Which beauty products offer high end results for a high street price tag? With budget beauty brands delivering more pigment, longevity and variety than ever before, the business of beauty dupes is booming, meaning that we needn’t have to wait until payday to get our product fix.
While some buys are certainly worth the extra splurge, spending that kind of money on a regular basis will no doubt make a sizeable chunk in anyone’s savings. However, there’s thankfully now a range of high performing products for under a tenner that give their more expensive counterparts a run for their money. Which are the beauty dupes or budget beauty swaps that we can’t get enough of? From skincare to hair care to makeup , these are the more purse-friendly products that come with our seals of approval.
Victoria Woodhall, Deputy Editor
“I don’t scrimp on mascara usually as I need a product that will effectively open up my eyes without me having to use eyelash curlers, (which I’m totally squeamish about) and as it’s something I wear every day and need to last from school run to cycle home via the office, I don’t mind spending a bit extra. Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Lash-multiplying Volume Mascara works out at only about 30p per day and it leaves lashes feeling soft rather than set in concrete thanks to its Lash Advancing Vitamin Complex. Plus, its massive brush creates giant lashes with just a few sweeps.
“Several times I have forgotten to pack my mascara and needed to nip to Boots or Sainsbury’s for an emergency stand-in and the most reliable one I have found is the Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara, which has been a staple in my makeup bag for years (and beloved of makeup artists for two decades). You can’t fault it for depth and volume - or price and as it’s so widely available, it takes the hit-and-miss aspect out of making an emergency purchase.”
Judy Johnson, Online Editor
“I’m not at all loyal when it comes to liquid eyeliners. They’ve been an essential part of my makeup look every day for more years than I care to remember, and if there’s one I haven’t tested I’ll drop my current favourite and give it a go. But there is one that is always, always in my makeup bag as a tried and trusted failsafe (and really, I should just stick to what I know works and ditch the newbies) and that is Rimmel’s Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner. The nib is somewhere between a brush and a felt tip, a sponge-like texture which allows for maximum control and minimum mistakes. It’s so glossy and highly pigmented that no other liner compares with regards to a bold wing, and better still it really does not go anywhere. It doesn’t smudge, and it doesn’t flake (like so many other highly pigmented liquid formulas do) and yes, it is only a fiver. Mind-boggling. It’s an absolute dupe for Lancome’s Artliner (which I love, but not enough to spend a further £16 on), in terms of design, texture, performance and application, but clinches the top spot for its smooth, solid lines and, of course, price. Every liner lover should have one.”
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Gemma Bellman, Managing Director
The luxe version: Crème de la Mer The Lip Balm , £45
The beauty dupe: Carmex , £2.50
“What can I say? Carmex is my absolute partner for life, I simply won't go anywhere without it. Many an evening has been spent meticulously packing up my clutch bag (Tetris-style) to ensure that this little pot of gold comes along for the ride. I know it's not the most forward-thinking of formulas, it's not organic or green, it's not an iconic sensitive skin saviour and yes the number one ingredient is petrolatum, but for me and my set of smackers, it just works. I love the tingling sensation that the menthol and camphor bring, while the petroleum keeps the moisture locked in for hours. I often apply a thin layer of Carmex as an undercoat to a heavy lipstick to prevent my lips drying out, which works like a charm. All of this for £2.50 makes this my favourite beauty dupe. For those of you looking to splash the cash, Crème de la Mer offers a similarly soothing and minty fresh alternative, which I have to say is so beautifully presented in its sleek shallow pot I'm almost tempted. However, at £45 a pop, I just can't justify the difference.”
Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
“My hair is incredibly fine and lifeless, so I'm always using anything that makes it seem thicker with a little more volume. The L'Oreal Fibrology range is designed to fight hair thinning and fine locks, and I think it’s one of the few thickening shampoos that’s actually true to its word. I buy this time and time again, because even after the first few washes, it leaves my hair feeling instantly thicker (although coarser in texture instead of silky which is why I think the overall thickening effect works). There’s also a thickening booster in the range which I think gives hair an even greater lift. If you did want to indulge though, Phylia de M offers a brilliant product for £30 (which smells amazing), that is specifically targeted to hair loss, hair thinning and for those with just generally fine hair too. I'm incredibly tempted to purchase this, but when the L'Oreal Fibrology Shampoo delivers this amount of punch for me, I really have to say budget wins out here.”
MORE GLOSS: Who, what, hair - the best hair volumising products
Alecka Micklewright, Commercial Director
“This Nivea moisturiser has been my trusty pal for many, many years. It’s dirt cheap, readily available at my local Boots/Superdrug for any skin hydration emergencies(!) and I love that it’s unashamedly in a large, chubby tub. No pump needed - just scoop and apply! If I’m feeling a little flush around pay day, I absolutely adore the geranium leaf body balm from Aesop (which smells incredible), but it’s more of a treat, rather than an everyday necessity.”
Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
“It might seem as though I’m pitting dewy against matte with this one, but Revlon’s smooth, silky concealer is velvety rather than chalky, easy to blend and offers high-end quality, long-lasting coverage, which unfortunately only extends to medium skin tones, but for me it’s a perfect fit. The wand blends away redness, shadows and blotchiness with ease, and the buildable formula is convincingly ‘skinny’. With salicylic acid to keep spots in their box as you wear it, plus glycerin to hydrate, it’s far from a no-frills basic, and when my budget doesn’t allow me to splash out on Nars’ cult Radiant Creamy Concealer, I know exactly which counter I’m heading to.”
Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
“Everyone has their beauty vice and for me anything eye makeup focused is guaranteed to catch my attention. From a feline flick to a smokey eye, putting it on always proves a pleasure. Taking it off? Not so much. However, bi-phase removers have fast-become my go-to solution of choice, proving best in my experience for eradicating the toughest of eye makeup plans. Chanel’s more payday worthy pick is gentle yet thorough, leaving minimal greasiness and residue in its wake. That being said though, at £23 it’s not something I can afford to buy all too often considering how much of it I get through on a weekly basis. Thankfully though, Nivea offers an equally effective daily option in my opinion and at under a fiver, it means that I can regularly top up my supply without worrying about breaking the bank. A backstage favourite at The Voice UK, simply shake and swipe for a rub-free way to wave morning-after-the-night-before panda eyes goodbye. It’s the stuff of cleansing dreams.”
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