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Thrifty v Bougie: The Complete Guide to Buying Makeup Without Doing Your Own Research

Georgia Sprivulis

When I first began buying makeup, I was under the impression that only super expensive makeup products were the best and this was a sad realisation for a high school student who did a few hours of babysitting a week. Although as time passed, I could see huge names in the beauty industry like Makeup by Mario (Kim K’s artist), Pat Mcgrath (the mother of makeup) AND Sir John Patrick (who does BEYONCE’S makeup!!!) all using affordable drug store brands on their famous clients, and I thought if it's good enough for Queen B, then it's (probably) good enough for me. Nowadays it's no secret that makeup artists and beauty bloggers all rely on a mixture of bougie and affordable products, but it's difficult to know which items are truly the best.  So if you don’t have the time to sift through James Charles makeup tutorials or to find out if a product is ‘Jeffree Star approved’, read on for the best reviewed makeup products for every budget! These products have been compiled from watching way too many beauty YouTube videos during STUVAC. All products mentioned are not colour specific, so you should be able to find your shade in either the bougie or budget range. Everything can also be found at Priceline, Target, Mecca Maxima or Australian Sephora stores (so you can get almost everything in the Canberra Centre)! 

Disclaimer: I do not work for any of these brands (#notsponsored). Although, if they would like to pay me, I’m not going to say no... 

*All products in italics are not tested on animals*


Thrifty: NYX Pore Filler (to hide those pesky pores)

Bougie: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 (literally makes your face feel like a cloud)

Notable contenders: COVERGIRL Trublend Base Business Smoothing Primer ($) Benefit Porefessional ($$$) Tatcha Silk Canvas ($$$$$)


Thrifty: L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation (amazing shade range, yay for inclusivity) 

Bougie: NARS All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation (every beauty blogger’s fave)

Notable contenders: Maybelline Fit Me! ($), NARS Sheer Glow ($$$), Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($$$$)


Thrifty: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Concealer (dark circles who?)

Bougie: Tarte Shape Tape (has a larger cult following than Scientology)

Notable contenders: Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define ($), Too Faced Born This Way Concealer ($$$), NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($$$$)


Thrifty: Australis Fresh & Flawless Pressed Powder (great coverage and keeps the oil at bay)

Bougie: MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (timeless classic)

Notable contenders: Rimmel London Stay Matte Powder ($), NARS Pressed Powder in Beach ($$$), Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation ($$$)


Thrifty: Rimmel London Transparent Loose Powder (exact dupe for the more expensive powder below)

Bougie: Laura Mercier Translucent Powder (actually never watched a beauty blogger who doesn’t use this)

Notable contenders: Makeup Revolution Bake and Finish ($), Kat von D Lock It Setting Powder ($$$), Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Translucent Powder ($$$)


Thrifty: e.l.f Studio Bronzer (only $4!!!!!)

Bougie: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer (perfect shade to avoid the oompa loompa look)

Notable contenders: NARS Laguna Bronzer ($$$), Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer ($$$), Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega Bronzer Perfect Tantric ($$$$)


Thrifty: Sephora Collection Colourful Blush (despite stocking expensive brands, Sephora’s own brand is super affordable and does the job)

Bougie: NARS Blush in Orgasm (fabulous name and even better colour)

Notable contenders: NYX HD Blush ($), Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Iridescent Flash ($$$$), Stila Convertible Colour Cheek & Lip Cream ($$$)


Thrifty: the Balm Mary Loumanizer (so popular it's can be sold out as a single product at Priceline, but cheeky tip: it's often included in their palettes which also have other great products)

Bougie: Becca x Jacqueline Hill Champagne Pop (iconic)

Notable contenders: Makeup Revolution x Soph Highlighter Palette ($), Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Killawat Freestyle Highlighter ($$$), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle ($$$)


Thrifty: NYX Micro Brow Pencil and Control Freak Gel (your brows will be perfectly defined and locked in place with this combo)

Bougie: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and Clear Gel (Kylie Jenner approved)

Notable contenders: Chi Chi Brow Pomade ($), Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade ($$$$), Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow/KaBrow/Gimme Brow ($$$)


Thrifty: Maybelline Lash Sensational (adds length and volume) 

Bougie: Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara (it really is)

Notable contenders: L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise ($), Benefit Roller Lash ($$$), Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes ($$$$)


Thrifty: NYX Epic Ink Liner (stays on all day/night)

Bougie: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner (easy to use)

Notable contenders: Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($), Too Faced Sketch Marker ($$$), Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen ($$$$)


Thrifty: Revlon ColorStay LooksBook Eyeshadow Pallets (great range of shades that compliment any eye colour)

Bougie: Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Pallet (won’t budge even on the messiest of nights out)

Notable contenders: NYX Ultimate Eyeshadow Pallet ($), Stila Matte n Metal Eyeshadow Pallet ($$$$), Huda Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow Pallet ($$$) 


Thrifty: NYX Highlight and Contour Pro Palette (to look like Kim K without the price tag)

Bougie: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Match Stix (badaglriri beat Kim K at her own game, cheeky tip: make sure you get one of the matte colours for contouring purposes)

Notable contenders: Australis AC on Tour Cream Contour Kit ($), Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Cream Kit ($$$$), Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour ($$$$)


Thrifty: NYX Butter Lipstick  (creamy formula) 

Bougie: MAC Cosmetics Lipstick (phenomenal shade range)

Notable contenders: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream ($), Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($$$), NARS Audacious Lipstick ($$$$)


Thrifty: L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray (still holds up even on a sweaty dance floor)

Bougie: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray (your makeup won’t budge even if you want it to)

Notable contenders: Mario Badescu Facial Sprays ($), MAC Prep and Prime Fix Plus ($$$)

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