Top 10 best budget beauty buys

Pharmacy make-up brands offer some real gems, many worthy of even the most sophisticated cosmetics case.

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, €7.99

This foundation, pictured, is a total bargain for those with oily or combination skin. The finish is truly matte, one often difficult to attain from a low-cost liquid base. 

The shade range is nice and neutral with no unflattering undertones. A little goes a long way, making this product even better value for money. 

The formula is very long-wearing and provides enough coverage to conceal redness, marks, and minor blemishes. Even acne sufferers should find it a useful addition to their morning routine.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Lash-Multiplying Mascara, €11.99

Lash Sensational is among the best mascaras available at any price point. The formula creates real bulk without clumping or flaking. The narrow, slightly curved brush causes lashes to fan out in a flattering fashion. 

This mascara provides more volume than length (pick up Maybelline Volum’ Express The Falsies Mascara, €11.99, if long lashes are your goal). Mascara is the make-up product that needs replacement most often (for hygiene reasons), so a cheap one this good is a real find.

Revlon Matte Lipstick in Nude Attitude, €10.69

This creamy Revlon lipstick offers all you need in a good matte: strongly-pigmented colour, a non-drying formula, and a shine-free finish. ‘Nude Attitude’ is my favourite shade, the rest of the range is a mix of trendy hues and classics. 

The texture is hydrating without being overly slick. Revlon ColorStay Lipliner, €8.69, is a great addition for those who like to shape their pout.

L’Oréal Color Riche Mono Eye Shadow, €7.99

These silky, richly-pigmented powders, pictured, are easy to work with and don’t shed. The colour choice is broad enough to cover all tastes. 

Most shades are iridescent (L’Oréal spokesmodel Luma Grothe wears a lot of #405 The Big Blue in the image above), which may highlight lines but there are a few mattes in the mix. #101 Macadam Princess, #106 Breaking Nude, and #107 Macaron Vanille are classics.

NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler, €15.99

This primer, pictured, has a thick texture that does give any make-up applied on top a noticeably smoother, brighter appearance. The oil-free formula contains dry-finish silicones that keep your complexion shine-free all day. 

The formula is not quite silicone-heave enough to completely hide skin’s natural texture. This can be considered a good or disappointing thing, depending on how made-up you wish to look. 

The formula suits all skin types and feels light and comfortable. Don’t be put off by the slight tint Pore Filler has straight from the tube, this turns sheer with very little blending.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Blush, €11.49

True Match blush is talc-based and creates a remarkably skin-like look for such a low-priced item. 

The powder has a glowing finish, rather than the tacky sparkle of so many budget cheek colours. The shade range is comprised of universally-flattering pink, apricot and honey hues. 

The brand’s information suggests that you match your blush to your complexion as you would a foundation or concealer from the True Match collection, but you really can make any one of the shades work with any skintone. A natural flush all about blending.

Given that no one blushes in just one colour naturally, you might try layering two graduations of the same shade for an even more authentic look.

Physicians Formula Eye Definer Felt-Tip Eye Marker, €10.90

This pen is a fine-pointed marker that works like a liquid liner. Felt-tips are the fastest, most fail-safe means of applying this kind of liner well provided they distribute product evenly and don’t leak. 

This one does neither and the line doesn’t smear, fade or flake all day. It also dries very quickly. The formula is fragrance and alcohol-free, so even sensitive types should find it comfortable.

Origins Quick, Hide! Long-Wearing Concealer, €16

Quick, Hide! camouflages both under-eye shadows and blemishes well. This is a hydrating, non-greasy concealer with a water and silicone base. 

The silky texture sets to a matte finish. There are six shades available (medium skintones should go for ‘Light/Medium’ unless you are very tanned). The formula suits even the most sensitive skin and lasts all day without fading or caking.

Maybelline Fit Me! Pressed Powder, €8.99

This powder is a great way to set your make-up no matter what your skin type. The finish is soft velvet, which looks healthy and flattering. 

The 18-shade range is very natural with no weird undertones in any of the fair options. Finding a match for your favourite foundation shouldn’t pose much of a challenge. The texture is very skin-like and easy to blend.

No7 Skin Illuminator Radiance Boosting Beauty Fluid, €14.25

Highlighters are not to everyone’s taste but a dab of radiance in spots the light hits naturally can really perk up a tired face. No7’s illuminator is particularly good. Fragrance-free and suited to all skin types, the formula imparts a dewy glow and mild hydration. 

Skin Illuminator is dispensed through a brush, which must be kept clean to ensure smooth and even distribution. It is otherwise very easy to blend and is available in pink pearl and champagne shades, both equally flattering.


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