This post contains gifted items.
The beauty world can be a minefield. There are SO many brands, so many products, so many price points, so where do you start? I have tried probably thousands of products over the last 20 years, of all prices, all kinds and so I wanted to put together some of the best makeup products £5 and under.
Starting with foundation, and you cannot go wrong with the Essence Stay All Day 16h Long-Lasting Foundation* (£3.79 for 30ml). This foundation comes in a glass bottle with a pump dispenser and the formula has been designed to provide full-textured, long-lasting coverage that is both waterproof and transfer-safe. The shade range isn't huge unfortunately, but I have 08 Soft Vanilla which works perfectly for my light skin tone. I love that this foundation is such a fail-safe for me - it provides a good amount of coverage and lasts all day, which when it comes to foundation that is pretty much all we need for under £4!
There are going to be a lot of repeated brands within this post because of the price point, but they have been chosen because they are the best! For powder, I chose the Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder (£3.00 for 8g), and this is such a great mattifying product! It is transparent and as it is a compact powder rather than a loose powder, there is zero cakiness on the skin, and it just melts into the skin, keeping shine at bay all day long. I have an oily T-Zone which is worst in summer and this manages to keep that shine away all day long, so if you suffer from oily skin, you are definitely going to want to try this super finely milled powder.
For blush, I have been loving the Barry M Fresh Face Cheek & Lip Tint (£4.99 for 10ml), and I have a few shades now, but this one is Caramel Kisses, a pretty pink toned nude. I am currently obsessed with cream products and this one is great as it contains Aronia Berry and Hyaluronic Acid to keep the skin hydrated and looking fresh. A little goes a long way and they are super quick and easy to blend, and of course, you can use them on both the cheeks and lips!
For powder blush, you cannot go wrong with the Essence The Blush (£2.50 for 5g), and when I first started using these many years ago, they were just £1.00! Either way, incredible value for such a great highly-pigmented blush. There are so many shades to choose from, some matte, and some shimmers, and here I have the shade Breezy, a satin blush which reminds me of the Benefit Coralista, which was one of my favourites, but much cheaper! The packaging is simple and plain, but for the price and product pay-off, I really don't mind that!
A really great affordable bronzer I use is the MUA Bronzed Matte Bronzing Powder (£2.50 for 10g), which is available in six shades, which for a drugstore bronzer, I think is pretty good! You can get matte and shimmer shades, but I prefer a matte bronzer as I have texture on my skin, so I have the shade Solar, which works well for my fair to light skin tone. I love how natural this appears on the skin, and it is pigmented without looking too heavy, so it gives the most beautiful sun kissed look.
Moving on to concealer and one I have used for years is the LA Girl Pro Conceal High Definition Concealer (£4.95 for 8g), which is available in over 40 shades! Which is insane for the price! That also includes colour correcting shades. The concealer comes in a squeezy tube and has a brush tip, so you can apply it straight to the skin, or onto your hand and then blend with your fingertips. I love this formula as it evens out my skin tone, blurs fine lines and conceals undereye circles (which is something I suffer from 24/7!) and I find that it feels lightweight and doesn't crease whatsoever.
Another absolutely cult concealer I just had to include is the e.l.f. Hydrating Camo Concealer (£6.00 for 6ml - Okay so I forgot to check the price of this one and I slightly cheated, but believe me, it is worth it!), and if you suffer with dry undereyes, you will love this! Available in over 20 shades, this long-wearing concealer gives a full coverage with a satin finish that is crease-proof and hydrating on the skin. It has a large doe-foot applicator so it is super easy to apply and really helps to hydrate my dark circles, which is more beneficial than just covering them up, which it also does too, of course!
I used to be obsessed with the Lancome Lash Primer, but my golly gosh it was expensive, so when I discovered the Essence Volume Booster Lash Primer (£2.80 for 7ml), I was thrilled! It did pretty much the same job as my Lancome Primer, lengthening and thickening my lashes, but at a much more purse-friendly price. This goes on white, but once you apply your mascara over the top, that obviously goes away and the formula contains Acai Oil, Mango Butter and Vitamin E to keep the lashes nourished at the same time. Long, luscious lashes I am SO here for you!
I tell no lie, I have purchased upwards of 20 Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascaras (£3.30 for 12ml) in my time, probably a lot more to be honest. I have used this mascara for many, many years, always having plenty of back ups in case I ran out. This for me is my never fail, super reliant mascara favourite and I have tried hundreds of mascaras over the years, including mascaras that have cost over £50.00. My lashes are naturally short, straight, fine and fair and this mascara coats them beautifully, without clumping, lengthening them, adding volume and curl and I will buy the rest of their stock if they ever discontinue this mascara. That is how passionate I am about it. Sometimes I layer it with other mascaras, but unless I am trying out a new mascara, I will be wearing this one every day.
