Budget Proof Make Up

This post is triggered by a comment Alison left last week on my post on Benefit Cosmetics. Benefit is indeed an expensive make up brand. No matter where you are located. Therefore, it is always a good idea to try and find cheaper alternatives.

Drug store brands from around the globe often offer some very good products for only a fraction of the price you pay for high end brands like MAC, Benefit, Chanel or Dior. You do have to be a bit of Sherlock to find them, but if you’re patient you don’t have to spend a fortune to find some fun make up to play with. Cheaper make up brands are cheap and definitely have some good quality products. However, not every single thing from every single brand is as good. (This is even the case for the more expensive brands.) Since it can be a bit hit or miss, I thought it would be nice to list some tips for buying cheap(er) make up.


Some of my drug store make up

Tip #1: Mascara

Mascara definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. I used to use the Dior Iconic Show Extreme for about a year which costs over 30 euros. Earlier this year I decided to find a cheaper alternative, because I had heard that drugstore mascara are as good as, or sometimes even better, than high end ones. After trying 5 different mascaras I came to the conclusion that I like the Maybelline Define-A-Lash Volume Mascara but also the newer One by One mascara  is one of my favorites. These mascaras both retail for around 13 euros, but drugstores often have promotions and then you usually pay no more than 10 euros: a third of the price of the Dior one!

Tip #2: Eyeshadow & Eyeliner

My favorite make up product would have to be eyeshadow. You could start your own collection of MAC eyeshadows, Dior palettes or swear by the 24/7 liners by Urban Decay. But if there is one thing that DOES NOT have to be expensive it’s eyeshadow and eyeliner.

The only eyeliners I have that are high end are the black & brown ones I use most. But if I feel like busting out a different color, which I probably only use once or twice a year, I don’t feel like spending 20 euros on a pencil. Instead, I bought a bunch of cheap once from a brand called Essence when they were on sale at my local drug store. They don’t stay put as well as the more expensive ones, but you can always set the eyeliner with a bit of eyeshadow or powder to make it last longer.

For eyeshadow I don’t even know where to start: there are simply too many options. As long as the pigmentation is good, and the eyeshadow isn’t too chalky, you’ll be able to work with it. For cheaper brands I tend to find a great variety of quality even within the same line though. So make sure you swatch and test things in the store. Some brands to look out for: NYX (online, or in stores in the US), Catrice, Essence, Gosh (when on sale), and the notorious 88 palettes (or other variations). You get 88 eyeshadows for less than 20 euros. I have a 120 palette myself, which is great and only cost me 22 euros.

Tip #3: Lipgloss & Lipstick

I’m not too big on lips. My lips have a lot of pigmentation, making it difficult to work with lip products. That is why I don’t want to spend too much money on this. Most of my lipsticks and lipglosses are by drug store brands. My favorites: Maybelline Color Sensational lipsticks & lipglosses and Rimmel lipsticks (the purple ones, NOT the other ones). Good color selection and the lipsticks have a nice texture, go on easily and great pigmentation.

Tip #4: Blush & other face products

My favorite blushes are the boxed powders by Benefit. But there are plenty of cheaper alternatives out there. ELF is a budget brand (only 1 euro/ dollar/ pound) and their blush in Glow is one of my favorites! NYX also has some very nice blushes, but I prefer their cream blushes along with the new Maybelline Dream Touch Blush. But also NYC’s colorwheels and BeautyUK blushes are very nice to work with. Another UK brand that is worth mentioning here is Sleek. They have a dupe for NARS Orgasm (Rose Gold). You get a lot of product, the blush is super pretty and only costs around 5 pounds.

Tip #5: Nail Polish

My other make up addiction is nail polish. THE budget brand for nail polish is Catrice. At only 2.50 euros per bottle and a great color selection this is the best nail polish brand out there if you ask me. Also, UK brand Eyeko had some great colors and cost only 4 euros. For nail polishes it is also worth checking online stores, as expensive brands such as OPI can cost only a fraction of the price you pay in The Netherlands.

Tip #6: Try finding dupes

Cheaper brands also make products that are very much like some of the high end ones. I already mentioned the Sleek blushes, but there is way way more. Catrice has a nail polish which is an exact dupe for a much sought after Chanel polish. Accessorize and Famous (UK brands) have mineral/ baked eyeshadow dupes for MAC and British brand Me Me Me have dupes for the Benefit boxed powders, Benefit’s famous Benetint and Posietint, as well as Bobby Brown’s shimmer bricks.

On youtube you can find people talking about dupes. My favorite? Wayne Goss, aka Gossmakeupartist. He compares not only the price, but ALSO how much product you get. So make sure you check him out. If you are interested in some of his dupe videos you can check his channel.

List of drug store/ cheaper brands mentioned: (incl. links to websites/ webshops)

  • ELF – Available at Target or online
  • ME ME ME – Available at Super Drug in the UK.
  • Sleek – Available at Super Drug in the UK, or online via their websites and numerous webshops
  • Beauty UK – Available at Super Drug in the UK.
  • NYX – Available in stores in the US, in Europe only online.
  • Catrice – German brand available in NL at Kruidvat.
  • Essence – German brand available in NL at Kruidvat.
  • Maybelline – not per se budget proof, but my drug store has plenty of offers. discounts for this. Selection varies per country.
  • Rimmel – not per se budget proof, but my drug store has plenty of offers. discounts for this. Selection varies per country.
  • Gosh – not per se budget proof, but my drug store has plenty of offers. discounts for this. Selection varies per country.
  • Accessorize – Available at Super Drug in the UK.
  • Famous – Available at Super Drug in the UK.
  • 88 palette/ 120 palette – Available through Coastal Scents, Ebay, Boozyshop (NL), etc.
  • NYC – Available in US drug stores, in The Netherlands at Kruidvat.
  • Eyeko – Available at Super Drug in the UK. Or via their website: shipping within Europe is free of charge.

Not all brands can be found online and are only available in certain countries/ groups of countries, but with a bit of a google search you’ll be able to find webstores that stock brands you have never even heard of and at a price which is cheaper than in the stores. Just beware of Ebay.

One Comment Add yours

  1. AWildDog says:

    Ah thanks hun, there are some great cheaper brands in the UK, will have to do a blog on what I use. I’m slightly fussy about my make up, especially mascara and eye liner cus they combine forces with my hayfever and kill my eyes!

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