La Prairie, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, La Mer — what do all these beauty brands have in common? Each one offers high-end beauty products with price tags that can break the bank. And when you can’t really afford to spend an amount that rivals your weekly grocery bill on a face moisturizer or serum, it’s hard not to wonder how much of the cost of these luxury items can be attributed to the actual ingredients — and how much to pretty packaging and brand names.
If you’re a fan of luxury beauty products but your bank account isn’t, you’ve probably wished you could find comparable, but cheaper, items to save money. And while you won’t likely find budget beauty buys that are exactly the same as your high-end favorites, you can find alternatives that are pretty close — or at least that will serve as good substitutes. The best part? Some of these picks are super affordable beauty items with amazing reviews.
Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara
Never again will you have to shell out almost $30 for a tube of Lancome Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara just to get the long, volumized lashes you want.
Instead, you can get those same lash benefits in a tube that costs just a fraction of the price of the high-end brand with essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara for under $5. The mascara has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon with over 196,000 reviews.
Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream
If your dream facial moisturizer happens to be La Mer’s Creme de la Mer, which is a huge fan favorite, partly due to the healing giant sea kelp it contains, get ready to save big when it comes time to replenish your supply.
While a 1-ounce jar of Creme de la Mer costs $190 at Sephora, a great (and much, much cheaper) alternative is a 1-ounce jar of Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream, which retails for $22.
The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid Serum
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment helps improve the look of pores, dark circles, hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It’s also clinically proven to decrease fine lines and wrinkles. However, it’s pricy at $85 for 1 ounce. But you’re in luck. The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Exfoliating Serum, which is also 1 ounce, won’t hurt your wallet at just $6.80. Bonus: More than one reviewer claims they wake up with a glow after using this serum.
E.L.F. Cosmetics Hydrating Water Essence
You’ll fork over $115 dollars each time you purchase an 8.4-ounce bottle of La Prairie Cellular Refining Lotion to remove lingering makeup and flush out your pores. However, that’s no small price to pay.
A cheaper choice is E.L.F. Cosmetics Hydrating Water Essence, which contains coconut water, algae and coffee and retails for around $17 for 5 ounces. Even though you don’t get as much product, you do get a lot of bang for your buck at only $3.40 per ounce versus $13.69.
Too Faced Hangover Pillow Balm Lip Treatment
La Mer’s The Lip Balm retails for $75 but leaves some reviewers underwhelmed. A good alternative that’s less than one-third of the price is Too Faced’s Hangover Pillow Balm Lip Treatment for $23. Like the La Mer balm, it hydrates, but it’s infused with fruit oils and coconut water instead of mint.
Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo
Buildable volume, touchable hold and the Oribe signature scent are what you’ll find in the oil-absorbing Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. You’ll also find that it’s $48 for an 8.5-ounce bottle.
As a volume-building, oil-reducing alternative, Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo retails for $26 for a 5.4-ounce bottle. And even though the Oribe bottle is bigger, the Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo is still less per ounce: $5.64 versus $4.81. As a bonus, it has a signature scent composed of spicy amber and musk with sweet floral notes that reviewers claim smells great.
L’Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation
Armani Beauty’s Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless oil-free foundation is an award-winning, buildable, medium-coverage foundation that gives your skin a glow. But at $64 for a 1-ounce bottle, it qualifies as a luxury item.
A budget-minded alternative is L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Foundation Makeup with SPF 20, which also will give you a glow, but for much less money. The product retails for around $11 at Target.
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No. 7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Translucent Finishing Powder
If you keep up with luxury makeup, you’ve likely heard of British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s namesake makeup brand. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, which is described as feeling akin to cashmere on your skin, retails for $45.
A cheaper, yet still solid alternative is No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Translucent Finishing Powder, which contains Vitamin C and works on all types of skin to achieve a smooth, radiant finish. It’s available at Target for only $12.99.
Milani Color Statement Lipstick
Dior’s iconic Rouge Dior Lipstick retails for $38 and comes in 75 shades and four finishes. And while Milani’s bestselling Color Statement Lipstick doesn’t have the same iconic status and doesn’t come in nearly as many shades, reviewers love its creamy, smooth application and beautiful colors. Plus, the $5.99 price tag means you can afford to buy more than one.
NYX High Definition Blush
Award-winning Nars Blush is known for its beautiful, blendable shades that flatter any skin tone, but it’s not cheap — it retails for $30 at Sephora. A much more affordable alternative is NYX Professional Makeup High Definition Blush, which blends easily and sells for just $4.45 on Amazon. One reviewer even likens NYX’s Rose Gold shade to one of Nars’ most famous and cheekily named colors — care to guess which one?
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