Makeup is my downfall. I can’t resist it. I’d show you my collection but frankly it’s ridiculous for someone that doesn’t even wear it every day. I’ve tried a lot of products and am therefore fairly skilled when it comes to being able to dress my face for less. Nowadays formulas are so advanced that even extremely low-end products are high performance. Check out an MUA lipstick if you don’t believe me.
1. Don’t go high-end if you can’t afford it
Don’t believe all those articles that tell you that you should be spending a certain amount of money on certain makeup items. Yeah, sure, you might be one of those unlucky souls that has to spend a fortune on foundation but don’t automatically assume you should. The three foundations I rotate are all under a tenner, and are all awesome. Give them a go, you might be surprised (my skin is normal/dry)
Brushes are another thing that apparently you ‘need to invest in’. Nah. Check out Real Techniques, BH cosmetics, and ELF. I’m not saying that they’re the same quality as, say, Tarte, but they do the job well enough.
2. Eyeshadow Palettes
If you’re just getting into makeup, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of eyeshadows available. Get yourself a neutral-ish palette. It’s all you really need in the beginning. I highly recommend the Sleek Storm Palette Storm – it has 12 shades, is under a tenner and you can create loads of looks, from a sheer, shimmery, summery eye, to a metallic smoky look. I have 6 Sleek palettes and I love every single one.
3. Buy online
Here in the UK, we don’t have so many super-cheap makeup brands (Wet ‘n Wild, ELF, NYX, I’m talking to you). We have a few, like MUA, but I think that each brand has different strengths (MUA lip glosses, for example, are incredible, Wet ‘n Wild do and awesome foundation and ELF do great brushes. ELF now have a UK website which is well worth a look, and Amazon stocks a lot of US brands. Kiko, an Italian brand, are very good too – check out their eyeshadow sticks, which are apparently very similar to the By Terry Ombre Black Stars. This point leads us neatly onto
4. Check out dupes
YouTube has a plethora of dupes videos. I’d recommend Emily Noel and Tati as I find that they have the most accurate dupes. As you probably know, many cosmetic companies, both low and high end are owned by the same parent company and therefore use the same labs and ingredients.
5. Don’t believe the hype
Next time you watch an advert for mascara, watch out for the small print that appears at the bottom of the screen. Chances are, there’ll be a little sentence or two describing how the model is actually wearing lash inserts (basically posh falsies). Makeup is a multi-million-pound industry. Search ‘products not worth the hype on Youtube’ and you’ll see what I mean.
6. Don’t rely on magazine reviews
It’s shocking how many magazines just copy and paste the product description from the manufacturer straight into the magazine, rather than researching it first. Why? Magazines rely on advertisers, and a company won’t advertise a product if they think the magazine will give it a less than stellar review. I remember the last beauty magazine I ever bought – it claimed that the Garnier BB cream was suitable for pale skin and was suitable for dry skin. It. Isn’t. At. All.
Read blogs for more accurate reviews – you can also read multiple reviews of the same product to compare. I also find that blogs are more up to date than magazines.
Obviously, there are exceptions, and if you love magazines go ahead and buy them, just take their beauty reviews with a pinch of salt.
7. Don’t feel you need to have every product
I don’t need a primer, so I don’t buy it. This may sound a little obvious, but once upon a time, I would’ve had a wardrobe of primers because, well, I needed a primer. Now I know that actually my makeup goes on smoothly (and stays put) without one. Why waste the money? If you don’t contour, don’t buy contour. See also highlighters, brushes, eyelash curlers, lip liners, setting sprays, loose powder. Just buy what you’ll actually use.
8. Don’t repeat purchase
I’m the worst for this. I go into Superdrug, mosey on down to the MUA stand and buy a red lipstick. Exactly like my other 12 red lipsticks, Occasionally I’ll buy a nude (which I’ll never wear because my lips are naturally really pink and I look like I’ve gone overboard with the foundation).
I try now to only buy makeup that I need. It ain’t easy, trust me, but I’ve got a house to save up for.
9. Only buy when it’s on offer
This is my new firm rule. I signed up to email updates from Boots, Superdrug, Kiko and ELF, so I often get 3 for 2, free shipping (never buy from Kiko and pay for shipping – they offer it free all the damn time) or half price. There are also offers to be had on older stuff that’s been repackaged, for example, I got pretty much all of Tanya Burr’s lipglosses for £1 each because they were being repackaged and reformulated. I already knew I loved the formulation so why not? I also collect an obscene amount of Boots and Superdrug points.
10. Repurpose what you’ve got
So, you’re watching a makeup tutorial and the look calls for gel eyeliner and you’ve only got liquid. Use the liquid and go over it with a black powder. The resulting look will be practically the same, and it’ll last all night. You can also mix lipstick on the back of your hand to create a custom colour. Can’t afford a decent contour? Grab a face powder/foundation a few shades darker. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.
I hope these tips have been useful. I appreciate that it’s entirely possible to live without buying makeup at all, but that would be no fun at all.