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Beauty on a budget: Makeup for less

Beauty on a budget: Makeup for less

Christmas has been and gone, and as wonderful as it was it can leave a hole in your pocket.

Our Digital Marketing Contributor, former makeup- artist and beauty lover Holly has been out and about hunting down copies of some of the best-loved makeup items, so that you can get a whole new makeup bag for less.

Who said beauty treats need to be expensive?


Image credit: Aldi

One thing I’ve learnt in being a makeup obsessive for the last 5 years or so is that whilst luxury makeup products are Instagrammable, it doesn’t always mean that you’re “getting a better product for paying more.” That’s one of the most popular myths spoken in every luxury beauty hall, but in some cases, dare I say it, you are just paying for the name.

Up until last year, I worked for Estée Lauder whilst being a student, so I had one foot in the luxury beauty world and one foot in a world where I had to manage my money- or at least try…

This meant for the past 3 years studying, I’ve always been on the lookout for the latest beauty bargains, and in a series of blog posts, I’m going to be sharing them with you so that you too can save money whilst still feeling beautiful at the same time.

In the first instalment of this series we are talking all things makeup, so sit back and relax as I talk you through how you can get a whole new makeup bag for a fraction of the price.



I’m starting with primer just like I would start with a primer in my makeup routine.

When I was on counter, many people thought this was just another gimmick I was trying to sell, but honestly it makes the world of difference. A primer acts as the barrier between your skin and your makeup, and helps your makeup last longer!

Before this item was introduced into the market, many of us used moisturisers as a base for foundation, but as we all know moisturisers are intended to soak into your skin, so some creams contain ingredients that intend to drag your makeup in with it. That is why a primer over the top works because it’s designed for makeup application.

There’s also a variety of different ones to customise your desired makeup look:

A silicone-based primer can smooth out pores and fine lines for a flawless base, an illuminating primer can add radiance to a foundation for glowy skin, or a matte primer can help you achieve a matte effect.

There is a primer for everyone, and Smashbox’s award-winning silicone Photo Finish Foundation Primer has been a cult favourite for quite some time-but will set you back £26.

So, angels rejoiced when Aldi’s beauty brand Lacura swooped in and made an exact dupe for just £5.99!

Image credit: Smashbox/ Aldi 

Yes, I did say that right, Aldi. Trust me, we all might laugh, but once you try their Lacura range you will not regret it. Their range is also completely cruelty-free.

Okay, so their primer packaging isn’t identical to Smashbox’s, but the product itself pretty much is identical when it comes to replicating the silicone texture of the original Smashbox base. It’s easy to ignore the aesthetics when you save £20!



The crown of the UK’s no.1 foundation has been awarded to Estée Lauder’s Double Wear consecutively for quite some time, but with its popularity on the rise, so goes the price.

When I worked at Estée Lauder I was obsessed with this product and not because I was selling it. It is genuinely a fantastic foundation and a little bit of it goes a long way meaning your bottle could last months and months.

However, Primark’s beauty range PS… set the internet into meltdown last year when it released its copy of the luxury favourite.

It’s so popular that every time I go in to buy some to test it, they’re all gone. So if you are a Double Wear lover, keep your eyes peeled!


Image credit: Estee Lauder/ Primark

Primark’s beauty range PS… is also cruelty-free. Hurrah!



Tarte’s  Shape Tape concealer is a little bottle of heaven from across the pond, from a brand that resides in some of the major makeup retailers in the States such as Sephora and Ulta.

A major player in the cosmetics industry, the brand finally stocks in the UK via the QVC website, meaning that you won’t be stung with import tax any more if you are ordering from the UK.  A YouTube favourite, you’ll find almost every guru using this on their tutorials… until recently.

UK brand Revolution has boomed in recent years, with their Conceal & Define converting some of the biggest YouTube influencers such as Jeffree Star.

Its popularity and quality even earned itself an award at UK Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2018.


