Don’t get me wrong. I love makeup. But recently, I have felt a little wronged by so many of the brands that I swear by. You see, as a beauty editor, it can be really easy to get lost in the results of a product without taking into account the price of it. Recently, I stumbled across an old favourite foundation, so I hooked it back out and started wearing it again.
I started receiving compliments on my Zoom calls and FaceTime chats with friends and recommending the base to anyone who would listen. It wasn’t until a close girlfriend texted me the following that I realised something needed to be done: "Why have you just spent 10 minutes selling me on a foundation that costs £60? I just went to buy it, and I feel wronged. I was expecting it to be £8.”
And truthfully, I felt a bit annoyed at the price tag too. There’s absolutely no doubt about it: £60 for a makeup product is obscene money. And sure, if you have the money to spend, I think a lot of the pricier products are worth it, but shouldn’t great makeup be accessible to everyone? The truth is there are so many amazing makeup products out there that have high-end results without a high-end price tag.
So in a bid to give fabulous affordable makeup the shout-out that it deserves, I reached out to some of the best makeup artists in the business to get their opinion on the best affordable options out there. Keep scrolling to discover the affordable makeup products they swear by.
Emily Wood, @emilywoodmakeup
"You’ll see a lot of flushed faces and brushed-up brows if you take a gander at my work. That’s a guarantee. It’s a look that can’t really fail, in my opinion, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
"This product was originally crafted to perfect and hold the brushed-up brow style. However, the more I’ve played with it, I've realised it’s perfect for whatever style you like, fluffy or natural. This product will keep the hairs looking groomed and in place all day. Simply dampen a brow brush, rub it in the soap and start to brush the product through your brows in upward motions.”
"Camo Concealer is a hydrating, long-wearing concealer, perfect for under-eye circles and blemishes. It has a lightweight formula that provides a satin finish. Usually, I wear it without any foundation, focusing my application under my eyes and any other specific areas that I want a little coverage on. I pair this product up with a cream blush, leaving me feeling fresh and flushed! I love seeing raw skin, and that is why Camo has my heart.”
"Use this glorious liquid blush to add a pop of colour to your cheeks. This is a multipurpose product and can be used on your lips, too! I love to use it on the apples of the cheeks and smile to help guide my application. I find this product is best applied with fingers.”
Hannah Martin, @hannahmartinmakeup
"I don’t think I know an MUA that doesn't have Bioderma Micellar Water in their kit!! It removes every single trace of makeup, is super gentle on the skin and doesn't cause irritation. It is excellent for quick changes behind the scenes at fashion week or for tweaking the most intricate of feline flicks. It's a real kit essential.”
"I go through a lot of mascara in my kit, and I’ve tried hundreds of them, but I go back to L'Oréal Paradise mascara time and again. It creates volume and length, holds a curl and, most importantly, comes off easily with makeup remover.”
"Elnett hair spray is also a kit must-have of mine. I always have the mini bottle of Strong Hold in my ‘essentials’ bag. I use it to brush through eyebrows and soften any stray hairs. It's usually the job of the hairstylist, but I've lost count of the times it has been my little can of spray that’s saved the day. Not to mention the times I’ve used it to prevent a little snag in a pair of tights from becoming a full-blown ladder. It's a very versatile kit buddy!"
Mira Parmar, @miramakeup
"I love this mascara. The wand is fab, and the mascara itself lengthens and separates lashes to give a false-lash effect while looking natural. Apply at the root, and swipe up to coat the whole lash. It's buildable, too!”
"This is such a great liquid eyeliner for getting that perfect feline flick, even for the novices out there. It's super easy to use. The black is really black, and it’s waterproof, giving great all-night-and-day staying power.”
Caroline Barnes, @carolinebarnesmakeup
"This is a fantastic moisturiser that I have in my bag for days when skin needs an extra boost of hydration or I want an extra glow to my skin. It sits beautifully under makeup and glides gently onto skin.”
"E.l.f. does the best eye shadows with gorgeous combinations of colours. I love all of the palettes, as they are so flattering.”
"This is wonderful for anyone who has normal to dry skin and wants a natural-looking complexion with protection. This will be a summer top seller and comes in 13 shades.”
Celia Burton, @celiaburtonmakeup
"Only the red tube will do. I couldn’t live without Lucas’ Papaw. I use it on dry lips, dry elbows, as a balm on eyelids, to brush up brows, the list goes on. Incredibly useful, long-lasting (a little goes a long way) and very affordable."
"The best brow filler, fluffer and tamer product out there. Grateful that it’s only £14 since I go through about a tube a month!”
"This has been in my personal makeup bag for years. I love a pen applicator since it means no brushes have to be involved. It’s a lightweight formula but with good coverage, and it brightens at the same time. I recommend it to everyone.”
Cher Webb, @cherwebbmakeup
"The L’Oréal Infallible Pro Glow Foundation is an absolute must-have and at such an amazing price point! Delivering a medium buildable coverage that lasts for up to 24 hours on the skin and feels luxurious and comfortable to wear. It works with all skin types and is one of my go-to foundations for ultra-luminous, dewy skin.”
"The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is a firm favourite in my makeup artist brush belt, as it’s the perfect size and works with every texture. I love this brush with liquids, gels and creams to buff and polish the product into the skin for a seamless finish. The unique-shaped brush head fits into the face contours and works in harmony with your foundation, creating the perfect flawless canvas.”
"The Glossier Cloud Paints are the perfect quick pick-me-up for the cheeks! The lightweight pillowy formula goes on with ease and instantly melts into the skin to create a naturally healthy-looking flush. I apply a small amount on the apples of the cheeks with my fingertips, and instantly, you feel the product melting into the skin. It's a great one for speed and ease.”
Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous.
Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics.
While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best.
When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.