10 beauty and make-up hacks

Dupes make-up cheap beauty

Written by: Jessica Metliss - makingitupblog.com

The wonderful Dolly Parton famously said: 'It costs a lot of money to look this cheap' - and she ain't wrong! The Independent states that on average, women spend £40 a week and £2,000 a year on beauty products, which are numbers the average student simply can’t stretch to.

Budgeting for makeup, skincare and toiletries whilst managing a student loan and paying off those library fines is especially tough, but we've got 10 ways to make your money go further and help find you a bargain or two.

1) Multi-tasking products means more bang for your buck

Using a tried and tested favourite in a new way will help you get the most out of your makeup. For example, a concealer in too light a shade will work well as a highlighter, a peachy pink lip stain can double as a cream blush, and an expensive mascara wand can simply be added to a cheaper formula when the original one dries up - it’s all about the brush anyway! Vaseline is brilliant for taming stray hairs and adding a subtle gloss to eyeshadows, and it’s also great rubbed onto lashes after one too many pairs of falsies.

2) Sign up to receive email newsletters

It's worth signing up to your favourite brand's newsletters, as you'll be kept in the loop when they have sales, giveaways or promotions. For example, signing up to lookfantastic, feelunique or beautybay will get you free delivery with first orders, and they regularly post flash sales with 10% and 20% discount codes mid-week, so there’s always a chance to snap up a bargain on your favourite, more expensive products.

Asos have a brilliant beauty section on their site, and you’ll find high-end brands like Benefit, Illamasqua and NARS that are included in their sales - something you would never find if you shopped with those brands in a department store.

3) Make the most of loyalty cards

If you're going to spend your cash in-store, and there’s a loyalty card available - you’d be crazy not to pick one up! Our favourite is The Boots Advantage Card. Along with your loyalty card you can register with its app, which regularly posts new deals you can take advantage of, such as £1 and £2 discounts on its in-house brands, like Seventeen, No. 7 and Collection.

A few times a year, Boots will send out booklets with all its coupon codes (its current coupon codes last until March) where you can boost your Advantage points with offers such as ’300 points when you spend £30 or more’, and ‘£5 worth of points when you spend £35’.

Superdrug have its Beauty Card which earns you £1 when you reach 100 points, and you can pay with a combination of cash and points - something Boots doesn’t let you do.

The Debenhams Beauty Club Card offers a huge range of deals including free shipping, bonus points on certain brands and free samples for Beauty Club Card holders. The Tesco Clubcard can be used across the range of services they offer including grocery shopping, insurance and fuel, and they offer the best bang for your buck as you can boost the value of your points by up to three times! They also stock a huge range of beauty products, ranging from high-street to high-end prices.

4) Fake it ’til you make it

Research the products you want so you know if there are cheaper alternatives - blogs and Youtubers often post ‘dupe lists’ with affordable variations on famous and pricy products, and the Temptalia website has a huge database of products ranging from high-end and luxury, to ones you can find on the highstreet. Can’t justify the price of that Tom Ford lipstick? Chances are, there’ll be a Rimmel one that’s almost identical.

Our 3 Favourite Dupes

1) Swap Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Nude Kate (£23) for, Maybelline ColourSensational Lipstick in Tantalizing Taupe (£6.99).

2) Swap Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Whiz in Medium Ash (£15.50), for Soap & Glory Archery Brow Filling Pencil and Brush in Blondshell (£8).

3) Swap Bobbi Brown Nude Peach Blush (£19), for Rimmel Lasting Finish Mono Blush in Santa Rose (£3.99).

5) Blag freebies

Make the most of makeup samples - ask, and ye shall receive. Befriend the sales assistants (or at least look like you're interested in buying the full-sized item) in your favourite stores and they’ll be happy to give you samples for new releases. Kiehl’s, The Body Shop, Origins and lots of other skincare stores can decant their product into tiny tubs and tubes for you to take home and try for yourself.

As well as hitting the pavements and picking up some freebies in-store, there are websites which send you samples straight to your door. Good ones include Supersavvyme, a site that lets you read honest, independent reviews on big-name brands like Aussie, Olay and Head & Shoulders, as well as receive samples of new products. Also check out What's in my handbag, which is a mecca for new beauty releases, free samples and first dibs on hard-to-find cult products, like the Anastasia Beverley Hills Contour Palette£39 on its site, and free delivery and returns.

6) Baby shampoo is a great household staple

It removes makeup effectively from brushes, keeps them soft, and costs under £3 for a huge bottle - just add a drop of water, rinse until the water runs clear, and gently dry. You’ll never buy expensive brush cleaner again! You can also remove eye makeup with it since it’s tear-free. With a cotton pad, Q-Tip or a warm muslin cloth, add some of the shampoo and wipe to remove any eyeshadow fall-out or smudged mascara.

7) Mix your foundation with primer

By combining the two products, you use less product of each. It also creates a sheer look for everyday, and is great for slapping on when you don’t want a full face. Maybelline, Rimmel, Bourjois and L’oreal do great, affordable primers in either dewy or matte formulas depending on your skin type, and they help to keep your makeup on all day - perfect for when you’re running around between lectures and overheating in the library.

Check out the full list of primers available at Boots.

8) Go COCO-LOCO for Coconut Oil!

If you’re haemorrhaging money on face wipes every month (which are pretty bad for your skin anyway), try Extra Virgin Coconut Oil as a more natural and affordable option for makeup remover. You can find it at pretty much any Tesco nowadays as well in health food stores like Holland and Barrett. Our favourite is the Vita Coca 250ml tub, £5.99.

The natural oil easily dissolves heavy makeup including waterproof liner and mascara, and it doesn’t dry out or irritate your skin. Coconut Oil can also be used as intensive moisturising treatment, as a shaving oil on dry legs, as a hair mask, and even as a healthy alternative for frying instead of butter.

9) Try a home-made face mask

Fancy face-masks easily can cost around £30. However, mashed up banana, honey and natural yoghurt is great for rehydration and adding moisture to the skin (perfect for hangover days), and crushing up an aspirin to make a paste will dry out spots and speed up the healing process on old ones. These two masks use ingredients you’ll probably keep in your cupboard and fridge anyway, and require zero spending.


  • 1 whole, ripe banana - Vitamin C, brightening
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (the clear kind from a squeezy tube is best) - anti-bacterial, moisturizing
  • 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt - cooling, calming

  • Mash the banana with a fork until you have a paste, then add the honey and yoghurt separately, keeping it smooth so you can easily apply it all over your face. Leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes, and then remove with a warm, damp muslin cloth. Make sure you apply the mask to clean skin and take your makeup off first - you don’t want banana mixed with lipgloss!


  • 1 aspirin - make sure it doesn’t have a plastic coating or in a capsule form
  • 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water

  • Dissolve the aspirin in a shallow bowl and mix with the water. Make sure to create a thick paste - you’ll need to be able to apply it and keep it on your skin. Once the aspirin is crushed and combined with the water, press onto the affected area and leave for 10 minutes. Remove with damp cotton pads or a muslin cloth, and apply a light moisturiser to rehydrate.

    10) Lastly, believe in the power of Nivea cream!

    Nivea cream for face and body is great for cuticles, elbows and knees, sunburnt skin or heat rashes, as a post-shave balm for guys, and a facial moisturiser for very dry skin.