All about that base (the drugstore remix)

I’ve been looking forward to doing a post on some of my favourite everyday drugstore/inexpensive make up but when I started writing it I realised that it would be really long.  To avoid brain freeze or sleep inducement (no one has yet told me that my writing cures insomnia and I’d rather keep it that way!) I’m splitting this post into two. So today, as the title suggests, we are talking about everything you put on your face to create a flawless base. And then for part two I’ll do lips and eyes.

Most of the products below are from Boots or Superdrug but there’s a few other randoms in there but all of them are under £10 and with so many three for twos/offers I hope I’ll inspire/enable but not break the bank!


And yes the lid of the Max Factor is gross, but it shows I use it!

Sometimes I like to add a little glow to my skin as it often looks a little bit drab and dull on those days I use L’oreal Lumi Magique Primer all over my skin before I put on my foundation. It comes out as a white pearlescent liquid and it blends nicely into the skin and gives a slightly backlit radiant glow. I’ve heard rumours this is a dupe of Mac strobe cream but I’ve not tried that so I can’t comment but this is definitely worth a try if you want to make a matte foundation a bit more glowy or make a glowy foundation a bit more radiant. The primer can also be mixed with the foundation or dabbed on the cheeks after if you’re looking for more of a targeted glow….

Another example of this which is especially good for summer is the L’Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Glow Illuminator which comes in Golden Glow or Icy glow. I personally use the Golden Glow to make my face look a little bit more bronzed and tanned and again this can be used as a primer, mixed in with foundation or applied as a highlight. It comes out as a golden cream and although it looks very sparkly and pigmented when it comes out of the tube it blends very well into the face to give you a sun-kissed look (that isn’t overly glittery and Twilight-vampire-in- the-sun-esque – totally a word)

And finally one that doesn’t contain anything overly glowy. The Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer is designed to make sure your makeup lasts all day long (as the name suggests) and has been described as velcro on the skin to make sure makeup stays in place. It comes out as a creamy white liquid and I find it hydrating and smoothing on the skin and it helps makeup adhere and last longer. It’s not heavy, it doesn’t clog and helps make my makeup at work last throughout the day.


I was really late to the party here as this foundation has been highly regarded since it came out and I only tried it last year. But it very quickly became my daily foundation of choice.. drum roll please… Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation. I use the shade 53, light beige (I could probably go a bit darker in the height of summer if we ever get there). Healthy mix contains Vitamin C, E and B5 from its fruit extracts (apricot, melon and apple) hence why it smells slightly fruity and, dare I say it, healthy. It goes on very easily, blends without being patchy, lasts pretty much all day and gives a nice glow. Whenever I get compliments about my skin looking good or youthful or have comments about whether I’m wearing foundation or whether I have good skin this is what I will be wearing. I am now on to my second bottle and wouldn’t be without it. There’s 9 shades to choose from (Bourjois have recently increased their shade range) and if you can find a colour to match your skin tone I’d highly recommend it.

My second foundation choice is from L’Oreal. I have tried L’Oreal True Match which I really like in terms of finish but unfortunately doesn’t last very long on me, no matter what I try. I love the amount of choice you get in terms of shades (23!!) and I like the way each colour has three different options depending on the tone of your skin. I’m have a warm/olive tone so I use a W3 in this one.  I finished my True Match last summer and despite liking the look and feel on the skin (again very warm and radiant which is right up my alley) I haven’t repurchased because of the longevity issue. However, I have also been trying the L’Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation and I like this one and don’t seem to have the same issues. I’d say it isn’t really a matte foundation but maybe because it is less dewy it adheres to my skin for longer. It has a medium coverage, covers blemishes well and it perfect for carrying around in a handbag because it’s in a squeezy tube (glass bottles are just not portable). The colour selection irks me a little because it’s strange – I have Honey (30) and Sand (20) (both of which are very similar and match my skin tone when I’m a bit tanned) and they are the darkest colours they do. I’m hardly dark skinned so I don’t really understand why they don’t make darker shades but for paler ladies looking for a handbag friendly foundation then it’s worth having a test in-store.


I’m having a bit of a love affair with Bourjois bases at the moment because my two favourite drugstore concealers are both Bourjois. One is the Healthy Mix Concealer and the other is Radiance Reveal Concealer. Do I need both?! Probably not but I couldn’t choose between them both now that I have them in my life! I use the Healthy Mix in medium and it contains similar radiance boosting fruity ingredients as the accompanying foundation. The medium shade works both under my eyes and for concealing spots. The Radiance Reveal contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and I use it  as an illuminator under my eyes in shade Ivory which is the lightest shade that they do. Ivory is too light for concealing blemishes on my beige skin tone but the slightly salmony hue works perfectly to bring out my very deep set eyes and disguise my dark circles.

The left is Healthy Mix (more yellowy), the right is Radiance Reveal (more salmony)

The consistency of both is very similar with a doe foot applicator and a liquid texture which is the right amount of creaminess but not runny. I dot it on and then blend with a sponge or brush and it doesn’t sit in my fine lines or look like I’m overly made up under the eyes. In my opinion this is similar to the Nars Creamy concealer which I love but it’s twice the price so either of these two concealers are great starting points.


