Steal or Splurge: The BEST budget makeup brands around | Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle News | |

Steal or Splurge: The BEST budget makeup brands around

Alexis Day, Beauty Writer
Professional Makeup Artist

So 2017 is the year of austerity, something we havent seen since Margaret Thatcher was in power and gone is the idea of Spend Spend Spend.  Far too vulgar!

Instead, in place, is a new dawn of thinking; perhaps if Mr G Brown had done a bit of this a little earlier on in his reign over the country when in charge of the £££ and the Gov we might not necessarily be in the mess we are now.  Anyway, I digress.

What Im trying to get around to saying, is that actually all this pulling in of money belts is not such a bad thing, buy the statement pieces and rein in the want it, buy it now train of thought with our finances.  Im not saying NEVER to spend again, but more a little advice on choose wisely what you spend your pennies on.  Although, it is nice to have a little treat now and again, and what better than a guilt free budget makeup buy.  I did a bit of digging and have brought you a round up of the BEST budget makeup brands around where you can get some super treats, which actually stand up against some of their more designer cousins!

As we all know, back in our early teens, we are ALL guilty of getting makeup wrong, moneys tight, experience is lacking and sometimes our fashion sense is well, a little off kilter.  Mine certainly was: who remembers the classic brown eyeliner pencil used as a lipliner with some concealer or the palest cream lipstick we could get our hands on to create that UBER gorgeous lip. (my pics of looking like this have been banished to the shredder) But, as I always think, if you dont experiment and get it wrong, how can you learn to get it right?!

Anyway, gone are the god-awful cheapo brands of the past, with cakey, flaky and frosty makeup textures, and in place are a couple of blinking EXCELLENT makeup brands that all have things under £5.  Heres a selection of the best budget brands for you to create masterpieces with:

MUA (Make-Up Academy)

So far this is my top budget brand. It has over 100 makeup products that cost £1 each. £1 whole of the Queens pennies.  Per product. HOW good is that! 

This is sold exclusively in Superdrug and is WELL worth a check over.
One of my particular faves is their range of nail polishes; I have used on the Strictly Come Dancing stars, as well as some of my girl bands AND for a number of fashion shoots.  The quality of the polish is stunning and theyre exactly the right size for a makeup artist.  Currently rocking the Coral shade (shade 6) of polish on my fingers and toes perfect for summer.  You only need 1-2 coats for a great budget manicure.

Regular readers will recall we were sponsored by the lovely team at MUA for Pam Hoggs LFW AW11 show so lets face it peeps, if its good enough for Pam Hogg, its good enough for us

Barry M

Barry M has come on LEAPS and BOUNDS in the last 5 or so years, theyve really ruffled a few feathers with their extremely quick turnaround of on trend fashion forward nail polishes (the quality is as good if not better than Chanels Vernis) and the prices are astonishing.

 My personal favourite from them has to be their Dazzle dust which, if you catch them at the right time, you can get 3 for £5 in Superdrug and Boots, depending when they do their promotions.  OR they are just £2.99 each and last for goodness knows how long.  (Yes I know this isnt scientific but they last for ages)  They were also one of the first, and only, high street makeup brands to bring out the Nail Effects crackle polish at an affordable price.  About 90% of the range is less than a £5 and I have some warm love for this brand.  Theyre also all about colour and even though some of their beauty ads are a bit questionable, theyre at least cheerful!  Highly pigmented these items work really well on all ages, and all skintones. Hooray!


This is a godsend for makeup artists like myself, particularly when it comes to eyelashes!! Their ethos is £1.99 each item, or 3 for £5.  Now when you consider Eylure, Shiseido, MAC and Shu Uemera lashes cost upwards from £5- £125 each pair, how good is it that you can get 3 pairs for the cost of one.  Im not someone to request lashes back from a model after a shoot (unless of course its the limited edition gold ones from Harrods then can I keep them err hell no!)  Also great are their lipglosses and little skin jewels if youre putting together a makeup test.  

