We are mostly weary of products boasting quality at such low prices, and, well, if you haven’t had the “pleasure” of trying really cheap – read crappy – makeup because you were A.) lured by the low prices, B.) a teenager on a low budget, or C.) simply desperate for ANY makeup because your dog ate your makeup bag (it happens!), you can’t really understand the fear! But sometimes, the wallet speaks louder than the love of really expensive makeup (as in, after all the 0nly-one-more-gift-Christmases and More-Champagne! New years’ parties!) and we have to go for the budget shelves at the store. But fear not, “cheap” does not necessarily mean poor quality anymore, quite the contrary in fact. Here are our favorite affordable makeup brands that actually deliver on their quality promises!
I doubt there’s anyone out there that hasn’t heard about E.L.F. at this point, (and if you haven’t, where have you been, living under a rock?) but not everyone realises how good the products actually are! The eyeshadows have incredibly good pigment, as do the lipsticks, and they have amazingly good quality brushes, which is an absolute must in my book, and with prices starting at £0.64, yes, that’s right, you read it, .64p! for a lipstick, you can really go for it and not lose the house! They started as an online only brand but now retail at Superdrug also.
We loved it when H&M brought out a whole new beauty line of products to compliment their garments. The collection keeps getting bigger. And better. They even added an H&M Conscious range to their beauty line. The only problem is, where to choose from? We want it all! Basic accessories start from £1.99 and colour products start from £2.99, you can pick up the Jewel Bettle Nail Polish or Flutter false lashes for £3.99, or a single eyeshadow for £4.99. Available at H&M stores.
MUA Makeup Academy
I can’t even tell you how many of their eyeshadow palettes found their way to my makeup kit, right alongside my MAC palettes, Illamasqua eyeshadows and Chanel lipsticks. They are just that good! Incredibly pigmented, and with oh so many colours to choose from and starting at £3.00, they won’t break the bank and easily update you makeup wardrobe. If you’ve ever been to Superdrug, you’ve seen this on the beauty aisle. If you haven’t, go and have a play with their Luxe Light Lustre Liquid Highlight – £5 -, the Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers – £3.00 each – or the new palettes in Dusky Curiosities (6 pan) – £3.50 -, Cashmere Collective (25 pan) – £8.00 – and my personal favourite, Green Goddess – Hello! – (15 pan) – £5.00. I guarantee you’ll take them all home.
With prices starting at £2.99, (the Matt Nude Rose Palette retails for £3.99!!) we know you’ll want to take the lot home. Their Lasting Perfection Concealer rivals many pro and luxury brands in texture, coverage and lasting power, and it costs a whooping £4.19. We love the Speedy Highlighter stick, the Lash Surge Volumising Mascara, the Eyes Uncovered Palette, the Lasting Colour Lipstick, the… Available at Boots.
Freedom Makeup London
Freedom offers the possibility of creating your own palette, their #ProArtist refillable magnetic palettes hold anything from 18 to 35 eyeshadows or 8 to 12 blush pans, or contour and highlight, or you can mix and match at will. The eyeshadow pans start at as little as £2 each and the blush ones at £3 each and are beautifully pigmented, and being a standard size will fit in just about any refillable palette out there! Why not try their HD Eye Foils sets of 5 eyeshadow refills for £5 or the #ProArtist Light Packs sets of 3 highlighters for £5, or… you get the drift. Available at Superdrug.
An absolute find in their makeup section are the PS. Pro brushes. They are beautifully soft, compact and blend like a dream! Blending your foundation will never be the same again after you’ve tried these. And starting at as low as £2.50, they’re an absolute steal! They also carry beautifully pigmented eyeshadow refill pans for as little as £0.60! Not to mention the total geek-out Harry Potter inspired brushes – yes, I’m that geeky -, Shimmer bricks to rival luxury brands, Velvet Foundation that you can costumise coverage and the list goes on… Available at Primark stores.
So many palettes, so little time! Most of their Iconic palettes are near perfect dupes for other more famous – and pricier – highstreet brand palettes, with incredibly good colour pay-off and great blendability. Their Precision and Blending brushes are absolutely gorgeous as are their liquid highlighters, shimmer bricks and camouflage palettes. Retails at Superdrug. Prices start at £1.00 (!) for single eyeshadow or blusher. And Oh, we love the Signs Collection!
The Topshop makeup collection is just as fashionable as their clothes. And entirely just as desirable. You can get your nude lipstick for £8, mono eyeshadow for £7.50 or cushion foundation for £12, or one of our favorites, the Glow highlighter for £10. Available at Topshop.
I Heart Makeup
The packaging is (a-hem), let’s say retro-chic, but the pigment is top-notch. Total love affair with their Orange Chocolate Eyeshadow palette, actually the whole I Heart Chocolate collection, the Unicorn brushes (yes, a total but-I-want-it! moment) and their blushers and highlighters are fabulous. Available at Superdrug, it retails for as little as £1.99 for a lipstick.
