But is it worth splashing out on posh cosmetics? Or can you achieve your desired Christmas party look on a budget of a tenner?
We teamed up with make-up artist Olivia Todd to pit £10 worth of basic slap against £1,000 of pricey products to see if we could tell the difference when it came to the end result.
And the results were pretty surprising…
Primark was our hero when it came to bargain beauty products.
Their foundation stick costs just £2.50 – though when it came to application, it did feel quite “cheap”. The texture was a tad on the cakey side and felt heavy on my skin – probably not helped by the fact it was applied using fingers rather than a brush.
Full product list for £10 face
- Foundation, £2.50 from Primark
- False Lashes, £1 from Primark
- Extreme 24 hour eyeliner, £2.99 from Collection cosmetics – buy now
- Bronze eye pigment, £1.50 from Primark
- Red Lustre Lipstick, 90p from Primark
- My perfect concealer, 90p from Primark
Rather than splash out on mascara, we opted for false eyelashes from Primark, at a cost of £1. Like the foundation they won no prices for subtlety, but were actually more comfortable to wear and less obvious than our expensive alternative.
To finish off the eyes, Olivia applied a dash of Primark's bronze eye pigment (£1.50) and a slick of Collection’s Extreme Bold 24-hour felt tip liner (£2.99).
The star of the show was Primark’s bold red lippy (a bargain 90p), which provided intense colour pigment – and doubled up as a blusher (applied sparingly!).
I was impressed with the final look – my complexion was paler than I'm used to, but for a tenner this look would definitely pass for a festive night out.
It was hard to believe the table of cosmetic tools and products in front of me had a combined value of a GRAND – and in truth, I’m not sure the final look justifies such a big spend.
The most noticeable difference was the preparation products for my skin; Olivia used ELEMIS' Peptide Eye Cream (£38) and Dynamic resurfacing pads (£39) as well as By Terry Baume De Rose Face Cream (£55) and serum (£61) plus a Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer (£38.50) and a spritz of Eve Lom Radiance Mist (£38) before any actual make-up made its way on there.
Full product list for £1,000 face
- ELEMIS Dynamic resurfacing pads, £39 – buy now
- ELEMIS Peptide Eye Cream, £38 – buy now
- By Terry Baume De Rose Face Cream, £55 – buy now
- Bobbi Brown Concealer Palette, £220 – buy now
- Iconic Cream Contour Palette, £32.99 – buy now
- By Terry serum, £61 – buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer, £38.50 – buy now
- ICONIC original illuminator, £30 – buy now
- EX 1 Cosmetics Powder, £11.50 – buy now
- Eve Lom Radiance Mist, £38 – buy now
- By Terry Expert Twist Mascara for lower lashes, £25 – buy now
- Eyelashes Loretta Lashes, £12.95 – buy now
- Eyeliner Serge Lutens, £50 – buy now
- Glitter Stila eye glitter, £24 – buy now
- Morphe Eye Gitter set, £12 – buy now
- Brows HD Brow Tec, £19.50 – buy now
- Brow Colour Fix, £22.50 – buy now
- Red Lipstick Serge Lutens, £58 – buy now
- Serge Lutens Lip Palette, £120 – buy now
- MAC Ruby Woo Lip pencil, £14 – buy now
- Eve Lom Kiss Mix Lip Balm, £18 – buy now
- Delilah Kabuki Brush, £42 – buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Eyelash Curlers, £18 – buy now
The bigger budget allowed for brushes, which helped produce a more polished even finish for the base. Olivia also blended a number of products including EX 1 Cosmetics Powder (£11.50), Bobbi Brown's Concealer Palette (£220) and ICONIC's Cream Contour Palette (£32.99) to match my skin tone and added some festive glow using ICONIC’s original illuminator (£30).
The budget face neglected the brows (yes, a cardinal sin in some people’s books), whereas Olivia went to town here using Brows HD Brow Tec (£19.50) and Brow Colour Fix £22.50.
Olivia also treated my pout to a slick of Eve Lom Kiss Mix Lip Balm (£18) before preparing my lips with a MAC Ruby Woo Lip pencil (£14) and using a lip brush to apply a mixture of shades from Serge Lutens' Lip Palette (£120) and their Lipstick 03 (£58 – which, for the size of it, is extortionate). I did find this stopped the colour spilling onto my skin (and my teeth!) as much as the budget lippy.
It all felt very decadent, but it took almost twice as long to prepare – not helped by the tricky £12.95 Loretta eyelashes which were a nightmare to get on and seemed determined to accentuate that one of my eyes is bigger than the other in whatever position they were placed.
As a complete look, I actually prefer the “cheaper” version of my face (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say). The eyes are more subtle and the lip colour is a richer, deeper shade of red.
However the bigger budget enabled Olivia to give my natural brows a boost and blend the foundation with concealer, highlighter and bronzers to give my complexion a warmer, more vibrant glow.
With the cheaper look it felt odd missing out the moisturising phase– something I would never do – and not using mascara, which is usually an absolute must for me.
The more expensive liquid eye-liner also stayed on much better than the budget one, suggesting it’s worth investing in a higher end product if you want your look to last all night.
Personally I’d be inclined to mix and match – I loved the lightness of the Laura Mercier foundation, but I’d definitely opt for a less extravagant pair of lashes (in every sense).
It goes to show mascara isn’t necessary when you’re wearing falsies, and if you’re cash-strapped, doubling up your red lipstick as a blusher could help tide you over until payday – or until that fella with the big red sack arrives…
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Last month we pitted Aldi’s £36 copycat Lacura make-up range against £289 premium cosmetics.
The Lacura collection consists of six products – and shoppers were quick to point out the similarities between the Aldi make-up and cult crowd-pleasers from the likes of Benefit and Charlotte Tilbury.
We also revealed how to reuse your high street false eyelashes more than a DOZEN times.
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