In Praise Of: My Budget Make-Up Essentials

I would like to think of myself as a loyal person, but I’m afraid when it comes to make up and beauty products I’m a little on the fickle side. I’m seduced by a new brand of moisturiser or a different mascara every time I go shopping. As a result, I couldn’t possibly describe my full beauty regime as it changes every time a bottle runs out.

In terms of the brands I’ve tried, it runs the gamut from Chanel and Tom Ford to Rimmel and Barbara Daly for Tesco. I am not a believer that it is always worth forking out for premium brands when it comes to makeup. In fact, some of the more expensive brands I’ve tried have really not worked for me or my skin and left a bitter taste that I spent so much on something that hasn’t worked for me. Luckily eBay is a great way of recouping some of the money from these costly mistakes, and someone gets a bargain! (I love eBay) And because I’m one of those people who gets more excited about a bargain than spending a lot on something (some may call it cheapskate, I call it thrifty!) I tend to be far happier finding a gem of a product in a budget beauty range.

And over the years I have found one or two budget products that I truly believe are superior to most of the pricey ones. Unfortunately for readers not in the UK, my two favourite products of all time are both UK brands, Rimmel and 17, the latter being one of the make up ranges exclusive to Boots (our equivalent of Duane Reade, kind of!).

The first is a transparent matte powder from Rimmel, which costs the princely sum of £3.99 and generally lasts me daily use for a month or two.

Rimmel matte powder

Being blessed with the classic English rose complexion (make up saleslady speak for extremely pale skin), I have always struggled to find a powder that doesn’t make me look caked or oddly orange. Even the lightest shades in most premium ranges look wrong on me. I thought this was just a very pale powder, and the ‘transparent’ description was just the name of the shade, but I realised it genuinely is a powder which will suit every skintone when a very very tanned friend used it and it blended to her skin perfectly as well.

I am sure there is science behind it, microbeads or something. If it was a Chanel product we would have heard all the tech-speak describing how it performs its magic in a two page Vogue spread or something. Because it’s Rimmel, and they don’t have the budget, nobody knows about it. Or it could be that they picked Kate Moss as the face of the range. Kind of hard to argue that your product made her look that good, when we all know Kate looks incredible fresh out of bed with yesterday’s make up smudged across her face. Possibly an own goal there Rimmel. And I certainly cannot claim it makes me look like Mossy, but it does work better than any other powder I’ve tried, among which I recall Chanel, Clarins, Clinique (was fond of theirs for a while) and even mid range brands like Lancome and Benefit. So, nicer complexion, and an entire year’s supply for the cost of a month’s worth from a more expensive brand? I vote Rimmel all the way.

In fact, their range is generally pretty decent, and I find their nail varnish range (from £1.99 to £.99) to be a very close second to Chanel Le Vernis, being easier to apply and more long lasting than Dior and Estee Lauder, as well as nail polish brands like Essie and Nails Inc. And the range of shades is great – all the classics you need for a day of meetings at the office, but on trend and out-there colours for a gig or night on the town too. Try them, I bet you’ll become a fan!

My other favourite budget beauty buy is actually probably more of an obsession. I am on roughly my twelfth pot of this stuff! It is Boots’ 17 eyeshadow in ‘Statuesque’.

17 eyeshadow
I have been a fan of this for years. I recall 6 years ago going to many wedding make-up makeovers at multiple beauty counters across London for my best-friend’s wedding. We went to all the big names. At every single one the make up artist admiringly asked the shade and brand of my eyeshadow before removing it (and putting on something I liked far less) and every single one was shocked when I said it was 17, the range Boots designed for teenagers!!

It has a staying power that cannot be bested, and the pigmentation is rich with the perfect amount of shimmer. It blends easily, and is the perfect base colour for day, which can quickly be turned into a smoky eye for night with an extra layer or two. I would love to say the whole range is this good – it probably is, but colour-wise I’m afraid that so far only the pinky-brown ‘statuesque’ has looked good with my complexion and interesting eye colour. You can see the full range here. I do wear other eyeshadows. I have a couple of Dior compacts, one or two Estee Lauder ones, several Bourjois ones, but literally none I like as much as this (which only costs £3.89).

I was hoping I could do a little demo of how this shade looks on me, but Ste is away visiting his parents for a day or two, and turning a DSLR on yourself for a macro shot is not something that is easy to do! In fact, in trying to photograph my make up I have discovered a new-found admiration for beauty bloggers who produce such beautiful images. Finding good lighting and a decent background was tough! Any advice or tips on this front from fellow bloggers or photographers would be very appreciated! For now, this shot of my latest bought one (the one I’ve been using looks rather different – mainly the metal of the casing in fact, it is so empty!) will have to suffice.

17 eyeshadow

Anyway, I am aware this has been a terribly long blog to recommend just two beauty products (which…disclaimer…I do of my own volition and not due to any connection to the brand or sponsorship), but they are my two truly bargainous loves. I have plenty more mid-range and more premium products that I love too, and you’ll be hearing about them one day soon.

In the meantime, I would love to hear your best budget products in the comments!

2 thoughts on “In Praise Of: My Budget Make-Up Essentials

  1. You should be a salesperson! I love Barry M for nailvarnish and have a few Rimmel products too! Your photos are lovely I often find on blogs that the photos make me less tempted to try a product, but now I’m actually going to remember to pop to Boots when I’m next in England. Thanks! Anyway, good luck with NaBloPoMo, I’m trying it too! – Vanessa 🙂


    1. Ha ha, thanks! I can’t help but be enthusiastic about what I like! And since this blog is new I think I’d better wait a while before I post a blog about something I don’t like (about which I can be equally vehement!) in case I scare people off!!!
      Speaking of things I do like – Berlin! So so jealous! I almost moved there after Florence because I love the city so much, and it would have got my German back to a decent level, but alas I accidentally got my job in London and it was not to be. One day though, maybe!


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