Makeup is certainly magical,
but it can also be incredibly expensive. How often do you cringe when you see
the “Best Makeup” awards in magazines and look at the prices? They
sound fab, of course, but can you ever justify that $65 foundation?
That’s why I’m here to give
you an unbiased look at the best makeup products around — and their
cheaper alternatives. Because there are times that $25 lipstick is worth it
(your wedding day, that black tie affair, a romantic getaway), but there are
plenty more opportunities for that almost-just-as-good $7 lipstick.
To do this right, we enrolled
the help of two beauty experts to give us their best cheaper alternatives to
your favorite makeup products. Karuna Chani is an
internationally-recognized, New York-based makeup artist, image and skin care
consultant. Annie Lawless is a beauty blogger who has been named a New
York Times Best Selling Author and a winner of the Forbes “30 Under
30” award.
Without further ado, here are
your top favorite makeup products, and their cheaper alternatives.

Your favorite: Laura Mercier
tinted moisturizer, $44
If you’re going for the
naturally beautiful, I’m-not-wearing-any-makeup look, then Laura Mercier has
you covered. It has sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin, SPF 20 protection, plus
Vitamin C and E.
Our cheaper alternative:
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Perfector, $14
With sheer coverage that’s
moisturizing and blendable, plus an SPF 20 protection, the Neutrogena Perfector
is pretty darn close to Laura’s oh-so-popular blend. Chani gives this one her
nod of approval.

Your favorite: Yves Saint
Laurent, Touche éclat – radiant touch, $42
This concealer is a makeup
legend. It’s creator, Terry de Gunzburg, is known as the Steve Jobs of the
beauty world, according to Forbes. The first of its kind, she created the
Touche eclat by mixing foundation, hydration and toner with a flat, small
brush. It became Yves Saint Laurent’s best seller.
Our cheaper alternative:
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, $8
So creamy, so blendable, and
covers without caking. This one is so popular that both of our beauty experts
agreed that this was the best “cheaper alternative” concealer on the
market. The benefit of the Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer is that it
illuminates while it conceals. Lawless can’t get over the similarities.
“It’s just the same thing,” she says. Chani says it’s great for
on-the-go, as it conceals and highlights. A two-for-one!

Your favorite: Dior ‘Rouge
Dior’ Lipstick, $35
This is Dior’s most popular
lipstick ever. Sixteen hours of comfort, no streaking, incredible moisture.
What’s not to like? Well… the $35 price tag is tough to swallow.
Our cheaper alternative:
Milani Lipstick, $6
Incredibly impressed with
Milani’s pigment and last-ability, this product comes highly recommended from
Chani. It’s infused with vitamins A and C, making it soft and moisturizing. At
$6 a pop, it’s hard to NOT give it a try.

Your favorite: Illamasqua
Powder Blusher, $28
Known for their ever-lasting,
beautifully pigmented color, the $26 Illamasqua Powder Blusher is no-doubt a
well-made product. They aren’t just for rosy cheeks — they also have the
ability to sculpt your face, if you may be so bold.

Our cheaper alternative: NYX
High Definition Blush, $7
If you’re looking for
something that still has great blendability without breaking the bank, Chani
says NYX powder blush is your girl. They have a wide range of colors for all
skin tones and styles, plus, they’re paraben-free. Bonus!

Your favorite: Lancome Hypnose
Mascara, $28
When Elle beauty editors were
asked what their favorite mascara was, Lancome Hypnose jumped to the top of the
list. Julie Schott, Senior Beauty and Fitness editor, claims that her lashes
are not fake — but this thickening, lengthening formula makes it look like they
Our cheaper alternative:
Maybelline Great Lash, $6
Who can argue with a classic?
As Chani says, “It’s the number one mascara year after year for a good
reason!” Easy-to-apply, lengthening, and most importantly, very

Your favorite: Urban Decay
Naked Ultimate Basics, $54
The Naked collection is Urban
Decay’s most prized possession, with nude and brownish shades that go with
every color palette. Using their proprietary Pigment Infusion System, the
formula is velvety, rich and blendable.

