The response I got from my post about beauty in the Aldi aisles confirmed that I am not alone in my love of a cosmetic bargain. I must reiterate here, that I am no glamorous minx, and on the surface, nobody you’d look to for advice in this field, but I DO love a good beauty product and if you saw how I looked on waking, you’d probably concur that I’m more knowledgeable than you’d have imagined.
In my mid twenties, I spent leisurely Saturday afternoons perusing beauty halls for premium products. Now, as a milestone looms large, I am more likely to be slinging something into my supermarket trolley as I whizz past with two kiddiwinks in tow, and £25 for an eyelid primer no longer seems such a good investment when there are school shoes to be bought and swimming lessons to be paid for.
Over the past few years of living in these sub-optimum beauty conditions, I have found some products that are excellent value – ‘cheap’ sounds undesirable, but it’s what we’re talking about really – and work very well. To save you the leg work, here are a few.
I am currently the owner of a temperamental – perhaps ill-judged – fringe. I have significant amounts of frizz at my disposal and without careful management, any hint of moisture in the air leaves me looking like a 6 year old after a sweaty PE lesson. (I’m a teacher, I know what I’m talking about.) A hairdresser put me onto setting lotion. Yes, this is the product that’s used alongside blue rinses and rollers, but it is definitely worth investigating if you want your hair to behave all day, whether you want it to stay curly or straight. I use one from Superdrug, but I imagine they’re all much of a muchness. I decant mine into a spray bottle and squirt quite sparingly onto damp hair before blow drying. It’s the best thing I’ve found for my troublesome fringe and costs £1.50 a bottle.
I bought this Collection concealer in a harrumph to replace a Bobbi Brown one I left in a hotel room, and have never looked back. It is every bit as good as the one it replaced, costs £4.19 and lasts for ages. Whilst you’re in the Collection section, I can heartily recommend their Fast Stroke eyeliner too. I saw this recommended in Marie Claire when I was about 21 and have been buying it ever since. I’ve been tempted to stray by other more attractive liners, but I’ve never found one better and have always returned to it, my tail between my legs.
I love a red lipstick and wearing one always makes it look like you’ve made a bit of an effort. I have had many, but never really found The One. The search continues. Meanwhile, this lipstain by MUA is pretty good. It stays on most of the day and is easy to apply. It is quite matte and looks like a lipstick, but is applied like a gloss. There aren’t loads of shades, but there might be something to suit, and at £4, I would recommend nipping into Superdrug when next you pass.
On a red lippy theme, yesterday, when I went to stock up on some pet paraphernalia in Wilko I scanned the makeup stands (it’s an involuntary reflex) as I scampered to the cat aisle and found an Essence lipstick that I am quite taken with. This one goes on like a lipstick but has a more sheer finish, like a gloss but not sticky – if you’re feeling too delicate for a full on red, this might do the trick. It tastes rather lovely as well. It doesn’t last for ages, but it’s easy to apply – you could have a go without a mirror, I’d bet – and feels like a balm on your lips. For £2.30, I’d defo risk it. I have ‘Strawberry Popsicle’ which is a bright red, but there are more subtle shades. And also a blue, should that be your thing.
My eyeshadow application is fairly rudimentary, but even with my basic level of skill it’s easy to see a difference in quality between different brands. My very favourite palette is the MAC one a generous friend bought me, but I also really like this MUA ‘Undressed’ eyeshadow palette . It is very similar to the Urban Decay ‘Naked’ palette, which I have admired, but, at £39.50 haven’t forked out for. The colours are all very wearable and blend well together, and it lasts pretty much as long as you’d need it to. I imagine with some skills you could create something dramatic using this. The packaging is a bit flimsy and isn’t going to fancy up your makeup bag, and the applicator isn’t up to much, but for £4, I can excuse that. Most of the shadows are quite shimmery – I like that, but some don’t – there are loads of matte palettes available in the same range if you prefer.
I love nice nails and I have a fairly comprehensive collection of nail polish with most brands from Chanel down represented in my stash. I have to say, that for application and longevity, a £1 bottle of Miss Beauty gel polish from Poundworld is as good as any I have tried.
I originally bought one for my daughter to pledge her house allegiance at Sports’ Day, but was so impressed by it I went back and bought two more shades. I used a top coat over it and it lasted, looking glossy and fabby for the best part of a week – unheard of in my home manicure history. The only downside I can see, is that there weren’t many shades I was mad for, but the coral is lovely.
Should you pass one – Poundworld is the one with the blue signage – I would recommend dashing in.
Finally, in my Aldi post, I wrote about the shampoo they offer. It’s pretty good, but my very favourite hair stuff is that by OGX. It’s not particularly cheap, but it’s often on offer at 2 for £10 and I think it is excellent. There are loads of different formulations and I haven’t tried one that didn’t do noticeably good things for my unruly barnet.
What other beauty bargains do I need to be stocking up on? Please do let me know in the comments below – there’s always a warm welcome guaranteed in my makeup bag!