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Money Saving Guide to Make-up and Beauty: Supermarkets & Drugstores vs Luxury Brands

Ellie MacsymonsEllie Macsymons · Sep 11, 2020

Over the past few years, the rise of social media has seen an influx of beauty guru’s and make-up focused influencers promoting beauty products online. From Instagram to YouTube you can find tutorials everywhere recommending the very best in make-up and skincare to the point where it almost becomes overwhelming and a tad too expensive to keep up. Thankfully, the newest trend to have emerged in the beauty world is affordable, minimalistic make-up, and not only are big branded make-up lines getting involved but also local stores and high-street shops, including… supermarkets.

Since 2018 more and more high-street stores have jumped on the make-up hype, creating affordable dupes for popular big branded products. Even stores like Poundland have created beauty lines. Each year the bar is raised and now it’s easier than ever to find low-cost good-quality make-up.


Recent competitors on the beauty scene include supermarkets like Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S, Waitrose and Aldi. Below, we’ve featured stand out products from these supermarkets and compared them against the prices of similar products from high-end companies, showing you how much you can save if you swap from luxury to affordable beauty. We found that not only do many of these products feature the same ingredients, for a lower price, they’re also ALL cruelty-free – a stamp of approval that big names like Chanel, Nars and MAC are yet to claim. Majority of the supermarkets mentioned below also provide vegan and vegetarian products, making them more inclusive and kinder to the planet than many luxury brands.


Sainsbury’s Boutique Make-up Range

Available exclusively to Sainsbury’s, Boutique is cruelty-free, 100% vegetarian and working towards being completely vegan. Boutique focuses primarily on skincare, making sure their make-up is kind to your skin while also looking good. Each one of their products is filled with hero ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and vitamin E, all of which work together to hydrate, soothe and rejuvenate the skin. The stand out products we’ve chosen from Sainsbury’s Boutique make-up range are:

£3 Boutique Velvet Blush:

Easy to apply and doesn’t go patchy. Gives a natural, healthy glow. It’s soft and light and available in multiple shades.

Image: ITV’s This Morning

£3 Boutique Nail Polish:

No streaks and it doesn’t easily chip. The applicator includes a fat brush, making it quick to apply. Available in a number of bright and pastel colours.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury products with Sainsbury’s supermarket cosmetics?

  • Swap Glossier Cream Blush for Boutique Velvet Blush: save £12
  • Swap OPI Nail Polish (not cruelty-free) for Boutique Nail Polish: save £7


Tesco’s Kind and Pure Beauty Range

Tesco’s Kind and Pure Beauty Range is cruelty-free and made in the UK. All of their products have been carefully formulated and dermatology tested. They’re also pH balanced and fragrance free, making them more gentle and less irritating to sensitive skin. The stand out products we’ve chosen from Tesco’s Kind and Pure beauty range are:

£1.50 Kind and Pure Cleansing Micellar Water:

Fragrance free, pH balanced, ideal for sensitive skin. Contains ingredients like Glycerin which are ideal for deeply cleansing your pores and healing breakouts.

£1.50 Eyelash curler and stainless steel tweezers:

Tesco offers loads of affordable tools. You can always swap out your expensive tools for cheaper ones when you travel if you’re worried about misplacing them.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury products with Tesco supermarket cosmetics?

  • Swap Garnier Micellar Water for Tesco Micellar Water: save £1.50
  • Swap MAC Lash Curler (not cruelty-free) for Tesco Beauty Lash Curler: save £15


Asda’s Nspa Skincare Range

Nspa has 25 years of experience in creating affordable, good quality skincare and beauty products. Their cosmetic range is exclusive to Asda, always affordable and 100% cruelty-free. The whole range is also suitable for vegetarians, with some vegan friendly products. The stand out product we’ve chosen from Asda’s Nspa Skincare range is:

£10 Nspa Expert Daily Serum:

Made with a curved precision applicator making it easier to reach under the eyes and around expression lines on the face. It fights ageing and is also extremely hydrating – ideal for fixing breakouts and making the face appear more plump and luminous.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury products with Asda supermarket cosmetics?

  • Swap Glossier Daily Serum for Nspa Daily Serum: save £14


M&S Formula Beauty Range

M&S provide a number of their own branded beauty collections in-store and online. However, their Formula collection is specially formulated with hydrating ingredients like vitamin C to nourish and brighten the skin. All of the beauty ranges available at M&S are cruelty-free. And if you’re looking for vegan products, you can check out their new entirely vegan Pure range which uses nearly all natural ingredients. The stand out product we’ve chosen from the M&S Formula beauty range is:

£10 Formula Swipe to Glow Exfoliating Tonic:

Contains glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin without the need for harsh physical exfoliation. It also uses ‘Luxe-fordable’ packaging (luxurious packing with an affordable price tag). The bottle features an applicator that can be easily pressed down to release product onto your hand or on a cotton pad.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury products with M&S supermarket cosmetics?

  • Swap Pixi Glow Tonic for Formula Tonic: save £8


Waitrose Pure Skincare Range

Waitrose has spent a lot of time re-working ingredients to make their beauty products as gentle and hydrating as possible. Their Pure range is suitable for sensitive skin with products that are at least 98% naturally derived. The entire Pure range is dermatologically approved, vegan, vegetarian and cruelty-free. It’s also free from SLS, SLES, MITs and parabens. The stand out product we’ve selected from the Waitrose Pure beauty range is:

£1.66 Pure Hydration Lip Balm:

Made with cotton milk, shea butter and almond. Paraben free and suitable for sensitive skin.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury products with Waitrose supermarket cosmetics?

