The affordable beauty hit list

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This week, Nancy Buckland Kirk has been scouring the high street (and taking a look online) for the best bargain beauty buys…

I’m going to be completely transparent. I was inspired to go looking at High Street beauty finds after viewing Nadine Baggott’s Instagram TV short films where she whizzes around her favourite emporiums, and gives an honest overview of what is on offer. Nadine is a highly esteemed beauty journalist and YouTube vlogger, and so I thought I would follow in her footsteps. After last week’s foray into luxury beauty, this week’s mission has an entirely different feel to it, but I enjoyed it equally. My bank balance enjoyed it a lot more.

I think because of internet shopping we now find the concept of browsing far more acceptable. There is no impeccably groomed salesperson waiting on you. But I had forgotten how much fun it was, and I had to get over myself a little. Because, thirteen-year-old girls have no qualms about elbowing you out of the way, trying on every sample, and then taking selfies of every shade.

High Street formulations are every bit as good as pricier versions. The packaging isn’t quite as luxurious, or as sturdy, but if you look at the benefits there are some absolute steals. For me, it means trying shades and textures I would normally steer clear of, and I have unearthed some real diamonds out there. So I have whittled down my final choices to just six, and no, they weren’t press samples, and yes, I did buy them.

Behold my basket of joy.

Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette (£11.99)

I was first given a press sample of a Maybelline eye palette several years ago, so this is not entirely new territory for me. Maybelline came to the UK back in the 1990’s on the back of the success of a single mascara, Great Lash, and they do seem to occupy a bit of an odd space in the market. But, their eye make-up is still a standout and this palette is packed full of wearable shades. I used a Maybelline palette on my wedding day, when I had a stack to choose from, because it blended so wonderfully and simply stayed put. What more can you ask of your eye shadows? New neutrals with every shade wearable.

Beauty Pie One Palette Wonder (£6.23 for members)

Beauty Pie is a bargain in terms of pricing only – everything else about this brand is distinctly high end. I had to go online for this, as part of the ability to keep costs down means founder Marcia Kilgore doesn’t do retail, but I couldn’t write about beauty finds without them. This palette is my go-to and I bought eight, yes eight, last Christmas as gifts and every recipient loved their present. The bronzer is subtle, the blushers give you a healthy glow and the eye shadows are great for daytime. The packaging is gorgeous with a really robust, decent sized mirror. My desert island go-to, and perfect for holidays.

e.l.f. Blush Palette Light 314 (£5.40)

The bargain to end all bargains. Younger writers do talk about ‘payoff’ an awful lot and levels of pigmentation, and I am learning the new language, and this palette is packed full of shades I want to be able to use when I have a tan. (I only use self tan, by the way!) Four colourways in all, with a finely milled texture that I would expect in something a lot more French. A joyful gem.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Unlimited Mascara (£10.99)

The giant of High Street beauty shopping, this brand has a huge budget for product development and it shows, as their key products are contemporary and their selection is so wide. There were so many to choose from and I am going to be honest and I say I plumped for this one because I liked the bottle. Shallow, I know, but some old beauty habits really do die hard. For me, the best mascaras have to have a brilliant brush and this one is unique, and well, bendy. I do throw mascara out every three months so spending a fortune doesn’t work in my world. This mascara worked on every level, and I’ll be back for a re-run in summer.

Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick (£5.49)

I have a huge soft spot for Rimmel as the first lipstick I ever bought was their Heather Shimmer shade. I still fall back on my Rimmel eyebrow pencils when I can’t be bothered with pomades and kits. But I have to admit it’s been many years since I have approached a Rimmel counter in person. I plumped for this shade in Kate’s range as I wanted to avoid neutrals, and again, I am thinking about what will look good when I no longer resemble a bowl of rice pudding. I will be back again, and not just for eyebrow pencils. This colour is going to be gorgeous in high summer.

Revlon PhotoReady Candid Natural Finish Anti-Pollution Foundation (£9.99)

Revlon used to be my go-to for foundations and lipsticks but it kind of disappeared from my radar. I’m glad I made a return journey. This product gave an ultra-breathable finish, and my skin has a lot of issues that need assistance. I was super-impressed with the shade range, which Revlon have been keen to develop back when other brands lagged behind. The perfect foundation for stepping away from winter. Sold.

I was so impressed with my budget-friendly haul, and I will never wait so long before really stopping and paying attention instead of rushing past stands in search of nail polish remover and cotton wool. This is the anti-snobbery of beauty shopping, where the shop floor is a huge leveller, and whether you’re a teenager spending your pocket money, a millennial blowing your first pay cheque or someone a bit more seasoned, like me, popping your new bits and pieces in a basket, getting them home, and then trying them out in your own bedroom never gets old. It is a thrill that I had forgotten about, but I won’t again in a hurry.

I have committed to only buying things I love and when I need them, so I probably have enough beauty buys to be going on with for now. But I do tend to buy beauty gifts for others for birthdays and occasions, so I get to indulge my passion a lot more often than I really need to. And now I am brimming with confidence, I am willing to take on the teenagers at every stand.

I have sharpened my eyebrow pencil and my elbows, ready for the battle at hand.

Beauty Pie at

Maybelline, L’Oreal and e.l.f at Superdrug

Rimmel and Revlon at Boots

About the author: Nancy Buckland Kirk is a writer with a keen interest in fashion and beauty and a career which has spanned modelling, teaching and spreading the word about leading beauty brands.

Related features: Nancy’s skincare highs and lows and high street fashion memories.

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