TIME to ramp up the glitter and whip out those fake eyelashes because Christmas party season is finally upon us.
But as our bank balances still recovering from a few too many Black Friday purchases, we have to ask: is it really worth splashing out on a whole load of posh beauty bits this December?
Or can you create the perfect Christmas party look for only £10? And spend any money you have leftover on booze behind the bar…
Well fear not because Fabulous Digital has partnered up with make-up artist Olivia Todd to pit £10 of affordable Primark make-up against £1000 worth of slap.
And spoiler alert: it's almost impossible to tell the difference between the two…
Both our cheap and luxury looks were centred around a festive frosty blue smokey eye paired with pink lips and a radiant base.
You don't have to be a make-up expert to know that £10 isn't going to get you very far in the beauty world.
Naturally, Primark's pursefriendly range of products came in VERY handy when putting together our glittery blue eye and glowing skin.
That said, the price tag did inevitably limit the number of products we could use – meaning we had to double up the 90p lipstick as a cream blush and use mascara for a dark smokey shadow.
As someone who loves nothing more than a radiant, glowing base, Primark's thick Perfect Finish foundation was a far cry from my usual make-up routine – and my expectations were already pretty low going into it.
Although I was surprised by how well the liquid foundation covered up my pesky acne scars, the runny formula had a tendency to gather in the pores around my nose.
Unsurprisingly, the limited shades (there are just seven in total) meant the bogstandard "ivory" left me feeling a bit washed out and craving bronzer – which our budget sadly couldn't cover.
But while I assumed the cheap foundation (which costs the same as a cup of coffee) would be matte and chalky to work with, the finish was surprisingly radiant – and I barely noticed I wasn't wearing my usual layers upon layers of heavy duty concealer.
Going into this experiment, I've always been a believer in investing more in eyeshadow to get that mega pigment pay-off – but Primark's Glitter Eyes Palette was a total gamechanger for me.
Not only do you get 28 vibrant glittery shades for only £4, but the shimmery golds also work extremely well as highlighter dusted across your cheekbones.
We then took that same gold shade and layered it over the plain rosy lipstick to give things an extra festive feel.
But let's not get too carried away – just when I was beginning to question why I'd ever spent more than a fiver on any given beauty product, it was time to apply the £1 fake lashes.
And I'm not exaggerating when I say there were an absolute nightmare to work with.
As well as disturbing the eyeshadow we'd spent 20 minutes perfecting, these cheap falsies kept pinging off every 30 seconds which left me too stressed to blink.
Not something you want to be thinking about when you're mingling over mulled wine at the office Christmas party…
Although I was impressed with the overall look, I have to admit – it was a bit more understated than I thought it would be.
Meanwhile, the lipstick blush felt like it was slipping and sliding all over my face – which would have been easily rectified with a powder if our budget had stretched that far.
Full product list for £10 face:
- Foundation, £2.50 from Primark
- Lipstick, 90p from Primark
- PS Glitter Eyes Palette, £4 from Primark
- HD Fantastic Extreme Lash Mascara, £2.50
We can't exactly blame anyone for thinking that £1,000 would buy you enough make-up to set up your own beauty counter – but seeing it all set up in front of me like this, it doesn't look like much. Right?
The larger budget allowed us to splash out on skincare prep as well as two foundations, three different eyeshadow sets AND five lip products. Which I'll admit, does seem a little excessive.
In order to achieve an Insta-worthy glow, I kickstarted the luxury make-up routine with a Rodial sheet mask and the brand's £200 Rose Gold moisturiser.
But to be totally honest, I can't say it felt any more luxurious on my skin than bogstandard Nivea – and it certainly didn't feel like it was making any difference in how the make-up went on to my face.
Once this had sunk in, Olivia then applied Glossier's FutureDew (my all-time favourite skincare primer) for a pearlescent sheen and then added a mixture of Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation and the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Concealer to combat any redness.
With the £10 face, the budget didn't stretch to bronzer or brows – but the luxury offerings here more than made up for it.
After adding a sweep of Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze and Glow to my cheeks, Olivia then cracked open the brand's pricey Starry Eyes to Hypnotise eyeshadow palette – featuring the MOST buttery, vibrant, glittery shadows I've ever used.
At £60 a pop, this palette – which only has 12 shades in comparison to Primark's 28 – is one of the only luxury items that I think I would consider investing in myself… but Primark's £4 is a very convincing dupe.
To finish off the lips, we added a layer of Dior's gold glittery lipstick whichsadly had very little pigment payoff for a £34 lippie.
And while Olivia and I were looking forward to cracking open the £17 Huda Beauty false lashes after our nightmare with Primark, we were disappointed to find that kept lifting too – not to mention how they didn't even come with their own glue.
All in all, I loved this glamorous eye-makeup look – but I think we achieved an equally nice base for a fraction of the price and without a moisturiser costing an eye-watering percentage of my rent.
Full Product list for £1,000 face
- Lumene Miceller Water, £12 – buy now
- Rodial Vitamin C energising sheet mask, £14 – buy now
- Rodial Rose Gold Moisturiser, £200 – buy now
- REN Perfect Canvas primer, £40 – buy now
- Glossier FutureDew, £23 – buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow, £39 – buy now
- Dior Face & Body Foundation, £29.50 – buy now
- Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £42 – buy now
- It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer, £25 – buy now
- Nudestix Creme Blush, £30 – buy now
- Bare Minerals Blush Bounce & Blur, £23 – buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow palette & brush, £82 – buy now
- Rodial Instaglam Banana Powder, £52 – buy now
- Anatasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, £19 – buy now
- Glossier Boy Brow, £14 – buy now
- HD Brows High Definition Palette, £45 – buy now
- Huda Beauty Mercury Retrograde palette, £58 – buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Starry Eyes to Hypnotise, £60 – buy now
- NARS Velvet Shadow Stick, £22 – buy now
- Christian Dior Party in Colours in Spotlight on the Eyes, £50 – buy now
- Huda Beauty Luxe Silk Eyelashes in Hoodie Lash, £17 – buy now
- Milk Kush Mascara, £20.50 – buy now
- Glossier Balm Dot Com, £10 – buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipliner, £16- buy now
- Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Lips in Princess Kiss, £25 – buy now
- Dior Lips Backstage Palette, £39 – buy now
- Dior Gold Glitter Lipstick, £34 – buy now
Let's just say, this experiment didn't quite turn out as I expected.
Above all, the one thing I've learnt is that it's worth pushing to get more out of your products by doubling up your lipstick as a cream blush and that you fundamentally can't go wrong with glitter this festive season.
Rather than heading down to my local luxury beauty counter with a shopping list as long as my arm, I've instead been dreaming about that Primark palette. And as for that multitasking lippy, well it'd be rude not to for 90p.
As for the more luxury purchases, Glossier's FutureDew has become a necessary step in my beauty routine ever since as it makes my skin look like I've had a full 12 hours of sleep and downed a litre of water the night before. And the blue Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow will no doubt be making its return on Christmas Day.
That said, the Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow lasted longer and had a better colour pay off then the Primark alternative.
In other words, the cheaper palette makes for an excellent Instagram selfie at the beginning of the night but might not be there when you're downing your fifth glass of champers.
In more bargain beauty news, Home Bargains is selling a bath bomb advent calendar – and it's only £5.
And this woman bagged herself £100 of Makeup Revolution products for just £30 at B&M.
Plus Aldi has brought back their £3.99 sell-out Pink Clay Hot Cloth Cleanser – and there's now a mask to go with it.
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