12 budget-friendly beauty buys make-up artists swear by

Beauty doesn’t have to be expensive. Learn which products are worth the investment and which budget-friendly beauty options our experts swear by.

With a cost of living crisis on our hands, beauty budgets are shrinking for many of us, which means every dollar has to count.

One thing that may be pushed down the list of essentials is make-up — but rest assured, when it comes to make-up, not everything has to be a splurge.

To help you navigate the beauty aisles, we asked professional make-up artists what products are worth spending a little more on and where it makes sense to go down the cheap and cheerful route.

Beauty buys worth the spend


Your skin is essentially where it all begins, so it’s one area that is worth investing in.

So, what should you be looking for when it comes to skincare to achieve the best possible make-up result?

Make-up artist Vic Anderson nominates skincare products with hyaluronic acid.

“Make-up sits best on hydrated skin; hyaluronic acid is your friend as it acts like a hydration magnet,” Vic explains.

Budget buy:


As the base from which your make-up look is built, a quality foundation is a must, the professionals agree.

“If you get the base right, you can (almost) use whatever you like over the top of it and it will still look good,” make-up artist Julia Green says.

“Choose one that has everything your skin needs, whether that is hydration, SPF or good coverage.

“If you find one you love, make sure you keep an eye on the brand’s sales as sometimes you can grab it for 20 to 30 per cent off, which can make a huge difference.”

If you can, consider investing in a foundation with in-built skincare ingredients, which is particularly good for mature and dry skin, notes make-up artist Nigel Stanislaus.

“That way, the skincare can continuously work for you as you apply your cosmetics — this prevents your skin from looking cakey,” Nigel says.

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Julia considers concealer a “ride or die” product for any make-up application, and warns cheaper versions could let down your look.

“Budget-conscious concealers are often too pink, too orange and generally don’t match the skin tone perfectly; to get a seamless colour match, you do have to splash some cash,” Julia says.

“The delicate skin around the eyes needs a smooth and creamy texture with staying power.

“You will only find this from a premium brand with a premium price tag.”

If you’re a bit wary of spending big on a product, Vic says you can test them out by taking advantage of samples.

“If it’s an option, a sample product is a great way to try out a product for a short amount of time.”

Budget buy:

Face powder

When it comes to powder, aim to buy the best quality you can afford for a more seamless finish.

“Powder should feel silky smooth between your fingers, not chalky,” Julia says.

“This has to do with how many times it has been milled to reduce the size of each particle, (which) costs money for companies to do and so you have to pay more for it, but the results speak for themselves.”

Budget tip? Opt for a translucent powder.

As it’s transparent, it can be used all year round, without you having to switch shades seasonally.

Budget buy:

Best budget-friendly beauty buys


Want a make-up product that can do double duty for a budget-friendly beauty fix?

Look no further than lipstick.

“A couple of options in different shades can double up as cheek colour,” Vic says.

“It brings harmony to a beauty look and saves dollars in the long run.”

Budget buy:


“I find this category has the best dupes for more expensive brands,” Nigel says.

“As a make-up artist I change my mascaras often, so I don’t invest in luxury brands when it comes to mascara.”

He recommends opting for a mascara with a tubing formula, as it’s long-wearing and “keeps your lashes looking fresh until you take it off with water”.

Budget buy:

More budget-friendly beauty inspo:

Written by Tania Gomez.