I find it hard to get excited about powder (unless it’s one by Hourglass who make the most beautiful powders but are really expensive) but I like using Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder on a daily basis. I use the translucent version (although there are others) so it won’t add any further coverage but it goes on really lightly on the skin and helps to keep makeup in place for longer or stop products from caking.

For bronzer I confess I do tend to use more high end products and I’m not sure why that is. There are lots of cheaper ones I do want to try but as I received two amazing bronzers for Christmas I just haven’t needed to buy anymore (although when has that ever stopped me before?). However, I have tried two options – one is the Bourjois Delice de Poudre bronzing powder and highlighter (or the chocolate bronzer as I like to call it because it looks and smells like a chocolate bar – I’m not sure why this is a good thing?). I don’t really use the highlighter as it doesn’t really show up on my skin tone (as you can see from the picture it has got a bit dirty as the bronzer has fallen on to it) but the bronzer I do like (and you can get it by itself which is what I’d recommend doing). I use the darkest shade and I like it because it has a subtle shimmer in it but nothing too offensive and gives a warmth to my skin in a similar vein to when I’ve caught the skin on holiday. Beware of the shade range as it isn’t entirely clear online what colour you are ordering (by mistake I ordered the lighter shade and it was far too light for me)

My second suggestion is Rimmel Kate Sculpting Palette in Coral Glow (02). I bought this on a whim before travelling and didn’t have very high expectations of it because it was really cheap but I was really impressed with it. It’s just a really well thought out product and all three elements are good quality and wearable. The bronzer (which looks darker in the picture than it is in real life) is supposed to be a contour shade but in my opinion works best as a bit of a hybrid, adding definition but not strictly contour (maybe it depends on your skin tone).  The blush is a pretty pinky, not overly bright but would suit most people and the highlight is a champagney colour that is again subtle but looks nice on. It’s not glitter ball highlight territory but for travelling or everyday use it’s perfect. I assumed there were three options to try and with this one being number 002 that there would be a lighter version but I can’t find it so it may have been discontinued. Therefore 002 is the lighter shade and there’s a darker version too called Golden Bronze (which I’d like to try when I’m a bit more tanned).

And finally a new blush palette I just discovered from L’Oreal is the Infallible Blush Trio in Nude Beige. This is a new discovery for me. I’m not generally a fan of very pinky blushers (I always used to cake myself in blusher as a teenager and had such rosey clown like cheeks, such bad memories!) so now I prefer something with a bit more of an bronze tone. This blusher from L’Oreal has three shade options to allow you to contour your cheeks but to be hones I tend to just swirl my brush into all three and dot on my cheeks. It’s really pigmented so a little goes a long way. This trio comes in three shade options and I’d say the Nude Beige works best for tanned skin so if you’re lighter try the Soft Rosy (pink tones) or Soft Sand (coral tones)


This is it, I promise!!! I have heard that there are lots of great drugstore highlighters but I haven’t tried any of them because again I just have more expensive ones to use up. But here are a few random ones I have tried and liked..

Collection Speedy Highlighter – on my picture it doesn’t look like much but I took this travelling and it’s so simple. Just draw on and blend and you’re ready to go. It’s not a glitter based highlight but it adds a sheen. It’s so easy to use and it’s less than £4 so a great product for the price.

Topshop Highlighter in Sunrise – doesn’t seem to exist anymore. However Topshop do a great range of highlighters and I’d say that either the highlighter in Sunbeam or Horizon are really similar. Sunrise is very golden bronzey and very pigmented but it has always been quite orange on me so a light touch is needed. However Sunbeam and Horizon both look slightly more wearable (Sunbeam leans more golden, Horizon more bronzey). I’ve also heard good things about the Glow pots which are cream highlighters (and in a small pot much more portable)

And lastly MeMeMe, a brand I often get in my Glossybox. Unfortunately you can only MeMeMe online from their website or from the Glossybox the website. I have the MeMeMe Beat the Blues Complexion Illuminator and Highlighter in both Pearly Pink and Oyster Gold (both from my Glossybox). Pearly Pink is very similar to Benefit Highbeam and Oyster Gold similar to Sun Beam but a third of the price (£5.50/£7.25 vs. £21.50). They are essentially liquid highlighters that you brush onto the skin like nail polish (funny story there when I didn’t look at the product, thought it was pink nail polish and was shocked when it didn’t dry, shock horror!) and then blend in with fingers. Again really quick and easy to use for a beautiful shine on the skin and I often blend the two together for a champagne highlighter.

The left is Oyster Gold and the right is Pearl Pink

And that really is it for my inexpensive base products recommendations. I’ll be back another day for all things eyes and lips but in the meantime please let me know your favourite drugstore/inexpensive products as I’d love to try more and am always looking for new discoveries.

Ali x

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