There are some absolute gems out there in terms of budget beauty: anyone who says high end is better is at least like, 40% wrong. I have some budget offerings which are a hell of a lot better than some high end equivalents. Your best bet when choosing to invest in a luxury make up item is to do your research – is it going to be worth the money, or should you head off to the likes of Rimmel and Maybelline and steer yourself away from the Benefit eyeshadows (hint: always steer yourselves away from the Benefit eyeshadows)?
Although I adore my Bareminerals foundation and will probably never use an eyeshadow primer other than Urban Decay’s, fortunately, a lot of the time it’s just not worth investing because there are some really, really good bits and bobs in the drugstore. Here are some of my absolute favourites which frankly, are worth a hell of a lot more than you pay for them.
- Bourjois Primer – £10.99 at Boots, buy one get one half price at the minute! This is such a good primer – we all know Bourjois is fab anyway but this is a real gem. The formula reminds me of the Smashbox Hydrating Primer which I’m really loving in the cold weather, but this leaves you looking even more luminous, without being shimmery.
- Barry M Nail Paint – £2.99 – £4.99 depending on whether you want a basic nail paint, a gel/special effects polish or one of the more extravagant magnetic formulas. These are just fab – they’re possibly even better than the Essie polishes I own and at half the price, I’m all over that. Huge shade range and a really great formula, plus they’re always on offer (buy one get one half price right now!)
- Maybelline The Falsies Mascara – £7.99. I’ve used about 10 bottles of the waterproof version of this so far, it’s just so good. A great all rounder – it lengthens, volumises and holds a curl, and unlike a lot of mascaras I’ve tried it’s equally as good when it’s brand new and wet as it is when it’s dried out a bit.
- NSpa Skin Renewal Gel – £7 from Asda but aaaalways on 2 for £8. This is a skincare offering – surprising, because as far as I’m concerned you really do get what you pay for when it comes to skincare. This is an exception, in that it’s a budget product but it’s really, really good. It’s a chemical exfoliator, so it removes dead skin cells without scrubbing, instead using natural acids. It’s suitable for sensitive skin though – I’ve been using this twice a week, on the two nights I choose not to use my Clarins Gentle Exfoliator. You massage this stuff in for a couple of minutes after cleansing, then leave for ‘a few moments’ (I leave it while I brush my teeth) and then massage a bit more, then wash off. The whole routine takes about 5 minutes but you’re left with beautifully soft, clean skin, and it’s a bit of a novelty too – it applies as a thick gel and after the massaging it breaks down into a lovely oil. It has a cracking ingredients list too – next to no rubbish, just fruit oils and natural goodness, which is what drew me to it initially.
- Kate Moss Lipstick – £5.49. I know you’ll have heard all about this, but I promise, it really is that good. The formula quality is up there with my most expensive lippies, and the colour of 107 is just perfect for the winter. These lipsticks are matte, but they’re not drying in the slightest. They apply smoothly and stay that way for a good while, just feeling velvety soft, and they contain castor oil to keep your lips that way too. They also have my name on the tube, which makes me feel pretty special.
- ELF Blusher in Gotta Glow – £3.75. This is the only ELF blusher I’ve tried, so I can’t vouch for the others, but this is just lovely. It’s a brilliant dupe for Nars Albatross highlighter, with the only real exception being that this has ever so slightly more gold in it. This isn’t glittery or shimmery once it’s applied – instead it just lifts your cheekbones (or just cheeks, if you’re like me) and gives your face a lovely subtle glow. You need the tiniest amount, so it’ll last you forever!
There we have it – some of my favourite budget beauty items which I would probably pay double the price for if they tried to make me. If you only try one thing from this post I recommend you give the NSpa gel a go – I guarantee you’ll be converted to chemical exfoliators afterwards. They’re much better for you and so lovely to use. Make up wise, it’s a tough one but the Bourjois primer maybe holds the top spot – it’s genuinely like the Smashbox but better. You can’t go wrong with any of the products I’ve mentioned though, they’re all great andto be honest with them being budget bits and bobs, you can get them all. Right?