Another mascara I have been really enjoying lately is from Essence's sister brand Catrice, and is the Catrice Glam & Doll Easy Wash Off Power Hold Volume Mascara* (£3.80 for 9ml). The main reason I love this mascara so much is that it is so easy to remove - I have very sensitive eyes and wear contact lenses all the time, and so if a mascara is hard to get off, I usually have to leave it on until morning, but this was is a doddle to get off. It curls and lifts my lashes upwards, whilst also adding volume and so I find it a really excellent mascara to use all round.
The best drugstore eyeshadow primer I have found is the Profusion Cosmetics No Budge Eyeshadow Primer (£3.99 for 10ml). It comes in a squeezy tube and a little goes a long way. It has a smooth and blendable formula that evens out the colour of the lids, whilst helping your eyeshadow to adhere more evenly and helping it last longer. I have hooded lids, and I find that this doesn't crease whatsoever, so my eye makeup always looks super smooth and is held in place all day long.
Staying with the brand, I would highly recommend the Profusion Cosmetics 10 Shadow Palettes (£4.99) and there are so many colour options to choose from! Here I have the Bare version, which contains a mixture of mattes and metallics in pretty neutral, bronze, gold and deeper shades. Price aside, these are some of the best eyeshadow formulas on the market, and their mattes are creamy and highly pigmented, blending like a dream and their metallic shades are perfection, and you can go in with a fingertip and smooth over the eye for a one-swipe-swatch situation and you are ready to go! I would definitely recommend trying one of these palettes out to get an understanding of just how great the formula is.
Collection Cosmetics recently had a brand makeover and I have really been enjoying the Collection Malibu Waves Eye Palette (£4.99 for 8.8g). The formula is much better than their previous palettes and I adore these shades. You get a mixture of mattes, metallics and toppers in shades of peach, nude, lilac and purple. I love how compact the palette is, making it perfect for travelling with and the formula is easy to blend and highly pigmented. I enjoy how you get such a variety of textures too, in a small palette, so you can create endless looks with these. There are other colour options available, but this is my current favourite.
Primark's beauty range isn't available online, but I recently spotted the PS Chill Zone Mineral Eye Shadow Palette (£3.50 for 3.5g) and I love the colours. Obviously, this is a bit of a copy of the Natasha Denona mini palettes, but I have really loved using smaller, more compact palettes recently. These mineral eyeshadows contain Kiwi Seed Oil, Vitamin E and Jojoba Oil to moisturise and nourish the lids, which is the reason I picked it up as I love using makeup products that have skincare benefits too and these are a real pleasure to use.
I know not everyone loves glitter, but I am such a magpie and one of the best glitter eye products I have found is the Profusion Cosmetics Glitter Palettes (£4.99). There are multiple colour options available and here I have Onyx Gems, which includes an iridescent white, an iridescent grey, a gold, a rose gold and even a black, so these go with most eyeshadow shades. The glitters are formulated with a built-in primer, so they adhere to the lids without having to use a glitter primer and last all day long. I haven't really used much glitter in the past 18 months, but now that things are getting back to normal, I cannot wait to use these again!
For eyeliner, I love the Benecos Natural Kajal Eyeliner* (£3.95 for 1.13g), which is available in many different shades, and here I have the classic Black. As I mentioned earlier, I have quite sensitive and watery eyes, and so finding a liner that sits and stays on my waterline can be a pain, but this works so well! The formula contains Jojoba Oil to care for the delicate eye area and is super smooth so there is no tugging or pulling on that area. I find this super long-lasting and if you want a more natural look, then I would recommend picking up a brown eyeliner as this will give a softer, yet still defined appearance to the eyes.
If coloured eyeliners are your thing, then I am obsessed with the LA Girl Pastel Dreams Auto Eyeliners (£4.95 for 0.30g). These are available in six different pastel shades, and pastels are just my all-time favourite when it comes to anything - clothes, decor, I even once had a baby blue Fiat 500! These eyeliners glide onto the skin and are super smooth and pigmented with a gel formula that is smudge and budge proof once applied that doesn't fade and they even work really well on the waterline. Here I have the shades Baby Pink, Powder Blue and Lavender.
Years ago I used to go through so many of the Benefit Gimme Brow Gels, but last year I discovered the Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara (£2.50 for 3.8g) and it is practically the same, even down to the tiny brush. There are four shades available and this brow gel is infused with tiny fibres that grab onto the brow hairs to make them appear fuller and thicker. I have naturally barely-there brows and so this kind of formula is always my go-to and once applied, this doesn't budge or smudge either and can be applied on its own or on top of a brow pencil.
