Glam up on a budget, by using our list to shop for the beauty community's hidden gems. If you've ever considered purchasing a viral luxury makeup product, then you're familiar with the eye-watering price tags. When Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey resurfaced from the 1970s this year, numerous beauty content creators shared alternatives for the pricey lip product on TikTok. Other suggestions poured in for cruelty-free, vegan alternatives. And yes, they create the same looks, without compromising on quality.
But, don't just take our word for it - we asked a Dubai-based professional makeup artist about the ongoing trend, and this is what she had to say. "I look for budget-friendly alternatives all the time. Many cosmetic brands have started creating similar palettes for those who can't afford high-end makeup. And, these are longstanding drugstore brands, like Maybelline and Rimmel, so they'll never compromise on quality," explained Deepa Yadav, who dabbles in editorial makeup, having worked on magazine sets, fashion shows, TV commercials and more.
Yadav is an advocate of "having a mix of everything in your kit". Sometimes, you'll be surprised to find that a pocket-friendly version works better than its high-end counterpart. We took down the go-to alternatives recommended by makeup artists and scoured the internet for more, so that you can take your evening looks to the next level, this year.
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1. Best Alt Lipstick Shade: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Black Cherry
If you love Tom Ford's Bruised Plum, which retails above Dh200, this Revlon shade is TikTok's closest match. The now-discontinued lipstick garnered much attention after Netflix's Addams Family adaptation 'Wednesday (2022)' aired, the plum shade typically worn by Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in the show. BeautyTok is certain that Black Cherry by Revlon comes a close second. It's a bold wintery colour for days, creamy and buildable, thanks to the vitamin E and avocado oil in the formula.
2. Best Alt Foundation: Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage, Golden
Vlada Elchava, a pro makeup artist in Dubai with a broad clientele, from celebrities to brides, loves the coverage she gets from Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation. "For the upcoming New Year's eve, most people will want makeup that stays on all night. You can easily switch this famous long-lasting foundation with the Maybelline Super Stay," she suggested. It has a matte finish, offers full-face coverage and stays put for up to 30 hours. Reviews also add that the formula doesn't oxidise after application.
3. Best Alt Tinted Moisturiser: Essence Hello, Good Stuff! Tinted Beauty Cream 20, 127ml
Fan of Huda Beauty's GloWish skin tint? A tinted moisturiser or skin tint is a perfect pick-me-up on days when you want to keep it lowkey. Yadav says Essence's Hello, Good Stuff! tinted beauty cream is super hydrating, "works wonderfully and makes the skin look flawless no matter what the weather". It features natural cactus blossom extract and adds a nice glow to the face. However, Yadav does note that it can be difficult to find all the shades in stock.
4. Best Alt Sheer Lipstick: e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Core Lip Shine, Ecstatic
This year, the internet was busy hunting for an alternative to the gorgeous Black Honey shade in Clinique's Almost Lipstick range. Though it appears a warm dark red, the lipstick is actually sheer in consistency and glides on like a glossy lip balm. As the name suggests, it's an 'almost lipstick' for an everyday natural look. BeautyTok cracked down on the search and named e.l.f's Ecstatic in Hydrating Core Lip Shine as a close shade match. Some even say that the now-sold-out shade Black Cherry by e.l.f is an even better alternative. Ecstatic is slightly cooler than Black Honey, with more blue undertones. It's infused with vitamin E and is completely vegan and cruelty-free.
5. Best Alt Concealer: e.l.f Hydrating Camo Concealer
We all know and love Tarte's Shape Tape concealer for its crease-free application. A good alternative is the e.l.f Hydrating Camo concealer - Yadav notes there is no noticeable difference between the two. Its vegan and cruelty-free formula leaves a satin finish and covers dark circles and any odd redness well. A pro tip is to apply a sufficient amount of moisturiser and primer before concealing.
6. Best Alt Blush: Kimuse Cheek Gel Cream Liquid Blush (3 Pack)
Amazon reviewers who loved the viral Rare Beauty liquid blush recommend the Kimuse Cheek Gel Cream. The winning qualities in the Rare Beauty formula were high blendability, deep pigment and stunning shades. Kimuse has a sheer texture for a naturally dewy flush and is mature-skin-friendly. Buyers mention how pigmented the colours are, despite being lightweight. And as you blend it in, the blush doesn't stir your makeup underneath, either.
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