How often do you cringe when you see the “Best Makeup” awards in magazines and look at the prices? They sound fab, of course, but can you ever justify that $65 foundation?
That’s why I’m here to give you an unbiased look at the best makeup products around…and their cheaper alternatives. Because there are times that $25 lipstick is worth it (your wedding day, that black tie affair, a romantic getaway), but there are plenty more opportunities for that almost-just-as-good $7 lipstick.
To do this right, we enrolled the help of two beauty experts to give us their best cheaper alternatives to your favorite makeup products. Karuna Chani is an internationally-recognized, New York-based makeup artist, image and skin care consultant. Annie Lawless is a beauty blogger who has been named a New York Times Best Selling Author and a winner of the Forbes “30 Under 30” award.
Without further ado, here are your top 10 favorite makeup products, and their cheaper alternatives.
Favourite: Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, $44
If you’re going for the naturally beautiful, I’m-not-wearing-any-makeup look, then Laura Mercier has you covered. It has sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin, SPF 20 protection, plus Vitamin C and E.
Alternative: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Perfector, $14
With sheer coverage that’s moisturizing and blendable, plus an SPF 20 protection, the Neutrogena Perfector is pretty darn close to Laura’s oh-so-popular blend. Chani gives this one her nod of approval.
Favourite: Yves Saint Laurent, Touche éclat – radiant touch, $42
This concealer is a makeup legend. It’s creator, Terry de Gunzburg, is known as the Steve Jobs of the beauty world, according to Forbes. The first of its kind, she created the Touche eclat by mixing foundation, hydration and toner with a flat, small brush. It became Yves Saint Laurent’s best seller.
Alternative: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, $8
So creamy, so blendable, and covers without caking. This one is so popular that both of our beauty experts agreed that this was the best “cheaper alternative” concealer on the market. The benefit of the Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer is that it illuminates while it conceals. Lawless can’t get over the similarities. “It’s just the same thing,” she says. Chani says it’s great for on-the-go, as it conceals and highlights. A two-for-one!
Favourite: Dior ‘Rouge Dior’ Lipstick, $35
This is Dior’s most popular lipstick ever. Sixteen hours of comfort, no streaking, incredible moisture. What’s not to like? Well… the $35 price tag is tough to swallow.
Alternative: Milani Lipstick, $6
Incredibly impressed with Milani’s pigment and last-ability, this product comes highly recommended from Chani. It’s infused with vitamins A and C, making it soft and moisturizing. At $6 a pop, it’s hard to NOT give it a try.
Favourite: Illamasqua Powder Blusher, $28
Known for their ever-lasting, beautifully pigmented color, the $26 Illamasqua Powder Blusher is no-doubt a well-made product. They aren’t just for rosy cheeks — they also have the ability to sculpt your face, if you may be so bold.
Alternative: NYX High Definition Blush, $7
If you’re looking for something that still has great blendability without breaking the bank, Chani says NYX powder blush is your girl. They have a wide range of colors for all skin tones and styles, plus, they’re paraben-free. Bonus!
Favourite: Lancome Hypnose Mascara, $28
When Elle beauty editors were asked what their favorite mascara was, Lancome Hypnose jumped to the top of the list. Julie Schott, Senior Beauty and Fitness editor, claims that her lashes are not fake — but this thickening, lengthening formula makes it look like they are.
Alternative: Maybelline Great Lash, $6
Who can argue with a classic? As Chani says, “It’s the number one mascara year after year for a good reason!” Easy-to-apply, lengthening, and most importantly, very affordable.
Favourite: Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics, $54
The Naked collection is Urban Decay’s most prized possession, with nude and brownish shades that go with every color palette. Using their proprietary Pigment Infusion System, the formula is velvety, rich and blendable.
Alternative: NYX Dream Catcher Shadow Palette in Golden Horizon, $15
Ten awesome colors for only $15 — you can’t beat that. With really blendable, soft pigments, Chani likes to call it the “palette of your dreams.” She says it could go both ways — everyday glam or a sultry smoky eye for a night out.
Favourite: Chanel La Vernis Nail Colour in Dragon, $27
Chanel is known for their high-gloss, high-class reds. But their most popular is the Le Vernis Nail Colour in Dragon. This high-coverage nail polish may be gentle, but it’s bold. Plus, it has a thin brush for accuracy and an ergonomic cap for easy use.
Alternative: Essie Nail Polishes
Chani sings the praises of Essie’s nail polish. “I would never splurge on a Chanel nail polish… Essie has a great formula, and comes out with on-trends shades every season!” she says. If you’re looking for a bigger commitment, they now also have 7-day and 14-day gel options.