  • Swap Glossier Lip Balm for Pure Hydration Lip Balm: save £5.83


Aldi Lacura Range

Aldi’s award-winning Lacura beauty range is 100% cruelty-free and extremely affordable. Not only does Lacura provide skincare and make-up but also haircare like shampoo and conditioner, all of which contain hydrating ingredients to moisturise and protect. The stand out products we’ve selected from Aldi’s Lacura range are:

£3.99 Lacura Radiant Dark Concealer:

Covers discolouration and blemishes and under eye circles, leaving your skin soft with a natural matte finish. An almost identical dupe for the Nars creamy concealer.

£2.99 Lacura Highlighter Stick:

Gives a natural, dewy look with no glitter effect. It’s also creamy and feature defining.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury products with Aldi supermarket cosmetics?

  • Swap Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (not cruelty free) for Lacura Radiant Dark Concealer: save £20.01
  • Swap Chanel Glow Stick Highlighter (not cruelty free) for Lacura Highlighter Stick: save £30.01

By swapping out the big branded products mentioned above for similar and more affordable supermarket products you could save yourself a total of £116.19 on your natural, minimalistic make-up and skincare routine. And by choosing these supermarkets over certain luxury make-up brands you’re also helping the environment.

If you’re someone who prefers a full coverage look and aren’t on board with this year’s new natural trend then we also have a few foundation options for you. Below, you’ll find drugstore dupes for high-end foundations from brands like Estee Lauder and Giorgio Armani. And don’t worry about finding your shade… We’ve discovered a tool that will allow you to shade match perfectly.

Simply head over to the website Findation, type in the foundation that you normally use and it’ll tell you what shade you are in other brands!

Image: L’Oréal

Foundation Dupes

£41.90 Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation vs £9.79 L’Oréal True Match Lumi

The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation has become a popular product over the last few years, despite its hefty price tag. This full coverage foundation has been seen in the make-up drawers of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gigi Hadid. Recently, L’Oréal created a dupe for Luminous Silk in the form of the True Match Lumi. Like the Armani foundation, the Lumi includes SPF, leaves a luminous finish and is available in over 15 shades. L’Oréal beauty products are available in Lookfantastic, Boots, Asda, Morrisons and other supermarkets and beauty stores.

£32.91 Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation vs £12.99 Revlon ColourStay Foundation

The Estee Lauder Double Wear is another foundation favourite, although for some the 30ml bottle isn’t worth the £32.91. If you love this foundation but aren’t happy with its cost try the Revlon ColourStay dupe instead. This £12.99 bottle includes more SPF than the Double Wear foundation, it’s oil free and leaves a matte finish for up to 24 hours. It’s also available in local drugstores like Superdrug and Boots as well as supermarkets like Asda and Tesco.

£27.00 MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation vs £9.99 L’Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation

If you’re looking to swap out make-up from brands that still test on animals with cruelty-free ranges than what better brand to swap to than L’Oreal? Not only are they one of the largest activists against animal testing around the world, they’re also an experienced, high quality brand that’s extremely affordable. The L’Oreal True Match Foundation contains more SPF than MAC Studio Fix as well as ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and aloe vera extract to improve skin quality and hydration.

£24.00 Tarte Shape Tape Concealer vs £4.99 Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer

Although it’s not foundation, another notable mention (if you’re looking for inexpensive dupes) is the Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer. This £4.99 product gained notoriety in 2018 for its similarity to the infamous £24 Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. You’ll find thousands of videos comparing the two products online. Many influences were baffled by how much coverage Conceal & Define provided and how well it matched up to the beauty world’s favourite high-end concealer. Infact, it became so popular that it shot the Revolution brand to success around the world. Revolution make-up is available to buy online and in-store and is exclusive to Superdrug.

How much can I save by swapping my luxury foundation to a drugstore dupe?

  • Swap the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for the L’Oreal True Match Lumi: save £32.11
  • Swap the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation for the Revlon ColourStay Foundation: save £19.92
  • Swap the MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation for the L’Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation: save £17.01
  • Swap the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer for the Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer: save £19.01

By swapping foundation and concealer from luxury brands to products from drugstores like Superdrug and Boots and supermarkets like Asda, Morrisons and Tesco you could save £88.05, and that’s just the start. There’s a plethora of other dupes available on the market.

You’ll find product reviews and comparison videos for many of the dupes mentioned above on some of your favourite beauty gurus’ YouTube channels. So, for more information on how each dupe looks on the skin and alongside other make-up products check there for a detailed run-down.
Estee Lauder Vs Primark! £30 Vs £5!!!

As you can see from the quantity and quality of products detailed above, the beauty world has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, becoming a more inclusive industry that’s now keen to make high quality make-up and skincare accessible for all. And now that decent, low cost make-up is available in supermarkets too, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to find products that will make you look and feel confident, without breaking the bank. Hopefully, as the beauty industry continues to grow and cosmetic standards continue to improve, more and more stores will begin to produce beauty products with safe ingredients, environmental benefits and competitive prices.

All prices correct at time of publishing.
  1. Coggles


    10% off first orders at Coggles

  2. The Body Shop

    The Body ShopCode

    15% off first orders when you sign up to the Love Your Body Club at The Body Shop

  3. Boots


    10% off orders over £30 at Boots

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