As part of our Designer Dupes series, we’re reaching for the low-cost concealers, foundations and mascaras that feature the same hero ingredients as their big-ticket counterparts. Your full-face make-up routine is about to get overhauled.

There’s only one thing better than a cult beauty buy and that’s a cult beauty buy that’s half the price. As our financial futures look (even more) uncertain, we’re looking for ways we can save a few pennies and get our wages to last until payday. Designer products are out and dead-ringers are à la mode.

Open your makeup bag and you’ll likely find a dried-up mascara (or two), a half-finished foundation that made you break out after using once and multiple unused MAC lipsticks, despite the fact you reach for the same shade pretty much every day. Keep rummaging and you’ll find that a month’s rent has been racked up on wasted products and you didn’t even realise. For the flexibility to switch up your look and the ability to save for a rainy day (read: that next far-flung escape) pick budget over bougie with these full-face affordable alternatives.

Covet-worthy cosmetics at affordable prices: it’s time to upgrade your make-up bag

1. Primer

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer > Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Dubbed the holy grail of primers by a legion of MUAs, Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer is the flash-friendly base we all needed. Until Maybelline’s cut-price identical version stole the limelight. Oil-free, lightweight and with the ideal moisturise-to-matte ratios, it keeps make-up perfectly in place for hours – no filter necessary.

2. Foundation

NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation > Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Make-Up

An OG all-rounder in a Fenty-beating 45 shades, this suit-everyone foundation gives full-coverage, is long-lasting and has the ability to make blemish-prone skin look airbrushed. Add to cart, immediately.

3. Concealer

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer > NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Concealer is an absolute essential in our beauty toolkit and NARS’s ultra-slick concealer used to be our go-to. Until we found Maybelline’s budget version, which blends better, banishes dark circles (read: hides hangovers) and minimises breakouts, all without creasing.

4. Setting Powder

Revolution MakeUp Luxury Banana Powder > Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Baking is to beauty influencers what a genoise sponge is to Mary Berry – a must-have skill. It may seem intimidating at first and the fear of flashback is real, but after a few YouTube tutorials and the right setting powder, your under-eyes will look flawless AF. Pushing the queen of cosmetics high-end version off of the top spot is this purse-friendly pot. The only downside? Wastage is a little bit of a problem due to the annoying lid.

5. Blusher

Collection Soft Glow Blusher in Bashful > NARS Orgasm Blush

Even Dulux couldn’t colour-match better. This Collection blush is an exact replica in the same shade with the same easy to blend consistency. A steal.

6. Bronzer

Rimmel Natural Bronzer Powder in Sun Bronze > Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer

Chances are you won’t have picked up a Rimmel product since your teens, but don’t turn up your powdered nose, its diverse range boasts all the same ingredients as pricier products. Case in point is its natural bronzer – use it to contour, sculpt and add shimmer.

7. Highlighter

Revolution Makeup Liquid Highlighter Liquid Luminous Gold > Iconic London Illuminator

A few drops of on your cheekbones, brow bones and collar bones will give you a glowing sun-kissed complexion without even needing to leave your sofa.

8. Eyebrow pencil

Glossier Brow Flick > Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

Glossier is the beauty brand that was sent from the gods. It’s fuss-free and budget enough we can afford to experiment – glittery blue winged liner on a Wednesday, sure, why not? For brushed-up, big-brow energy that doesn’t budge, use its bestselling Brow Flick. Cancel that microblading appointment, this will do just as good a job.

9. Eyeshadow Palettes

W7 Taxi 35 Shimmering Shades of Natural Eye Colour > Morphe 35OS Nature Glow Shimmer Eyeshadow

Stocked in supermarkets, W7’s pigment-packed and ultra-blendable palette is stacked with copper-hues and soft-browns. Blue eyes should reach for the taupe and champagne shades, brown eyes will want to use peaches and golds, while green eyes will intensify with rusts and red undertones.

10. Nude lip

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour in Seduction > Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk

The only nudes we’re really interested in are Charlotte Tilbury’s swatch of neutral lippies that’ll plump and hydrate simultaneously. Although at £25, they’re a little expensive for everyday use. At a snip of the price and bang-on shade wise, the Revlon version lasts longer but isn’t as moisturising, so you might want to add a slick of lip balm after applying.

11. Red lipstick

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Liquid Lipstick > Chanel Rouge Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour

Surviving snogging, sipping and eating sarnies, this won’t-budge red lipstick is hyper-pigmented. No fading, no cracking and no flaky lines after a coffee – we’d challenge any beauty editor to differentiate between the two.

12. Mascara

Milk Makeup KUSH High Volume Mascara > Tom Ford Extreme Badass Mascara

Whether you choose a quick flick or a full-on 400 coats to frame your face, you’ll want to choose a non-clumpy mascara that adds drama. Eschew luxury brands in favour of this lash-conditioning – thanks to the added CBD oil – icon. Your lashes will look fuller and longer after just a few uses.

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Beauty School Dropout: Designer Dupes, the Skincare Edition

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