I am a longtime drugstore lover, and two of my favourite places to spend time are Boots and Superdrug. I’m always on the look out for great products, at a fantastic price, and I love reading about other people’s favourite budget beauty buys, so I thought this might appeal to some of you.
I don’t have either the time or the skills to sort through the plethora of budget products that are available, so I look and see what I Covet Thee and Sali Hughes recommend, as well as listen to what my friends are buying and loving. From this long list, I have bought and liked the following. Mostly from Boots, as I love their points scheme:
1. Serum: Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful™ Super Serum (£20)
I tried the L’Oréal Revitalift Laser Renew Super Serum 30ml that Sali recommended. I thought it was good, but I have dry skin, so prefer something richer. So, I moved on to another of her recommendations, the Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful™ Super Serum, and much prefer it. Its rich, moisturising and smells faintly of orange peel. What’s more, it keeps my face feeling soft all day. When this serum runs out, I will re-buy it.
2. Sunscreen that moisturises: No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Facial Sun Protection SPF 50 50ml (£14.50)
I was using a moisturiser with SPF, rather than a sunscreen that moisturises, and realised I had it the wrong way around for summer. Friends love UltraSun, but my eyes get irritated easily, so I thought I would try this as its hypoallergenic. I also bought it as apparently anti aging sun protection is a good idea. Its great – I can put make up on over it, or wear it alone. It doesn’t feel dry or chalky like old SPFs used to, and I don’t break out or feel greasy. I haven’t burnt, either. Both my husband and I use it daily. Another product that I will re-buy.
In winter, I tend to use less SPF, and my favourite moisturiser with sunscreen is Simple Kind to Skin+ Protecting Moisture Cream SPF30 UVA/UVB 50ml £4.99. Again, this is a light sunscreen that feels moisturising and easily layers with my serum and CC Cream or foundation.
3. CC Cream: Bourjois 123 Perfect Colour Correcting cream £9.99
I saw that Lisa Eldridge used this on Sophie Dahl to create a natural look and, since Bourjois foundations are a good colour match for me, I thought I’d try it. Its light coverage, but very flattering in blurring / smoothing over my various blemishes, is moisturising and lasts well. I’ve bought another tube (No 31 Ivory) for when it runs out.
4. Foundation: Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation £9.99
Sometimes I like more coverage than CC cream, so I bought this foundation due to I Covet Thee’s recommendation that it was even better than Chanel Vitalumiere, which a make up artist said I should use. I have both shades 51 Light Vanilla and 52 Vanilla. I was using mainly 51, as that matches my skin. However, since doing this post, I’ve looked closer at my photos, and realised that I probably look better with a darker, warmer colour, so have switched to 52, mixed with just a little 51. This is a very moisturising foundation that feels lovely on dry skin, all day, and has a reasonable amount of coverage (I understand that for full coverage, you need Estee Lauder Double Wear). I will continue to buy this foundation.
5. Brush: Real Techniques Stippling Brush £11.99
I am not a skilled make up artist, so blending with my fingers does not work for me. Instead, I put some CC cream or foundation on the back of my hand, in a line, and put a little on this stippling brush, and apply it in short, quick strokes. I won’t be going back from using this sort of brush as it makes a huge difference to how well my make up is applied. Its actually faster for me, now, than blending with my fingers.
6. Blush: Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush £22
This isn’t such a budget buy, but I use it daily, so am including it for completeness. The importance of blush, is a recent discovery. Without it, I look pale but unwell, with a little (less is more), I look healthy and fresh. I like cool tones, so I use Smouldering Plum. I would buy a cheaper one, but find blush so tricky to choose, and use so little, that I will stick with this. I just use a big, cheap blush brush to apply it.
I also have the Applebloom Pink blusher from & Other Stories, but its so pigmented that I don’t know how to apply only the little that I want. Their make up is excellent, by the way, and browsing in their stories is one of my favourite retail experiences. The stunning colour range, stylish packaging, the set up to allow you to experiment – its always so enjoyable to shop there.
