Guilty pleasures come in all shapes and sizes. Your Saturday morning chocolate croissant, that third coffee of the day, the divine but expensive pair of shoes that you insisted on having and which left you living off beans on toast for a month. I’m sure girls that you’re all too aware of the heavy burden of counting wonderful cosmetics amongst your vices!
When you find a foundation that creates a flawless finish, a semi-permanent hair dye that gives you red carpet tresses, or mascara that creates lashes so phenomenal that you’re having trouble holding your eyes open, it seems so much easier to justify splurging the sort of amount that you wouldn’t even spend in a restaurant.
Your wallet however might not think that $50 mascara is such a wise choice. So when you’re on a budget, you need to know just which cheap cosmetics really live up to their expensive counterparts’ reputations!
Having searched high and low, I present to you the best – and thriftiest – alternatives to the cult cosmetics that have had all and sundry hammering chunks out of their bank accounts...
Benefit Benetint ($29.00) vs. 2True lip and cheek stain ($3.20)
Bene-tint is a rosy lip and cheek stain by cutesy cosmetic creators Benefit, which gives a fresh and flushed colour splash to washed-out skin. The intense colour hit is gorgeous on any skin tone and gives lips a plumped pink tone, an absolute must-have for winter make-up bags. However, the price isn’t too purse friendly, so maybe consider substituting for 2True’s offering which at an incredible ninth of the price gives pretty much the same effect.
YSL Touché Éclat ($40.00) vs. No.7 Instant Radiance Concealer ($12.99)
YSL is famed for its fabulousness, and very few women who know their cosmetics are ever seen without the magic blemish banishing wand that is the classic Touché Éclat. The light, luminous fluid conceals under-eye shadows and colour inconsistencies perfectly. However, so does its No.7 counterpart which provides gorgeous, crease-free coverage.
Nars Orgasm Blush ($28.00) vs. Too Faced Who’s Your Poppy? Blush ($19.00)
This NARS Orgasm is a cult icon in the cosmetic world and widely hailed as the world’s best blush. The high-shine, high-pigment formula is said to deliver fantastic results on any skin tone. The price tag however isn’t quite as pretty, so for one of the best dupe shades on the market try Too Faced imitation ‘Who’s Your Poppy?’ for an equally gorgeous glow.
Shellac ($30.00+) vs. Body BC Collection ($5.00)
The Shellac nail trend whipped up a storm in 2010 and has been popular ever since, creating long lashing colour and mirror-shine manicure finishes with a scratch resistant gloss. Treatments are available from salon professionals and the results last up to 14 days. However, you also need to consult a salon professional to have them removed, and they can peel and fray before the end of your fourteen day term. For an equally great result at a much smaller cost, try investing in fake nails. Acrylics are hardwearing and add temporary extension to your existing nails – plus you can soak them off at home. Excellent news!
Tom Ford Foundation Stick ($78.00) vs. Vichy Dermablend Ultra Corrective Cream Stick ($27.00)
If it’s coverage you’re after, then a stick foundation is right up your street. The Tom Ford offering provides a slick, creamy finish leaving skin dewy, illuminated and as close to perfect as I have ever managed to achieve. However at $96 apiece it’s the most you’ll ever end up paying for a stick of anything, so maybe try the Vichy substitute in the form of their Ultra Corrective Cream Stick. This is specially formulated for flawed skin so the coverage is fantastic but also feels light as a feather. It’s also water and perspiration resistant, and SPF30 for those of you who like sun protection incorporated into your cosmetics.
Do you have any thrifty substitutes for cult beauty products that work just as well? Comment below to share.
NB: All prices shown will vary slightly, depending on where you buy your goodies!
Susannah Perez is a fashion and beauty blogger with an unquenchable thirst for luxury cosmetics. At home she has a mascara drawer as big as her sock drawer, and has more eyeliner pencils than Boy George and Marilyn Manson combined.