Image credit: Tarte via Amazon/ Revolution via Superdrug

You can find this beauty in Superdrug with a variety of shades and a foundation as part of the same range.

If you try this concealer you won’t regret it as it works wonders as an eyeshadow base too!



Ahhhh bronzer, a key part of my routine! I simply could not be without it.

Benefit Cosmetics’ Hoola bronzer is a best seller and is a very versatile bronzing powder priced at £26.

Again, Aldi’s Lacura has brought out a version called Aloha…see what they did there?

Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics/ Aldi

The shade appears slightly different in the picture, but as we all know how lighting can obscure this.

Even so, you can definitely tell that Aloha is desperately trying to be Hoola’s twin sister.

It’s definitely worth giving it a whirl for the saving!



For the longest time, people have always told me that you either do blush or bronzer. Lies!

They do completely different things: blush adds a pop of colour to your cheeks making you look fresh and bright whereas bronzer adds warmth and sculpts your face if applied to your temples, the hollows of your cheeks and your jawline.

Nars’ blush range is so unbelievably popular even if they do have naughty names for each shade. It’s enough to make you blush!

Their Orgasm blush being the most popular (funnily enough), is a perfect pink with a slight hint of shimmer.

Aldi’s Lacura didn’t come to play with their copy with every detail being pretty much exact!


Image credit: Nars/ Aldi

Not sure if Aldi’s has a naughty name though…



The highlighting trend seemed to come from nowhere but it is definitely here to stay. What did we do before this?!

The trend was previously reserved for catwalks, but now we can all be glowing on the daily.

Image credit: Kylie Cosmetics/ Primark

The item on the left is from Kylie Cosmetics, the brand of the youngest of the Karshashian-Jenner clan which has made her the youngest self-made billionaire to grace the cover of Forbes Magazine. Although I’m sure the fact that she’s part of one of the most famous families in the world had a part to play in this too.

Kylie and her celebrity makeup artists swear by her French Vanilla highlight (pictured above), but Primark is continuing to produce as many dupes as they can of her brand favourites, with PS… almost matching the packaging and producing 3 shades in total.

If you’ve been in Primark recently you’ll notice that their once small beauty section has expanded leaps and bounds, they are also marketing their huge range of beauty items under the Instagram handle @primark.beauty and trust me they mean business.

Kylie’s highlighters or “Kylighters” as she calls them, make for smoother application, but you could find yourself stung with import tax on top of the price of the highlighter. I have to admit I have been on the receiving end of this on more than one occasion.

Liquid highlighter can add to a dewy foundation look- think Victoria Beckham with her “sexy/sweaty” signature look as she calls it.

Iconic London launched their brand with a liquid highlighter, and it became an Instagram sensation as they are blinding!

Highlighters in liquid form are buildable, work well mixed in with moisturiser, and can also be applied on your body to look like you’re fresh off the plane from a sunny getaway.


Image credit: Iconic London/ Primark

However, to achieve this look you don’t need to splash out! Primark, among many retailers, is bringing out liquid highlighters for a fraction of the price so you can shop around to find the right one for you whilst saving some coin.



Contour queen Kim Kardashian launched her brand KKW Beauty with contour sticks available with a dual-ended applicator so you could use a brush and/or sponge to apply.

Kim and her MUA Mario Dedivanovic revolutionised the beauty industry when they revealed that contouring is what gives Kim her signature look.

So, when Kim formulated her perfect contouring tools some were sceptical, but her product won at the Allure Beauty Awards 2017 and continues to sell big.

For some contouring was seen as a fad, and for others, it’s become a staple of their routine that they can’t miss.

It can be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it it can be life changing!


Image credit: KKW Beauty/ Primark

Again with KKW Beauty being an American brand, you can get charged import tax on top of the initial price of the product.

If you’d like to try contouring it’s worth seeing what Primark’s PS… has to offer before you splash out on Kimmy K’s. Revolution beauty also do pretty good foundation sticks that work for contouring too, at a bargain of course.



