Saturday, 30 July 2011

Goths on a budget - what brands are best for makeup?

As someone who's been funding her gothery with pocket money, allowances and student loans for a long time, I've had to get good at knowing what makeup is worth shelling out for and what's easily accomplished with cheap, ubiquitous high street brands.  Here's a quick list of what I use or have tried in the past and feel are worth recommending, almost all £10 or less (many less than a fiver).  A lot of use use a LOT of cosmetics and they can eat into one's budget very quickly, so I hope this'll be of good use.
List will be updated sporadically if anything else pops into my head or gets a strong recommendation.

PRIMERS (highly recommended!)

Everything I recommend below works okay on its own, however some cheapies need a little help to make the most of them.  Eye makeup, in particular, can easily smudge and crease at the low end of the price range, so a good eye primer will work wonders to combat this.  Whilst the famous cult brands, like Urban Decay Primer Potion, can be somewhat expensive (but worth the £12 if you're absolutely set on them), I have found a couple of cheapies that do the job, both from a company that is rapidly becoming my favourite: E.L.F. Their eyelid primer and face primer, at £1.50 and £6 respectively, both work nicely, and the eyelids are probably the most important thing you'll need to prime.  Slick a bit on, blend up to the eyebrow, into the lashes and under the eye, leave to dry and then apply makeup.  ELF also sell a lip primer which is similarly cheap and does seem improve the wear of a number of colours, though I'm reserving judgement until I use it a bit more.  It is however very good as a pale base if you want to change the shape of your lips a little and need to hide the edges.

  • Make-up Academy (MUA) - ultra-cheap with single shades costing £1.  Particularly good for the darker shades - I have a slightly shimmery plum and a black shade from these guys, available at Superdrug.
  • Rimmel: A bit pricier, but still at the low range.  Costing between £1.99 at online suppliers to around £3-5 in Boots or Superdrug, this brand offers a good selection and decent quality.
  • Boots No.17 - Yep, we have a store brand!  I have a lovely pinky solo shade that builds nicely.  I got it in Shelter (yes, they sometimes stock makeup!) for 99p, but it's about £3-4 at Boots.
  • Stargazer - for vibrant, UV, highly pigmented shades you cannot go wrong with this infamous goth-shop brand.  Here in Glasgow we get it from Osiris, Isis and Hellfire, but for those whose home areas are less friendly to the goth shopper you can also buy from eBay, Amazon or direct from the company website. Shades are usually between £3-4.
  • Lily Lolo eyeshadow in Witchypoo- INTENSELY pigmented mineral option that I can't recommend enough.  £5.29 online - more expensive, but as you only need a tiny bit of powder it lasts much longer than anything else on the list.  Bonus - it doubles as an eyeliner, just mix a little with some water and apply with a fine brush.  I haven't tried any other shades but if this one's anything to go by they're likely very good.
  • Funky Fresh - I got a free sample with an order and can cheerily say that their colours are lovely - bold or subtle, pretty or punky, an with all the benefits of mineral makeup (SPF, Paraben-free, all-natural, less clogging, highly pigmented).
  • Models Own loose powder shadows: I used an orangey-red for a photoshoot, and it was wonderfully bold - just what you need when you need things to show up on a lens.  £5 each, fairly long-lasting and very bright, but beware of spillage!
Copyright Redwall Digital

    • Collection 2000 - I've used their liquid eyeliner for nearly a year now without regret.  I think it was about £1.99 from Superdrug.  Goes on easily, stays in place very well for something so cheap. Black tube, pink writing, brush tip.
    • Rimmel Exaggerate - both the liquid eyeliner (felt-tip rather than a brush) and the waterproof pencil-type work very well.  I use the pencil on my lower lid and water line.
    • Rimmel Special Eyes pencil - a nice effective basic kohl. £2-3, I believe.
    • Bourjois Khol & Contour pencil - lasts very well, comes with its own sharpener.  A bit more expensive than the others (around a fiver) but mine has lasted long enough for it to have been worth it.
    • Pretty much any mineral eyeshadow mixed with water will come up nicely as an eyeliner.  I've mentioned Lily Lolo and I'll be going into a couple of other brands further down the list which will also carry a few eyeshadows.  You can purchase a special sealer for doing this that makes it last longer, never tried these myself though.
    • E.L.F. waterproof eyeliner pen - I've just got this in the post and it's brilliant.  Easy to use for those who fear liquid eyeliners, and at £1.50 it's not going to break the budget.  Tip - store this and any other pen-liners cap-down in a little tealight holder or something to ensure the tip remains loaded with product.
    • Stargazer 'permanent' eyeliner - I use this for lining my lower lids when I want a bold line that won't budge (my oily skin often forces my liner from my eyes to my chin in 30 minutes).  It takes a lot of sweat or a good eye-makeup remover to get this off, claims to last up to 48 hours (less on me, but still pretty hardwearing).  Pen-style for easy application. I got mine here

    Unlike the products above, good foundations (particularly in ultra-pale gothy shades) are hard to find.  Sure, there's stage-makeup and facepaint, but proper day-to-day foundation on the high street is often rather sandy-coloured even at the lightest shades and the untanned members of the population, such as myself, either have to get a bit creative, shell out £20 for something nice from Illamasqua or dig about online.  Fortunately, I've found some solutions.
    • Lily Lolo foundation powders - I've used their 'Porcelain' shade a few times and it is PALE, but not pure white so you can use it for those occasions where turning up in whiteface is not appropriate.  You can order cheap samples from here which I recommend, as a full pot is a lot of makeup and money to waste.  At £12.49 online it may seem a little pricey bit, like all their products, being mineral-based with a short ingredients list means that you need to use less, it lasts for ages and - BONUS! - it's less likely to aggravate sensitive skin.  It doesn't clog your pores much as it sits on the skin, and builds nicely from light to full coverage.  This is probably my favourite foundation to date.  If you get a mineral foundation, invest in a good Kabuki brush too - again, this will cost about a tenner at best but there's nothing comparable for applying these powders and is a really worthwhile investment.  This brand also has a white finishing powder for ultragoths.

