Downshifting challenge: Makeup

In the third and final week of my downshifting challenge, I have decided to investigate makeup. As you know, the point of the challenge is to shift down a brand or two and find out whether it’s possible both to save money and maintain a standard of quality.

Wearing socks that might make your feet sweat are one thing, but how comfortable would you feel about putting cut-price makeup on your face? I have sensitive skin, so I can be picky about what I wear makeup wise. Also, as I have a pale complexion, it’s taken me a while to find products in shades that suit me. But this week I put my reservations aside and hit the shops in Wickford in Essex to find cheaper makeup options.

First I visited Aldi. The discount store has a good affordable range of skin cream and moisturiser products and I was surprised to discover that last year it launched a range of makeup. Curious to try them, I snapped up the following:

Liquid foundation £2.39

Lipstick £1.99

Compact powder £2.39

Lip gloss £1.99

Eyeshadow duo £1.99

Total: £10.75

As a comparison, I also scoured the local chemists for another affordable range of makeup. After checking out the different products on offer, I plumped for these Miss Sporty items:

Foundation £2.99

Lipstick £2.49

Eyeshadow duo £2.99

Eyeliner £1.99

Total: £10.46

Watching some 12 year old girls checking out the Miss Sporty range, and reading that the compressed powder said it was ok for ‘young skin’, it dawned on me that it was a teenage makeup line. A quick internet search confirmed this. After comparing prices with the Max Factor range, I decided not to buy the Miss Sporty compressed powder to test as it was actually more expensive – £2.72 per 10ml compared to £2.36 per 10ml for the Max Factor powder.

As a comparison, buying more expensive branded versions of these products could set you back the following:

Maybelline lipstick £4.99

Max Factor lasting foundation £9.99

Max Factor compressed powder £4.99

L’Oreal eyeshadow £7.99

Bourjois eyeliner £4.29

Bourjois lip gloss £6.99

Total: £39.24

First, I tried out the Miss Sporty range. The lipstick wasn’t a colour I’d normally wear – it was an orangey red and there were only about four colours to choose from available in the store – but it wasn’t bad for £2.49. It looked quite nice on, although it did make my lips feel dry and the difference in quality from my usual brand was noticeable. The foundation was a good colour for me – very light – but it had a slight chemical smell to it. It didn’t do much in terms of covering up blemishes etc. and I felt that, in the lightness to it, it was more suitable for younger skins which can get away with lighter makeup than older skins! However, the eyeliner and eye shadow were great and I would buy them again.

The Aldi range came beautifully packaged. Everything was carefully presented in little boxes and cellophane – not particularly green but you didn’t feel like you were buying cheap makeup, which was clever. On the whole, I was pretty impressed. The foundation was fine and thicker than the Miss Sporty one – to be honest, I found it hard to notice a difference from my usual foundation. The powder came in a neat little compact, complete with a mirror – as did the eyeshadow. The powder was a bit light and white for me but not bad for £2.39. The lipstick was better quality than the Miss Sporty one and the lip gloss I would buy again. On the downside, there were very few shades to choose from – I could only find three foundation colours and four lipstick shades – but there were at least testers available.

All in all, I was impressed with the big potential savings you could make on your makeup bill by buying cheaper products. I would wear the Aldi foundation again but pair it with a more expensive, thicker pressed powder. I would also buy the Miss Sporty or Aldi eyeshadow and eyeliner products again but select a better quality lipstick with more shades to choose from.


Have you saved money by buying cheap makeup? Which items are easier to compromise on in terms of price? Leave a message and let me know.

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8 Responses to Downshifting challenge: Makeup

  1. Christine says:

    Some things come to mind. Firstly – how much makeup do you honestly need? Secondly – if you change your wardrobe does it throw out your makeup range as nothing matches any more? Thirdly – what do you do with the dregs of make up that you have left over? And can\’t you get refills for your powder compact any more?

  2. Sarah says:

    Great post Piper. I didn\’t even know that Aldi did make-up so your review is really helpful. I left my Clinique face powder at home by mistake recently and popped out buy a cheap one in Boots. It was Max Factor\’s Creme Puff and I now use it all the time.

  3. Sarah says:

    The lady above mentions recycling and I know that Mac do this – you can take the empty cases back to them to recycle.

  4. Sarah says:

    On a health note, I am often reading that we should only use certain cosmetics – particularly mascara – for a limited time to avoid bacteria. With this in mind, cheaper options could be useful for those who don\’t wear make-up often enough to get through it within a few months.

  5. Piper says:

    Interesting about Mac & good point re hygiene, Sarah. I remember Cindy Crawford doing a campaign a few years ago about eye makeup and how you should replace it every six months to a year.

  6. Kerri says:

    I think with some make up items, you can very much get what you pay for. I bought a cheap (but well known brand) mascara a while ago and all it did was deposit gritty bits into my eyes. One one end of the scale I use a 99p lip gloss because I like the colour and never use a whole tube before it starts to smell a bit funny, but I use an £18-£23 mineral foundation because it suits my skin (sensitivity and colour).

  7. Kerri says:

    I tend to treat make up a bit like decorating a house, you need a decent foundation/canvas to build upon so I tend to spend most money on primer/foundation and then experiment with cheaper eyeshadows and such. One question though, were the brands you bought marked as cruelty free?

  8. piper says:

    I agree that you need a good foundation. Miss Sporty\’s website claims its products aren\’t tested on animals, although this isn\’t independently backed up by Peta etc., but no mention of it on Aldi\’s.

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