20 November 2018Last updated


Beauty on a budget

When should you splurge – and when can you get away with scrimping? Zahraa Vindhani sets out to prove that inexpensive products can almost always hold their own

By Zahraa Vindhani
29 May 2016 | 04:17 pm
  • Source:iStock

Who said recreating catwalk cat-eyes or achieving red carpet-worthy skin should break the bank? When it comes to all things beauty, whether you’re simply trying to cut back on spending, or would rather save your pennies instead, looking and feeling like the best version of yourself should be – and is – achievable on any budget.

Plus, it can be fun too – being a touch more frugal can inspire you to get creative and effectively exploit the everyday items in your home you often overlook. With the right eye, practice and guidance, as well as a desperate longing for silkier skin, hair or cuticles, it seems that kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets everywhere can become a gold mine of remedies your nail beds and bank account will be thanking you for.

Nowadays, with the surge of beauty bloggers and websites offering a wealth of advice and step-by-step tutorials, adopting a more humble, natural approach to solving your beauty woes has even become trendy. Personal favourites include using baby oil as make-up remover – not only is it excellent at tackling harsh waterproof make-up, it’s also easy on the delicate skin around the eyes as well as the wallet. Olive oil is a favourite make-up must for celebrities including Emma Stone, who uses it liberally to banish dehydrated skin on her elbows and knees. And it turns out Vaseline can be used instead of costly eye creams – not only does it intensely hydrate the eye area, but Jennifer Aniston claims it makes her eyelashes thicker too.

However, if you haven’t yet reached the point of using cocoa powder as bronzer, or you simply do not have the time or patience to create a lip colour by blending melted beeswax with red food colouring, we have compiled a selection of tried-and-tested products that won’t leave you financially flustered. Try them, and you’ll find inexpensive products can almost always hold their own, proving that budgeting, too, can be beautiful. The best part is, they’re all under Dh200.



L’oreal Paris Studio Secrets Face Primer, Dh77, Boots


Nars Pro Prime, Dh189, Sephora

Contour palettes


Givenchy Photo’Perfexion, Dh215, Sephora


Revlon PhotoReady Airbrush Effect foundation, Dh63, Boots

Bronzers & blushers


Urban Decay Matte Beached Bronzer, Dh166


e.l.f. HD Blushes from Dh11,


Tarte Cosmetics Glisten cheek stain, Dh140,


Bourjois Delice De Poudre, Dh89, Lifestyle


The Original Contour Kit, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Dh250


Isadora Face Sculptor, Dh143, Lifestyle



Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara, Dh180


Lash Princess Volume Mascara, Essence, Dh19, Centrepoint Stores



Rimmel Scandaleyes waterproof liner, Dh26, Lifestyle


Mac kohl liner, Dh61, Bloomingdale’s

Eyeshadow Palettes


Urban Decay Naked Palette 1, Dh199,


theBalm Nude ‘Tude eyeshadow palette, Dh149,



L’Oreal Infallible Matte Max lip lacquer, Dh37, Boots


Mac Rubywoo, Dh76

Experts’ fave drugstore buys


Samira Olfat, Max Factor brand ambassador and founder of Max Factor Make-up Academy, says Bioderma make-up remover is her absolute favourite. It’s claimed to be the only dermatological micellar water perfectly compatible with the skin.


Tala Samman, author of, swears by Bio-Oil, a specialist skincare oil for the face and body, formulated to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone.

Bloggers’ top tips

Lip colour


Beauty, fashion and lifestyle YouTuber-turned-blogger Michelle Phan swears by Elf Studio Matte Lip Color in Natural to recreate a budget-friendly Kylie Jenner pout.



Make-up artist to the stars, Lisa Eldridge, whose clients include Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley, claims that if a full face of foundation is not your thing, opt for a multitasking product such as Maybelline’s FitMe Concealer. Use liberally to diminish the appearance of dark circles and blemishes, while blending outwards to even out skin tone.



Owner of highly successful blog Gorgeous in Grey, Ty Alexander recommends Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer for those women with darker skin tones; the lightweight all-in-one lotion contains antioxidants, is oil free, super-hydrating and has
an SPF of 15.



Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty says that Nivea Men After Shave Balm makes for an amazing primer in a pinch, especially for those with oilier skin types – make-up stays on for hours after application with a natural, seamless finish. It smooths pores and fine lines or wrinkles without looking cakey.

Lip liner


British sister duo Samantha and Nicola Chapman – creators of the RealTechniques brand and Pixiwoo YouTube channel – say Bourjois Lip pencil in No 12 is almost identical to a Mac Lip liner in Spice, not only in shade, but texture and longevity.



Mario Dedivanovic, a close friend and personal make-up artist of Kim Kardashian, is a big fan of the Ardell Natural Demi Wispies for a natural look with loads of impact, he recommends stacking two (or more!) sets of lashes to amp-up the drama.

Lip gloss


Half-Nigerian, half-British beauty blogger Fresh Lengths considers the L’Oréal infallible matte gloss in 401 to be an everyday must-have, this deep nude shade is perfect for creating a contemporary matte look and is pretty much perfect for all skin tones.

By Zahraa Vindhani

By Zahraa Vindhani