The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ does not universally apply to beauty products. While the science involved with skincare advances, textural superiority of certain makeup products and beautiful packaging befitting precious objet d’art invariably nudge prices up, it doesn’t mean there aren’t equally worthy options with far lower price points.
Great beauty items should do what they say they will with little effort or expertise required, but beyond that, being enjoyable to use and designed to look good on your bathroom shelf are characteristics that vary in importance depending on who you talk to.
If you’ve ever detoured from an affordable, reliable go-to in favour of a one-off splurge only to discover the newcomer gives a depressingly average result, you’ll know how disappointing it can be, but trying numerous cheaper products without getting the result you’re after can be equally wasteful.
So without further ado, here’s our edit of the best makeup products under $25, each excellent performer deserving a spot on your shelf and in your routine.
e.l.f. Hydrating Camo Concealer, $10
A Kmart visit often means you come home with more than you went for. Next time, add one of E.l.f’s famous long-wear, full coverage concealers to your cart.
Mecca Max Wink Ink Super Mascara, $22
Beauty superstore Mecca’s house brand is sorely underrated, with some great makeup that’s easy to use, including this all-rounder mascara perfect for everyday wear.
Zara Eye Shadows Duo, $24.90
Pigment packed but wearable, these easily blendable powders come in a duo compact that can be refilled once empty. Part of fashion retailer Zara’s excellent new affordable makeup line.
MAC Cosmetics Mini MAC lipstick, $25
Bending the rules slightly to allow a mini size to sneak in but this size allows trialing more colours than you would with a full size and comes in some of MAC’s absolute classics like Ruby Woo (pictured) and Velvet Teddy.
Mecca Max Off Duty Blush Stick, $20
Another entry from the Mecca Max brand, this easy-to use cream blush that can be swiped directly on to skin and blended with fingers for a lively healthy matte flush of colour.
Maybelline Hyper Easy Liquid Liner, $20
Getting a smooth, black line across lashes can take practice but this fine brush-tip version makes things a bit easier with a hexagonal grip and inky pigment that doesn’t drag or skip.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation, $14.50
Water-thin and weightless, this medium coverage foundation buffs into skin beautifully with a dense-bristle foundation brush giving a natural finish. It comes in 21 shades with different undertones.
MCoBeauty Magic Brows Fibre Gel, $18
Brush upwards through brows to add a touch of believable tint, thickness and volume and set in place all day. Good to fill out sparse patches or greys.
Colour by TBN Lipsticks, $5.99
Smooth and moist, with a good range of on-trend colours and a vegan formula that feels comfortable on, these creamy lipsticks might be a the steal of the lot
COVERGIRL Easy Breezy Brow Pencil, $15.99
A micro-fine tip allows you to draw in fine, single hair strokes and the formula has excellent staying power. The attached spoolie is useful for grooming hair into place so you can see where the gaps are to fill in.
L’Oreal Paris Color Queen Mono Eyeshadow, $14.99
Beautiful eyeshadow singles with good colour payoff in matte or shimmer shades and some more creative colour options.
Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick, $22.99
Probably the longest lasting lip colour we’re ever tried with fantastically bright and true shades. We do suggest you have an oil cleanser on hand to get these off though, they have serious staying power.