A slash of pillar box red lipstick is what it takes to raise our spirits when times get tough. Recession or no recession it seems women are wedded to their favourite beauty brands.
While most of us have stopped spending on big ticket items and are counting the pennies reserved for the household budgets in a bid to make ends meet, it seems a little bit of affordable luxury goes a long way.
The ‘lipstick effect’ is back with women trading up to premium brands to treat themselves amid the economic gloom. Top drawer lipstick brands — and the colour has to be red — have risen by 7%, according to recent figures.
Women fed up watching the purse strings want to embrace the looks of women like Lady Gaga, Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani — achievable by simply applying some MAC lipstick which was the top-seller, the report shows.
Also making the top five were Lancome L’Absolu Rouge, Clinique Long Last Soft Shine lipstick, Estee Lauder Pure Color and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine which can provide an important beauty boost when times are hard. We caught up with local women to find out just how much they will pay for a cosmetic pick-me-up?
Susie Hunt (27) lives in Belfast. She is a full-time parent support officer at New Lodge Schools Cluster and a part-time barmaid at The Hudson in Belfast. She says:
I wear make-up everyday in my day job with a more dramatic look at night when I am working in the bar. Make-up is part of my daily routine, in fact, I wouldn’t go out without it. I stared wearing make-up when I was 17, and was really interested in the creative side of it to the point I wanted to train as a make-up artist. Now, though, I am applying to train as a teacher.
I tailor what make-up I wear right down to the brand depending on the occasion. When it comes to foundation I prefer Clinique which is about £20, although I’m happy to wear Max Factor during the day which is about £10.
I love Benefit High Beam, which is a highlighter, and I tend to choose Mac or Urban Decay eye shadows, which are more pricey. If I’m going out for the evening, I will wear the premium brands like Mac as I think they last longer. During the day, though, I will tone it down a bit and use lighter colours by Max Factor or Bourjois.
I use an eyebrow pencil with either Benefit BadGal eyeliner, or Rimmel Liquid Eyeliner Exaggerate which is great and lasts for ages. It doesn’t really matter to me if a cosmetic costs a lot of money or not, as long as it stays on and looks good.
When I’m on a budget I will go and rummage in my make-up drawer. I usually find something that I haven’t even used — it is like getting something new. I have lots of eyeshadows as you can never have too many.
When I am wearing a dramatic eye I usually match it with a nude lipstick. My favourite is Rimmel as they are great and really cheap.
I do buy bits and bobs of make-up every month, spending about £30-£40 in Boots or Superdrug. They always have great deals such as three for two. I get a lot of make-up sets as gifts because my friends and family know how much I like it.”
Susie’s make-up bag
- Clinique Even Better £23
- Bourjois 123 Perfect foundation £10.99
- Diorshow Blackout mascara £23
- Mac Pigments eyeshadow £16.50
- Urban Decay Naked Night and Day (eyeshadow palette’s(left) £36 each
- Nars Coppacabana Illuminator £22
- Givenchy Bronzer Prisme Again! £29.50
- Rimmel blusher £5.99
- Benefit High Beam £18.50
- Urban Decay eye shadow (left) £13
- Benefit BadGal eyeliner £14
- Rimmel Liquid Eyeliner Exaggerate £5.29
- Rimmel lipstick £4.99
Joanne Holmes (32) lives in Newtownabbey and she is a supervisor at American Holidays in Belfast. She says:
I rarely buy make-up in Northern Ireland, and I would only do so if I run out. As I am in the US with work and holidays at least twice a year, I tend to take a shopping list with me to Sephora.
You can buy all the big brands there and save about £5 an item on average. Even when I do run out, there is always one of the girls from the office going to America, so they will get me anything I need.
I use Philosophy Airbrush Canvas foundation which costs $25 (about £15), and you can get it at either Sephora or Macy’s. It lasts me about four months.
It is undoubtedly cheaper to buy brands in America, but if I like something I will buy it regardless of the cost. MAC bronzer, Benefit Hula and Clarins Flash Balm are always on my shopping list. The flash balm is great for your skin if you are jet lagged.
