What’s in my Make-Up Bag? – the Frugal Edit.


Make-up is a funny world for me. I quite enjoy buying it, reading about it, watching other people apply it on YouTube and chatting about the merits of Estee Lauder Double Wear over Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation with my mates. Like many modern women, I rarely leave home without at least combing some mascara through my lashes and make-up is ultimately a significant spend both in hard cash and precious time. However despite decades of practice , I approach applying make-up a bit like a young child trying to colour between the lines – there is maximum concentration and yet there can still be tears from a mascara wand in the eye or a scribble down the cheek where a brush slipped. A make-up artist I definitely ain’t.


So given that I have the artistry skills of your average 8 year old and that I spend most of my working week in a tracksuit surrounded by teenagers, I recently realised that an everyday make-up bag filled with Mac, Nars and Bare Minerals was probably a tad indulgent and entirely unnecessary. And so began the quest for the perfect budget-friendly cosmetic stash for the working day. I started changing things up by swapping in affordable drugstore items for Monday to Friday and keeping the department store stash for weekends and evenings out. Here’s how it’s playing out…..

My everyday routine generally skips out primer as I don’t don’t currently have a budget one, but if it looks like being a particularly long day I steal a pump of my Stila priming serum or Benefit’s POREfessional. Generally though it is just moisturiser and foundation on a rushed Tuesday morning. And this is proving perfectly adequate as the foundation is the hero product of this particular haul.

Late to the party I know, I have started to use the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation and I genuinely think it is a worthy rival for many base products retailing at three times the price.  It feels moisturising on the skin, it gives a lovely medium coverage and lasts well throughout the day. I use shade 53 and at less than €13 can you really go wrong? Pippa and the Beauty Junkie London are also fans and you can check out their thoughts here and here. Trust me if you are looking for a foundation that won’t break the bank, you  are onto a winner with this one.


For concealer, I have been dabbing blemishes and brightening under the eye with L’Oreal True Match Concealer in the shade Rose Ivory. Although this is effective at brightening under the eyes, the formula, in my opinion, is too light and runny for concealing blemishes. Maybe for one of those horrible people with perfect complexions it would be ideal but personally I need a little more Poly Filler to even things out and achieve epidermal perfection. While some bloggers love it, Ellie-Jane from Desperately Seeking Lifestyle seems to feel just like I do about this disappointing (and not that cheap) concealer. That said, given my focus on frugality, I will clearly use this up, but the quest for the perfect budget concealer will need to continue.

concealer 2

The search however for the perfect setting powder has proved more fruitful. Maybelline Master Fix is a dream to use. It is perfectly translucent and just adds an invisible layer that keeps your foundation in place and ensures that excess shine is kept under control. For a more detailed review Laura Loves Beauty echoes a lot of my thoughts, so you can just click on the link.


Base done I have been adding back in a little colour using an NYX powder blush in the shade Journey. It probably lacks a little in pigment and so you can afford to be somewhat heavy handed, but it is a lovely touch of subtle colour that is perfect for the “no make up, make up” look that best suits my tracksuit and trainer workday uniform.

I have also been using a Rimmel nude lipstick in the colour Asia. These lipsticks have a lovely non-drying formula and a fairly impressive staying power. I am not mad about the scent as it seems a little excessively perfumed, but that is a very minor quibble.


I rarely bother with weekday eyeshadow, mostly to do with my child’s colouring analogy and instead just sweep a little bronzer over the lid. I don’t yet have a budget selection as I am using up a box of Benefit Hoola and for the finishing sweep of mascara I am also using a non-frugal item – The Balm, What’s Your Type? This came free in a goodie bag and although it lengthens the lashes effectively I am pretty sure I can get as good a product for less when it is used up.

And that is pretty much it, the frugal gal’s everyday make-up. For those interested the total spend so far, which included foundation, concealer, powder, blush and lipstick, has been less than €47.80 – not bad when you consider I was paying €32 a go for foundation alone. Now I simply save the good stuff for the weekend and obviously it makes it stretch a lot further.

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