Proving that you can get pigmented, quality products without spending loads of money, here are the best cheap makeup brands in the UK
With so many makeup brands and products to choose from, it can feel almost impossible to know the life-changers from the money-wasters. For example, the best makeup brushes are near-on useless you’re using the best foundation for your skin type; and there’s no point spending a fortune on the best primer if you’re not putting the right products on top.
What’s more, it’s a fallacy that you have to spend big money to get the best makeup.
There are some amazing cheap makeup brands that rival, and often outdo, designer and premium firms so we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best affordable makeup for you.
Each of these discount makeup brands has been tried and tested by our team of writers and editors. We’re also going to be using this guide as a place to include these brands’ latest launches, so you know what kinds of products to expect and explain a bit more about their launch schedules.
Click the links below to jump to the relevant entry in our list of the best cheap makeup brands in the UK. You can then go to each individual site to check out what they have on offer.
Why we love it: There’s been a fair bit of movement in the top 20 of our best cheap makeup list because as we test out more brands and more products, we change our mind on which offers the best value for money.
MUA Academy was originally our leading brand, it was overtaken by Lottie London and now – having got to experience a lot more of its makeup in recent weeks – Collection Cosmetics has soared all the way up from 16th place to take 1st.
One of the most appealing features of Collection’s products, and the brand in general, is that every item of make-up is entirely vegan-friendly and hasn’t been tested on animals. It also seemingly gives real thought to what its customers want and rather than releasing product after product, it focuses on makeup essentials that really work.
Collection’s Lasting Perfection Concealer, for instance, is a firm favourite of ours (as well as bloggers, vloggers and pretty much everyone) and it remains Collection’s best-selling product. It provides excellent coverage and lasts (as the name suggests) all day – it’s also a bargain at only £4.19. Its most expensive bestseller costs only £5.99, truly an affordable brand.
As part of our major best foundation group test, the Collection Lasting Perfection sits in second place – ahead of more than 100 other foundations tried and tested by the mamabella team – and the Collection Lash Surge mascara is one of the best mascaras we’ve ever used.
The brand recently launched a cute range of lip glosses, each one designed for different lip skin types and needs and (so far) we’ve not used a single Collection product that turned out to be a dud.
This is why it jumped so many places to be crowned one of the best cheap makeup brands in the UK.
Why we love it: Aside from selling pigmented and high-quality makeup for affordable prices, the entire Lottie London range is cruelty-free (accredited by PETA) and the majority is vegan. The products that aren’t vegan use beeswax, and Lottie London has a page dedicated to its vegan products so you don’t end up buying a non-vegan product by accident.
Why we love it: The Beauty Crop is a London-based makeup brand that’s taking TikTok by storm – and for good reason. It sells a fantastic range of makeup, skincare, accessories and more at affordable prices.
This means that each of the products uses natural ingredients to bring additional benefits to your skin and look. All without sacrificing pigment or staying power.
Why we love it: A brand that strives to integrate, educate and innovate both itself and its customers, MUA Makeup Academy is a standout cheap makeup brand.
Its range is 100% cruelty-free with many of its products being vegan, too.
MUA does every kind of makeup from a £2.50 dewy cream blush to the best £5 eyeshadow palettes for any kind of occasion and its products never cost more than £10 – despite performing as if they’re three times the price!
We discovered MUA Academy after getting MUA lipstick in an advent calendar in 2019 and have been hooked ever since. The discount makeup brand also does glorious glitter for all your party and festival needs.
Why we love it: It’s likely that you’ll know Beauty Bay as a one-stop online shop for your skincare, haircare, and makeup needs but you may not know that it also sells its own range of products. And this range is both fantastic while being one of the best cheap makeup brands we’ve tried.
Beauty Bay started as a fragrance retailer and quickly expanded. Its own By Beauty Bay brand launched in September 2018 and what began with just three 42-shade eyeshadow palettes now includes eyeliner, false eyelashes, lip gloss, lipsticks, liquid eyeshadow, setting spray, primer, brows, and all the makeup tools you could ever want.
