Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Budget Beauty Buys

Beauty, it can be an expensive business, especially when you believe the hype.  When I was just getting started in vintage I used The Fedora Lounge as my main source of information and from there I quickly learned that MAC was the vintage girls best friend.  Their lipsticks, foundations and blushers all being firmly advocated.

This morning, whilst putting on my usual work day face, I realised how much has changed for me since then.  Now, my trusty make-up bag is comprised of cheap basics which do just as good, if not a better job, than the expensive brands.

My top budget beauty recommendations are as follows:


Weird as it may sound I am a huge fan of Lanacane chafing cream for use as a primer.  It has the same ingredients as most cosmetic range primers and is massively cheaper.  It also works miracles on rubby shoes.  Always in my handbag.


While this is a tricky one to do on a budget (in my opinion there really is nothing better for a matte vintage look than Estee Lauder double wear) you can get a good foundation on the High Street.  My three favourites for a vintage look are Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, L'Oreal True Match and Revlon Colorstay. 

The Maybelline is the easiest to apply but no longer comes pale enough for me since my SPF 50 every day application regime - it is a good formulation though and feels very light on the skin.

L'Oreal True Match is a goodun.  The range has several pale shades for differently toned skin and it is beautifully packaged with a pump dispenser that gives you just the right amount.  The only issue I have with it is that it is so very runny, and so this can make application a bit tricky.  I tend to apply it, wait for it to dry and then buff over any streaky / unblended area with a tissue.  The best thing about it is that it has buildable coverage, so I can then apply a little more around my nose and on my dark circles.

My very favourite High Street foundation is Revlon Colorstay.  This stuff is better than MAC foundation.  The Ivory shade works for me and for several vintage friends so it is good suit all, it lasts all day and the texture is just perfect for an even and easy application.  My only warning is that it can cause breakouts.  As such I tend to keep this for evening make up rather than everyday.


I'm a Coty Airspun devotee and despite hearing that it has been discontinued I continue to be able to find it on eBay (perhaps I should stockpile just in case).  This marvellous loose powder has been around since the 30s's I think and it really does work to set your slap beautifully.  Sadly it is a bit expensive as the shipping racks up the cost but a tub lasts for EVER and so on a per use basis it is value for money.

If you aren't a fan of loose powder or struggle to get hold of this product then the L'Oreal True Match powder does a good job too.


Touche Eclat be damned!  L'Oreal's Touche Magique does a much better job and is much cheaper.


I'm still a fan of MAC's Dame blush but when this runs out I am going to try Maybelline's Dream mousse range.  I've heard great things about both the colours and the lasting power .


For a real budget buy I strongly recommend the Boots Natural Collection range.  The individual pots not the sets (I hate eyeshadow sets - you are never going to use all the colours after all!)  I currently have this eyeshadow in a pale blue, a lilac, a pale pink, a light green, a deep brown and a skin tone.  The powders are finely milled and matte enough for a vintage look - and REALLY cheap too.  I am so impressed with the quality of these and with the suitably "old lady" colour palette that I seem to pick one up every time I'm in Boots.  It is becoming quite a habit.


Two options here, both from classic Brit brand - Rimmel.  Most of my chums favour the Glam'eyes liquid liner, which has a very fine brush and makes the most perfect thin line.  Very good for a 30's - late 40's look.

I, however, have terribly shaky hands with eyeliner - I always mess it up despite years of practise and so I prefer their Exaggerate liner.  Another dip in liner but this time with a thicker brush - perfect for a 50's to 60's look.

For those little mess ups I've recently discovered a marvellous product - the Simple eye make up corrector pen.  With a very fine tip it is just perfect for correcting wobbly lines, smudges and wonky cat's eye flicks.  A real godsend for me, I can tell you!


Another coup for Rimmel.  I always find their mascaras to be the best High Street option.  I think this is because they tend to use a runnier formulation and so it is easier to layer the product even if it does take a little longer to dry.  My three favourites - in order of preference - are:  Extra Super Lash, Lash Extension and Sexy Curves.

