The Best Supermarket Makeup Products For A Budget-Friendly Beauty Routine? We Went In Search Of Them

By Ashleigh Cometti
Beauty editor Ashleigh Cometti trials a full face of supermarket makeup for a day spent in the office. Photo / Ash Cometti

Dust off your hairbrush, clean up your brushes and crack open that special lipstick — it’s Viva Beauty Week. Here, discover a beauty editor-approved makeup routine for under $160.

It’s no secret that most of us are feeling the pinch right now. And so began my quest to unearth

My shopping criteria was simple: seek out new, affordable makeup products that promise a similar demi-matte finish and long-wearing performance as those I currently use. I wanted to build a cost-savvy makeup routine that I could create a multitude of looks from — including my daily full beat.

Look, I’m not pretending to be a makeup minimalist (nor have I ever). Although I do work with a fair few products to get me ready to take on the day, I have managed to fine-tune my makeup routine to a speedy 15 minutes — essential when you have two small people to sling crumpets at and bundle into the car, all before 8am.

As a combination/oily girl, my makeup needs to have staying power to last the distance, otherwise I run the risk of having it slide off my face by lunchtime.

With this in mind, after picking up more crumpets and a bottle of milk, I spent a good 20 minutes standing in the health and wellness aisle at my local Woolworths researching the best makeup to suit my needs.

This is where I landed.

Ashleigh’s supermarket makeup picks extended to two Charlotte Tilbury dupes, a tubing mascara, peach-hued blush and more. Photo / Ash Cometti
Ashleigh’s supermarket makeup picks extended to two Charlotte Tilbury dupes, a tubing mascara, peach-hued blush and more. Photo / Ash Cometti

The 10 products I selected came in at $158, with the most affordable item priced at $9 (the Wet N Wild five-pan eyeshadow palette, would you believe) and the most expensive being the MCo Beauty foundation, which was to be expected.

Read on for my complete review on how each product performed, which swaps I’d be happy to make permanently, plus the not-so-great products I tried (and ones I wish I’d purchased instead).

Please note: Each product was purchased (not gifted) for the purpose of this story. At the time of publishing, a handful of products were currently on special at Woolworths, so the below prices are subject to change.

Complexion perfector

How it compares: MCo Beauty is known for its almost exact duplicates of Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup line, drawing inspiration from both the formulas and the packaging to inform its selection of affordable beauty products. Here, the brand’s complexion perfector is a near-perfect copy of the original, promising the same multi-purpose benefits to be worn alone; as a luminous primer; underneath, mixed with or over foundation; or as a highlighter. I made use of two out of four of these, smoothing it on as a primer and again over the high points of my face to illuminate. While I liked the formula (it did feel similar, but not the same, as Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter), the product was let down by the applicator, which didn’t pick up much product and I had to do a few dips to achieve the same level of glow as I would the original. The undertone threw slightly pinker than I would’ve liked, I usually opt for a bronze.

Rating: 7/10

Saved: $70


The supermarket swap: MCo Beauty UltraStay Flawless Foundation in the shade Classic Ivory, $32.

How it compares: I’m notoriously fussy with foundations, but this one by MCo Beauty really surprised me. True to form, it was really spreadable and played nicely with my beauty blender (I subbed in one by Wet N Wild for the purpose of this story). I often find some foundations absorb too fast into my sponge, meaning I use extra product unnecessarily, but this one didn’t at all. I had time to build my desired level of coverage (in this case, medium) before it settled on to my skin. It felt lightweight and achieved a skin-like finish by allowing my natural freckles to peep through.

Rating: 8/10

Saved: $81


How it compares: On paper, this concealer ticked all my boxes — it’s said to blur pores and halt shine, and promises medium coverage which seamlessly conceals blemishes. For as long as I can remember I’ve only ever liked Tarte Shape Tape for its consistency, large applicator and staying power, and while Maybelline does create a multitude of excellent makeup, this concealer didn’t work for me. The formula is far thinner than what I’m used to (it felt almost watery?) and the applicator is tiny, meaning it’s great for when you need to be precise in concealing a spot or reaching the inner corner of your eye, but requires double dipping if you need to cover a larger area. I pressed it into my skin using my finger tips, and found I had to apply it in layers to achieve the level of coverage and consistency I like.