What’s more, not only are these products affordable – the 42-shade palettes are £25 each – but they are also hugely accessible because they’re designed to help people. Its Origin, Evolve, and Identity palettes, for instance, tell you which colours are best used for your base colour, transition shade, crease, liner, pop and highlight, and which colours go well together. Not to mention it’s vegan and cruelty-free.
All-in-all, it’s a brand designed for everyone and we’re big fans.
Why we love it: Morphe may not be the cheapest brand in this cheap makeup brands list but the quality of the makeup versus the price you pay is fantastic. Thus making it great value for money.
We’re fans of its super-pigmented eyeshadow palettes that create very little fallout and Morphe is renowned for its fantastic makeup brushes because each one is soft while being able to pack a great amount of product.
Elsewhere, Morphe sells an entire vegan makeup collection and has a sister brand, called Morphe 2. Designed to give you a fresh, more natural glow, the latter cheap makeup brand is renowned for collaborations with the very best influencers.
And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to pay the slightly higher prices, the brand is almost constantly offering a sale or discounts meaning you can get its foundation for just £7, or palettes for just £9.
Why we love it: When it comes to a good all-rounder, cheap makeup brand, Revolution Beauty is one of the best.
Its eyeshadow palettes are hugely popular with YouTube and Instagram influencers despite costing around £4, while its foundation doesn’t cost much more yet matches the likes of Estée Lauder and MAC.
Under the Revolution Beauty name, there are six individual brands including XX Revolution, Revolution, I Heart Revolution, Revolution Skincare, Revolution PRO and Makeup Obsession.
What’s more, Revolution Beauty often produces cheap alternatives to expensive and premium products.
For example, Revolution’s matte lipstick in the shade Heart Race is the closest we’ve found that comes to the tone, texture and finish of Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk, while the Revolution Pro Regeneration Palette Revelation (£8.99) comes the closest in matching the range of 18 shades found on the Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered palette.
After selling other people’s cheap makeup ranges for years, Missguided finally launched its own collection at the start of January. There is a staggering 148 products in the range, from powders to mascaras, foundations in 25 shades, lipsticks, lip liners, lip glosses, contour sticks, highlighters, and freckle pens. The latter appears to have been sold out pretty much since launch though!
All of these products are sustainable, where possible, and they’re all vegan. They’re also affordable, with prices starting at just £6 and the highest prices coming in at just a tenner.
Read more about our views on the Missguided Beauty range on our dedicated brand page.
Why we love it: Following in the footsteps of fellow fashion retailer Missguided, Boohoo recently launched its first-ever beauty collection which features 50 cruelty-free and vegan makeup essentials.
Called Boohoo Beauty, prices range from £3 up to £25 and there are products for your face, eyes, lips and brows. Lipsticks are a tenner each, the Boohoo Beauty 36-pan palette is £20 and you can get lip kits, which include liner and lipstick and gloss for £14.
We’re big fans of the lipsticks, and it seems like the brand has taken inspiration from two beauty heavyweights – Kylie Cosmetics in regards to the packaging, and Charlotte Tilbury in regards to formulations that put skincare at their heart. The Boohoo Beauty range includes skincare ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe, coconut oil and botanical extracts, and all the packaging is recyclable.
At the time of writing, you can currently get 20% off the entire range to encourage you to give it a go.
Why we love it: If you’re after the best cheap makeup brand that means you don’t have to sacrifice on the quality of its ingredients, then look no further than e.l.f’s discount makeup range.
E.l.f is an acronym for Eyes Lips Face and it’s a Californian company set up by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba in 2004.
Since its launch, e.l.f has gone live in 18 countries and has become a social media favourite with more than half the company’s sales coming from its website, which doubles as a social networking site. You can read more about why we love e.l.f Cosmetics so much and discover the best e.l.f products in our Brand Spotlight.
What’s more, it has been leading the clean beauty trend for years having being one of the first brands to remove phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone from its makeup range. Its skincare is also free from sulphates. You can read more about clean beauty and the danger of sulphates and SLS in our guides.
