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I Tried Everything In Primark's Make-Up Range

Primarni FTW.

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Lip Stain Pen, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This felt tip pen leaves a solid deposit of colour, unlike other lip stains which tend to be on the sheerer side. The big problem? It's way too drying and settles into the cracks of your lips and JUST DOES NOT BUDGE. Oh, and the cap isn't very secure – it fell off in my bag and the pen stained everything.

Bargain or bust: Bust. It took about five tries with makeup remover to get this off.


Liquid Eyeliner, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: The thin applicator tip made it easy to draw a precise line and the formula dries in under two minutes to an inky, matte finish. This lasted all afternoon on my oily lids and through a sweaty run for the bus. Honestly impressive and hands down my favourite Primark product.

Bargain or bust: Bargain. This is easily comparable to more expensive high street eyeliners.

Blusher, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: These shades would only suit those with paler skin tones, which you'll find is a running theme with Primark's beauty range – sort it out, Primarni. I went for the bright candy pink, which did give my cheeks an intense pop of colour (probably too intense, as you'll see in the photo). But it also didn't last very long on my oilier skin; I had to reapply by about lunchtime.

Bargain or bust: Bargain. Doesn't last very long, but does what it says on the tin.


Kohl Eye Liner, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This old-fashioned kohl kajal crayon isn't very creamy and tugged on my eyelids as I applied it. But it does stick around much longer with minimal panda eyes. Use it for a quick way to get smokey eyes, but it's way too blunt to achieve a precise lined look.

Bargain or bust: Bargain. Not as comfortably creamy as other products out there, but this is definitely a viable option if you want to experiment with a kajal crayon.


Freckle Pencil, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This is an obvious dupe of Topshop's freckle pencil, but with one clear advantage: it has two varying shades of brown, so you can (theoretically) alternate colours for more natural-looking sunkissed look.

Bargain or bust: Trust me, you won't fool anybody with fake freckles. People just told me it looked like I had dirt on my face. But if that's what you're into, this is a bargain.

Volumising Mascara, £1, and Volumising Ultra Black Mascara, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: The volumising mascara has three colour options – black, navy blue and purple, which comes out as a weird brownish red. It also has a very user-friendly angled wand to help navigate the tricky corners of your eyes. The ultra volumising option (the one in the shiny purple packaging) only comes in black and its clunky, chubby wand makes it harder to use. It also didn't last as long as the cheaper mascara, leaving tell-tale black smudges under my eyes after about six hours.

Bargain or bust: Go for the cheap £1 option and you've got yourself a bargain.


Matte Long Last Lipstick, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: Very very drying – I could actually feel flakes peeling off my lips as I dragged this across my mouth. I tried to circumvent the dryness by exfoliating my lips and prepping them with some balm, but this long-lasting lipstick didn't even survive its first cup of tea. Disappointing.

Bargain or bust: Even more drying than MAC's Ruby Woo, and that's saying something. Bust.


Metallic Highlighter, £3

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This is the most expensive product in the whole range, and it's actually one of my favourites. The pearly pink powder highlighter is very finely-milled, blends perfectly and lends a very pretty and natural finish to skin.

Bargain or bust: Bargain, but best on lighter skin tones. (Sort your colour range out, Primark!)

Eyebrow Pencil, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: You get options in light, medium and dark, although the colours tend towards the darker end of the spectrum. The pencil has a firm but not too waxy consistency, which makes it easy to blend. It also comes with a decent spoolie brush to help to distribute colour across the brow.

Bargain or bust: Does the job for only a pound. What more could you want? Bargain.

Foundation Stick, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: The cream-based formulation in a twist-up stick feels a touch too greasy on application but dries to a semi-matte finish. Biggest problem? The three options in light, medium and dark are way too limited – I'm closest to the medium shade, but it's still not that great a match.

Bargain or bust: Bust. This did an OK job of evening out my complexion, but started caking up a few hours after application. Plus the colour range is abysmal.

Lip Crayon, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This is similar to the Clinique Chubby Stick balm, right down to the packaging. There are three colours in the full range, but I only managed to try the nude option. Unfortunately, the pay-off is nowhere near as good as Clinique or any of the other dupes on the high street – this was barely noticeable on my lips and left only a sheer gloss.

Bargain or bust: Bust. If you're looking for a cheap version of the Chubby Stick, you'll be sorely disappointed.