In hindsight, I should’ve purchased the MCo Beauty Instant Camouflage Concealer, which is said to be an exact dupe of Tarte Shape Tape.

Rating: 3/10

Saved: $34

Setting powder

How it compares: I’ve tried a fair few setting powders in my time, and I’m pleased to report that this wallet-friendly option is excellent. It can be used to set, mattify, absorb oil or bake (does anyone still do this?) and creates a soft-focus effect on skin by subtly blurring fine lines and imperfections. I swirled this on over my foundation and concealer to help it set, and the ultra-silky texture sat comfortably on my skin and didn’t feel too drying. I’ve tried a handful of other setting powders which err on the side of chalky, but this one didn’t one bit. The only downside is it contains talc which I know isn’t great for my acneic skin long-term, but will definitely keep this in my makeup drawer for emergencies.

Rating: 8/10

Saved: $76


How it compares: I’ve repeat purchased this Hourglass blush more times than I’d like to admit (sorry, bank account) but found that this luminous, peachy-hued blush from Wet N Wild really stacked up. The finely-milled, pressed powder blush is easy to swirl on, depositing colour onto the apples of cheeks quickly and easily without the need to layer up. Some people are really averse to any kind of sparkle or hint of glitter when it comes to base layers, but I didn’t mind it here and found it added a layer of dimension to my overall beauty look. Considering this swap saved me close to $80, I think I’ll be returning to this blush more often.

Rating: 8/10

Saved: $79


How it compares: The rumours about this TikTok viral mascara are true. The tubing formula triples down by maximising length, volume and curl, all without flaking or smudging. Individual tubes bind to lashes for long-lasting, clump-free wear, and the conical-shaped mascara wand meant it was easy to pick up those fine eyelashes in the inner corner of my eye, and build volume on the outer corner. Plus, it’s gentle enough for those with sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers. Five stars!

Rating: 10/10

Saved: $25

Eyeshadow palette

How it compares: The plasticky latch makes this tricky to open, but the effort you’ll spend trying to get into it is worth it. Inside, there’s no dud eyeshadow shade — all five are the perfect blend of neutral hues in matte, shimmer and metallic finishes. I used three shades to create my eyeshadow look, the lightest shade in the inner corners to attempt to appear more awake (when really I’m running on five hours’ sleep), the chocolate brown in the outer corners for depth and dimension, and the bronze shimmer shade in the centre of my eye. Each shade achieved excellent colour pay-off with very little fall-out, and its compact size means it’s easy enough to tote around for touch-ups on-the-go should you wish.

Rating: 7/10

Saved: $99


How it compares: I’ve decided I’m a bit of a bronzer snob. I wanted to like Rimmel’s Bronzing Powder but it fell short of expectations, I had to really load up my bronzing brush to get the right amount of product, and found it required working into my skin as opposed to sitting lightly on top like Charlotte Tilbury’s does. It’s also slightly sparkly, which competed with the luminosity of my blush.

Rating: 3/10

Saved: $76

Brow gel

How it compares: Okay, I’m obsessed with this. When I first twisted the tube open, I was shocked at the size of the spoolie. But upon using it, I found that its miniature size and shape are just right for taming brow hairs into submission. Just like magic, the brush-on fibres adhere to brow hairs to help create definition and fullness, and the formula dries quickly so you’re not at risk of a random streak on your forehead. It’s also water resistant, which would’ve been handy to know during summer (but may be good in a rainstorm?). I’m so happy with how fluffy and full my brows look after brushing this through them, and would definitely repurchase this when I run out.

Rating: 10/10

Saved: $37

Final thoughts

I managed to save a whopping $577 by making the switch to these supermarket beauty buys, and although some products didn’t quite match the quality, colour pay-off and texture of my old faithfuls, others completely blew me away.

I knew I’d love most of the MCo Beauty products (they’re viral for good reason) and I’d be happy to continue to use these in place of my regulars when money is tight (which is all the time at the moment, right?).

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