Our mission here at mamabella is to help you find the best beauty products – not just the best makeup or skincare money can buy, but the best cheap makeup, skincare, haircare and tools that perform as well as their more expensive rivals without breaking the bank.
As part of this mission, we’ve been trialling and testing various beauty products, at various price points, to create lists of what we consider to be the best foundation, conditioner, moisturiser, BB cream and so on.
Within each of these Best Of lists, we highlight an Editor’s Pick – our absolute favourite; a Luxury Buy – for when you’re feeling flush – as well the best Bargain Beauty Buys – cheap makeup or skincare that typically costs less than a tenner but punches well above its weight.
To help you discover these hidden gems, we’ve put all of these beauty bargains, from moisturisers to eyeshadow palettes and more, below.
If these particular products don’t tickle your fancy, we’ve rounded up the best cheap makeup brands to help you explore what other bargains they have to offer. And don’t forget, we’re on the hunt for designer makeup on the cheap in the various sales across the web on a daily basis over at our makeup sale page.
Here are the best cheap makeup and beauty products we recommend you buy in 202o. We’ll be updating this list as we try more products so keep checking back, or if you have a bargain beauty product you can’t live without, let us know on our Facebook page.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer | Best highlighter | Best brow pomade | Best blusher | Best setting spray| Best makeup sets | Best false eyelashes
£19 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: This is a highly versatile and affordable makeup set that will suit a large range of skin tones. The Cherry My Cheri eyeshadow palette contains 16 shades of nudes in a mix of shimmer and matte and it comes with L’Oreal Paris’ Paradise Mascara which not only gives curl and volume, it conditions your lashes with castor oil to prevent flaking.
You can see more of our best makeup set recommendations on our round-up.
FURTHER READING: What eyeshadow goes with your eye colour?
£4 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: Don’t be fooled by the low price of this concealer, it is absolutely full to the brim with quality and has won awards because of it. This is why we awarded it the Bargain Buy in our best concealer list.
It’s a sure-favourite with beauty bloggers because of its long-lasting, lightweight finish that covers any blemish with ease. This is helped by its precise applicator, helping you to cover these blemishes on the go, too.
READ NEXT: How to use concealer on mature skin
What’s more, because it gives such decent coverage in spite of its lightweight texture, it’s great for when you need to get rid of dark circles and it’s one of our favourite concealers for mature skin. Learn more about how to apply concealer to mature skin in our guide.
This concealer comes in a wide range of shades – O (extra fair), 1 (fair), 1A (cool fair), 1B (warm fair), 2 (cool medium), 3 (warm medium), 5 (medium deep), 5 (medium deep), 5A (cool deep), 6 (cool dark), 7 (warm dark) – and on the best, or worst, of days it won’t come off with a little sweat.
£5.99 | Buy now from Superdrug
Superdrug has established itself as a leader in beauty – both in the partnerships it forges with the likes of up-and-coming brands like Revolution (read more in our best cheap makeup brands roundup) and e.l.f but also with its own range of products in its B. collection.
We particularly love its B. collection of excellent makeup brushes that are well within budget (starting at just £5.99) and they have the added benefit of being entirely vegan, forgoing the use of animal hair.
The Superdrug fan brush is a favourite as it’s soft, lightweight and the perfect shape for a highlight or blush.
This fan brush is our go-to ahead of more expensive makeup brushes from the likes of Morphe and Zoeva. We can’t fault it – and at this price, it’s an absolute bargain. Check out our best makeup brushes list for more options.
Why we love it: Technically a BB cream, this tinted moisturiser from NYX – one of our favourite cheap makeup brands – is a wonder product for a cheap price.
We do tend to prefer cheap makeup products to be under a tenner where possible, so at £10 for 27ml the NYX Bare With Me tinted moisturiser only just makes the cut, but when you consider how versatile it is, and the fact it’s great for improving your skin tone and texture, it’s at least good value for money.
It’s why we awarded it the Budget Buy in our best tinted moisturiser list.
We’ve used this cheap tinted moisturiser in place of our foundation because it offers good coverage despite its light formulation; we’ve used it as a standalone moisturiser and it’s come in handy as a beauty balm/primer when prepping our skin for makeup.
Because it’s a cheap moisturiser, its texture is thinner than more expensive moisturisers – both standard and tinted – but this does benefit more mature skin like ours and it’s the perfect base for a natural ‘no make-up, make-up’ look.
For such a cheap makeup product, it’s also available in a decent range of 11 shades – from Vanilla Nude to Deep Espresso.
FURTHER READING: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser review
£9.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: Despite its incredibly low price, Garnier’s Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-In-One BB Cream regular wins awards from top beauty sites.
It even made Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Hot 100’s Best BB Cream.
Its popularity lies in the fact its formula combines natural-looking colour with sheer coverage.
It also contains ingredients that boost your skin to give you a glow from the inside as well as out.
Using this BB cream every day evens out your skin tone and it provides a light alternative to foundation with a non-greasy consistency that smoothes skin, blurring imperfections.
£5.90 | Buy now from Lookfantastic
Why we love it: The Ordinary, as a brand, consistently blows us away.
We’ve carried out various blind tests to see how its range of makeup and skincare compares to more expensive rivals and we can’t remember a single time when the premium brand won.
This medium-coverage foundation has become our everyday base because it goes on like a dream and leaves a natural finish.
You only need a small amount to cover your entire face – meaning it’s even better value for money than first thought – and its consistency is such that you can build the coverage up depending on the occasion.
It’s also a rare foundation that you can apply with a brush or a sponge with little difference in results.
It doesn’t settle into creases and fine lines and despite its great coverage, it doesn’t look too heavy or cakey.
On days when we’re going for something a bit more and opt for a thicker foundation, we still add our The Ordinary foundation to the mix.
It has a 21-shade range, although there is a lack of colours for darker skin tones.
£8.25 | Buy now from Beauty Bay
Why we love it: Black Opal has been pioneering the development of technologically advanced skincare and cosmetics for women of colour for years, long before the likes of Fenty Beauty.
Its launched its first product all the way back in 1994 and it has become a go-to brand for solving issues around hyperpigmentation and oil control, leading the way for cheap makeup brands.
It’s now available in more than 30 countries and specialises in shade matching its products with dark skin tones.
The Black Opal foundation perfecting stick is ideal for people who don’t always want a full face of foundation, but need a little coverage to hide blemishes and so on.
It’s also great for a light touch-and-go during the day at work, or when on holiday. Its size, performance and price make it a handbag staple and the added SPF gives it an extra thumbs up.
You can get more choices in our best foundation for dark skin tones list.
£4.50 | Buy now from e.l.f
Why we love it: Setting powder can make a world of difference to your overall makeup look.
If you’ve got fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes, it can help your concealer and foundation almost melt into the skin.
It can help blur imperfections, and disguise shine.
The very best setting powder will also help your skin control oil by absorbing sebum throughout the day, all while keeping your makeup in place!
The best cheap setting powder we’ve used, and one that punches well above its low price is e.l.f’s Translucent Mattifying compact.
This Translucent Mattifying Powder will set your makeup and soak up oil like many more expensive powders we’ve used.
It’s a great size to stick in your handbag for when you’re on-the-go, too.
FURTHER READING: Why we love e.l.f makeup so much
£3.30 | Buy now from Wilko
Why we love it: We had to do a double-take at the price of this mascara because it performs amazingly yet costs just £3.30 (when bought from Wilko).
Essence’s Princess Lash Mascara is a fan favourite, which regularly tops Amazon’s most-wished for lists, and it gives your lashes a kind of length and volume we rarely see with expensive mascaras, let alone mascaras this cheap.
It’s why it was awarded the Budget Buy title in our best mascara list.
Its special fibre brush is shaped like a cone, which reminds us of the brush on the Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara, but the Estée Lauder version is almost eight times more expensive.
This is a brand that proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune on makeup to look good, and with this mascara giving close to a false-lash effect, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better at this price.
FURTHER READING: Best drugstore mascara
£8.99 | Buy now from Sleek Makeup
This has largely been fuelled by its fantastic cheap eyeshadow palettes.
Known for its super-pigmented shades and available in a variety of colourways, we’re huge fans of the brand’s I-Divine palettes.
They contain a mix of pearlescent shadows designed to suit every eye colour and skin tone, and are guaranteed to illuminate any eye look.
The browns and copper colours in this particular palette pictured suit blue eyes, the blues brighten brown eyes, the greens enhance hazel eyes and the black and silvery blues are great for grey peepers.
Check out our What eyeshadow goes with your eye colour? article for more information.
Since we included this in our best eyeshadow palettes list, SleekMakeUP has launched a follow-up, Limited Edition i-Divine palette called Chasing the Sun. It’s not quite as versatile as this original, however, it’s beautiful and creates some standout looks.
FURTHER READING: Best makeup brushes for eyeshadow
£7.99 | Buy now from Superdrug
Why we love it: Real Techniques consistently makes fantastic makeup tools at cheap, affordable prices.
Set up by makeup artists Samantha Chapman and Nicola Haste – also known as Sam & Nic – the brand sells a number of foundation brushes (as well as many other brush and sponge types) but the model that made it onto our best foundation brush list is the Real Techniques Expert Face foundation brush.
It’s a small, densely packed brush that is ideal for picking up and applying full-coverage liquid and cream foundations.
It has a broad shape and is comfortable to hold. It can also double up as a contour brush, or even a powder or highlighter brush. Learn more in our guide to makeup brushes.
It’s incredibly versatile and for less than a tenner, we’re wondering what the catch is!
£3.99 | Buy from Superdrug
Why we love it: Using a combination of beeswax and shea butter, this fantastic cheap lip liner from Rimmel provides moisture whereas some liners dry out the lip.
It also defines and protects, stopping lipstick smudging and bleeding.
We love this liner because it’s clear, meaning it can be used with any lipstick and you don’t have to be as precise as with coloured ones.
The downside for the moisturising nature of this liner is that it doesn’t create a matte finish, so would be better suited for use with lip gloss, stains and satin-finish lipsticks.
Why we love it: We love NYX Professional Makeup, it’s one of the best cheap makeup brands around and in almost every category, the affordable makeup brand punches well about its weight, particularly when it comes to lipsticks.
NYX Professional Makeup’s Soft Matte Lip Cream has a creamy, pigmented formula and smells like a dream. It’s also incredibly easy to apply. A cross between a lipstick and a gloss.
Available in more than 30 shades, this cheap lipstick caters to your every need with shades from rich, blue-toned purple, to your everyday muted nudes.
You can read more about this lipstick and some of the other amazing cheap makeup products made by NYX Professional Makeup in our Brand Spotlight article.
£5+ | Buy now from Superdrug
Why we love them: Possibly the most well-known brand in the UK for selling false eyelashes, not only are Eylure products affordable and accessible, they’re of the highest quality and come with a glue that will last you up to 18 hours.
These are the best false eyelashes if you’re on a budget. The sacrifices you make are that these eyelashes can only be reused a maximum of five times and the glue that comes with them is a little fiddly to use but for a fiver, these are sacrifices we’re willing to make.
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget