The cheap makeup we buy over high-end products

The beauty industry has seen a boom over the past few years. Improved formulas, upgraded packaging and cutting-edge research has given us an ocean of choice when it comes to picking out a Holy Grail mascara or fan-favourite foundation — and that applies to both luxury and drugstore makeup.

In fact, budget makeup is definitely having a moment. With TikTok users pointing us to dupes and our own editorial team always on the lookout for cheap makeup that performs the exact same as the high-end stuff, we’ve accumulated stacks of affordable product recommendations.

Combining consumer ratings with the first-hand experience of our in-house reviewer Katia, here are the best affordable makeup products on the market in 2022.

The best affordable makeup in the UK:

Revolution Loose Baking Powder

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Elf Poreless Putty Primer

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Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

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Essence False Lash Effect Mascara Princess

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Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

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Collection Concealer

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L’Oreal Paris Infallible 24HR Freshwear Foundation

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Kiko Milano 3D Hydra Lipgloss

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Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops

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Morphe Continuous Setting Mist

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What the product claims: Designed to deliver a flawless, non-cakey finish without drying out your skin, this loose baking powder will keep your base locked down and looking fresh.

What we’re saying: “An airbrushed finish that doesn’t look crepey around the eyes and doesn’t settle into fine lines, plus the promise of no flashback. And did I mention the superb shade range? Consider me sold.”

What you’re saying: “The powder is absorbent, comes in a wide range of shades, doesn’t interfere with the colour of your make up […] and the size of the product is giant, it lasts so long. Absolutely a must have!”

What the product claims: This thick, putty-texture primer leaves you with a no-budge base and an added shot of hydration thanks to squalene.

What we’re saying: “Ironing out pores and leaving me with a soft-focus finish before I’ve even applied a foundation, this primer is magic in a tub. Some SPF would be a nice touch, though.”

What you’re saying: “I don’t go for any other primer out there. This one covers up my large pores, smoothes the skin and makes my makeup last all day. You must have this in your collection!”

Read more: The low-down on makeup primers: Do I really need a primer? What’s the best type for my skin?

What the product claims: Promising the kind of natural, sun-kissed glow you usually only get from being abroad, this budget-friendly bronzer is infused with Murumuru Butter for a skin-smoothing, lit-from-within finish that flatters a variety of skin tones.

What we’re saying: “I can’t get enough of this satin-effect sheen and creamy powder formula. It also fares well on my dry skin without looking patchy. The only thing I’m not sold on is the flimsy packaging, which is sadly common in cheaper makeup.”

What you’re saying: “I have no idea how anyone can find fault with this bronzer! One of the softest, creamiest and loveliest smelling bronzers out there!”

What the product claims: A conical brush and super-black formula offers supersized lashes that’ll get people looking twice to check if they’re lash extensions.

What we’re saying: “Fluttery lashes with outstanding length and delightful definition. This mascara is a real box-ticker, but it’s not the best for volume and it does have a tendency to smudge if you’re doing anything sweat-inducing.”

What you’re saying: “It lengthens, curls, volumises and doesn’t transfer under my eyes! So incredible for the price.”

What the product claims: This sponge expands with water, allowing you to buff your base to perfection with this cloud-like complexion product. Use with liquid, powder or cream products.

What we’re saying: “I used to be a die-hard brush fan, but this complexion sponge has completely changed the game. My base has never looked so put-together and pixel-perfect.”

What you’re saying: “I buy this sponge time and time again. It feels soft on the face and has the right amount of push to it. Great for going over any areas that may have caked up on applying too much foundation.”

What the product claims: High-coverage and long-lasting, this concealer is a must for erasing heavy-duty blemishes or smoothing over uneven skin tone. An expanded shade range earns it extra points.

What we’re saying: “When I had acne, this was the only thing I used to cover it up. Admittedly it’s been a few years since I used it, but I remember loving the full-coverage matte finish — and the price, of course.”

What you’re saying: “Don’t bother wasting your money on expensive concealers; this one is phenomenal!”

What the product claims: A fresh-feeling formula coupled with a high-coverage finish come together to make a truly unique — and highly affordable — foundation.

What we’re saying: “A favourite among our entire editorial team, this tried-and-true foundation is a masterclass in versatility. Layer it on to amp up the coverage or use sparingly and skip the powder for something a bit more glowy and dewy-looking.”

What you’re saying: “I have always been someone who uses high end makeup.[…] I LOVE it and I have never been back to my expensive high end foundation.”

Read more: The bestselling makeup products of all-time (which you can buy in the UK)

What the product claims: Non-sticky and packed with subtly shimmery particles, this lipgloss promises to maximise the look of your lips and leave you with a mirror-glossy, super-shiny finish.

What we’re saying: “Sadly our team is yet to test this makeup product ourselves, but reviews are very promising and the budget-friendly pricetag is extra appealing.”

What you’re saying: “Good consistency, not too thick and uncomfortable but not too thin and unpigmented. The shine is fantastic. Absolutely no critiques.”

What the product claims: Highly-pigmented and super-blendable, these cream blushers come in a beautiful shade range and offer impressive staying powder that’s comparable to more high-end makeup products.

What we’re saying: “The shade ‘Cinammon’ is all of my dusky, sun-blushed, just-spent-two-weeks-in-the-Bahamas dreams come true. Use sparingly, since it’s easy to overdo it — the blusher’s applicator could definitely do with improvements.”

What you’re saying: “I bought the shade ‘Pinched’. It’s a warm peach shade, looks scary but once blended out gives a lovely sun kissed glowy look.”

What the product claims: Keep your base budge-proof, transfer-proof and sweat-resistant with this powerful setting spray.

What we’re saying: “This setting mist is the best of the both worlds: it has a super-fine nozzle that emits a very gentle mist, but the formula itself is invisible and keeps your complexion locked down all day.”

What you’re saying: “Having tried a few high end setting sprays, Morphe setting spray seems to be the best in performance and price. […] The mist from the spray is fine and continuous, and the spray is easy to use.”

Prices accurate as of 10/01/2021. Best Buys takes no responsibility for any price changes.

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