Best of the Budget Bunch

September 9th, 2013

September 9th, 2013

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In the battle for your bucks, high street make-up goes toe-to-toe with luxury brands.  Warpaint rounds up the contenders.

With so many high street brands now available, charging a quarter of the price of the big name alternatives, MUAs can pack out their kits without too much financial pain.  But what are the best products for savvy savers?  These high street heroes stand out among the rest, and happily hold their own against their more expensive counterparts.

Ace of Base


When it comes to base products, a lot of people think you need to invest quite heavily.  But you would be surprised at the results you can achieve with products that can be easily and inexpensively purchased.  In terms of primers, L’Oreal’s Lumi Magique Primer (£9.99 at Boots) is an excellent offering, regardless of price.  This pearlescent liquid blends easily, smells gorgeous and offers a real ‘glow from within’ without any childish sparkle.

If you ask any beauty blogger, you can almost guarantee that their concealer of choice will be Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19 at Boots).  Thick but creamy, it lasts for hours and blends like a dream.

As for foundation, there are literally hundreds on offer.  Our pick of the best would be Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (£9.99 at Superdrug), which has recently had its formula tweaked to make it even better than the award-winning original – light, dewy, but with great coverage, it easily stands up against those at double the price.  Other great choices are Max Factor’s Facefinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation (£11.99 at Superdrug), which is fairly pricey for high street but combines primer, foundation, concealer and SPF20 in one sleek package, or Rimmel’s Wake Me Up Foundation (£8.99 at Superdrug), which instantly refreshes your face, and has SPF15 to boot.

Eye, Eye


High-street eye products are one of the easiest ways to experiment with colour and style without breaking the bank.  The quality of high-street brand shadows, liners and mascaras over the last few years has improved exponentially, meaning you don’t have to be worried about upsetting your sensitive eye area.

For eyeshadows, Bourjois Little Round Pots (from £6.99 at Boots) are well-reputed, and rightly so!  Richly pigmented and beautifully packaged, they last forever.  Boots’ own Seventeen range also offer a huge variety of silky-smooth single and triple eyeshadows from only £3.89.  Another great choice is Maybelline Colour Tattoo cream eyeshadows (£4.99), which are probably the best cream eyeshadows on the high-street.  Comparable with MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pots or NARS Eye Paints, these crease-proof shadows can double as cream liners or shadows, and last for hours.

Rimmel’s ScandalEyes Kohl waterproof liners (£3.99) are excellent cream-pencil liners, and offer a rare nude colour which is great for lining the waterline to open up the eye – an excellent rival for Urban Decay’s 24/7 liners.  For liquid liners L’Oreal Superliners have all the bases covered with their range of thick-to-super-thin brushes.  Choose from chunky Blackbuster (£6.99 at Superdrug) for bold 60’s flicks or the 0.4mm tip on the Perfect Slim (£6.99).  Revlon also have a fantastic offering in the gel eyeliner arena with their Colorstay Crème Gel Eyeliner (£8.99 at Boots).  A super-fine tip and long-lasting formula means that professional results are easy and affordable.

Mascaras should be replaced every few months to avoid eye-irritating bacteria growth, which puts a lot of people off investing in expensive brands – and quite rightly, as there are some excellent offerings out there.  Max Factor reigns supreme when it comes to high-quality, high-street mascaras, with both their Masterpiece Max Mascara (£9.99 at Boots) and 2000 Calorie (£7.99) being two of the best mascaras in the market, regardless of price.

Lip Service


Budget lip products have often been criticized for their lack of pigmentation or staying power.  But there has been wave of new lip products which mimic the success of products such as Clinique Chubby Sticks or MAC’s hyper-pigmented lipsticks.  To prep your lips, try new Maybelline Babylips balms (£2.99 from Boots or Superdrug), which have either SPF20 or a hint of colour to them, depending on your choice.  Another fantastic and widely-available choice is Burts Bee’s Beeswax Lip Balm (£3.69 from Boots), with delightful twists to the popular formula also available, such as Pink Grapefruit, or a touch of colour with shades such as Hibiscus.

If you want the light, moisturising wash of colour from a Chubby Stick but don’t want to shell out £18, try No.7 High Shine Lip Crayon for half the price (available at Boots).  They don’t have such a wide shade range, but their formula is buttery soft and more moisturising than other high street crayons which are available.

For a more solid colour, but still subtle, L’Oreal Rouge Caresse Lipsticks (£7.99 from Boots or Superdrug) come in a wide variety of colour and have a lovely subtle sheen which can easily be built up, or bloggers’ favourite Revlon Lip Butters (£7.99 from Boots or Superdrug).  Another lovely choice is the Seventeen Mirror Shine Lipsticks, whose sheer, glossy colour and handy mirrored cases belie their miniscule price tag of £4.79 (available at Boots).

To make a real impact with lip colour, Rimmel’s Kate Moss Lasting Finish range of lipsticks have received huge props for their long-lasting formula, and the latest addition of matte finishes will be perfect for A/W13 (£5.49 from Boots or Superdrug).  Sleek True Colour lipsticks have also been compared to NARS formulas, but at only £4.99 a pop (available from Superdrug) you can afford three times as many.  For a real pop of bright colour that lasts all night, try Max Factor Colour Elixir Pen Sticks (RRP £6.99).  Easy to use and hyper-pigmented, the glossiness wears to a stain-effect that lasts all night long.

Blush and Bronze


For high-quality and intensely pigmented powders, look no further than Sleek’s palettes.  Their Contour Kit, which contains a contour powder, highlighter and either Rose Gold blusher or Shimmering Bronzer depending on your shade choice (£9.99 from Superdrug), contains everything you need in one handy palette.  They also offer a Blush By 3 palette, with three complimentary shades of blush in both matte and shimmer finishes (also £9.99).

Bourjois Little Round Pot blushes are as coveted as their eyeshadows, and they have recently released some lovely cream blushers to join their original powder range (£7.99 from Boots or Superdrug).  Of particular note is their newly released Blush Exclusif, which uses self-adjusting technology to appear as different shades of pink to match personal skin-tones, based on pH-balance.

For a natural tan without the skin damage, there are a variety of great bronzers which will have you thinking twice against splashing out for that packaged glow.  For great value bronzer, try the MUA Professional Mosaic Bronzer (£2.50 from Superdrug) which gives a natural-looking, multi-hued radiance.  Bourjois Delice de Poudre is another beautifully textured option, with a delicious chocolate scent and a hint of gold (RRP £6.99).


There are two words which have been thrown around more than any other when it comes to widely available brushes and tools: Real Techniques.  And with good reason, as their brushes are used by industry professionals and bloggers alike, and produce outstanding results.  Although pricier than other high-street brands, their availability and handy sets make these worthwhile splurges (prices from £6.99, available from most Boots and Superdrug stores).  Another slightly more purse-friendly option is the range of Cosmopolitan brushes, which are available from Superdrug (prices from £3.59).



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By Deborah Murtha

3 responses to “Best of the Budget Bunch”

  1. Valerie Spence says:

    Wonderful review of a wide range of products very enlightened

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