We're shopping for festive makeup on a ₹500 budget. And winning
Consider this our Diwali gift to you
The universe conspires against us by making festive and wedding seasons overlap. It’s a confusing time — you want to look your best at Rima aunty’s son’s wedding, but you’ve also already blown up thousands on the sales that started last night. Being cloistered at home hasn’t numbed our spending game, not with online shopping giving us access to international brands finally entering the Indian market and homegrown labels constantly upping their game with new launches. India’s cosmetics market is worth approximately ₹2,900 crore or $28.9 billion. And we admit we’re part of it, using makeup and skincare products as retail therapy.
But now that we’re re-entering society, learning to responsibly socialise again, it’s time to get back to reality and out of the bubble of home life. That means racking up Diwali gifts and wedding hopping, while trying not to go broke. Luckily, we’ve identified one place you can save on, without actually compromising in a major way — your wedding makeup kit.
When it comes to cosmetics, the term ‘luxury’ conjures up a sense of finesse and quality. Many of them are worth every hard-earned rupee, but there are enough budget makeup brands in the market offering high performance products too. Sure, you may have to compromise on the fancy packaging and extra frills, but we bet the extra zeroes in your bank account will tide over your initial disappointment.
If you’re looking for a pop of pink lipstick or a new foundation whose repeated purchases you can sustain without tightening your belt, peruse our picks from budget makeup brands available in India. ‘Budget’ means different things to different people, but everything on our list will cost you no more than ₹500.
Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte+Poreless Liquid Foundation
You can’t go wrong with everyone’s favourite foundation in the budget makeup category. Even better, it now has a pump to dispense the product.
It’s a favourite of makeup artists as well, mostly for the number of shades available. It’s thin, spreads easily and is buildable without getting cakey so you can get that full coverage you want.
₹357-₹498 (currently on sale)
Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer
Wet n Wild’s concealer will give you light to medium coverage that’ll go over your foundation well without creasing or pilling up.
It’s buildable, though we recommend doing some colour correction on blemishes before going in with the concealer to get a more even look.
Pick one shade lighter than your skin tone and add a bit to the inner and outer corners of your eyes to add a brightening effect.
SUGAR Cosmetics Contour De Force Mini Highlighter
What we love about the mini highlighters by SUGAR cosmetics is that they’re easy to work with.
Keep it subtle for a natural glows-from-within look, or turn yourself into a glistening gulab jamun by layering up.
They come in four shades, but our personal favourites are Royal Rose for people with cool undertones and Champagne Champion for warm undertones.
MARS Cosmetics Fantasy 15 Eyeshadow Palette
MARS cosmetics is a great budget makeup brand and all their products are vegetarian and cruelty-free. The price point for this palette is insane. It’s going to make you question whether this is a scam or not, but trust us when we say you get a great colour pay-off as well.
This palette comes in three variants. For the festive season, we like variants 01 and 02 which give you a mix of solid pinks, mauves, reds and browns with enough shimmery and metallic colours to make your eyeshadow pop like a pataka,
e.l.f. Cosmetics Bite Size Eyeshadow
If the 15-in-1 palette feels overwhelming, then give the palettes by e.l.f a try.
There are six mini palettes to choose from, each with creamy formulas that are blendable and pigmented. The Truffles palette is your all-in-one kit for the perfect smokey eye.
₹315 (currently on sale)
Biotique Natural Makeup Starstruck Matte Blush
Biotique’s blushes have a sheer finish that you can build on to go from a natural look to a full pop of colour. The shades are crafted to suit Indian skin tones.
If we had to pick a favourite, it would be Sun Kissed Tan. It gives you the most natural-looking blushed cheeks like you just spilt your cocktail in front of your crush, but in a good way.
Kay Beauty Contour Stick
The contour’s formula is super smooth, so it blends very easily. Since it’s a stick, it’s perfect for beginners as well those who are experimenting with the Kardashian sculpting technique. It also comes enriched with marula oil and vitamin C, so you’re giving your skin some loving ingredients too.
The brand is cruelty-free and vegan, but our only gripe is that this product comes only in three shades. Here’s hoping for more variety down the road.
Earth Rhythm Lip & Cheek Tint
If you’re looking for just a hint of colour, then a lip tint is the right choice.
Tints like this one are honestly one of our favourite products for their ability to multitask. You could do most of your look with just this one product.
Dab it onto your lips, then add it to your eyeshadow for a hint of colour for a ‘no make-up’ make-up look. And if you have any product left on your fingers, then use it as a bit of blush that’ll look like a pesky relative just pulled your cheeks.
Swiss Beauty Soft Matte Lip Cream
Cream is the keyword here because these lip colours go on so smoothly.
It dries down to an almost matte finish but the formula isn’t transfer-proof. As is the ritual with any matte finish lipstick, exfoliate beforehand and apply some lip balm for the best application.
Insight Cosmetics Colour Rich Lipstick
If a matte finish isn’t to your liking but you appreciate a shade range, give these bullet lipsticks by Insight a shot. You get to chose between a cream, matte and metallic finish.
Even the cream, per say, dries down to an almost matte look. If you’re daring, go for the metallic shades. We love the Terracotta.
Nykaa Gloss it Up! High Shine Lip Gloss
Lip gloss has made a comeback recently and it’s so much more advanced in terms of formulation than the sticky slippery mess of our childhood.
Say goodbye to tacky lips and roll-on tops, and hello to smooth formulas with a refined doe-foot applicator. If you want a hint of colour, we suggest the Honey Boo shade. To add an ethereal shimmer to your matte lipstick, you can use Strobe It Up as a top coat.
Maybelline New York The Colossal Mascara
You can’t go wrong with the Colossal mascara, a staple in professional makeup artists’ kits for years. Especially if you’re looking to add volume to your lashes.
Don’t pump the wand, instead, give it a swirl inside the bottle before pulling it out to gather the product. Scrape off the excess at the mouth of the tube before applying it to your lashes to avoid clumping. Given the unpredictability of rain right now, we’d go with the waterproof formula.
₹339 (currently on sale)
Lakme Absolute Shine Liquid Eye Liner
We’ve tried a myriad eyeliners over the years and somehow, we keep coming back to this one by Lakme. Regardless of our budget.
Honestly, if you’re comfortable with this style of applicator, then this is the only eyeliner you will ever need. It’s very pigmented and doesn’t get crusty and flakey over time as you go through your day.
Go classic with the black or experiment with the Sparkling Olive and Shimmery Bronze this festive season.
RENEE False Eyelashes
If you’re looking for drama, then you’ve come to the right place. The brand is completely cruelty-free and makes its lashes using natural fibres. You have a variety of lashes to choose from, though we’re partial to Athena.
Measure the eyelashes against your slide before going in with the glue. Snip off the tip to ensure they fit along your lash line for a more seamless look.
Rimmel London Match Perfection Silky Loose Powder
No makeup look is complete until you set it all in place. You can do that with a spray or a loose powder. We like the one by Rimmel, it’s finely milled and doesn’t feel heavy on your face.
For people with oily skin, using loose powder to set your makeup can also mattify your face and keep the oil production in check for longer. Use a makeup brush to dust off the extra powder.
₹348 (currently on sale)