Brow pencil:

And again, Rimmel win the day.  Their Professional brow pencil is just the ticket for myself and most of my pals.  the colours are pretty spot on - without the reddish tinge you usually get in brown brow pencils.  The texture works and the pencils sharpen well without the lead snapping - which is a rarity with cheaper pencils.


My most recent bargain discovery - Barry M lip paint.  For years I have been a slave to the vintage girls staple- the MAC matte range.  I love the colours MAC run, I really do, but their lippies have the drawback of being incredibly drying.  Well, this weekend I snapped up a couple of Barry M lipsticks - 121 a bright pillar box red and 153 a stunning rose pink.  I really like these lipsticks.  For one they are just the right level of matte to look good without sucking all the fluid from your body like MAC lipsticks do (Ruby Woo - you devil I'm looking at you.)  Secondly they are super cheap - around £3.  Thirdly - the packaging is very sexy - matte black rubberised casing that shuts smoothly and, finally, despite being cheap it lasts.  Not like a MAC, but it does last, and where it wears away it does so evenly, without leaving a weird lipstick line around the outside of your lips.  Such a winner.

So there you have my round up of the best High Street beauty products for a vintage face.  Do you have any recommendations I should add to my list?  Please let me know.

Oh, and don't forget to take it all off at night, will you.  I recommend Ponds Cold Cream and Nivea moisturiser.


  1. Thanks very much, very comprehensive!
    Agree totally with l'oreal foundation I love it.

    Yes, Barry M THE best lippies in the budget category, my 121 is going strong and never fails me.

    Love the barry M lipliners also.

    I use one of the benefit eyekits was about £15 lasts, an age, so I don't buy eyeliners and sep eyeshadows just use that.

  2. Great post! I've never been one to break the bank with cosmetics, I just can't justify it. Needless to say, your recommendations are much appreciated by this penny pinching gal! I had no idea about Lanacane as a primer, must try!

  3. I love the Lanacane as well. And I will love you forever for the eyeliner corrector, that is genius!

  4. thanks for sharing all these budget buys - great penny pinching alternatives!



  5. Wow, thanks for these, love a bargain make-up tip or two!

    I go for more of a 60s-70s 'face' (so Barry M is my main man) - No 7 is my current foundation (I used to swear by clinique) OR- as I discovered when I went away for a weekend san slap- this cheapo brand NYC from superdrug!!

    I have always used Avon or Collection 2000 loose powder, never 'traded up' they were good when I was 15 they still do the jon today.

    Another top tip is that many of the GOSH formulations are made in the same factory as MAC and just packaged cheaper (lip pencils, nail varnish, mascara, kohl pencils) - I found this out from an unnamed MAC employee a few years back [sits and awaits superinjunction] so that's another of my secret tips!

    And sudocreme and Nivea lotion... ALL I seem to need for my dry skin.

    Ha ha, now tinterweb knows I'm a total cheapwad!

  6. I'll throw my 2 cents in for Cover Girl LashBlast mascara...if you aren't buying Diorshow...
    * ; )

    Great post!

  7. & I still like MAC eyeshadows...they seem to be...I dunno, thicker? more stay-on-able? than other brands I've had. Eh, w/e. *haha!

  8. I love these beauty tips, thanks for the suggestions.

  9. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your beauty budget ideas, I just love penny pinching alternatives that as you say are often better / as good as the expensive others.

  10. i never would've thought of using chaffing cream a primer! i shall try that out!
    oh, i use the Revlon foundation, and they do make oil free (if that makes a difference for your skin type, but I think it's a little less 'compact' if that makes sense..rather it's just a bit more fluid.)

  11. Boots natural collection is great, I have Ruby Woo after reading on-line it was a must have, but I much prefer their cherry red moisture lipstick and at £1.99 you cannot argue, it's a great colour and lasts unlike MAC! Great post x

  12. Thankyou for this post, I went straight out and brought some 'primer'. It was really informative :)

  13. I don't think life would go on without L'Oreal's Lineur Intense. It is the best, easiest to use liquid liner I've ever run across, and I've tried many. As a dame with annoyingly shaky hands, I can vouch for its awesomeness (and long-wearing, though I set my "wings" with a quick swipe of black powder shadow).

    I'll second the vote for Rimmel's lipstick and TruBlend foundation. Great stuff.

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