Natural Collection 

Well this is a Boots only brand, but has a fab range of natural inspired skin, hair and body products as well as make-up.  I would say they are a cheap and cheery version to The Body Shop  EVERYthing is under £5 which is simply unbelievable to be quite honest with you.

My personal favourite bits from them are their little face masks (which are great for girlie parties) priced at £1.01 each. I mean come on, whats NOT to love?!

This rosemary and witch hazel face mask actually got 5 stars from the Boots online community and I just think you cant go wrong with this treat.  Great for travellers who still want a bit of luxury pampering but at little cost.


Collection 2000

Collection 2000 is another brand who have really improved in the last 5 years, plus if like me, youre keen for makeup brands to NOT test on ANIMALS, then get involved with Collection 2000.  They have never tested and promise never to test on animals in order to create their makeup products.
Pictured here is an absolutely fabulous multi-use product which I remember buying when I was 17, the fact it is still in production to me, shows that its been a bit of a hit with the audience.  This all in one bronzing kit is fab and I remember creating the most beautiful cheekbones (I still dont have them naturally!) with the bronzer and made sure I had this in my bag at all times through my late teen years.  Theres 2 lip tints, 2 eye colours and a cheek colour for about £5.   Another GREAT tip for festivals and holidays, all you need are your brushes!


Another American import, NYC is slowly gaining its fans, although doesnt have a massive presence in the UK.  Its slogan is uptown style at down to earth prices which is quite nice (why dont more people think like this) and they seem to be keeping to it.

From what Ive tried out, I do really think their Showtime Waterproof mascara is a steal at £3.99!  It adds volume, and the waterproof wailer test I do on all my waterproof mascaras actually stands up to being dunked in water, rain splashes, AND a lot of crying. This is an excellent budget mascara is great for weddings and possibly even hayfever sufferers!  Another goodie is their mosaic face blushes and bronzes.  Available in Superdrug.

Slightly over the £5 limit:


Well this is a relative newcomer to the high street, but thats not to say it isnt any good. In fact its a bit of a ringer for a quirky San Franciscan makeup brand especially with their new range of blushers

Blush me Blush Boxes come in 4 colours with a brush applicator AND a mirror!  Ok so this particular product is over the £5 limit at £8.50 but given its competitor is approx £25 its not a bad one to mention.

I have tried out a few of their items, their eye line kohl pencils are £4.99 and great for blending and creating a smoky eye effect using pencil shades.


An OBG.  (Oldie but Goodie) Rimmel London has been a makeup staple for almost everyone I know, and certainly my entire peer group during my teen years.  I still love their Glam Eyes liquid eyeliner in Black and Brown, as well as their Eyebrow pencils and currently I am LOVING their new 25hour lasting foundation.  Fronted by the beautiful Zooey Deschanel, Rimmel has created a foundation that is sweat, heat, humidity and transfer-proof for up to a full 25 hours.

Does it really last 25 hours, well um, yes it does!  Albeit the intensity is not as strong as during the first few hours of application, but definitely still some coverage a day later.  And I have to admit, I tested this on people with young-ish skins so I cant officially claim it works on everyone, but will be looking at trying it out on some older, and dehydrated skin types just to see how well it stands against my other fave (the not so budget Chanel Vitalumiere).

They say it has a revolutionary formula, complete with a revitalizing mineral complex and moisturising aqua primer, and Im inclined to agree.  Although the colour shade offering is a bit poor to be honest, so if they can get that expanded to cater for black and asian skintones then were onto a real winner here.

Prestige Cosmetics

Originating from America, Prestige is now available in the UK at selected bigger retailers (mainly Superdrug and Boots).  Now, Ive had a little go at their mineral range, my personal fave is their mineral skin shimmer. In particular the MBZ-03 Pure Shimmer shade is EXCELLENT for recreating a High Beam, or Multiple esque illuminated finish on the face and body.  This comes in at approx £6.99 and it lasts for aaaggggeees.  Densely packed with a mix of golds, creams, vanilla, peach pigments, this mineral packed shimmer is a must for the coming summer holidays and festival season ahead for instant glam.
Just dont blame me now if you get carried away!!


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