Arguably, Kylie Jenner’s launch of her matte liquid lipsticks started the trend, with pretty much every cosmetics brand then following suit.

Including PS… by Primark, who was clearly inspired by her packaging too. In their dupe, you get 2 lipsticks in a set with a lip liner, so that you can create your own ombre lip for a fuller pout.

Whereas Kylie Cosmetics provide one liquid lipstick and lipliner.

Image credit: Kylie Cosmetics/ Primark

There’s also a range of shades available for both brands, however, Kylie Cosmetics have released a lot more than Primark.

Not a fan of a liquid lip?

I have to say I’m hedging back towards lustre and satin lipsticks. Whilst I love the staying power of matte liquid lips, I love the moisture of lustres!

Image credit: Mac/ Primark

If you prefer the good old fashioned lipstick over liquids, PS… have a wide range of both mattes and lustres for just 90p each!

They also do lipstick vaults for both liquid types each containing 10 lipsticks to get a full spectrum of shades for a bargain.



Benefit pretty much launched the brow trend with one of the largest ranges of brow products on the market for every type of brow, no wonder they are officially the UK’s no.1 brow brand.

The Precisely, My Brow pencil was a favourite of mine for a while but I found I went through them too quick!

Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics/ Primark

YouTuber Holly Boon opened my eyes to Primark’s PS… dupe and I have not looked back.

The fine tip of the pencil makes it easy to mimick brow hairs making your eyebrows seem precise and thicker, and you still get the spoolie on the end.



The They’re Real! mascara by Benefit is also extremely popular, so Aldi’s Lacura jumped right in and brought out their version for just £5.99!

Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics/ Aldi

It’s almost Too Legit! don’t you think?



Urban Decay was where I bought my first ever eyeshadow palette, and dozens of palettes later they still have a place in my heart for that reason.

I spotted a copy of the coveted Urban Decay Naked Heat palette in Aldi, and in real life, the shades do bare a better comparison than what the photo shows.

It’s much cheaper, and I have not had a chance to compare it to Urban Decay at present but over the years I have found one common thing with cheaper eyeshadows: they don’t work as well as more expensive items.

I see eyeshadow palettes as an investment. I got my first eyeshadow palette 4 years ago and it’s still going, I’ve not finished it. The quality is still brilliant so I refuse to throw it out.

Brands such as Mac and Anastasia Beverly Hills are more expensive, but to me, they are worth it in this instance, because the colour payoff and blendability are often a result of a more high-end formula.


Liquid shadow

Our stylist Natalie De Silva AKA @iconicbelgravia has expressed her love for Stila liquid eyeshadows, and they are indeed widely popular.

So, of course, Primark’s PS… had to come out and make their own version and they look absolutely gorgeous!

Image credit: Stila/ Primark

Liquid eyeshadows can be the perfect addition to an eyeshadow look adding a touch of metallic and sparkle.

You can get all 4 of Primark’s liquid shadow shades for less than half the price of 1 of Stila’s.


So, if we total up the makeup bag for the best selling high-end items we get the grand total of £384.*

And, if we total up the makeup bag for the dupes of these best sellers we get £60.85.*

Aldi’s Lacura brand is part of their specialbuys category so it’s hit or miss if they are in their local store, however, they are available online so they can be ordered if you click here: Aldi.com

Unfortunately, Primark’s P.S… range is only available to purchase in store so you will have to brave the chaos. But you can browse their selection if you click here: Primark.com

Revolution Beauty is available in most Superdrug stores and online too: Revolutionbeauty.com

In my opinion, makeup has no rules, you can do what you like and use what you want and that’s the beauty of it.

So in summary, in some cases, the high-end products are worth the money, and in some cases, they aren’t. Whether you agree or disagree, at least there are bargains out there to try first so you can make up your own mind.

Will you be switching? Be sure to tag us @theimageconsco to let us know, and stay tuned for our skin care blog as part of this series!