WANT TO KNOW MORE: The best e.l.f products you need in your collection
People over a certain age will remember that Barry M was huge in the 90s. It was the go-to brand for the bright and vibrant makeup looks that were all the rage during the decade and we recently found a bright red glitter pot that we bought for our university graduation ball (don’t worry, we got rid of it. If you’re not sure why, check out our Does makeup go off? guide)
Barry M is still a well-respected, popular brand – it’s That’s Swell lip plumper was huge on TikTok earlier in the year – but as one of the original discount makeup brands, it’s since gained a lot of competition. We think it deserves a place in our best cheap makeup list not just because it offers on-trend, high-quality affordable makeup, but because it was a champion of cruelty-free, vegan beauty long before it became fashionable.
The brand gets its name from its founder, Barry Mero, from London who started out selling nail polishes from his mother’s front garden. According to the brand, Barry had “found a niche. He discovered a gap in the world of mass-market cosmetics – a desire for colour. Bold, vivid, fearless colour. The sort of colour that the cosmetic industry was waiting for.”
Why we love it: Whereas many of the other brands in this list you may recognise from the high street, you may not have heard of Wet n Wild.
With the exception of select Boots stores, Wet n Wild is sold almost exclusively online in the UK and this means it doesn’t necessarily get the exposure it deserves.
From bright, highly pigmented palettes to its large selection of mascaras, makeup brushes, eyeliners and lipsticks – among many other products – the US brand well and truly takes the game to the premium, designer beauty brands in terms of choice, versatility and performance.
Very few items in its collection come in at more than £6. Seriously. Even its foundations are £5.95, while lip pencils are £2, eyeliners are £3 and mascaras average at around £4.
Its makeup looks great and is easy to apply. It doesn’t offer the staying power as some of the other cheap makeup brands in this list but if you invest in the best setting spray, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Why we love it: Set up in 1999 by Korean-born businesswoman, Toni Ko with a vision to create high-quality, affordable beauty products the brand exceeded $2million in its first year. It’s now owned by L’Oreal and calls itself a ‘digital first’ brand, being incredibly active and popular on social media, particularly Instagram.
Elsewhere, it’s cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and affordable without sacrificing on pigment, quality and a long-lasting finish. It’s also a market leader when it comes to diversity and inclusivity.
In 2018, the brand increased its ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ foundation range to 45 different shades which is extremely rare for any makeup brand, let alone one that’s so affordable.
Arguably one of NYX’s most favoured products is its matte setting spray, it costs just £7 and is one of the best setting sprays on the market. This quality is reflected in much of the brand as a whole and is a major part of what makes NYX Professional Makeup so popular.
The prices are highly affordable and the website is easy to use, making NYX absolutely worth mentioning in our best cheap makeup list.
NYX’s Ultimate eyeshadows are so good they also make our list of the best eyeshadow palettes. In fact, NYX Professional Makeup regularly crops up in our various Best Buys lists. You can read more about why we love the NYX Professional Makeup brand so much in our Brand Spotlight.
WANT TO KNOW MORE: Our absolute must-have NYX Professional Makeup products
Why we love it: Maybelline is one of the oldest beauty brands; its makeup is sold worldwide and it boasts more than 200 different discount products.
One of the firm favourites that (probably) almost every mascara user has tried is its Lash Sensational mascara, it sits happily in the £5-£7 price bracket and lasts for ages on the lashes. In fact, it’s regularly at the top of Amazon’s bestselling beauty products. We’re also big fans of the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express mascara which features in our best mascara list.
However, there is so much more to Maybelline than its extensive range of mascara. It excels across its entire range and offers a versatile selection of products to suit almost every cosmetic need, look, and skin type.
We previously included its Tattoo Brow range in our guide on how to get thicker eyebrows, and its Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream is absolutely perfect for oily skin – and these are just two examples.
If you’re keen to give Maybelline makeup a whirl, but don’t know which products will suit you best the brand has a great virtual try-on tool.
Long gone are the days of only being able to buy Avon products from your local rep – although this is still an option. The 134-year-old cosmetics company is now the fifth-largest beauty firm in the world. It’s also the second-largest direct-selling enterprise.
Beyond skincare, for which Avon is well known (you can read more about its safer retinol alternative Protinol in our Avon Plumping Shots review) the brand also sells some incredible makeup options that give much more expensive rivals a run for their money.