    Copyright Stuart Crawford.
    This is the least-retouched photo that really shows this powder on.  As you can see, rather than caking into pores and crevices it evened out the tone whilst still allowing me to retain the natural features of my skin - which in turn makes for a better look than the people you see who have obviously trowelled on a heap of foundation that's then beginning to crease.

    • Funky Fresh Minerals - Finishing powders in white, matte and silky translucent; foundation colours from really pale to really dark (BECAUSE NOT ALL GOTHS ARE GHOSTS) at around a tenner (though the 'Best Offer' ebay option has allowed me to haggle down to about £8).  The only reason I don't buy these more often is because the jars are a bit on the small side and I need a nice, large lid for loading my brush with foundation.
    • My Beautiful Earth 'Gothic Geisha' white powders - another mineral that I plan to try next month due to a good recommendation. Depending on the amount you want these range from £6.50 to £12.95.
    • Collection 2000 Pressed Powder in Ivory - Finally, something you can get in Superdrug!  This is a bit lower grade but is a nice pale powder for going over foundation to set and lighten it up a little.  Cost me around £1.
    • Collection 2000 Sheer Loose Powder in Translucent - I love this stuff.  About £2 when I last looked, this is great for dusting and blending over makeup or on its own.
    • Stargazer White powder (pressed or loose) - I rarely use this on its own as it doesn't even skin blemishes out and rubs off, but is good for blending with the two powders above to get a nice subtle pallor and the pressed compact is good for quick touch-ups. About £2.50?
    • E.L.F. Complexion Perfection - blend over the whole face to help even out redness and blemishes.  Not as good a coverage as a proper mineral foundation but still a nice useful compact. £3.50.
    • Stargazer White Liquid Foundation - This works on its own if you have great skin and are VERY good at blending, but my personal recommendation is that you use a little of this to lighten your own foundations (if you use liquid ones) up a shade or two. Remember to powder over it and ensure that there are no streaks, and for goodness' sake, BLEND AT THE NECK.  Have patience with white foundations as they are very unforgiving - if you are in a rush or just plain lazy, my advice is to go for something a bit more natural-looking.  No-one will mock you for not having a pallor but you'll get laughed out the club if you look like the sole survivor of an explosion in a whitewash factory.
    • Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder.  Not bad, not bad at all - good on its own to prevent shine or dusted over other makeup to set.

      • Models Own lipstick - it's not brilliantly long-wearing, so I'd recommend the use of a sealer like Lipseal. However, goes on smoothly, not too drying.  I love their Blackcurrant colour, which (contrary to the picture) is a nice dark-but-bright purple.  Will make you look like you've been eating the berries themselves!  £5.
      • Rimmel Stay Glossy 'Black Diva' lipgloss - Yes, black lipgloss!  Perfect if you don't like/suit black lipstick but want a dark colour, blend a little of this over your own lipstick or bare lips for instant goth-appeal.  Needs a bit of re-applying, though. 
      • Rimmel Lasting Finish lipstick - I use 'Starry-eyed', a nice deep purply-red.  This needs less re-application than others and isn't too drying, works well in a variety of environments!
      • Maybelline Superstay - I use 'Absolute plum'.  Lasts for aaaaages and comes with a bit of slightly glossy lip balm to stave off the dryness.
      • RECOMMENDED BUT NOT TRIED: A variety of mineral brands, all recommended above. Glosses and lipsticks exist, though you can also take blusher/shadow shades and blend them with a bit of water, clear lipgloss or lip balm for a nice tint.
      • Stargazer black lipstick - TBH, it's the best of a bad bunch. It's quite sticky and smudgy so a bit of care is required if you don't want to look like a mime, can be blended with other lipsticks though.  If you want to darken your lips with black, I'd recommend either a gloss or a black/dark grey eyeshadow blended over the lips with a bit of lip balm.
      • Barry M black lipstick - I got this recently on the recommendation of a reader and I LOVE it.  Blends well with other colours too.
      I intend to add a list of higher-end things at some point too, but that requires money I don't have at present and I've bought so few expensive cosmetics that I can hardly give a personal recommendation for any.


          1. I do wonder - what would you recommend out of that list that is best for us poor mites with sensitive skin? :)

          2. Definitely the minerals. If you just want to try them out get a sample from Lily Lolo of something small from Funky Fresh. There are some high-street mineral brands as well which may come with testers, though check the bottle ingredients first (a lot of them are 'mineral infused' as opposed to pure mineral, and you don't want that). They sit on the skin as opposed to sinking in and they tend to be a lot gentler.

          3. Also! I'm unaware of any brands outside the UK but if anyone has anything to recommend, send me a link and I'll post them up.

          4. I personally like Barry M's black lipstick - I find it stays on longer than Stargazer's.

            Nice to hear from a fellow goth in Glasgow too!

          5. Thank you ever so much! I've been wondering about a paler foundation for years. Colours available from local shops either match my skin tone or turn me yellow when all I want is a near deathly pale!

            If your willing to splurge once in a blue moon SeneGence has an amazing lipsense line. You can layer colours without worry about them blending. Awesome for staying on all day too without doing anything more than glossing once in a while!