Budget makeup favourites

Everyday essentials for a student budget

There's a ridiculous assumption that to achieve flawless skin, perfect brows and beautiful eyes you must spend your entire student loan on high-end brands like Urban Decay, Mac and Benefit. The reality is, although it's nice to have these brands at hand for special occasions and nights out, using them for your everyday uni makeup is unnecessary and pricey.

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We're only five weeks into the term and most of us are already feeling pretty sorry for ourselves and our bank balances, so here are some budget beauty products that will have you feeling less miserable about having to sacrifice your luxurious makeup products that you’re so convinced you need.


Foundation is the staple product in most makeup bags, amazing at hiding stress spots and dark circles around our eyes as exhausted and stressed students. So, whether you like to take your time doing your brows and eye make up on top of this, or whether you want a quick and simple routine, a pump of foundation goes a long way and will leave you with a bright and even complexion, ready to take on the day.

The Milani- Conceal and Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation Concealer is perfect for wearing during the day, and is great on most skin types. It stays in place all day, even after a sweaty gym session in between lectures, which is ideal if you like to get your workout done in the morning. At just £13, this is over half the price of more high-end brands like Urban Decay’s All Nighter Foundation, which is around £30. Another bonus to the Milani foundation is that the consistency is quite thick, so you only need one pump or so for full coverage, meaning the bottle will last you some time. If this one isn't for you, the Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless Foundation, is great for those with oilier skin, and priced at just £5.99 at most drugstores. It’s a great one which delivers full and long-lasting coverage and saves you a fortune.

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A recent budget-friendly discovery is Revolution's Conceal and Define Concealer which comes in 18 shades. It probably comes as no surprise that drugstores have come under criticism recently for the little shade ranges they have on offer, and Revolution make sure there is a shade for everyone. What’s even better is the fact that it is just £4. The intense pigment will hide those dark circles and red spots so effortlessly, and you’ll look absolutely flawless as you strut across campus. Experts online are haling this concealer as a dupe for Tarte’s much pricier Shape Tape, which has been a best seller worldwide. Despite the fantastic results this concealer gives, its small size means that you'll go through it in just a couple of weeks, so grab a couple when on your travels into town to save you having to make multiple trips.

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To keep this all-in place, use the Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder, which costs just £2.99. High-end powders and bronzers can be massively over-hyped when there are high performing budget options like this available. Sure, it is nice to have a powder and foundation from the same brand, but when there are products like this available which keep you shine free and give you a smooth and even skin tone throughout the day, there's no need to splash out on the more expensive powders. This powder can even be taken on nights out, to top up your complexion after a sweaty couple of hours in level.


For an everyday sun-kissed glow, the Collection 2000 Bronze Glow works wonders. The coverage is great for a £2.99 bronzer and seems to last all day. The shade isn't too dark for paler complexions and it's also not too light for those days when you’re rocking the fake tan. If you have a deeper skin tone, this may not be the one for you, but there are plenty of alternatives at a similar price point.


Another fantastic product from Revolution is their highlighter palette, which contains three vivid highlighters (gold, pink and lilac) in just one palette for just £8. When comparing it to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit, the Revolution highlighter is just as pigmented and long-lasting. It effortlessly illuminates key features of your face without looking powdery. The highlighter shimmers throughout the day and gives you a natural looking glow.

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Defined brows aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the NYX Tame and Fame Brow Pomade (£6.50), which is basically a dupe of the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade, is an affordable product which effortlessly defines your brows and dries within seconds. This product is a winner because it gives you the freedom to create your desired shape and the shade, while the pomade is also smudge and sweat-proof, so it stays in place all day. This product comes in five natural coloured shades, so there is one that suits everyone’s natural colouring, giving an effortless everyday look.

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Morphe eyeshadow palettes are a bit more pricey than the products mentioned above, averaging at around £23 per palette. However, one palette provides you with a generous 35 shades so many would say it's completely worth the price, especially when you consider that high-end palettes such as the Urban Decay Naked range are priced at around £40 and you have only 12 shades in one palette. If you’re after value for money, then Morphe is the go-to brand when it comes to eyeshadows. So, with the 35 shades to choose from, you are free to experiment with whatever mood/ look you’re feeling that day. One autumn/ winter favourite is the 35O Natural Glow eyeshadow palette, as you have a range of warm, earthy and neutral tones to choose from in matte and shimmer shades. These tones are great for those gloomy winter days and for brightening up any outfit. The shadows blend fairly effortlessly and are very pigmented.

Mascara & Liner

With mascara and eyeliner, it isn’t really hard to find an affordable mascara and eyeliner from brands such as Maybelline, Rimmel, etc. Most people don't consider Soap and Glory for their makeup needs, instead associating the brand with products like body butters and exfoliation scrubs. However, give their Thick and Fast volume mascara (£10.50) and their Supercat eyeliner (£6.50) a go and you'll stick to these products forever. Both dry fast and the mascara is amazing for creating the ultimate voluminous lashes.


And lastly, lipstick! Most of us remained fiercely loyal to MAC lipsticks during high school, but the thought of spending £16 on just one lipstick that you'll inevitably misplace on a night out is heartbreaking. Of course, treating yourself to your favourite high-end lipstick is perfectly fine, but for everyday use you want something pigmented, long-lasting and most importantly affordable. NYX are an extremely affordable makeup brand that makes amazing lip products. They're are cruelty free and vegan, so even more reason to treat yourself their products! Whatever your preference, NYX offer a range of lip glosses, matte lipsticks and lip creams and butters, in a vast variety of shades, so there’s one suited for everyone. All the lipsticks range from £6-9 approximately so you can even treat yourself to multiple shades and build a collection overtime.

Although it's great to have high-end makeup, it’s also not the end of the world if you can’t afford these brands, nor is it necessary. You can achieve amazing looks with drugstore makeup on a student budget.