The best brow soap I have tried is the Catrice Brow Fix Soap Stylist* (£3.95 for 4.1g), which comes in a compact. This vegan friendly formula instantly lifts the brows and adds volume to them, keeping them in place all day long. To use, you simply spritz some fixing spray into the compact to moisten the transparent formula and work it into a lather with a spoolie brush, and then brush through the brows using upwards strokes. If you are fortunate enough to have naturally fuller brows, this can be used on its own, or can be used over the top of other brow products.
My favourite lip scrubs are the Barry M Lip Scrubs (£4.99 for 25g), which come in so many tasty flavours/scents. Here I have the bubblegum flavour, which takes me back to being a kid and I adore it! The Lip Scrubs are formulated with Vitamin E, Avocado Oil and Jojoba Oil to soften and hydrate the lips, whilst also ridding the skin of any dead skin cells, leaving you with super clean, smooth and fresh lips! I find these none abrasive and so even if you have sensitive skin, you should be able to use these without any issue.
An excellent lip balm is the Benecos Natural Lip Balm* (£2.95 for 4.7g), which is available in different scents - here I have Raspberry, which always reminds me of Summer. These lip balms have a nourishing and moisturising formula that is suitable for vegans and includes natural and organic waxes and butters to care and protect chapped, cracked and sore lips, leaving them super nourished, soft and smooth. I tend to apply lip balm just before bed and then also before applying my makeup so that they soften my lips ready for a lip colour.
The best drugstore lip liners I have found are the NYX Lip Pencils (£3.50 for 1.04g), which are available in over 20 different shades, and yes, I do have quite a few! Here I have the shade Natural, the perfect everyday nude with a hint of pink. The formula is super buttery and glides onto the lips effortlessly without the need to pull or tug at the delicate lip area, and I find that it doesn't bleed onto the lips either. Sometimes I will just use this all over the lips as a lip colour as I love how long they last, but of course, also as a lip liner to give my lips a more defined look.
For a super creamy lipstick, I highly recommend the Catrice Clean ID Silk Intense Lipstick* (£4.49 for 3.3g), which is available in six gorgeous shades. Here I have the shade 010 Mocha Delight, a reddish-toned darker nude and the vegan formula provides so much colour coverage in just one swipe to give the lips a radiant, satin finish. These are so comfortable to wear and not at all drying on the lips, and I love that they come in paper packaging so that they can be recycled easily.
Another great affordable lipstick is the Essence This Is Me Lipstick (£2.29 for 3.5g), which comes in white and rose gold packaging. There are many stunning shades to choose from and this creamy, nourishing formula is long-lasting and highly pigmented to give the lips a semi-matte finish. Here I have the shade 03 Bold, which Essence describe as an apricot nude, but which is definitely not an apricot nude - that is the only thing to be careful of when ordering Essence online. Bold is a deep berry pink and I love it!
I have naturally thin lips, and whilst I don't want to go down the lip filler route, I do sometimes want a little extra volume so I have been using the Catrice Volumizing Extreme Lip Booster* (£3.95 for 5ml) as it doesn't burn the lips like so many others can. The formula is enriched with Ginger Root Extract which has a delicate Lemon and Ginger scent to it. There are multiple shades available and here I have Ginger Shot, a pretty peach nude shimmer that contains glitter particles. This Lip Booster adds natural radiance and volume to the lips in just minutes and as there are so many pretty shades available, you don't need to use two separate products, you can just go straight in with this.
One of my favourite e.l.f. collections is the Mint Melt collection - remember I said I love my pastels haha! Included in that collection are the e.l.f. Mint Melt Lip Plumping Gloss* (£4.00 for 2.5ml) which is available in three shades - A Hint Of Mint, a pale green that appears translucent on the lips, Mint Sprinkle, a clear gloss full of pale pastel sparkle and Mint Chocolate, a great everyday warm nude. I adore these high-shine, hydrating glosses as they have a slight plumping effect, so the lips look fuller and more hydrated. They do have a sweet vanilla mint scent to them, but I actually enjoy that, but I know some people don't like scented products so I do like to point that out. If glossy, plumper lips are your thing, I would definitely pick these up!
Last but not least, I had to include the Essence Juicy Bomb Shiny Lipgloss (£1.00 for 10ml) - yes, just £1.00! Crazy, honestly! This cute lip glosses provide the lips with high shine and are not at all sticky or gloopy on the lips. There are multiple shades available and here I have Lovely Raspberry, a soft tinted pink, which smells of raspberries too. The vegan and cruelty-free formula is moisturising and so soft on the lips and they are such a great buy!
I could have included so many other products, but I really had to cap this post off at some point!
All the Loves,