By Morgana Ford-McAllister
Now, I know when it comes to make up and everything else, we are made to feel that if we’re not buying brand name things then we’re doing something wrong and that the quality of the product is suspect. However, that is simply not true. After all, you can get brand name products from Poundland so price and where you buy a thing from is clearly not an indicator of quality.
While I recognise that sometimes you do have to spend more than you really want to (I do say want to, we all know that if it’s a choice between make up and food you’re going to go with food unless perhaps you have a job interview coming up), I still feel it’s important to be able to see where that fits into your budget overall. Sometimes it annoys me when I see people talking about something being ‘cheap’ and I look at the price they list and think ‘hmm, I’m not sure I agree.’ In short, though I know we all have times where we may make an accidental impulse buy, for the most part I know that when you’re chronically low on money, being able to ‘justify’ where something fits in is important. No one should have to justify themselves, but when you’re poor you get used to it because everyone else is doing it to you or trying to make you do it anyway. A better way to explain it, might be to say that it’s important to be honest as to whether we need something. As such, what I want to do is to give you options for the basics you use every day, so you don’t need to feel bad if you spend that bit extra on a nice lipstick, nail polish or eye shadow.
For me personally, the basics are foundation or tinted moisturiser, some kind of primer and concealer. If your basics are more or less than that, by writing this I hope to give you tips on how to shop for what you need without breaking the bank.
Starting with primer then. When I first started with make up I would use foundation and that was about it, then I soon started using concealer as well. The fact there are articles out there at the moment about how useful primer is suggests that like me, many people simply think of primer as an ‘optional extra’. True, you don’t really need primer in the same way as you need a tinted moisturiser or similar, but it is useful. Basically, a primer acts as a blank canvas for your foundation. Makeup uses much the same principles as painting, if you want a colour to show through as what it is, you start with white wall and work from there. Similarly, primer neutralises your own skin tone to make it easier to blend a foundation with the rest of your skin tone that’s visible (bearing in mind that when you have on foundation, the skin tone of your face is altered or invisible but the skin tone of your neck shows, so you want to match to that). In short then, primers lay a blank canvas for your foundation.
You may be wondering why you should bother with that, why not just match your foundation to your neck and be done with it? While that’s a good point, this is why colour correcting primers are useful. Colour correction operates on the principle of opposite colours according to the colour wheel, so for example green is opposite red and thus neutralises it when mixed together and so on. Basically, colour correcting primers neutralise your skin tone more effectively than simple skin coloured primers and thus your make up lasts longer. When you’re on a budget, making things last can be one of the most important things you do. For example, because I have a lot of redness in my face and a degree of hyperpigmentation, I use the green primer from the Barry M brand cosmetics. This costs me about £6 but as I’m only using about a 5p size amount each time it lasts me for a good 2-3 months. Granted, I work from home so don’t always wear make up, but this is the kind of thing I mean. I didn’t necessarily want to have to spend £6 on one item of make up, but because it lasts me, that makes it a good purchase.
Moving on, my tinted moisturiser and concealer both come from the Natural Collection brand. These each cost £2. I obviously, haven’t gone into detail about these because I think we’re all clear on what these products do. The point is though, you can begin to see how you can shop for make up on a budget.
In terms of shops that do genuinely cheap make up, Poundland’s Makeup Gallery range is cheapest of all and they do fairly good foundation if your skin tone and undertones are fairly average. Regardless, I highly recommend them for things like eyeshadow as you can buy a number of different shades for only a few pounds and play with what you like best.
Likewise, Superdrug and Boots aren’t too bad for cheap makeup, especially as Boots stocks the Natural Collection brand, which short of Poundland’s is the cheapest make up you can get while still having good quality.
I hope this piece has helped you think about how you can shop for what you need on a budget and not feel poorer for it. The most important thing to remember is not to feel bad for shopping in places that other people think are ‘lesser’. For the most part where you shop bears no reflection on how good the product is that you buy. You can still get brand name things from ‘lesser’ shops, so be thrifty, save money and shop smart.
Morgana lives with very curly hair, a skin tone that refuses to be readily defined, and a burning desire to see the definition of “pretty woman” move away from blonde, straight-haired, slender-yet-curvy, has-hours-to-spend-in-front-of-the-mirror.
Until that happens, however, she proudly rocks her own style, which is somewhere between low-femme and geek chic.