Eye Liner and Pencil Sharpener Two Pack, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This two-pack comes with two eyeliner pencils in complementary shades and a small pencil sharpener. Pretty genius, especially if you want to experiment with coloured eyeliner. I tried the aqua blue pencil had a solid creamy pigment with only a little bit of smudging after a few hours.

Bargain or bust: Bargain. Stick some primer underneath this and you've got a winner.

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

Top row, left to right: Blue and turquoise two-pack, white and pearly cream two-pack, brown and grey two-pack. Bottom row, left to right: dark green and light green two-pack, black and black two-pack.

Blusher Stick, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This push-up blusher looks more like lipstick than blush, but it is highly pigmented and delivers a creamy, long-lasting burst of colour. The candyfloss pink takes some effort to blend evenly, but it quickly fades to a pretty, rosy glow.

Bargain or bust: This has the best staying power of all the Primark blushes. Bargain. And it doubles up as lipstick in a cinch, too.

Lipstick, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: There are nine lipsticks in the full range – I've swatched six of them here. The lighter colours have weird, shimmery flecks of glitter and pretty weak pigmentation. The darker options feel much creamier and have better pay-off, though they're not the best for dry lips as they start flaking about three hours in.

Bargain or bust: Surprisingly solid for lipstick that costs a quid, but avoid the light shades. Bargain.

Nail Polish, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: Not a great variety of colours here, and the polish itself is a letdown. It also smells awful (think paint thinner or worse). I applied two coats which dried in under 12 minutes, but the scent still lingered on my fingertips. Despite applying my regular base and topcoat, the polish also chipped about two days in.

Bargain or bust: Bust. There are much better budget options out there.

Felt Eyeliner Pen, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: The swatch of this green eyeliner looked promising, but the formula was watery and thin when applied on the lid. The felt tip is also just a tad too large to wield precisely. Contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes should stay well away – my eyelids started to itch shortly after I put this on. Primark also do this eyeliner in black.

Bargain or bust: Bust. If you're looking for a cat-eye effect, just go for Primark's regular liquid eyeliner.

Cream Blush, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This peachy pink blush is Primark's take on the popular MAC cremeblend blush (even the packaging is similar). There's also a bright pink option available, although I didn't get to test that out. Despite the cream base, this is very light and sheer and you'll need a several layers to build up the colour.

Bargain or bust: Bargain. It does give skin a rosy flush, although this is best for those with drier skin – it'll slide straight off oilier complexions.

Duo Wax and Brow Pencil, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This double-ended product only comes in one medium brown colour. You're meant to draw on your eyebrows first and set the pencil with the clear waxy end, but the formulation is too creamy and greasy to stay put. Despite using the wax after application as directed, the colour smeared across my sweaty forehead an hour later.

Bargain or bust: Bust. This is one of the worst brow products I've used. Ever.

Concealer Stick, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This concealer comes in a disappointingly limited variety of three shades: light, medium and dark. But this is actually a pretty good budget product: it does a good job of covering up the yellowish bruising in my under eye bags and the small freckles under my eyes. The only downside? The thick stick formulation gives it a slightly "flat" appearance on the skin. Not so great if you're looking for something more natural to illuminate or perk up your face.

Bargain or bust: Probably one of the cheapest concealers on the market, but surprisingly effective. Bargain.

Smudger Eye Liner, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: I'm pretty impressed by how much Primark have crammed into one eyeliner. There's not only a soft foam eraser to smudge the liner, but also a pencil sharpener hidden in the lid. It's got a slightly creamier feel than Primark's regular eyeliner, which makes it easier to blend with the smudger. This also comes in a black option – I've tried the grey one here.

Bargain or bust: The eyeliner smeared slightly after a few hours, but nothing worse than your average high street pencil. Bargain, especially if you're constantly losing your pencil sharpener.

Liquid Lipstick, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This lip lacquer comes in five shades, although I only tried out the pink shade. It had a strong fruity smell (if you love strawberry laces, you're in luck) but I'm not a fan of the artificial-looking finish – it sits on the lips in a noticeable gloopy layer and the colour has the staying power of an average lipgloss.

Bargain or bust: Bust. This is more of a gloss than a liquid lipstick.

Lift & Curl Mascara, £2, and Lash Defining Mascara, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: I stacked these up against each other because they have the same ultra-flexible, bendy brush. The Lift & Curl mascara was very lengthening and thickening, leaving lashes with a definite uplift – the Lash Defining option had a slightly less noticeable effect. But I definitely preferred the latter in terms of staying power; it lasted all day without smudging and even survived a brief spell of rain.

