10 Affordable Makeup Brands That Are as Good as Their Expensive Counterparts

Just as budget-friendly skincare products can be as good as high-end ones, the same can be said of makeup. These days there are plenty of affordable makeup brands to choose from that are just as good as their more expensive counterparts—proving there’s no need to spend excessively on your beauty routine. In fact, these purse-friendly options are often made in the same factories as or with the same ingredients as makeup products from luxury brands. And if you’re wondering why they’re so cheap? It usually means that the brand has cut costs on the packaging or the marketing spend—the quality of the product itself has nothing to do with it.


(Image credit: @SASHA.MEI)

That’s right, just because something is affordable, doesn’t mean it’s not as pigmented, long-lasting, or high-performance as a high-end product. Take a look at legacy makeup brands like L’Oréal and Maybelline for example. They’ve stood the test of time, continually evolving and improving their formulas over the years, but still keeping their prices accessible. Meanwhile new brands like Glossier and e.l.f. Cosmetics have found their fame through social media vitality—as sure a sign of any that a product is worth hunting down, regardless of its price tag.

Whether you’re trying to cut down on your beauty spending or you’re starting to build out your makeup kit on a budget, these are the best places to start if you’re looking for affordable makeup products.

The best affordable makeup brands:

1. Beauty Pie

The premise of Beauty Pie is that you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee that gives you access to luxury beauty products at factory prices. This means that (once you're a member) you end up paying up to 12 times less for products that are made in the same factories as high-end formulas, simply because the brand cuts out the middlemen. It sounds too good to be true, but trust us, it's really not—and the products are seriously good.

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2. e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f. Cosmetics only recently made its way over to the U.K. from the U.S.—for years it was the one makeup brand I always sought out (and stuffed my suitcase with) when I visited the States, but it's now finally available in retailers such as Boots and Beauty Bay. The brand has a knack for creating really impressive products, but manages to do so without bumping up their prices—everything costs less than £15.

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3. L'Oreal

Thanks to its heritage (it's over 100 years old), L'Oreal is one of the most-trusted affordable makeup brands out there. They also have a really wide product range—you could easily do your entire makeup routine with L'Oreal products from start to finish. With that said, they're most well-known for their base products (they always have impressively wide shade ranges) and their mascaras, which are every bit as good as those from luxury makeup brands.

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4. NYX Professional Makeup

Ask any makeup artist what their favourite affordable makeup brand is and we can pretty much guarantee they'll say NYX. It's another U.S. import and has quickly become a favourite amongst those looking for affordable and accessible makeup products. Since the products are designed and formulated with makeup professionals in mind, they're seriously good quality.

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5. Sephora Collection

Sephora's 'own brand' makeup collection finally became available in the U.K at the end of 2022, offering a vast selection of makeup, tools, and brushes. If you're looking to stock your makeup bag for less, this is a great place to start and get all of the basics covered—prices start from just £2.

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6. Maybelline

Maybelline has been around for years (108 to be precise), but also happens to be a brand that frequently goes viral on social media, proving that its formulas definitely have the star factor. From concealers and mascaras to lip glosses and eyeliners, Maybelline always delivers high-performance products at super affordable prices.

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7. The Body Shop

The Body Shop's makeup line often gets overlooked in favour of its skincare and body care offerings, but it's well worth checking out—especially if you're after affordable cruelty-free and vegan makeup products. Inspired by and drawing from nature, most of the product range are skincare-makeup hybrids which do good as well as looking good.

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8. Glossier

Glossier may be less than a decade old but it's already a familiar feature in many peoples' makeup bags and skincare routines. The makeup range (which features eye makeup, lip products, blushers, and base products) cuts the guess work out of makeup artistry, offering simple, easy-to-use solutions.

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9. By Beauty Bay

Known for being the place to source hard-to-find and up-and-coming beauty brands, in 2018 Beauty Bay turned its expertise to creating a range of affordable makeup basics. The own brand collection launched with eyeshadow palettes (for which it's most well known), but has since extended to include everything from blushers and bronzers to lipsticks and brow products. What's more, nothing costs more than £25.

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10. Revolution Beauty

Comprising a number of sub-brands, including Makeup Revolution, Revolution Pro, XX Revolution, and I Heart Revolution, Revolution Beauty has one of the most impressive offerings of affordable makeup products out there. You'll find the brand stock both online and on the high street, so it's super easy to get hold of. The brand is most famous for creating dupes of high-end beauty products, so you can create luxury looks for less.

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Next Up: The 11 Affordable Skincare Brands That Actually Work

Freelance Beauty Editor

Grace Day is a beauty editor and content creator. She has over 10 years of beauty-industry experience, spanning editorial, retail, and e-commerce, which gives her a unique understanding into how people shop for their beauty routines. While studying for a history degree (specialising in the history of beauty) and working as a beauty adviser in department stores, Grace started writing her own beauty blog in order to share the products she discovered while dealing with acne. After graduating, she moved to Beauty Bay as beauty editor and content manager. Grace is currently a beauty contributor to Who What Wear. She has also written for Hypebae and PopSugar and works as a brand consultant and copywriter.