I’ve come to the realisation that most of the products I use on a daily basis are from the drugstore, and while I prefer higher end base products, I’m not that fussy when it comes to the rest of my face. There are some amazing, affordable drugstore makeup products out there, and this week my gorgeous friend Dorota from Beauty Drama Queen and I have decided to round up our top 5.
I can’t wait to see her picks as we tend to have very similar taste in makeup, which is funny because our complexions couldn’t be further apart! She has pale, cool toned skin and mine is olive and warm, so it never ceases to amaze me how we have so many identical products!
I hope our posts are helpful in some way. You can read Dorota’s post here and do let us know if there is anything you think we need to try. Although our credit cards may hate us, we’re always up for trying new products!
NYX Eyebrow Gel in Espresso
I have always favoured brow pomades and gels over pencil and powders as I can never achieve the look I want with a pencil, and find that powders are too messy and don’t have great staying power.
This NXY eyebrow gel in Espresso is the perfect match to my hair colour and really easy to work with. The pigmentation is excellent, and the formula feels more like a thick cream than a gel. I find that layering a second coat on can sometimes make it look cakey and harder to blend, so I would recommend working on a small area at a time.
It does take a bit of practice if you’re used to using a pencil, but how well you apply the product is completely down to the brush you use. I have tried so many, and in my opinion this ABH brush is the best one I have ever used.
I spend the longest amount of time perfecting my brows, and this gel dries very fast so it doesn’t always give me enough time to work with it. I use a tiny amount at a time on the back of my hand, and go back for more if I need to. Once the product has set, it doesn’t budge or smudge and it’s very long wearing and is also completely waterproof – I put this to the test numerous times at the beach!
I have a love-hate relationship with the packaging. I love that it’s compact and travel friendly, but I dislike that it’s hard to control the amount of product that comes out of the tube. I always end up with more product than I need on the back of my hand, and it’s quite messy as it can only be removed properly with eye makeup remover. Having said that, for me, travel friendly packaging always wins!
It may look tiny, but a little really goes a long way with this. If you’re looking for an affordable waterproof brow gel around the £5 mark, then I highly recommend this one!
Nivea Men Post Shave Balm
In case you missed the memo about this craze, this balm contains glycerin; an emollient that makes the skin moist, soft and supple. It’s often found in primers because it becomes tacky when applied to the skin holding everything in place that’s applied on top. And honestly, it really works to provide the perfect canvas for makeup.
Unsurprisingly, this has a generic masculine scent, which I actually quite like. However, if you’re not a fan of smelling like ‘man’, don’t worry, the scent doesn’t actually stick around for long; it starts to disappear as you work it into the skin.
I like to work the balm into my skin like a moisturiser and wait for a minute or so before I go in with foundation; I find that helps it become tackier, which helps the foundation stick to it better. It absorbs into the skin quickly, hydrates my face and creates a smooth base for my foundation.
I’m not a fan of the heavy glass bottle packaging, but seeing as this product was designed for men, I’ll let that one slide! For less than £5, it really is the best, and most affordable primer!
Catrice Nude Illusion Transparent Matte Loose Powder
Although I am still on the hunt for the perfect, affordable setting powder, this Catrice Nude Illusion Transparent Matte powder comes pretty close.
Despite being white in colour, this powder promises to be translucent and I find that if I use too much, it does leave a white sheen on the face – the key is to use a light hand. The powder is very finely milled and it leaves a lovely matte, flawless finish.
I don’t normally set my foundation with powder unless it’s a warm day, however I always set my concealer as everything is prone to creasing on me. I find that most translucent powders make my under-eye area look grey and ashy, or they leave an unsightly white cast and this is the first one I have found that doesn’t do that. It sets my concealer perfectly without altering the colour and is long wearing.
The packaging isn’t that dissimilar to that of a higher end powder; the sifter prevents wastage and makes it is easier to control how much product you pick up with your brush. The clear container is handy too as you can see when you’re running out.
Sleek Contour Kit in Light
I have lost count of the number of Sleek Face Form palette’s I have repurchased; this was the first contour palette I ever bought and it is still the one I reach for the most. I have this palette in Light, and as you can probably tell, I only really use the contour shade. The highlighter packs quite a punch but I find it’s quite chalky and too cool toned for my skin. The blush is very shimmery and cool so I’m not a huge fan of that either.
The contour shade however, is perfection. It’s a neutral toned matte brown shade that has excellent pigmentation. It adds a subtle warmth and natural shadows to my face without making my skin look muddy. It blends like a dream, and can be built up to a stronger, more chiselled look for a heavier makeup look.
Like every other Sleek product, the packaging is sturdy and classy; it doesn’t look or feel cheap and it’s great to have a large mirror – it’s perfect for travel. Some do say that it can be hard to open, sometimes even resulting in nail breakage, but I haven’t had that issue.
I have also tried this palette in Medium, however the contour shade in that one is slightly too dark for my skin and leans more to the orange side, making it look unnatural. The highlight and blush shades are better, but I have others that I prefer, which is why I always go back to the Light palette.
This palette retails for £9.99 and they also do the Face Contour Kit, which has just the contour and highlight for just £6.99. Although this one always seems to be sold out, I would recommend hunting it down as the contour pan in that one is larger!
Kiko Water Eyeshadow in #208
I’ve been using the Kiko Water Eyeshadow in 208 as a highlight for a few months now and funnily enough, I actually picked it up on a shopping trip with Dorota!
Technically, this an eyeshadow that can be used either wet or dry, but I’ve heard that it’s an exact dupe of MAC Oh Darling, a limited edition highlighter. As I never bought the MAC one, I have no comparison, but I had to pick this one up and see what all the fuss was about.
As you might be able to tell, it’s clearly well-loved and I am tempted to buy a back-up because knowing my luck, they will discontinue it – It happens every time!
The packaging is a little awkward if you’re using a fan brush, however it works perfectly with my Morphe M501 brush. The texture is lovely with no huge chunks of shimmer and is long wearing.
Admittedly, I have never worn it as an eyeshadow, but it does look stunning on the inner tear ducts to make your eyes pop! I use it dry for a daytime glow, and in the evenings, (when I want to blind people with my cheekbones), I spritz a little MAC Fix+ straight into the pan before picking up the product on my brush.
It’s so affordable at only £8.90 and the pigmentation is insane! Just look at this glow..
Wow, that was a long post!
Have you tried any of these products? What are your top drugstore makeup picks?