7. Mascara: Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara (waterproof in brownish black) £5
I’ve tried other mascaras, but I’ve never found a better mascara than a Maybelline waterproof one. By better I mean, no flaking, no running, long lasting, not clumpy. Even better, they are cheap. Especially when you buy them on eBay. A waterproof brown/black, which is what blondie me needs as black looks too harsh and aging, is almost impossible to buy in store in the UK, for some reason, so I look online. Maybelline always do a lengthening mascara like this (which I layer according to how much mascara I want / the volume I feel I need), so I’ve had various incarnations over the years, but this is the current one:
8. Concealer: L’Oréal Paris True Match Touche Magique Concealer £8.19
I have a few concealers, but this is my favourite, and most used. I tried the famed YSL Touche Eclat, but the colours aren’t right for me. This product is a Touche Eclat dupe, in a range of colours that’s much better for yellow toned me. I use Ivory Beige. This is a medium coverage concealer, I would say. As to coverage, a point that I saw Lisa Eldridge make in one of her videos is that you should wear the lightest skin coverage (eg foundation / CC cream) possible, and just focus on concealing any problem areas with a heavier concealer. She said that’s a more natural, flattering way to wear makeup, and I agree.
The other good concealers that I sometimes use are:
- Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer £7.99. This has a round sponge applicator that is wonderfully easy to use. If I only want light coverage, I use this.
- SEVENTEEN Phwoarr Paint £5.49. This is industrial strength concealer. Just dab, from the pot, onto where you need it most, as its the incredibly effective at concealing. However, it gets caught in the creases under my eyes, quite badly, so I need to keep an eye on it throughout the day. So, I use as little as I can, only when I need it.
- Sali Hughes recently raved about the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £4.19, (which was a reader tip) so I am wearing today (I tested the Fair colour) and will buy, too. When I can find a new tube in store – it always seems to be sold out.
Get comfortable. I love lipsticks, and only wear cool toned (ie blue based, not yellow based) reds, berries and pinks. My favourites are lined up and swatched, here:
From top to bottom they are:
L’Oreal Paris Perfection Color Riche Lipstick in 302 Bois de Rose £8.19: This is my favourite, day time natural looking lipstick. It gives me a rose pink lip colour that’s low maintenance. It stays on, and isn’t drying, but you don’t need a mirror to touch it up. Its currently on sale for £4.82 at Amazon, and £4.99 at Tesco. Here it is on me (not sure why my nose is as pink as my lips… Just sneezed?)
Rimmel Lasting Finish Lip Stick in 128 Starry Eyed £4.99: this is a great berry colour, that’s I tend to wear more in the cooler months. It feels nice to wear and looks lovely. You can see Lisa Eldridge using it in this berry lips tutorial.
Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in 010 Plum: this lipstick is slightly more vibrant than the Rimmel above, and it lasts beautifully. Annoyingly, its discontinued, but you can buy it on eBay .
Rimmel Kate Moss 107 Wine £5.49: This is one of the more moisturising matte lipsticks, but the colour is a little bright, so I only wear it when that’s what I want.
The Maybelline Color Sensational lipsticks £6.99 are often raved about by beauty bloggers, and I love Pleasure Me Red, although I wouldn’t be sorry if they changed the name. Its a very glamorous red lipstick, quite traditional, but its a beautiful colour and wears well. It does require touching up, but not too often. This is it on me:
Maybelline Color Drama lip pencil in Red Essential £4.99: I tried the famed Nars lip pencils, and liked them, but did find them a little drying. Then I read that I Covet Thee actually seemed to prefer the Maybelline Color Drama lip pencils, and that Red Essential is a great alternative to Nars Cruella, which was the red I thought would suit me best. These pencils do require touching up, as you can be left with a ring of colour, if you are eating, for example. However, they are a fantastic, pigmented lip pencil for when you feel like a rich, matte colour that you can apply precisely. I can’t find any helpful photos of me with this lip pencil, so you’ll just have to trust me!
