The ultimate beauty essentials when you’re on a budget


The silly season is fast approaching and soon you’ll be swapping Netflix and chill for canapés and Champagne. As our social calendars fill up, we all want to look our best. But with upcoming Christmas presents, travel plans and inevitable Uber drivers, keeping our expenses wallet-friendly is crucial.

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You might think beauty on a budget means you have to make sacrifices, but after sorting through countless reviews, we’ve discovered there are some great luxe products out there for next to nothing.

We’ve rounded up our drugstore makeup party essentials that will have both you and your wallet looking their best. Here are our beauty tips for party primping, without breaking the bank.

Prep and prime

We all know getting ready is the best part of going out, so why not set the mood with a Glasshouse Fragrances Manhattan – Little Black Dress Triple Scented Miniature Candle. The Manhattan fragrance is the perfect pre-party scent and its miniature size lets you enjoy the fragrance for less. Then it’s time to get in the shower. Start with a hydrating shower gel like Natura Siberica OBLEPHIKA SIBERICA SHOWER GEL – INTENSIVE NUTRITION AND HYDRATION. It’s rich in nourishing oils and has an energising scent to revitalise you before the evening’s festivities. Wash your face with a simple cleanser that won’t irritate your skin, like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Afterwards, apply RosehipPLUS™ Rosehip Oil to soften your skin and prepare your base for makeup.


Party makeup should be fierce. Even if you’re normally a ‘tinted moisturiser and mascara only’ kinda girl, the holiday season is the time to step it up. You can’t go wrong with a matte nude lip. Australis Velourlips in HON-O-LOO-LOO is highly pigmented and will stay put all night long.  Winged eyeliner is another good idea. We love Maybelline New York Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner as the thin, firm tip makes it one of the easiest liquid liners to use. For supermodel cheekbones, give theModels Prefer Ultimate Highlighting & Contouring Palette a go – there’s a reason it’s one of our most top-rated products. Finally, false lashes are a must for any party. For flirty lashes that are good quality and within budget, try MODELROCK Lashes Downtown.


Applying scented body butter will have you feeling mighty fine. MOR Little Luxuries Body Butter – Marshmallow is a feminine, sweet-scented moisturiser that rivals even the most expensive ones on the market. Deodorant is non-negotiable, and NIVEA Invisible Black & White Clear Aerosol for Women will get you through the holiday season without any unsightly underarm stains. A bright, holiday nail shade will instantly make you look more polished. ulta3 Nail Polish in Blue Marlin is an affordable, on-trend royal blue shade that will make your tan pop. Dermal Therapy™ Blistop™ is the unsung hero of the season, helping to protect your feet from blisters. The invisible spray dries transparent, so you can buy those new heels and wear them straight away!

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Let’s be real, it’s not just the silly season. It’s also a time of unapologetic hair abuse. You will be using heat tools on the reg – and that’s OK, as long as you protect your tresses first. TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray protects hair from heat styling, reduces frizz and adds shine. For extra points add the Schwarzkopf Extra Care Ultimate Oil Elixir serum into your haircare routine to help avoid breakage and dry ends. If your hair is due for a colour but you don’t have time for an appointment, John Frieda Root Blur hides regrowth in an instant. And if your ‘do is a little dirty, your secret is safe with Batiste Original Dry Shampoo.

After the party

There are only two things we want after a party: hydration and sleep. We know it’s not what you want to hear, but removing your makeup is crucial. Help your future self and keep Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes beside your bed so you can take everything off while you’re under the covers. Another bedside table essential is a rich night cream to rehydrate your skin. Sukin Moisture Restoring Night Cream contains rosehip oil, evening primrose, borage and aloe vera to soothe tired skin and fake a good night’s sleep. While you’re at it, apply Natio Paw Paw Lip Balm to prevent chapped lips in the morning. If you can’t afford a hangover, Hydrodol Hangover Relief is your new best friend. Hydrodol is a supplement filled with vitamins, amino acids, minerals, antioxidants and herbs that work to minimise headaches and nausea associated with drinking alcohol.

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What are your party prep essentials? Do you have any budget beauty buys you swear by?

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