The average British woman will spend over £100,000 on cosmetics during her adult life. That's £2,000 a year. Surely looking good doesn't have to cost so much? Here's how to impress for less.

We decided to speak to some beauty bloggers about getting the most from your beauty budget – and how to beat the brands at their own game.

Madeleine Spencer: Blogger at

Make-up is enjoying unprecedented popularity and - of course - brands are all too willing to oblige keen customers with more products than ever before that do similar jobs. Thankfully, you don’t need anywhere near as much as you may think - or they may suggest. Try the below for an affordable beauty regime.

First, get your hands on a multi-tasking balm (there are plenty available, ranging in price from £13 to £30 - check out Look Fantastic). I've even used Vaseline in the past - it's a brilliant super-cheap alternative. Use it to cleanse, moisturise, soothe dry patches, soften frayed cuticles, smooth eyebrows down and add gloss to lips and eyelids.

Next, get au fait with the art of repurposing. An old toothbrush, for example, can exfoliate lips (just apply lip balm and then gently stroke it over dry patches), groom brows and help reduce ingrown toenails when brushed over cuticles daily while in the shower. Equally, old candle jars make brilliant make-up brush holders and organisers for products.

Finally, buy into a colour you like in a multipurpose texture, thus diminishing the need for lots of unnecessary products. Stila’s Convertible Colour (£16) remains the best - smooth it onto cheeks, lips and eyelids for a pop of colour. [Editor's note: A mid-range blusher will cost you £10, and a mid-range lipstick will cost you £15, so this is definitley worth pursuing if you'd like to lighten up your make up bag].


Pippa Masson: Blogger at

If you’re looking at saving some serious money throughout the year, wait for the seasonal sales. Many big high street stores will want to shift their leftover stock as soon as possible, and this means some truly amazing bargains for you! For example, after Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, Boots will reduce all of their 3 for 2 gifts, many of which are gift sets by excellent brands such as No 7, Smashbox, Champneys, Ted Baker and many more.

Some of the items within the sets cost more to buy individually than the whole of the reduced set, so it’s definitely worth stocking up on all your favourite toiletries and make-up for the year ahead. You could even purchase them as presents for friends and family!

I’d also keep a lookout on the high street for quality copies of expensive make-up and beauty brands. One of the best duplicates I’ve found is a copy of Urban Decay’s famous ‘Naked’ eyeshadow set, by a brand called Makeup Revolution. They retail at around £4.

Mac Make up

Sharon Smith: Blogger at S.T.O Beauty

I have an addiction to make up which is becoming bigger than my bank balance. I have an extremely bad habit of scrolling through Instagram looking at expensive products, which I convince myself I need, end up buying and barely using. It’s a habit I’d like to break – and I’m slowly getting there. Here’s how.

My solution? Be willing to explore other brands. Trust me, there is life outside of MAC, and it is totally possible to achieve the most flawless look with inexpensive make up.

Beauty Bay is my go-to when I want to try something new, like the Milani and Gerard Cosmetic lipsticks, which range between £6-10.

Superdrug is always worth a visit, as they stock Sleek, GOSH and Makeup Revolution. You can get lipsticks for £2 and various types of eyeshadow, eyebrow, contour, blush and highlighter palettes for £6-8.

Here’s a tip I’m a big fan of - always keep your MAC empties! Six empties bags you a free lippy!

It doesn’t hurt to sign up to your favourite brands’ newsletters, as they often offer promotions for new products. Don’t forget to look out for magazines that include a freebie. You only pay a few pounds to try a sample size product.

Finally, never be afraid to ask for samples in shops. They are available, you just have to ask! Always try before you buy – buying in the wrong shade just because you feel like you’re under pressure can result in very expensive mistakes.

So - let's recap. Our three bloggers should have proven to you by now that you don’t need to spend thousands to look great. Get the bare essentials sorted, and remember to steer clear of advertisers' tricks (we're looking at you, Sharon!). Just buy what you need, hunt around for reasonable alternatives, and you'll do fine.

Looking to downsize your beauty budget? Just remember this:

- Search for multi-use products. You’ll save money, and cut down how much you have to carry around.

- Don’t snub ‘less expensive’ brands. Expense doesn’t always equal quality.

- Hunt around for seasonal bargains – and look out for gift sets.

- If you’d like to try a product, lots of the big department stores will offer you samples.

- Repurpose household items, such as glass jars, for cheap and simple organisational tools.

Image credits: S.T.O Beauty, Pic Basement and Maria Morri (via Flickr)