I have been writing this post, on and off, for a WEEK!, and since swatching my favourites, I have been to Boots and bought Loreal Color Riche Matt 430 Mon Jules £6.99. This matte deep raspberry is a great, modern alternative to red lips. This is the first new colour that I had bought in months. I’m very taken with it, as its very long lasting, and isn’t as drying as some matte lipsticks. By way of reference, on the below swatch, my Rimmel Kate Moss 107 lipstick is top, the Loreal 430 is middle, and the Rimmel 128 is bottom.
This is what it looks like on me, along with all the other makeup I have mentioned. I’m slightly cringing at posting such a picture, but then what’s the point doing a beauty post like this if you don’t include pics?
Another dark pink matte lipsticks I have, and sometimes wear is Limited Collection matt lipstick in mulberry £6.00: The colour of this lipstick is divine, its a wonderful deep raspberry, as good as they make it. However, it is a little drying, so I need to moisturise my lips first. This is it on me:
10. Eyeshadow: Autograph Ultimate Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Sun Gold £9.50
I do use a few different eyeshadows, depending on what colour or finish I want, but my current favourite is this long lasting, flattering eyeshadow stick. I have tried the Lancome and Estee Lauder versions and haven’t been hugely impressed by their staying power, and ability not to crease.
If I want a slightly darker eye colour, the Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather Effect eyeshadow in Creamy Beige £4.99 is incredible. Its a cream, with no shimmer, and once it dries, that’s the end of the story. There’s no other product I’ve found that’s as good, but this is the only colour in the very limited range that I like. The rest are garish. I bought a lighter, metallic coloured one but it wasn’t much chop. The Creamy Beige is a Rolls Royce product. Photo from here:
If you want a powder eyeshadow, this is great for a very pale, nude eye look: No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow in Matte Calico £7: this particular colour is a very pigmented eyeshadow (more so than some of the other colours), so it is great for covering tired red eyes. Putting it on makes me look instantly more awake.
If you are still up for more of a drugstore fix, I also use:
- Boots No7 Melting gel cleanser £9.50, is great , and which I apply with this Botanics Facial brush £6. At first, the brush stinks, then it smells faintly hay like. Persist. Don’t use the Soap & Glory brush if you have sensitive skin, it will make your face sting. Learn from my mistakes.
- Nip & Fab Glycolic wipes £12.99 for 60. I have just started using these, and they are fine on my sensitive skin. A lady at Boots was buying them, saying they transformed her skin, so apparently they are great, used long term (I’ve not noticed anything after two uses). Also, I’m going to try the Extreme ones £14.99 (they ahve double the glycolic acid), too, from time to time. Ageing is not for sissies, to paraphrase Bette Davis.
- Boots No 7 Beautiful skin wipes £7. I know, how very bad to use wipes. But, sometimes, I do. And these are the best I have found. Great for sensitive skin, but they are wet enough to smoothly take your make up off.
- Superdrug Naturally Radiant Micro Polish Scrub £2.45 (was £4.99) A great, gentle exfoliator.
- Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Overnight Peel £2.99 (was £5.99). I use double the recommended amount, and its fine on my skin. I wake up with smoother, softer skin.
- Superdrug Hot Cloth Cleanser With Muslin Cloth £2.99 (was £5.99). This is a dupe for the Liz Earle hot cloth cleanser, and its about the same (I’ve had both), but far cheaper. A really good product. As you can tell, I like to use a range of cleansers.
- L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Extraordinary Facial Oil £15. A dear friend recommended this, and she was right: its a delight to use. Less is more, but it feels and smells wonderful. The best facial oil I have used. Interestingly, I thought the Loreal Facial Cleansing Oil was terrible.
Thanks for reading, Reader, have a beautiful day.