beauty

7 budget beauty buys that I keep reaching for (even though I’ve tried the expensive stuff).

We all love a bargain. The rush you feel when those shoes you’ve been lusting over are slashed to half price; the exhilaration you experience entering a cheeky discount code… it’s only natural. 

The same goes for beauty buys. I’m more than happy to splash the cash on products that I know really put in the work. Really, I am. 

In fact, probably too much so, but I digress… sometimes, however, you find a product that does all the right things for you, and also happens to be a downright score on the price front. 

Watch: Ask a Makeup Artist: How do I get rid of under-eye bags? Post continues below.


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These are very good moments, and we must cherish them, which is why I want to share some of them with you. 

Whether you’re looking for a new go-to, or just want to treat yourself at the end of a big week, here’s a roundup of some of the bargain beauty buys that I can’t get enough of, even though I’ve tried many of their expensive counterparts.

The best part? They’re all under 25 bucks. Ka-ching!

Before we dive in, a quick reminder that everyone’s skin is unique, so be sure to patch test goodies that are new to you and seek advice if you’re unsure if a certain product is right for you. 

I’m not a dermatologist, and these are just my own experiences after many years trying beauty products.

Revolution Beauty Conceal and Define Concealer, $8.

Image: Hannah Rabbitt

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This has got to be one of the hardest working items in my beauty bag. It’s one of my ride-or-die beauty staples, and I buy it in multiples as the thought of being without is truly upsetting. 

I find this Revolution Beauty concealer refreshing and smoothing, and very good at its job description (think: helping to mask the very rude dark circles that rear their head when I keep doom-scrolling the internet late into the night). 

It doesn’t easily settle in the creases and gets me through the day. It does all of this with a wonderfully natural finish, and with change from a crisp $10 note. 

Frank Body Gentle Cleansing Oil, $25. 

After a long day, I just want to remove my makeup with ease so I can lather on my skincare and spend the rest of the evening looking like a glazed donut. 

The Frank Body Cleansing Oil helps me do just that, and very well. I have tried all manner of makeup removers (oils, balms, liquids that you need to shake a lot) and yet my fingers keep pressing *add to cart* on this little champion and its delightful combo of grapeseed and coffee oils, and vitamin E. 

It leaves my skin makeup-free, happy, and ready for the next step! 

Mecca Max Single Shadows, $8. 

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I adore a bougie eyeshadow palette as much as the next makeup devotee, but the convenience of a single shadow in exactly the colour you want is undeniable. 

Enter: Mecca Max Single Shadows

These have been a game-changer for me and my penchant for a fun eye look. 

The colour. The long-wearing, high-impact pigment. The price! 

You can’t get much for eight bucks these days, but you can get these little beauties. My picks are ‘Like Whatever’, ‘That’s Hot’, and ‘Call Me’. (And yes, the names are a right treat.) 

Essano Collagen Boost Eye Cream, $22.99.

Image: Hannah Rabbitt

Eye creams are a contentious little buy. Some beauty aficionados swear by them, others reckon you can go without. I'm team 'I enjoy using one and notice a difference when I do' - so I tend to always have one on rotation. 

I’ve tried many a little jar/stick/tube of goodness claiming to magically erase my under-eye bags (with the price tag to show it) but I keep coming back to this bargain buy. 

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I pop the tiniest little bit on every evening, and I wake up to skin that feels refreshed, hydrated and ready to glow. 

The best part? You can often add it to your grocery list at Coles or Woolies on sale for half price. Score. 

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, $13.99. 

If I had a dollar for every face wash I’ve tried, I would have a lot of dollars. 

Throughout all the chopping and changing of my cleanser shelf, there always seems to be a familiar face: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser. I can’t seem to part with its terrifically calming and non-stripping self. This ceramide-rich formula is my go-to morning cleanse. 

It easily compares to some of the big buck cleansers I’ve used, so it's place in my heart and cupboard is firmly warranted. 

Morphe Lip Liner, $5.

Image: Hannah Rabbitt

I am a huuuuge fan of a statement lip. As a result, I have a whole myriad of lipstick colours (hello fuchsia, bright red, candy pink, brown…) for which I cannot expect one humble lip liner to accommodate. Enter: Morphe lip liners. 

At a cheap and cheerful $5 a pop, I’ve collected these colour-rich pencils in many a tone to match a lippy, and even just to wear alone with some gloss on top. 

These easily live up to the more spenny versions I’ve worn over the years, so they’re a steal that really gets the tick of approval. 

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Mecca Max Clean Sweep Gentle Exfoliating and Brightening Toner, $15.

Image: Hannah Rabbitt

I froth a liquid exfoliant. Like, really hardcore heart the stuff. As a result, I’ve tried a lot of them with varying degrees of dollar signs involved. 

There are quite a few that have captured my heart, and the Mecca Max Clean Sweep toner is well and truly one of them. 

It’s hard to believe that 15 bucks can nab you such a sublime cocktail of renewing ingredients – glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, panthenol and aloe vera to name a few – but it can, and by gosh is it good. 

The balance of AHAs, BHAs and calming ingredients provides a glowy, refreshed complexion each time I swipe. 

Sunscreen after use is a must, of course. 

A few bonus shout outs to the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume, $16.99, the Covergirl Lashblast Clean Mascara, $17.49, and the Mecca Max Brow Guru Micro-Matic Pencil, $18, for their bang-for-your-buck attitude. 

All hail a bargain beauty buy that ticks boxes and wins hearts!

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What’s your go-to bargain beauty buy? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Supplied/Hannah Rabbitt