The under-£15 make-up-bag restock

Run out of mascara? Lipstick gone kaput? Frankie Graddon reveals how to replenish your beauty stash without spending a fortune

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By Frankie Graddon on

Answer me this: why does one’s make-up stash ALWAYS run out at the same time? Mascara, concealer, foundation – they all splutter their final words in unison, leaving you with bugger all except a hefty restocking bill. It happened to me on 3 January – potentially the worst day ever. With no heating or hot water (the boiler broke – Happy New Year!) and with a face the texture of sandpaper, my beloved tinted moisturiser and favourite eyeshadow stick bid me sayonara. Calamity indeed. What with it being January – skint January – plus, y’know, the boiler, now’s hardly the time to spend a small fortune on new slap. But, the good news is we don’t have to. Here’s my round-up of the best make-up buys under £15.


If I had all the money in the world, I would buy another tube of Chanel Le Volume Revolution and one of Lancôme Monsieur Big for good measure. However, you don’t need to spend lots to get a great mascara. I’ve already bestowed the merits of Max Factor’s Volume Infusion wand, while No7’s new The Full 360 Mascara launches in Boots on 16 January for £10. B. HD Dual Wand Mascara comes highly recommended from The Pool’s Elle Turner (one end does subtle lashes, the other does full whack). And for a real bobby bargain, beauty pro Tory Frost is a fan of Essence False Lash Effect Mascara, which rings in at £3.30.




When it comes to lipsticks, Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder are my luxe faves, but on the other end of the scale there is the delight that is Topshop’s Ultra-Matte Lip Crayon – a dead ringer for another spendy fav, NARS Satin Lip Pencil. Pooler Hannah Banks-Walker is a fan of L’Oréal Color Riche lipsticks, as is mega make-up artist Val Garland. And finally, a beauty-editor favourite, Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipstick gives great pigment and has excellent lasting power.



For a decent liquid eyeliner that gives you change from a tenner, look no further than Soap & Glory. The Supercat Liquid Eyeliner comes with a felt-tip nip which dispenses the jet-black liner with excellent precision.



A good base is perhaps one of the trickiest things to nail on a budget; however, there are some brilliant products out there. I regularly use Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation and Max Factor’s Radiant Lift, both of which launched last year. The former offers light coverage, which can be built to medium; the latter giving a slightly fuller coverage but with plenty of glow. Several Poolers also endorse L’Oréal’s True Match Foundation. If you like to apply your base with a brush, then Real Techniques does a fabulous variety of tools at reasonable prices.



If you’re yet to hear about Revolution, then listen up. The high street brand, which sells exclusively at Superdrug, is a gem for high-performing make-up at pocket-friendly prices. Number one on the best-seller list is the Conceal & Define Concealer (one sells every five seconds), which is a saint for covering spots and is easily blendable.



For a high-street blusher that doesn’t leave you looking like Aunt Sally, try Collection Speedy Blush Sticks, which come in three pinky shades. Also worth a try is Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blusher. Both are well under £10.



My failsafe brow product is Bobbi Brown’s Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil. I discovered it over a year ago and am signed up for life. However, if a world shortage were to happen, then I would be heading straight for the Gosh Eye Brow Kit Multi, as recommended to me by make-up artist Lisa Eldridge.




When in need of a little extra glow, squirt a few pumps of No7’s Skin Illuminator into your foundation or pop a thin layer on before you apply your base. It comes in natural pearly shimmer and bronze.



Whatever you’re spending, Rimmel nail polishes remain some of the best around. The Super Gel iteration has a high-shine finish and does a good job at not chipping.



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