When I started to compile this list, I set myself two tasks, firstly, to be able to create a full face from the items I’d picked and secondly, to choose 10 different brands! The first one I mastered no problem but the second was trickier as there were certain items that just had to be included so I only managed 7 brands! The last number of years has seen the emergence of some absolutely top quality make up at extremely affordable prices. I don’t even like to use the term “budget” brands anymore because I think that it gives the impression that you’re buying a budget quality product, that is absolutely not the case anymore. As consumers, we are completely spoiled in terms of high quality makeup without the huge price tag. Read on if you want to see what I consider to be top notch makeup for pocket change.
1. Carter Beauty Full Measure Foundation €9.95
This blew me away from the moment I used it! It’s got an admirable 12 shades, it’s great for oily skin, has fantastic medium to full coverage, great longevity and easy application. It’s a 30ml glass bottle with a pump dispenser. I apply it using my Nima C.J. brush or another densely packed brush but it goes on really well with a damp beauty blender too. The consistency is lovely and creamy, I just love how it applies to my skin, it’s effortless! I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the other Carter Beauty products I’ve tried unfortunately but this foundation is the absolute bomb for us oily gals & guys!
2. Flormar Precious Curl Mascara €9.95
For someone with fine lashes like me, this mascara is the business. The wand is slightly bigger than I’m normally used to because I’ve quite small eyes but one side is flat, the other curved so it’s easy enough to use. I tend to use the flat side to get the first application on and then once I’ve a bit on and my lashes have curled slightly, I turn it and use the curved side to add another layer and get more curl and definition. It’s quite a thick mascara but it doesn’t clump and I also find it doesn’t transfer during the day. I’ve repurchased this on more than one occasion and with so many mascaras to choose from on the market, that’s saying something!
3. Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer €3.95
If you haven’t this in your collection then you seriously need to take a look at yourself. I’ve lost count of how many bottles of this I’ve gone through, it’s actually amazing! When you’ve got fine lines and strong smile lines, you need to choose very carefully when it comes to under-eye concealer, you need something that won’t crease and won’t settle in fine lines as the day goes on. You also need something that will keep the skin looking bright and hide any under-eye blemishes like tiny veins etc. This does all of that for me and I also use it as my eye base before applying eyeshadow. I honestly can’t believe this is only €3,95, I would very happily pay €15.00 for this (please don’t put the price up though Catrice, I’m just saying!). This concealer actually very recently won first place in the Steller Beauty Magazine awards, beating Mac ProLong Wear which costs €23.50 and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer which costs €30.00. If that’s not enough to make you go out and buy it (together with my glowing recommendation of course!), then I don’t know what is! Psst, Catrice is an absolute favourite brand of mine, click here to have a read of my blog post featuring my favourite products by the brand.
4. Note Cosmetics Terracotta Powder €8.95
This powder is a little bit of everything, it’s a bronzer, a highlighter and an eyeshadow – wear it whatever way you want! It gives a beautiful subtle glow to the skin and formulated with macadamia oil, a fab skin ingredient which controls sebum production but also helps retain skin moisture. I love putting it on my forehead and along the jaw line, it adds a lovely bit of colour and glow to the face without over doing it – less is more in my book, except with chocolate, more is always more there!
5. P.S. Lip Liners €1.50
These need no introduction as everyone in the country is like me and probably owns all of them! There are six shades in the range that cover all your basics, red, pink, nude, brown, a peachy nude and a plum shade. One thing I love about them is not only do they have colour coded caps on them but they’ve also a nice bar of colour coding on the end of them too – I keep all my lip liners in a section of my Clutter Box and with so many brands having black packaging with the dot of colour on the bottom, I find these so easy to locate in my stash! These liners are all soft and pigmented, the colour payoff is instant and it lasts really well.
6. Kiko Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliners €5.50
The perfect eyeliner for me is one that glides on easily, stays put in the waterline and doesn’t smudge from the lash line up onto the eye area during the day (hooded eye problems!). These are the absolute best I’ve come across, they would very easily rival Mac’s Powerpoint Eye Pencil and that’s saying a lot! They are soft and creamy, very pigmented and stay put literally all day long. The brighter shades give a fabulous pop of colour to the waterline, fab during the summer. There are 16 shades in the range and they come with a smudge sponge at the end so they’ll give you a gorgeous smokey eye that won’t budge. An absolute bargain! We don’t have a Kiko store in the Republic of Ireland but there is one in Belfast if you’re travelling and you’ll find Kiko is most large European cities and also online here.
7. Wet n Wild Color Icon Palette €5.99
This little eyeshadow palette is really nice, I first saw Karen from LovelyGirlieBits using it and I loved the autumnal colours so picked it up. I love how they tell you which colours are which, a lot of their smaller palettes will have a guide for where the colour goes imprinted in the colour like you see above with the transition colours, a great help for someone who might not be great at applying makeup. There is a bit of kick back in the pan with these colours so don’t go in too heavy handed, a lighter approach is best. They are very pigmented colours and I found they lasted really well during the day. This particular palette is split into a day and night look at there is a guide on the back as to what goes where – I just love brands that do that! At €5.99, you’re not going to go far wrong with these beauties.
8. Catrice Prime and Fine Mattifying Powder €5.49
I really struggled not to put more Catrice products in this list but this was definitely going in, this is without a doubt one of the best mattifying pressed powders out there and it’s less than €6.00! I’ve quite oily skin and would touch up once, maybe twice a day. I often find over time that pressed powders, particularly ones for oily skin, tend to get a film of well, oil, over them and just go disgusting and become harder and harder to use! I’ve never found this with the Catrice Powder, it has stayed powdery and given me great coverage right down to pan. Another big plus about this powder is the packaging – it’s a flip up lid which is a lot more user friendly than those with loose lids and it comes with a whopper mirror inside, again, when you’re touching up during the day, having a mirror to hand is always great. Rimmel could definitely take a leaf out of their book on that one!
9. Kiko Smart Colour Blush €5.95
These blushes look very unassuming as they’re very compact and small but they really pack a punch. They come in 12 shades (not all of them that wearable, some of them are purple but whatever floats your boat!!) I’ve got the shade 05 which is Coral, I did have shade 07 too which was more orange but it came to a sad end on my floor! They are described as being intense colour and they certainly are, I tend to use my Nima Harley brush to put this on as I feel a bit like Aunt Sally (I’m really showing my age now!) if I use a more densely packed brush. My one has a satin finish which I love, it gives a nice sheen to the skin without looking shimmery and they do have some matte finishes too. I’d definitely recommend you pick one up on your European travels!
10. Flormar Lip Crayons €5.95
These Flormar Lip Crayons are kinda new to me, I bought the Cranberry one during the summer and it was absolutely stunning, everyone commented on it and I’ve since bought the Salmon Shade. Let’s be honest, we all know I’m going to get all the rest too! There are 10 shades but we’ve only around 7 here in Ireland. Now I know not everyone is into lip crayons, some people just prefer the shape of a lipstick but these are very easy to apply, they’re lovely and creamy and very pigmented. You can still use lip liner of course and then I tend to use the side of the crayon to apply the colour, only using the tip to fill in any bits at the edge of my lips. I have one or two from another brand and they keep their shape perfectly once you apply them using the sides instead of the tip. Oh and in case you’re wondering how much product you get, I rolled one up to it’s full length and you definitely get quite a bit more than you do with a standard lipstick, another reason to love them!
Hope you enjoyed the post and found some bits that you might like to try, let me know in the comments.