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Dublin: 23 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Skin Deep: Here's how to give good face using products that cost less than a tenner

Get a LOOK on a budget.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.


I’ve always loved trying new #product, but there’s no doubt that writing this column for you means I’m trying more new things than ever before. It’s an absolute joy, and one thing that strikes me on an almost weekly basis is just how far things have come when it comes to budget beauty.

It used to be that you came across the odd gem of a product which was a total bargain, but these days there are entire ranges of cosmetics which perform brilliantly and cost a fraction of their more luxurious counterparts. It occurred to me this week, while doing my makeup for a photoshoot, that I thought could do an entire face using only products which cost less than ten euro. Not only did I do it, but it wasn’t even hard, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some budget gems with you.

I started with The Ordinary Serum Foundation, which has grown on me somewhat since I wrote about it initially. The world of beauty went crazy for it when it launched, with massive waiting lists full of people dying to get their hands on the product. It really is a lovely product, providing light but buildable coverage, and wearing well through the day. And, it costs a whopping €6.90. It’s often sold out on The Ordinary’s own site, but Victoria Health (linked above) generally have stock and deliver quickly.


For concealer, I turned to Rimmel’s Wake Me Up (€7.49), which has been a favourite of mine for some time. Like lots of Irish women, redness is a skin problem for me and Wake Me Up combats it well (the Wake Me Up foundation is good too!).

The one area I struggled with was my brows, as I’m fully committed to the products I use all the time but I was determined to stay on task. A lot of my favourite budget brow products cost just over the ten euro mark, but this Barry M Brow Kit is also great if you like a dark brow. It’s got the popular powder/wax duo as well as a light powder to highlight the arch of the brow (something I never bother with, but handy to have if that’s your thing). After shaping and filling in my brows I always use a brow mascara to highlight the actual hair, otherwise I think they look too unnatural. I use Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara all the time for that purpose, and fortunately, at €8.49 it fit the bill perfectly!


Next, to my cheeks. If you’re a regular reader of the column you’ll know that I love blush. It kills me that many people skip it during their makeup routine (although I know that some people who have rosacea find the idea of adding a flush to their cheeks abhorrent, and as I always say, do yo thang!). I think a fully made up face without a bit of blush looks flat and unnatural, and I love the lift it gives my face. This is one product you never need to spend money on.

I have lots of budget favourites, but for this look I used an e.l.f. Blush (€5.30). You may have come across e.l.f. over the last couple of weeks as they’ve rolled out in chemists across the country. I was delighted to see them in my local Hickeys. E.l.f. is one of the aforementioned budget ranges which performs across the board. They sell everything you could possibly want, and if there’s a makeup trend, they’re on it. Their brushes are excellent, and their prices are incredibly low. If you haven’t come across them yet keep your eyes peeled.

For this look, I kept it simple on my eyes, and used Maybelline Eyestudio Colour Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Eyeshadow (that’s a mouthful) to neutralise my eyelid and remove any veins or discolouration. Just €7.49, I use this often in lieu of a primer as a base for eyeshadow, or as a neural base for a bold eyeliner flick. I tend not to combine a heavy eyeshadow look with eyeliner flicks, and instead do one or the other. As I was going for a bold lip for this look, I kept my eyes colourless, and lashed on some liquid liner instead. Fortunately, I didn’t have to try at all to stick to the budget in this department, as my favourite is a cheap one. Catrice’s liquid liner (€3.95) is available in Penneys, and it is excellent. It’s jet black, which, inexplicably isn’t a given when it comes to liquid eyeliner. It lasts brilliantly, doesn’t transfer onto my upper eyelid or bleed, and the felt tip is relatively easy to use. I can’t recommend it enough. My application technique is to do the inner corner first, then the flick itself before joining the two lines up in the middle, but as I’ve said before, everyone has their own technique and it’s really a matter of practice. Once the vital flicks were complete I applied my usual five or six coats of mascara (I have a problem), in this case Sleek’s Lethal Length Mascara (€8.99).


Next, I applied some of my current favourite highlighter to my cheekbones. It’s €5.25, and it is beautiful. I’m talking about Wet n Wild’s MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in Precious Petals. It is beautiful in the pan, and magnificent on the face, although if you’re into very subtle highlight it might not be for you. This bad boy packs a punch, and a little goes a long way. However, if you’re someone who likes being asked what highlighter you’re wearing wherever you go, this is the one for you! As a teenager in America, Wet n Wild was the brand targeted at youths because it was cheap. Most American women will tell you that their first makeup products were Wet n Wild, but that as soon as they had a bit of money they stopped using it. Well, the Wet n Wild of then is not the Wet n Wild of now. The current range is still very inexpensive, but the quality is excellent so if you see something you fancy while browsing the stand in your local chemist it’s worth giving it a go. The likelihood is that it’ll be decent.

Finally, to my lips. I love an orange-y red, and my usual go-to is Lady Danger from Mac, but that does not fit the brief. Fortunately, Little Mix’s Jesy’s lipstick as part of the band’s collaboration with Collection is a great dupe when it comes to colour. It’s not matte, but I applied a few coats, blotting in between and dusting with translucent powder, and hey presto, matte city.

The finished look is fairly simple, and I don’t think anyone would know that I’ve used inexpensive products rather than designer brands. The question is, then, why bother with expensive products at all? I’ll leave you to grapple with that one until next time.

New Product


Everyone is talking about Fenty Beauty, and I’m no exception. Rihanna’s first beauty range features only a few products, but in a wide range of colours, and she has rightly been applauded for offering her foundation in forty different shades. (Not to mention that beautifully inclusive ad campaign.) I haven’t gotten my hands on anything yet, but I’ve placed my order and will report back soon. Initial reports are good, especially on the Killawatt Highlighter.

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