I also use Urban Decay eyeshadows and Benefit Volumising Mascara. Most of the items cost about $25 dollars each, except for the mascara which is $16 or £11 — so it is quite a saving. A Benefit mascara here is £16.50.
The only other make-up I wear is a Rimmel kohl pencil, Shavata eye pencil with Vaseline on my lips during the day and a Bourjois clear lipgloss at night.
I usually have a list of things to buy for others at Sephora but I don’t really think about the cost as everything is so cheap. When I get to the till it’s usually $175-$200 (£113-£129), but I won’t need to buy anything again for four months.”
Joanne’s make-up bag
- Philosophy Airbrush Canvas foundation $25 (£15)
- Urban Decay Eye shadow palette $25 (£15)
- Benefit Volumising Mascara $16 (£11)
- Rimmel kohl pencil £2.99
- Shavata eye pencil (right) £8.50
- Vaseline Lip |Therapy (right) £1.99
- Bourjois lip gloss £6.99
Belfast Telegraph journalist Helen Carson (46) lives in Belfast with her 12-year-old son Pierce. She says:
I am a self-confessed beauty junkie, and my house is full of make-up. I was lucky enough to write and edit a Tried and Tested column for 10 years on this newspaper, which featured beauty products much of the time, so I got lots of lovely products sent in.
The first cosmetic I ever bought was a mint-flavoured roll-on lip gloss from the local chemist shop which I was allowed when I was about 14 — it was less than a pound. I then progressed to foundation, blusher, mascara, eye liner and lipstick. In my teens and 20s, I used Rimmel, Max Factor, Leichner and Miners, the latter of which was known for its edgy colours. In the ’80s I wore a lot of black eyeliner, mascara, deep pink and red lipsticks, usually the cheaper varieties. In fact, whatever was on offer in Boots. I know I never paid more than a pound of two for any of those things. No7, 17 and Rimmel lipsticks filled my make-up bag back then.
Now, though, I will happily spend money on premium brands. My foundation is Clinique Even Better, BareMinerals blusher, Urban Decay or Estee Lauder Eye Shadows, Estee Lauder Eye Liner and Maybeline gel liner, Benefit Brow Zings, Tom Ford Mascara, Smashbox bronzer with either an Urban Decay or Estee Lauder lip gloss always applied over Bobbi Brown lip balm SPF15. I hate to think what I spend on make-up each month, but it has to be around the £50 mark or more.
I’m a total sucker for a new product, and if the Benefit girls can manage to get me to sit down and try something on, I nearly always walk away having bought at least two things. But their cosmetics are brilliant and really innovative. That’s how I discovered Brow Zings which really adds oomph to your brows. I love it and bought it for my mum at Christmas — it is my desert island product and her’s, too, now.
Putting on make-up in the morning prepares me for the day ahead, and I think I look more professional and polished when I wear it. During the day it’s a very pared down look with pale colours. A photographer told me to apply blusher to my neck as far as my chin when I’m getting a picture taken for the paper as it prevents a contrast with your face.
An evening out, though, is a good opportunity to add some sparkle with a shimmering eye shadow (again Urban Decay) and lots of eyeliner and mascara always in black. I started wearing gel eyeliner to my top lid about two years ago, and can’t imagine not doing so now. Although I love pink lipstick or gloss, occasionally I will wear red — and it’s always Mac red.
The only budget buy in my make-up bag is a Rimmel lip liner as I rarely, if ever, wear it so there is no point going for something expensive.
I also spend money on brushes, although my current blusher brush was a mid-price one from Tesco. I won’t be without a hard angled brush for liner and a large brush for bronzer.
I am well aware that premium brands have expensive marketing campaigns which is why the products cost so much, but having used both in my lifetime, the pricier products always lasts at least three-times longer. If you find a shade that complements you, then it’s a worthy investment for the psychological boost make-up gives you.”