Our cheaper alternative: NYX
Dream Catcher Shadow Palette in Golden Horizon, $15
Ten awesome colors for only
$15 — you can’t beat that. With really blendable, soft pigments, Chani likes to
call it the “palette of your dreams.” She says it could go both ways
— everyday glam or a sultry smoky eye for a night out.

Your favorite: Chanel La Vernis
Nail Colour in Dragon, $27
Chanel is known for their
high-gloss, high-class reds (that unfortunately the royals aren’t allowed to
wear). But their most popular is the Le Vernis Nail Colour in Dragon. This
high-coverage nail polish may be gentle, but it’s bold. Plus, it has a thin
brush for accuracy and an ergonomic cap for easy use.

Our cheaper alternative: Essie
Nail Polishes
Chani sings the praises of
Essie’s nail polish. “I would never splurge on a Chanel nail polish… Essie
has a great formula, and comes out with on-trends shades every season!”
she says. If you’re looking for a bigger commitment, they now also have 7-day
and 14-day gel options.

Your favorite: Mac Lipglass,
Though Lawless doesn’t
discriminate too much when it comes to lip gloss, there is something extra
“glossy” about this one. Unlike a lot of the competitors out there
that are very pigmented and thick, the Mac Lipglass has a super glossy effect.

Our cheaper alternative: NYX
Buttercream glosses: $5
We all know how easy it is to
misplace your lip gloss. It goes from your purse, to your coat pocket, to your
clutch, and before you know it, you have no idea where it is. This makes it
extra hard to splurge on a $16 lip gloss, no matter how gorgeous it is. Enter
NYX Buttercream glosses. The NYX has the same glossy texture that earns it a
nod of approval from Lawless — but with a beautiful $5 price tag.

Your favorite: Benefit Gimme
Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel, $24
This product is not just
another eyebrow pencil. It’s a brush-on gel with tiny microfibers that actually
adhere to skin and hair to mimic the real thing. Lawless was always happy to
recommend this product to her readers as one of her favorites. She says there
is no need to fill in your eyebrows with this gel. It gives the illusion of
plumper, bushier eyebrows all on its own.

Our cheaper alternative:
Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel, $3
Of all of Lawless’
recommendations, she says that this cheaper alternative is the furthest in
price, but the closest in results. In fact, Lawless is so impressed with the
similarity, she thinks it might as well be the exact same product. A whopping
$21 of savings? Our brows are raised!

Your favorite: Bobbi Brown
Sheer Finish Pressed Powder in Pale Yellow: $40
Although the yellow color can
be a little off-putting at first, Lawless swears by it. She explains that it
actually has a brightening effect on your skin, blending right in to your
natural color. Because it’s so lightweight, it doesn’t sink into any fine
lines. And it keeps it creaseless all day without adding heaviness to your

Our cheaper alternative: NYX
HD Finishing Powder in Banana, $10
Lawless was shocked to find
that the NYX HD Finishing Powder has the same effect as her former favorite
Bobbi Brown Powder. “It is such a lightweight, finely-milled, silky,
velvety powder that just melts right into the skin. She loves it so much that
she’s replaced her favorite Bobbi Brown with this $10 steal.

Your favorite: Make Up For
Ever Mat Velvet + Foundation, $39
When Lawless knows she’s in
for a long day of filming or attending a special event, this is the product she
depends on. It has the ability to keep up with her oily skin and last the whole
day through — not an easy task. She likes to call it her “event

Our cheaper alternative:
L’oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation: $13
Of all the drug store
foundations, this is the best one Lawless has ever found. Both of these
foundations are oil-free, they’re both mattifying, and believe it or not,
Lawless thinks the L’oreal foundation feels a little bit lighter than the Make
Up For Ever. The one caveat is that the Make Up For Ever does have a wider
range of colors.
the community

It’s so easy to walk into a
department store and get swept-up in high-definition, flawless application
makeup that looks so good — and costs so much — you think it must have flecks
of gold in it. It’s much harder to take a gamble on a drugstore foundation when
you have no idea how it will look or feel on your skin. Thank goodness for
beauty bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers out there like Lawless and Chani
that are willing to do all the heavy lifting for you. So next time you’re
looking for a new blush or lipstick, consult the beauty community first for
those fantastic cheaper alternatives. Your smile — and your wallet — will be
glad you did.
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.