Our favourites include the flake-proof, clump-proof and smudge-proof True Supreme Nourishing Length mascara (£9) which contains coconut oil, argan oil and Vitamin E.
Avon is famous for empowering women and we’re big fans here at mamabella.
Why we love it: SleekMakeUp was born in 1985 in East London.
The founder recognised that women of colour were underrepresented in the make-up industry, so Sleek worked hard to create a highly pigmented range of products for all skin tones. It was when Sleek MakeUP joined forces with Boots that it hit cult status, and the cheap makeup brand is now sold in 15 countries and more than 2,200 stores globally.
Sleek MakeUP has a wide range of amazing makeup products – highlighters, contour, eyeshadow palettes, foundation and lips. The prices range.between Revolution and Rimmel, and Sleek MakeUp offers great quality makeup for this more than affordable price tag.
We especially love its eyeshadow palettes, the pigmentation is outstanding and it features in our guide to the best eyeshadow palettes. In particular, its I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette comes in seven shades – their two best-sellers are ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Au Naturel’.
Each palette has 12 mineral-based shades with a mix of matt, pearlescent and illuminating textures. Each single palette you can create everyday, neutral and smokey eyes any day of the week. Every review has loved the pigmentation of these palettes.
But let’s talk about foundation. Sleek MakeUp offers three types of foundation and all three offer 24 shades.
Lifeproof Foundation gives medium to full buildable coverage that is sweat-proof, oil-free and has a blurring effect. With the blurring effect it helps to reduce fine lines and leaves your skin shine-free. We love the shades that are available from fair to dark, this is suitable for oily/combination skin types or who loves a matt finish to their foundation.
Why we love it: W7′s cheap makeup has no right to being as good as it is! It’s highly affordable – we’re talking £3-£4 for makeup essentials – yet punches well about its weight. This is why it features in our makeup alternatives guide with its Chic Bronzing Cream being a near-on perfect match for Chanel’s Bronzing Cream. Meanwhile, it’s Lip Culture Satin lipstick looks and feels just like Charlotte Tilbury’s range.
The W7 Brand was actually created by two men from West London back in 2002. They wanted to provide “high-quality cosmetics at an affordable price” and in that time, the collection has expanded to more than 500 items across categories including foundation, lipstick, eyeshadows, mascara, nail polish, blush and more.
It recently launched W7 Mister, a range of male grooming products. You can read more about this over at MBman, or check out our best cheap advent calendar guide to learn more about the W7 Advent Calendar.
Why we love it: You might not think L’Oreal Paris would be a cheap makeup brand but we did our research and found that its foundations, concealers, and mascaras are actually the same price range as Maybelline and NYX. When you hit the high street you see L’Oreal makeup in Boots and Superdrug and not to mention you even see the brand in supermarkets, too.
L’Oreal has skincare, haircare and makeup under its beauty belt and its makeup is highly rated. It really is a much-loved brand and at the heat of this affection? Its True Match Foundation.
Having been in the making since 1994, in 2012 L’Oreal expanded the range to include 40 shades and it’s not looked back since.
It leaves your skin looking like skin with a natural finish. What’s more, this foundation improves skin quality to reveal a healthy look to your skin, giving you 24-hr hydration with the help of aloe vera extract to ease any irritation for sensitive skin types.
L’Oreal Paris False Lash Superstar is another favourite. This two-sided mascara contains a volumisng primer on one end and a lengthening mascara on the other. The primer coats your lashes to make them look thicker, and this sets the base for your lengthening mascara.
L’Oreal additionally has a great lipstick range, with great staying power.
One of its best sellers is Color Riche Stain Lipstick, the formula has a combination of Omega-3 and Vitamin E which means it leaves our lips feeling moisturised and nourished. Offering you 30 shades from natural nudes, soft pinks and bright corals and reds, the Color Riche range also comes in a matte or metallic finish.
Victoria is founder and editor-in-chief of mamabella, freelance journalist and Mum. She has a passion for empowering people to feel beautiful whatever their age, size, skin type and budget