Helen’s make-up bag
- Clinique Even Better £23
- BareMinerals blusher £19
- Estee Lauder Eye Shadow|(right) £23
- Estee Lauder Kohl pencil £16
- Maybelline gel eye liner £7.99
- Tom Ford Mascara £32
- Benefit Brow Zings £22.50
- Bobbi Brown lip balm (left) £15
- Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat £25
- Smashbox bronzer £29
- Estee Lauder Pure Color lip gloss £17
- Urban Decay Lip Junkie £13
- MAC Red lipstick £14
- Rimmel lip liner £2.99
Noelene McErlane (37) is a marketing manager for a local charity. She lives in Jordanstown with her partner Robbie Lynn (37). She says:
I wouldn’t feel comfortable going out without make-up on — even just a little foundation, as I believe it enhances your looks.
I don’t spend a lot of money on products. I wouldn’t dream of spending £30 on a mascara.
I wouldn’t say no to something just because it is a cheap brand — if I like it, then I’ll buy it.
I tend to go for mid-priced beauty products such as Bourjois. I use the Volume Glamour mascara, as it should be changed every three months for hygiene reasons. I’d rather buy a cheaper one, so I can renew it every three months, than feel I had to hold onto a pricier product for longer.
My foundation is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation. I wouldn’t pay over £20 for a bottle of foundation, definitely not, unless I was going somewhere really special. Having said that I have eye shadow palettes by Urban Decay and Victoria’s Secret which my sister bought for me in New York, and if I was feeling flash I might buy an Urban Decay palette. I also have Clinique lip glosses which were brought back from the States. I’m very pale so I use self-tan — either the L’Oreal or Garnier spray, which is about £16.
I will buy whichever one is on offer. I wouldn’t spend £40 on a bottle of tan that is only going to last me a month.
I use MUA (Make Up Academy) lipsticks from Superdrug which are a pound and last forever. I do use a bareMinerals lipbrush, though, which was another gift from New York. Any lipstick will need to be reapplied so I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on these.
However, I do have some treats — Soap and Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker lip-plumping gloss and Benefit blusher which I will wear on a night out.”
Noelene’s make-up bag
- Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation £10.50
- Bourjois Volume Glamour mascara £7.99
- L’Oreal spray tan £15.49 (right) or Garnier Ambre Solaire spray tan £11.22
- Rimmel bronzer (right) £5.59
- MUA lipstick £1
- Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker £9
- Avon Glimmersticks £3
- Bourjois Highlighter £6.99
- Benefit blusher £23.50
Suzan Manning (39), who lives in Belfast, owns Zuni Hairdressing in the city. She says:
In the hairdressing industry you have to have full make-up on everyday. However, I am barefaced on Monday and Sunday to give my skin a break. I use Estee Lauder Idealist as a base, then apply Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation with a big brush as it takes just a few seconds to apply.
I use either a bronzer or a pink Bobbi Brown blusher depending on the season. And when it comes to my eyes I use a black kohl pencil and lashings of black mascara — Maybelline is my favourite — with a Shavata compact for my brows.
I am back to using lipsticks rather than glosses, as I love the bright colours like fuschia pinks or corals. I am committed to using certain brands. If you find something that works for you, then you should buy it.
At night I tend to go for a smokey eye, and have used everything from Chanel to Mac and Barry M eyeshadows. I love the Rimmel eyeliner which is like a felt-tip pen and have a really nice Autograph lipstick as well as others from Estee Lauder and Lancome. My bronzer is No7, but if I see something that looks sparkling I will probably buy it or whatever look is in that season.”
Suzan’s make-up bag
- Estee Lauder Idealist £40
- Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation (right) £20.50
- Shavata Brow Perfector £19.50
- Maybelline Great Lash mascara (below) £4.99
- Rimmel Scandal Eyes kohl liner £3.99
- Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal lipstick £17
- Lancome L’absolu Rouge £21
- Barry M Dazzle Dust £4.59
- Chanel eye shadow duo £30
- Mac Pigments £16.50
- No7 Perfectly Bronzed bronzer £11.50