Morphe has been a brand of choice amongst makeup artists for a long time. Primarily because of their high quality low price brushes, but the quality of their makeup palettes is nothing to sneer at. At £23 for palette of 35 eyeshadows or £19 for 25 eyeshadows, it’s an absolute steal! The pressed pigments have great colour pay-off and so do the metallic liquid lipsticks, and they glide smoothly. Prices on individual products are as low as £2.50, and it’s available at BeautyBay.
Just like Freedom, Makeup Obsession offers the possibility of creating your own palette, their refillable palettes hold anything from 6 to 12 eyeshadows or blush, contour, highlight or lipstick pans. The eyeshadows are beautifully pigmented, as are the lipsticks! And the brushes are beautifully designed and blend oh so smoothly. Prices start at £2. Available at Boots.
Colours galore, textures to match every taste, Kiko give other pro brands a run for their money. We love the Colour Correct Concealer Palette, Unlimited Foundation, Full Coverage Concealer, Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush, Smart Cult Eyeshadow Palettes, Water eyeshadow, and this list could go on forever. Prices as low as £2.50, available at Kiko Stores across the country.
The brushes, oh the brushes, are an absolute dream. The palettes are gorgeous and so beautifully pigmented. I have an absolute love affair with their highlighters and blushers and did I mention the brushes? With prices as low as £5.50, you’ll want the entire collection. Available at CultBeauty.
They might not be the cheapest on the market, but they’re a must go-to choice if you like colour in your makeup. Colours, shades, textures, you can costumise your palette with their highly pigmented eyeshadows, lipsticks or blushers, or just go for the individual items. Colour and brushes start from £6.00. Available at Inglot Stores.
NYX Professional Makeup
Again, everybody should have heard about NYX by now, if you haven’t, well, now is the time to learn about it. The quality of product is as good as any other pricier pro brands out there without the price tag, making it a firm favourite amongst makeup artists everywhere. Jumbo eye pencil in French Fries is a personal favourite and it’s only £5.50 at Boots.
Well, the name says it all! Amazing colour pay-off, insanely good pigments, fantastic brushes, what’s not to geek about? With prices as little as £4.95, and the possibility to create your own palettes, you’ll have a hard time not choosing it all! Available at BeautyBay.
This West London brand is cruelty free, includes a vegan range and the Ebony collection is specific for darker skin tones. Quality pigments and good blendability, with prices as little as £1.89. Their Camera Ready Prime Magic is fantastic and costs a whooping £3.99. Have I mentioned the palettes? You MUST try the palettes! Great dupes (yet again!) at great prices. Available on Amazon.
Sleek is an all time favourite. We keep coming back to it again and again. Great price palettes with beautiful colours and pigment, a good selection of foundation and concealer shades, beautifully blendable blushers (we do love the Sweet Cheeks blusher sticks) and drool worthy highlighters, there’s so much to play with that with prices starting at £1.99, you’re sure to find a good reason to buy a product. Or 10. Available at Boots.
We’ve know for a long time that we could count on Barry M for that burst of funky colour in our makeup wardrobe. Proudly Cruelty Free since ’82 – thank you for that! – the London brands has been known for their superb pigments, trendy colour collections and we love their Colour Changing Lip Paint (hello customisable lip colour!) With prices as low as £2.99, you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose! Available at Superdug. Oh, and have you seen those brushes??
Milani have literally taken the beauty world by storm with their remarkably intense colours and fantastic results. And priced at as little as £4.00 for a lip liner, they’ve been steadily finding their way into our makeup bags. The Baked Blushes are a dream as are their Conceal and Perfect 2 in 1 Foundation and Concealer and we just want every single one of their Everyday Eyes Powder Eyeshadow Collection palettes. Every.Single.One. Find them at BeautyBay and get lost in the choices.
So this is very good news for all those fitness-junkie-makeup-bunnies out there! If you wouldn’t dream of going to the gym without your makeup on but hate the melted-like-I’ve-just-walked-through-the-pits-of-Hell look you usually end up with after doing 30 mins on the power plates (all that expensive makeup, just wasted away…), then this is for you. A range that is designed specifically to perform at it’s best while you sweat it out at the gym to achieve your personal best, and it doesn’t cost the house! The SportFX range is designed to survive that crazy spin class or your hour long
torture session with your personal trainer! The Sport Stamina Mascara is smudge and waterproof and a whooping £7.99 – say goodbye panda eyes! – and the Core Cream Concealer with SPF 20 is long-lasting and sweatproof – we appreciate the thought, trully – and only £8.99. Available at SportFX.com.