Good quality and affordable makeup is a secret weapon for every beauty seeker on a budget.

There’s an art to mixing products from different price points and these tips can help you make great makeup choices and decide which beauty products you can save vs spend.

  1. Start with an affordable cleanser. Some health professionals say that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on cleanser unless you have a specific skin concern. Great everyday options often include Cetaphil or CeraVe. Pro skincare tip: Take one teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with the same amount of water to make a paste; add to your cleanser to convert it to an affordable exfoliant.
  2. Choose the best, most suited-to-your-skin-type foundation that you can afford. This is not the product to go low-end because high-end foundations often offer a larger range of shades and the better quality of ingredients means better application and staying power. That’s not to say there aren’t some great affordable foundations however – investing in a good quality base product is worth it. Favourite high-end options: Dior Backstage Face and Body or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. Favourite savey option: Revlon Colorstay and mid-range option: MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix.
  3. Duplicates (aka Dupes) – for most cult products there are alternatives/close copies that have a similar colour or finish. If you watch YouTube tutorials, for example, and they use a specific product – you can research a similar shade via Temptalia beauty guide website.  Their dupe database can suggest either an affordable dupe alternative or help you find something already in your makeup collection.
  4. Mascaras – the formulas tend not to change much, but the brushes used to apply product are often being refined and developed. Spend less on a great mascara that comes with a brush type that suits your lashes (such as lengthening if they’re short, or add volume if they’re fine). Savey options that are as good as the more expensive options include mascaras from LOreal or Maybelline. Pro tip: mascaras should be replaced regularly as they can dry out from being exposed to air and develop bacteria.
  5. Bronzer – another product where you tend to get what you pay for. Many affordable bronzers can be quite warm (orange) in colour, which isn’t a flattering shade for any skin tone. Cult bronzers include Benefit Hoola Bronzer and NARS Laguna.


Susan Napper is a leading Makeup consultant on Sydney’s North Shore.

Her principles rest on helping her clients grow in confidence through choosing, wearing and applying makeup, and in enjoying the transformative power that this brings to their lives. Susan specialises in makeup for school formals and special events, as well as providing a broad range of beauty concierge and Makeup services to Sydney’s North Shore women. She is friendly, approachable, sensitive to all budgets and skin types, and is not affiliated with anyone cosmetic brand. Susan has a Post Graduate Certificate in Management from UWS and holds a Certificate III in Makeup from Sydney Institute of TAFE.

Instagram: @susannappermua