Budget makeup products that work just as hard as you do
Easy on the eyes… and your bank account
You’ve counted down the days to an exciting new makeup launch, only to be disappointed by how expensive it is. Still, the heart wants what it wants, and sometimes, it picks the latest eyeshadow palette over a mimosa-filled brunch. To salvage your social life without coming in the way of a perfect cat-eye, we asked celebrity makeup artist Mitesh Rajani and beauty blogger Malvika Sitlani to hone in on budget makeup products that punch above their weight. These two paint faces for a living, so memorise their buying strategies like you’re about to answer a surprise maths test.
Budget makeup products we love
Try going nude
If you’re looking to buy an eyeshadow palette, start with nude, earthy tones. “Neutral colours work well with most skin tones,” says Rajani, who insists trying on as much as you can before buying, budget-friendly or not. “Some shades look great on palettes, but not when applied on your skin because everyone has a different undertone.”
First try products in the store with the help of the makeup artist — get her to prep you with concealer and corrector, if required — even if you’re going to eventually buy it online. This way, you’ll pick up an application tip or two and be able to understand if the product alone works for your needs.
When shopping for eyeshadow palettes on a budget, trust Maybelline New York and Nykaa Beauty to sort you out—they have a vast range of shade combinations.
Buy lipstick according to your undertone
To figure out your skin tone, wear gold bangles on one hand and silver on the other. You can do this with earrings. If the gold suits your skin better, you have warm undertones and if the silver wins out, you have cool undertones. If they both look just as good (lucky you), you’re a neutral. Evaluate lipstick colours this way too.
If you’re shopping for a new pink, neon or pastel hues will work for fairer skin with a cool undertone. Deeper pink hues look attractive on those with warmer undertones and a medium to dark skin tone.
Be careful with your base
While most budget-friendly brands are still getting on board with being inclusive to all skin tones, foundations can come with other concerns—they oxidise over time. This could lead to it turning ashy a few hours after application. Don’t buy foundation online unless you’re repurchasing a shade and texture you’ve used before.
Head to the store and “try the foundation they suggest is your tone and let it settle on your skin for a few hours first,” says Rajani who works with models and actors of different skin colours on the daily. Dab a little bit of the colour on your cheek and start to tap and blend it. You know it’s right for you when it blends into your natural skin, without making it lighter or darker. If you have sensitive skin, opt for a mineral-based formula that will minimise the risk of irritation.
Sitlani adds, “Whenever I am making a purchase online or offline, I always go back to YouTube and check out detailed reviews from people like Kathleen Lights or Patrick Star,” she says. “They let you know about the pros and cons as well.” Trust names like Wet N Wild, Maybelline New York and Lakmé for wallet-friendly foundation options.
Consider the texture, finish and colour pay-off
“I buy makeup products based on how they work for me—how they look on the skin and how well they blend. Any product that simply sits on the skin is a definite no,” advises Rajani. Then, try it on and see if you enjoy the texture and finish.
Makeup that has a light texture will sink right into your skin, while full-coverage foundations usually come with a thick, heavy texture. When investing in makeup, especially base makeup like a primer or foundation, keep in mind what finish you’re looking for.
If you want a product that will let your natural skin shine through but also cover small bumps and blemishes, look for a foundation with a natural finish. For that lit-from-within glow that you spot on your favourite celebrities on the red carpet, opt for a dewy finish, and if you simply can’t stand the heat and need to banish the stickiness from your face, go matte.
Budget makeup buys to add to cart
L’Oréal Paris Volume Million Lashes Mascara, Rs 890
Chambor Powder Matte Lipstick, Rs 645
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation, Rs 500
LA Girl HD Pro Concealer, Rs 595
Nykaa Glow Getter Highlighting & Illuminating Duo, Rs 699
ColorBar Cheekillusion Blush, Rs 675