It’s easily done; you go to the chemist because your mascara has run out and you end up being seduced by the latest wonder cream or new lipstick. Before you know it you’ve gone way over your budget and you’re filled with buyer’s remorse.
If you’ve done this more times than you care to admit, we’re here to help.
We’ve been hunting down bargain beauty essentials, swapping their more expensive buys for more affordable alternatives. Just because you’re living on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t look great!
1. Make up remover
Gentle, effective cleansing is important and can greatly reduce breakouts. Micellar Water is a cult beauty buy that’s loved by bloggers and makeup artists, some well-known brands can charge as much as £24 a bottle.
Swap it for a more purse-friendly alternative for clean, clear and balanced skin on a budget:
Budget: Garnier Micellar water 400ml £4.99
Super saver: Boots Micellar water 200ml £1.99
Having a deeper clean in the morning, or just before you go to bed at night can help keep your skin clear. You should also exfoliate a couple of times a week to flush away dead skin cells. Luxury exfoliators and facewash can be pricey though, and you can pay up to £10 for a 150ml bottle.
Opt for a cheaper alternative and if you need to exfoliate just add sugar to it a few times a week to slough away dead skin cells:
Budget: Simple Refreshing Facial wash 150ml £3.45
Super saver: Boots Sensitive Cleansing wash 150ml £1.99
You don’t need to spend a fortune to keep your skin in top shape. Some big brands charge £30-£50 for a small pot promising to keep you looking youthful but may not deliver.
Ideally you just need a cream that moisturises and protects your skin from the sun, you could try:
Budget: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Day Cream Radiance SPF 20 50ml £11.99
Super saver: Boots Simply Sensitive Moisturiser SPF 15 125ml £1.99
Luxury mascaras often have crazy price tags, but it’s the wand that’s the key; a good mascara isn’t just about the colour and staying-power of the lacquer – it’s the shape of the wand which determines how well it applies.
Have a look at the testers of cheaper products and find a wand that suits the shape you’re trying to get – for volume try a bushier brush shape:
Budget: Maybelline Great Lash BIG Mascara in Black 12.5ml £4.99
Super saver: MUA Extreme Volume Mascara in Black 9ml £2.00
5. Eye cream
If you’re getting worried about wrinkles around your eyes it’s easy to get tempted by luxury eye creams that promise to stop the ageing process.
However, there are cheaper alternatives that may help you tighten those eye bags and reduce puffiness:
Budget: L’Oreal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream £11.99
Super saver: Boots Essentials eye Gel 15ml £1.50
If you suffer from a greasy t-zone, and need a little powder to keep the shine at bay you may have noticed how many powders claim things like ’24 hour coverage’ or ‘all day shine-free’. But don’t be lured in by false promises.
You’ll be hard-pressed (sorry about the pun) to find much difference between the high end and budget versions of these products, which are basically just safe talcs to mop up your skin’s natural oils:
Budget: Max Factor Crème Puff in Translucent 05 21g £6.99
Super saver: MUA Pressed Powder 22g £1.00
We all love a winged eye, but finding a liquid eyeliner that’s easy to apply and has staying power can be a big ask. It’s easy to get carried away with luxury ones from £10 up to £30.
Experiment with cheaper versions for less than a fiver:
Budget: Barry M Eye Define Liquid 2.5g £4.79
Super saver: COLLECTION Fast Stoke Eyeliner in Black 3.8g £2.99
When it comes to foundation, the women on our team are almost exclusively living without this once-essential beauty buy. One by one we’ve all decided that we’d rather get our skin in better shape than wear it. Our advice? Dump your pore-clogging foundation and just use some concealer on your t-zone and a light dusting of powder instead.
However, if you just can’t live without it, try and cheaper brand next time you need stock up:
Budget: Rimmel London Stay Matte 30ml £6.00
Super saver: I heart foundation 30ml £1.99
If we’ve convinced you to ditch your foundation, and you just need to conceal the odd zit or under your eyes, try swapping your fancy concealer for a cheaper brand:
Budget: COLLECTION Lasting Perfection Concealer ml £4.19
Super saver: MUA Cover and Conceal 7.5ml £1.50
We couldn’t do a run-down of the bargain beauty essentials without looking at a contour kit – right now they’re a big deal.
Some kits come in at astronomical prices but there are cheaper dupes available in chemists:
Budget: Sleek Face Contour Kit 20g £7
Super Saver: B Sculptued Contour Kit £3.15
Matte lipstick is a great way to add a splash of modern colour to your look, but if you don’t have the budget for designer brands you’re not going to miss out.
Grab a bargain dupe at the chemist and get the same look for less:
Budget: Maybelline Colour Drama Lipstick £4.99
Super saver: MUA Matte Lipstick £1.00
If you’re cleansing on the move then face wipes are always handy, but they can be pretty pricey too. You can spend up to £6 on one pack, but you could try a cheaper option:
Budget: Nivea Daily Essentials Facewipes (25) £3.19
Super Saver: Superdrug Essential Cleansing Wipes (25) £0.99
Even if you’re not treating yourself to more expensive beauty products often, it’s easy to see how swapping some of your makeup for cheaper pharmacy alternatives can help your grooming budget go further. Take a look through your beauty bag and see what you could save?
Got a recommendation? If you think you know some even better beauty bargains we’d love to hear from you in the comments….