Skip To Content

    We Put Supermarket Makeup To The Test On Different Skin Tones

    You should probably stick to Boots.

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Makeup can cost a pretty penny, so supermarkets unveiling cheap and cheerful makeup ranges is welcome news.

    Sainsbury's / Via

    You can now pick up makeup from Aldi, Sainsbury’s, and Marks & Spencer alongside your weekly food shop.

    So we decided to try out supermarket makeup brands to see if they are actually any good.

    Aldi / Via

    We reached out to the supermarkets and asked them to send us a range of products to try. Chelsey tried out the Aldi Lucura range, Aisha tried the Sainsbury’s range, and Tolani tried the M&S offering. (Note: We have given links and prices for the individual Sainsbury's and M&S products but the Aldi ones are only available in store, where they range from £1.99 to £4.99.)


    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    (I'm going to first mostly ignore the need to apologise for my wonky eyebrows, and then I'm going to move on.)

    My regular look ping-pongs between no makeup at all and a classic red lip and cat eye with a champagne shadow to make my eyes pop.

    I'm not afraid of supermarket makeup per se, but I am afraid of UK supermarket brands. I grew up in the States and mostly know what I like there, but I've not had much luck finding supermarket makeup this side of the pond that even comes close to rivalling Target brands. I tend to shell out for brands that I trust on my go-to products (mascara, eyeliner, lips, and foundation), but I'm also always happy to try new long as they have the exact outcome I have in mind.


    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Being presentable and approachable is important to me, so I will happily spend money on good natural skincare products. And even though I think makeup is fun and appreciate a pop of colour, as a woman who would rather spend five more minutes in bed, I don’t wear much makeup.

    Now, although I don’t know all the possible shades of red a lipstick can come in or how to contour like a pro, I do know how I would want something on my face to feel. And after applying my own foundation and a lick of concealer – both from YSL’s touche éclat range – I was ready to test Sainsbury’s Boutique products like a soldier.


    Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    The thought of supermarket makeup scares the shit out of me. Yep, I am a little bit of snob when it comes to makeup, which is why I managed to get my hands on the M&S range. I felt like M&S must be great quality, right?

    Out of the three supermarkets, M&S has the biggest range – it pretty much has everything you need, so my whole face, other than the foundation, is from M&S. And in case you were wondering, I'm wearing the Charlotte Tilbury Magic foundation, because unsurprisingly M&S doesn't have a foundation dark enough for my skin tone.

    I used the Autograph Daily Defence Primer (£12) before applying my foundation and, erm, where do I start on how much I didn't like it? For one thing it just didn't blend on very well and it left white residue on my skin. And from the look of my oily skin and the makeup transfer I had, I don't think it worked very well either.

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Tolani: I used the Autograph Colour Luxe Rose Mix Quad Eyeshadow (£9.50) and my first thought was how pretty the colours were – I was really into the the shimmering khaki colour and wanted to create a golden/khaki smoky eye. Then I started using the colours and everything turned to shit. It's probably the least pigmented eyeshadow I have ever used. It took lots of applications to actually see any colour, and it creased so bad. But if you are into buildable eyeshadow this would be good for you, I guess.

    I also used the eyebrow kit (£12.50) and the enhancing mascara (£11.50) and I liked both. The eyebrow kit basically has everything you need for your brows, tweezers included. And the mascara worked wonders on my stubby lashes.

    Aisha: As soon as I started brushing on the brown eyeshadow, A Nod Is as Good as a Wink (£8), I knew it was all wrong. Then I tried the black eyeshadow, Put on the Slate (£8), and then the grey, Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink (£8) : still wrong. And even though I may not actually own eyeshadow, I do know that some colour pigment is actually meant to rub off on to the skin. Yet it took brushing the product about three times for some colour to stick, and it creased very soon after, with the powder scattering on the corners of my eye. I wasn’t even able to blend the colours in or do anything artistic. I think using a colouring pencil would have done a better job. Don’t buy this, even for your 13-year-old cousin. It’s not worth it. I left the eyeshadow on for the rest of the day as I couldn’t be bothered to take it off, and I was left with a serious case of panda eyes.

