When you don't have much cash, which beauty products can you save on and when do you absolutely have to treat yourself? Hannah Rochell nails four of this season's biggest trends without breaking the bank
I've always felt there are few cheap foundations and cover-ups that work well and this experiment confirmed my suspicions. I started by prepping my skin with Superdrug's Naturally Radiant Brightening Radiance Balm (£2.99, www.superdrug.com ). It had a pleasant smell and a very slight tightening feeling, but wasn't a patch on my favourites: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (£28, www.boots.com ) and Dr LeWinn's Private Formula Instant Beauty Radiance Booster (£18.50, www.feelunique.com ). Here for magical results, you have to pay a little more.
Next up, Makeup Academy Professional BB Cream (£3, www.superdrug.com ) This product was HORRIBLE! Terrible coverage, it did not blend and looked patchy, and left my skin very, very dry. I was tired and had a breakout on the day I tried it but really I looked better before I tried it.
Then came FashionistA Secret Skin Brightening Face Highlighter (£3, www.superdrug.com ). It's a bit scary looking as it comes out of the tube bright gold, but was actually rather nice. It subtly highlighted my cheekbones. Finally, a decent product!
Then I tried a cream blush. I am a big fan of these, as they blend so nicely for a natural look. The pigment in Makeup Academy Blusher (£1, www.superdrug.com ) wasn't very strong, so you might need to go a shade or two darker as it almost disappears when you rub it in. It also didn't blend very well, so I wasn't very impressed.
So far, so unsuccessful, but that's not to say that you can't get a flawless complexion without spending lots of money. From my past experience I would highly recommend Boots No7 Beautiful Skin BB Cream (£12.95, www.boots.com ) and Clinque's Blushwear Cream Stick, which although is £19 ( www.boots.com ), lasts about a year.
The last thing I wanted was a Scouse brow; that heavy, unflattering line, popular with X Factor contestants. I'm after a little definition and shape. I've always liked pencils with a brush at the other end, as they last ages and the convenience of having everything you need in one can't be beaten. NYX Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown (£4, www.nyxcosmeticsstore.co.uk ) was no exception. The shaped pencil was easy to use accurately and was a good colour, and the brush tamed my (slightly unruly) eyebrows.
I also tried Makeup Academy Pro-Brow Ultimate Eyebrow Kit (£3, www.muastore.co.uk ) The compact had a lovely, large mirror and came with a brilliant little pair of tweezers. There are three choices of brow colour and a clear gel to keep groomed brows in place (love this!). The double-ended applicator brush worked well and the end result was pretty good.
I am a big fan of liquid liner, in fact I'd call myself a bit of an expert. My everyday liner is Rimmel's Glam'Eyes (£5.29, www.boots.com ), so I know that spending a lot of money does not always pay off.
The first I tried was 17 Lacquer Eye Liner Wet Look Finish (£3.99, www.boots.com ). Wet look? Why would I want that? Turns out I'd want that because the glossy finish looks pretty good, and rather glamorous. The brush was a good shape, easy to use and there was no smudging. I'll definitely use this product again, but might reserve it for an evening out.
Next, 2true Effortless Waterproof Eyeliner (£1.99, www.superdrug.com ). I wasn't so keen on this one. The stiff brush made application very difficult and the consistency was a little watery. But I did like 2true Easy Glide Kohl Pencil (£1.99, www.superdrug.com ) to use on the lower lid.
Finally, and a little terrified, I tried 17 Tattoo Me Semi Permanent Liquid Eyeliner (£4.99, www.boots.com ). This product claimed to last 48 hours. 48 hours?! Why wouldn't you wash your face for 48 hours? It went on really nicely, the perfect "one flick" application and lasted all day without smudging, so I decided to sleep in it to see how I looked in the morning.
And how did I look? Perfect! The liner was as good as when I'd first applied it. It's certainly the perfect product for next year's festivals, where face washing is either difficult or not a priority. When I decided it was time to get rid of the eyeliner I washed my face twice but it was still there! I finally managed to remove it by scrubbing with a cleansing wipe.
One of the biggest trends from the catwalk and the easiest way of updating your look without new make-up techniques. I tried four budget lippies on your behalf.
Models Own Lipgloss Wand in Berry Nice (£5, www.boots.com ). As you'd expect from a lipglass, this gives a more subtle look than lipstick. This was a lovely colour and felt really moisturising.
Frontcover Cherry Burst Mini Lipstick (£4, www.frontcovercosmetics.com ). This tiny lipstick is a great way of trying a bold colour, because you're not investing in a huge stick. The pigment was very strong and the colour ended up looking quite 80s, but if you want to make a statement (without the colour coming off on your teeth),I'd recommend this one.
2true Colour Drench Lipstick in 1 (£1.99, www.superdrug.com ). Colour drench? Hardly. This went on quite a lot paler than it looked like it ought to, and the staying power wasn't very good.
17 Mirror Shine Lipstick in Roasted Red (£4.79, www.boots.com ). Really disappointing. If you buy a red lipstick you want a punchy colour, this was more like a tinted lip balm.