I Replaced My Make-Up With Cheap Products: Here’s What Happened

Make-up used to mean whatever I could find in the Miss Sporty section of Superdrug, with occasional luxurious ventures into Rimmel territory. Since those days, my beauty spending has dramatically increased, with my gauge for “reasonable pricing” moving worryingly high. I thought I’d take a look at some of the cheapest cosmetics I could find on the internet and compare them to the products I already own. With a little bit of spare change and a ton of nostalgia, I tried out this tiny selection.


Technic Cheek Sculpt


I’m so pale that even the lightest shades of drug-store foundations glow orange on my skin, so finding a natural-looking blusher is a challenge. This ‘contouring blusher’ by Technic claims to both provide blush and sculpt shades. It comes complete with a little brush, but it was ineffective and felt a bit scratchy so I left it aside.

The darker sculpt shade looked lovely in the packaging, but on the skin it read as a sort of dark pink/red colour – not something you’d use to contour at all. Luckily the blush fared better. It isn’t too pigmented, which may be a negative point for many people but allowed me to build the coverage slowly into a shade which suited my skin.

I probably wouldn’t purchase this particular blusher again because of the redundant ‘sculpt’ side, but I was impressed by how lovely the pink was.


Technic Lashitude


The reviews on the online store for the Technic Lashitude Mascara were so positive that I was really excited to try this one out. With a plastic brush that finishes with a little round head for awkward-to-reach spots and a highly-pigmented, very wet formula, it feels luxurious to hold.

However, for my lashes – short, stubby, downward-pointing – this mascara didn’t quite impress me. It added volume at the base of my eyelashes, but offered no lift at all. It did make my eyelashes darker, but before I left the house I went over with a coat of Benefit Roller Lash to get the boost I needed. As the day wore on I noticed slight smudging beneath my eyes, which I never get with my Benefit mascara.

If you have nicer eyelashes than me, this would probably be a great purchase – it’s so cheap, and the brush is well-designed. But it’s not something I’ll be buying again.

Lip stain

 Sleek Paint Paint


Sleek are one of the high street brands I’m most impressed by – they have a commitment to offering a pantheon of shades in their make-up, something that contrasts starkly with many brands’ insistence on neglecting darker skin tones.

Their Pout Paint lip stain seems watery when you first squeeze it out of the tube, but on application it’s a beautiful semi-matte balm, which doesn’t dry out your lips at all. On the back label, Sleek advise you to ‘apply the tiniest drop of pout paint’, and that’s definitely all you need – you might even consider mixing it with a transparent gloss or balm if you wanted sheerer coverage. After experiencing how uncomfortable a lot of matte liquid lipsticks are, I found this Sleek one a welcome change.

The main problem I had was that the shade I purchased – ‘Milkshake’, a cool-toned pink – looked kind of ridiculous on me. After mixing it with a red tinted balm I looked better, but I’d advise testing some of these shades before purchasing.


Technic High Lights


This blatant Benefit High Beam dupe is my new best friend. I’d seen gossip about it on beauty blogs, but didn’t really expect much because of how flagrant a copy it seemed to be.

Technic High Lights takes a while to get the hang of applying, because its container is similar to a nail polish bottle and if you use the little brush to swipe your cheekbones, you may find the product dries too fast for you to blend it past its strict lines. The finish is dewy and shimmery without looking frosted. However, it definitely reads as pale on the skin – there’s a fair bit of pigment – so people with darker skin may find it impractical.

This does the job of Benefit High Beam at a huge discount, and as a little goes a long way it’ll last you for ages.


Edited by Tia Ralhan

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