Bargain or bust: These two are hands down the best Primark mascaras of the lot, for different reasons. Go for the Lift & Curl if you're after a smudge-free formula or Lash Defining if you want a good all-rounder. Bargain.

8 Shade Palette in Day and Night, £2.50

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The Details: This travel-friendly compact comes in two options – a daytime option of light pastels and neutrals (Day) and a smoky palette of dark mattes and shimmers (Night). Unfortunately, both are total washouts. The colour payoff is very uneven, especially with the lighter mattes – I had to apply most of the shadows with a wet brush to get them to show up at all. There's also a LOT of fall-out, as you can tell from the powder on the Night palette.

Bargain or bust: Don't even bother. Bust.

Deep Colour Ultra Shine Lipstick, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: The title of this lipstick is kind of misleading; the finish isn't particularly glossy or shiny. But it does offer good solid colour without feeling too drying. There's also a very distinctive fragrance, which reminds me of old lady perfume and talc. (Not for everyone, obv.) Primark has five colours in the full range – I've swatched three here.

Bargain or bust: The best lipstick in the Primark range, although it's not half as shiny as promised. Still, a bargain.

Eyeliner Highlighter Duo, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: One of the worst eyeliners I've used. The crayon is way too big and blunt to apply precisely, and it's so creamy that it ends up smearing around the eyes less than two hours later. The white highlighting pencil would be a a nice touch, if it worked. Again, it's too blunt to be used accurately on the lower inner rim of my eyelid.

Bargain or bust: Bust. If you're looking for a good eyeliner, go for Primark's other options.

Lip Gloss, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: This gloss comes in a cute range of reds and pinks with an inbuilt brush, but be warned: they smell overpoweringly sweet and plastic-y. Unlike many budget glosses, the finish is actually pretty wearable – it's not too sticky or goopy. I did have to keep reapplying throughout the day, though.

Bargain or bust: Bargain. If you can get over the fragrance, this is a pretty good product (especially given the price).

Eyebrow Powder, £1.50

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: The powder comes in three options: light, medium and dark. There's no brush included, which kind of defeats the purpose of having it in a travel-size compact. It's got the consistency and texture of an eye shadow, which makes it look slightly more natural than Primark's other options – but that also means it has less staying power than a wax or a pencil.

Bargain or bust: If you're a fan of a more everyday look and already carry around a brow brush, it's a bargain.

Lip Liner Crayon, £1

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: You can choose between pink, nude-ish brown and red. These lip liners easily hold their own against more expensive high street options – they're soft but still offer good definition. It helped my lipstick last through several hours of lip-licking and multiple cups of tea.

Bargain or bust: Bargain, especially if you don't wear lip liner much and aren't looking to splash out.

4 Shade Eye Shadow, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: There are four colour options to choose from, though Primark annoyingly doesn't list specific names for them. You can break them down into quads of blues, greens and greys, shimmery bronzes, and greys and silvers. Fallout (as you can tell from the packaging) is pretty bad with all of them. But pigmentation is far better with these quads than the eight shade palette – though you still need to layer on the colour to get the full effect.

Bargain or bust: Noticeably better than Primark's other eyeshadow palette. Bargain.

Loose Face Powder, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via

The Details: You have a choice of three powders in light, medium and dark. The colour range is disappointing; the darkest option is only a light cocoa. The use of talc as a primary ingredient is also pretty concerning, as it can clog and aggravate sensitive skin. I tried out the medium, which was horrifyingly orange on me – I wiped off a patch of powder on my cheek just so you can see how bad it is. (No laughing.)

Bargain or bust: Bust. I'd avoid this just to be on the safe side, especially if your skin is prone to flare-ups. And the orange tint does nobody any favours.

Gel Eyeliner, £2

Emma-Jane Lewis / Via I tried out the medium, which was horrifyingly orange on me.

The Details: This isn't really a gel, more like a cream-based eyeliner. The pigmentation isn't as dark as it could be (you'll need at least two swipes to get a totally solid black line), but the consistency does allow you to smudge it for a smoky effect before it dries. It also has a pretty nifty applicator hidden in its elongated lid, cutting out the need to faff around with a separate brush.

Bargain or bust: A good option If you're looking for a creamy eyeliner with a softer look. Bargain.