Emily Dean

Emily Dean

…on the joy of finding budget beauty buys

From a brilliant low-cost concealer to a bargain miracle cream, our expert reveals her budget beauty buys for £11 or less.

Recently I had to say an emotional goodbye to one of my most trusted beauty companions. My Nicky Clarke Hot Air Styler was more than just a mere hair tool. It was the Chewbacca to my Han Solo. The Posh to my Becks. The Donkey to my Shrek. It was eternally loyal, endlessly hard-working and – frankly – astonishingly cheap.

Some people would simply call it a heated styling brush. But I knew differently. This was a passport to a Kate Middleton world filled with volume, bounce and root lift.

For decades, my budget buy of dreams deceived the world into thinking I had naturally thick, bouncy Disney Princess hair. And then the end came. Without warning, one day it suddenly emitted a high-pitched sound before rattling into hideous silence.

With perhaps unseemly haste, I ordered a replacement. But it turned out my original version had been given an extreme makeover. When the newfangled upgrade arrived, we struggled to see eye to eye from day one.

So from now on, I refuse to take any members of my budget beauty squad for granted. I plan to lavish them with gratitude and publicly thank them for their service. Especially as it turns out the real gems cost me under a tenner.

Advertisement

My budget beauty heroes

Mascara

First special mention in my bargain heroes list is mascara of dreams Max Factor 2000 Calorie Volume Mascara. It hasn’t left my side since it launched in 1989 outlasting countless jobs, houses and boyfriends.

It’s smudge proof and clump free; it sculpts, defines and increases volume by a mind-blowing 300 per cent. Make-up artists call it the little black dress of mascara. I call it my one and only.

Featured product

Max Factor 2000 Calorie Volume Mascara

RRP: £9.99

Max Factor 2000 Calorie Volume Mascara

Top tip

If you want to revive a dried-out tube of mascara, add a few eye drops and give it a good shake. This will help extend the life for a couple of weeks.

Concealer

When I came across Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer five years ago, my interest was purely financial as it’s been likened to a way more costly Nars product.

What I wasn’t expecting was a flawlessly blendable, creamy concealer of joy. It glides on to disguise red patches, blemishes and dark circles and best of all there’s no dryness or caking. Genuinely the wind beneath my wings.

Featured product

Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer

RRP: £6.99

Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer

Blusher

As a bronzer fanatic, I was always wary of pink cream blushes. Their energy seemed a bit less Girl from Ipanema and more Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge. And then No7 Lip & Cheek Tint came into my life.

It provides a beautifully subtle pop of dewy cheek colour that gives off wholesome country walk vibes. Its fabulously lightweight, powdery pink formula can also be dabbed on lips for a gorgeous subtle tint.

Featured product

No7 Lip & Cheek Tint

RRP: £9.95

No7 Lip & Cheek Tint

Cleanser

E.L.F cosmetics (nothing to do with Xmas films, it’s short for Eyes, Lips, Face) offers cruelty-free, premium cosmetics at a bargain price. And trust me, you need E.L.F on your shelf.

E.L.F Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm is a luscious velvety soft cleanser packed with hyaluronic acid to plump, and peptides to stimulate skin. It removes grime and make-up like a total boss leaving my skin silky smooth.

Advertisement

Featured product

E.L.F Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

RRP: £10.92

E.L.F Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

Moisturiser

A couple of years ago, I heard about a £10 face cream with a waiting list of 10,000 that sold out in 12 hours. Curiosity compelled me to get involved and all I can say is, Revolution Pro Miracle Cream welcome to my world.

Bursting with nourishing shea butter, brightening vitamin C and our old plumping pal hyaluronic acid, it’s a glow-giving, hydrating skin wizard that’s one of my ultimate budget beauty buys. I plan to marry it.

Featured product

Revolution Pro Miracle Cream

RRP: £10

Revolution Pro Miracle Cream

Fragrance

Finally, special mention goes to Zara Nude Bouquet Fragrance. A classy blend of delicate white florals, it gets mistaken for Chanel or Dior every time. Champagne scent on a beer budget.

So, there you have it, my budget heroes honours list. They ask very little, they give everything and without them I would frankly never be leaving the house again.

Featured product

Zara Nude Bouquet Fragrance

RRP: £9.99

Zara Nude Bouquet Fragrance
Advertisement
Emily Dean

Written by Emily Dean she/her

Updated: