With so many makeup brands and products to choose from, it can feel almost impossible to know the life-changers from the money-wasters.
For example, the best makeup brushes are near-on useless you’re using the best foundation for your skin type; and there’s no point spending a fortune on the best primer if you’re not putting the right products on top.
What’s more, it’s a fallacy that you have to spend big money to get the best makeup. There are some amazing cheap makeup brands that rival, and often outdo, designer and premium firms so we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best affordable makeup for you.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Save money on high-end makeup in our makeup sale roundup
Why we love it: When it comes to a good all-rounder, cheap makeup brand, Revolution is one of the best. Its eyeshadow palettes are hugely popular with YouTube and Instagram influencers despite costing around £4, while its foundation doesn’t cost much more. The rest of the bestsellers section on Revolution’s website has products exclusively at £10 or less. The brand also offers a 10% student discount and a free ‘Shook Palette’ on orders over £30. It provides good quality with great pricing, and Revolution knows what to do to bring you back for more.
Why we love it: Whereas many of the other brands in this list you may recognise from the high street, you may not have heard of Wet n Wild. With the exception of select Boots stores, Wet n Wild is sold almost exclusively online in the UK and this means it doesn’t necessarily get the exposure it deserves. From bright, highly pigmented palettes to its large selection of mascaras, makeup brushes, eyeliners and lipsticks – among many other products – the US brand well and truly takes the game to the premium, designer beauty brands in terms of choice, versatility and performance. Yet very few items in its collection come in at more than £6. Seriously. Even its foundations are £5.95, while lip pencils are £2, eyeliners are £3 and mascaras average at around £4. Its makeup looks great and is easy to apply, although. it doesn’t offer the staying power as some of the other cheap makeup brands in this list. But if you invest in a decent setting spray, this isn’t a problem.
Why we love it: Arguably one of NYX’s most favoured products is its matte setting spray, it costs just £7 and is one of the best on the market. This quality is reflected in much of the brand as a whole and is a major part of what makes NYX so popular. The prices are very affordable and the website is easy to use, making NYX absolutely worth mentioning in our best cheap makeup list. NYX’s Ultimate eyeshadows are so good, they make our list of the best eyeshadow palettes.
Why we love it: Maybelline is one of the oldest beauty brands; its make-up is sold worldwide and it boasts more than 200 different, affordable, products. One of the firm favourites that (probably) almost every mascara user has tried is its lash sensational mascara, it sits happily in the £5-£7 price bracket and lasts forever on the lashes. We’re also big fans of the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express mascara which features in our best mascara list.
Why we love it: If you’re looking for a brand that can give you the best quality makeup from foundations, to nail varnish, and back to eyeliner -Rimmel is the cheap makeup brand for you. It’s a staple in all UK cosmetics shops and produces some of the most reliable, affordable and durable makeup there is. In particular, its match-perfection loose powder does exactly as it suggests, and with the promise of lasting up to 14 days, its super gel nail varnish absolutely delivers (and comes in an impressive 35 colours).
Why we love it: One of the most appealing features of Collection’s products, and the brand in general, is that as of recently, every item of make-up is entirely vegan-friendly and hasn’t been tested on animals. Collection’s lasting perfection concealer is a firm favourite with bloggers, vloggers and pretty much everyone (it remains Collection’s best-selling product) as it provides excellent coverage and lasts (as the name suggests) all day – it’s also a bargain at only £4.19. Its most expensive bestseller costs only £5.99, truly an affordable brand.
Why we love it: A brand that strives to integrate, educate and innovate both itself and its customers. MUA Makeup Academy is 100% cruelty-free with many of its products being vegan, too. MUA does every kind of makeup from a £2.50 dewy cream blush to THE best £5 eyeshadow palettes for any kind of occasion. The cheap makeup brand also does glorious glitter for all your party and festival needs.
Why we love it: Benefit is a slightly more expensive brand than others on this cheap makeup list but still affordable. It prides itself on creating durable, beautiful and necessary makeup. Plus, in the interests of ease, it has created many packages to save you having to buy products individually. For example, its feathered brow kit contains everything you’ll need to get perfect eyebrows.
READ NEXT: Every Benefit mascara ranked
Benefit also provides travel-size miniatures of some of its best-selling products like its famous Hoola bronzer and POREfressional face primer meaning you can try the products, usually for half price, without shelling out for full-size models. Check out our best mascara list for more information on Benefit’s brilliant They’re Real! range and see what happened when we ranked every single Benefit mascara from best to worst.
Libby graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in Multimedia Journalism. She’s worked as a researcher and writer for Heart Radio as well as a features writer for a Somerset newspaper. She’s since taken time out to travel, manage a hotel restaurant, do a lot of dog walking, and now works in London’s West End