If 2020 has taught us anything (other than confirming what Forrest Gump knew a long time ago, namely that “you never know what you’re gonna get”), it’s that we can’t be too careful with how we spend our money, as the next financial crisis might always be just around the corner. I’m sorry to start on such a downer, but the truth, unlike good make-up, can be ugly.
That being said, however, my personal fascination with budget beauty must-haves is certainly not new. Discovering bargain buys that work is much like wearing a great Zara top with a designer pair of shoes: the aim is to look like a “million dollars” rather than actually spend it.
I thus thought it wise to ask two of my go-to MUAs (that’s Insta-speak for Make-Up Artists, of course;) for the most affordable products they’re loving right now. (I don’t earn a commission from any of the products mentioned hereunder, nor do the artists I interviewed. You can thus rest assured these tips are as real as Lockdown Level 2 and the need to wear a mask).
Meet Andrea van den Houten, a gorgeous & talented artist who’s worked on various film and television productions as the on-set make-up pro in charge of getting presenters (such as Jeannie D and myself) camera-ready. Andy is also passionate about editorial beauty shoots and, in my humble opinion, she’s One To Watch.
Check out the visual feast that is her Instagram account by following @andreavdh.makeupartist. There’s nobody that nails a halo smoke or a bushy brow quite like this girl can.
Andrea’s Best Budget Beauty Buys
- Essence I Love Crazy Volume Mascara (approx R59) | “This product creates INSANE volume and length and is easy to remove.”
- Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (approx R119) | According to the pro makeup artist, “if you are looking for a brow gel to brush up your brows which sets them in place and DOES NOT move, this is your friend. Because it is a tinted gel, it also creates fuller looking brows.”
- Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation (approx R147) | “This foundation has a beautiful silky matte effect. It’s also conveniently buildable – layer it on to spots or areas requiring concealer or sheer it down with a moisturiser or primer if you’re having a Good Skin Day and only need a light retouch.”
- NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette in Warm (approx R379.95) | Andy believes that “if you love practicality, this product is for you. It’s a versatile, pocket-sized palette with a wide variety of neutrals to suit all skin tones. Use it to achieve an easy everyday make-up look or a more intense evening beat.”
- Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in Precious Petals (approx R109.95) |”This affordable highlighter will give you a beautiful, natural glow which can be worn day or night for healthy-looking skin,” says Andy.
To give you guys as many tips as possible (I’m generous like that;), I also asked international make-up artist Monique Du Toit, another regular on the MOOIMAAK set, for her favourite thrifty thrills. Monique specialises in bridal beauty and has her own agency, representing some of Cape Town’s top make-up and hair artists.
See why Monique gets flown across the globe by picky brides on Instagram @moniquedutoitmakeupartist.
Monique’s Best Budget Beauty Buys
- Real Techniques Flawless Base Set (approx R399)| “Real Techniques makes the best affordable brushes for everyday make-up applications – you can buy them in sets and they are very affordable,” enthuses Monique.
- LA Girl Ultimate Intense Stay Auto Lipliner in Keep It Spicy (approx R90) | “This must-have daily nude has some serious staying power,” according to the pro.
- Catrice Sun Lover Glow Bronzing Powder (approx R99) | “I love an all-in-one product like this bronzer/highlighter, I use it on my cheeks and as an eye shadow,” raves Monique.
- Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick (approx R140) | “A wide range of colours to choose from and a comfortable wear that lasts for hours” is what made this product earn a spot in Monique’s top five.
- NYX HD Studio Photogenic Translucent Finishing Powder (R189.95) | “This powder is fine and mineral-based, softening wrinkles and giving pores a smooth finish. It’s colourless, so works well on all skin tones,” says Monique.
There you have it, ladies. Ten highly recommended beauty products that won’t break the bank, from two highly recommended professional make-up artists.