    Chelsey: OK, these Aldi Lacura eye products weren't so easy on the eyes, LOL. They just weren't what I'd buy if I went looking for my regular kit. Let's start with the eyeshadow. The closest thing to my regular shade (a soft champagne/gold) was a brown only available on the palette designed for brown and green eyes, and the blue eye kit was just full of blue shadows, and I'm just not into that. So I went with the kit designed for "all eyes", which was made of too many blues and pinks for me. I followed the tips on the back and applied a layer of the palest pink over a pearly white shade, and as predicted, it just wasn't me. The shadow felt fine, if a bit heavy, though the included brush is small and scratchy and I'd rather use my own or my fingers to apply.

    The eyeliner was a kohl pencil, which would have maybe been fine if I liked kohl pencil, but I don't, so I'm not sure. The tip dulled way too quickly to even attempt a little flick, and it smudged too easily for my taste.

    When it comes to mascara, I'm a bit of a Benefit disciple, so straying from my usual was a bit of a tough sell here. At the moment I'm actually using the Benefit lash primer with a black Bare Minerals mascara (a v. good separating and lengthening pair, if you ask me), but for the purposes of testing the Lacura 3D Volume mascara, I didn't apply any primer. And I'm not sure if it would have helped if I had. The formula was really clumpy and didn't do a great lengthening job, so I think I'll stick to what I know.

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Tolani: I don't know how, but this picture makes the lipstick look good, I can assure you, it DID NOT look good IRL. I used the universal lip liner (£7.50) before putting on the lipstick, which proved to be a pointless exercise – it did nothing whatsoever.

    I went for the matte velvet lipstick (£10). The colour itself was really nice but the quality not so much. It just doesn't feel very nice on, and instantly made my lips feel dry. So I used the lipgloss mirror shine (£9.50) over it to make it look a little better. And it helped, kinda.

    Aisha: I used a dusky pink lipgloss (£6). I don’t think I’ve owned a lipgloss since I was 16, so I felt like a teenager as I took the wand from the bottle and applied the gooey liquid on to my lips. It's not as bad as I thought – felt quite nostalgic actually – but my lips felt heavy. Like I had gravy on them.

    Chelsey: Unlike with the eye products, if I'd seen the Lacura lip balm in the store, I probably would have tried it out. This is due largely to the fact that it looks way redder than it goes on. I love a solid red lip, but even though this pen looks like that's what you're getting, in fact it just makes a thin, pink layer. It's too tinted to be a real balm, but with not quite enough tint, or staying power, to be a good full-on lip colour; the consistency is greasy, and it's easily wiped away.

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    Tolani: I don't normally wear blusher, mainly because I over-wore it in my teens and the pictures still haunt me, but I'm really into this one (£9.50). It's a twist-up one, making it really easy to apply, and I love the subtle colour it adds to my skin.

    The multi-bronzer (£12.50) also worked as a great highlight. The blusher and the bronzer are by far my fave products, and I think I would actually buy them.

    Aisha: I really liked the packaging of the blusher (£5), the product not so much. After opening the square lid, I brushed on some of the product on the apples of my cheeks. And It just didn't blend very well at all. I feel like I was left with very streaky pink cheeks.

    Chelsey: I didn't have anything for my cheeks from Aldi, so I did what I often too with lip colours that are too light for my mouth – I used the Glossy Lip Balm stick as a cheek tint instead, and I preferred it this way! It super light and probably a bit too subtle, but it lasted longer than it did on my lips.

    Final thoughts:

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    1.5 out of 5

    Alright, the eye and lip products weren’t for me, but it turns out I’m a big fan of the Lacura concealer, which goes on thick and does a pretty good and long-lasting cover-up job for my under-eye circles and blemishes. I’ve also got the Aldi mineral powder, which does just as good of a job as any other, so I guess the moral of the story is that these products are worth a try, but more often than not you’ll find that some mid-range and higher-end products will be a staple of your style for a reason, and that’s OK too.

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    0 out of 5

    None of these products are worth it. But kudos to the person who had to sit and think of the product names. Must have taken forever. In all seriousness, I was so disappointed with the eyeshadow – even the picture doesn’t just how bad it really was. These were neutral colours and should have been OK. But if you were really desperate for makeup during your grocery shop for some reason and in between aisles shopping for milk and eggs, I’d say the lipgloss is passable.

    Rebecca Hendin / Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

    2 out of 5

    So aside from the the surprisingly good blusher and bronzer, supermarket makeup is pretty much what I thought it would be: crap. I love makeup and I just don’t think it matches up to the quality of other beauty brands. So it’s a no from me.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form