honest they’re so good I’d never consider paying out twice the money for the more luxury alternative. The colours are more pigmented than you expect, but still soft enough you can get away with a bolder shade than you think (shown above is ‘Romantic’). Next on my list is the hot pink worn by Emma Stone in the ad campaign.
This is a brand new product from bargain beauty fiends E.L.F, and the moment I saw it I knew it had to be mine. I find cream blushes work much better in winter, when my skin is dry and powders can look a bit chalky. This heavily pigmented blush comes in a tiny pump bottle – don’t be put off by the dinky size, it’ll last you ages as you only need the tinest bit for a full flush of colour. It really is super-rich in pigment, and you’ll need a very light hand and a good brush to get the best effect (the E.L.F studio stipple brush is the obvious partner – as good as brushes that cost five times as much). My shade of choice is ‘Superstar’ a rich peachy pink.
I’m a slave to gel liner and have never really got on with liquid liners before, but this great find from L’Oreal may have changed my mind. I now have it in three colours, including the slightly sparkly ‘crystal’. It’s brilliant for creating 50s flicks, and much easier to carry around than a gel liner and brush for touch-ups. The tiny tube houses a clever brush that’s basically a hard, pointy sponge. It doesn’t give as much as traditional liner brushes which I find much better for getting a neat line. You do need to shake the tube before every application though (and when re-loading the brush) or it goes thin very quickly. Lasting power is great, though. Once this stuff dries, it’s there for the whole night!
What are your fave beauty buys for under a tenner?