Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Poundland make up - punching above its price tag (if it had one)

Part 1: blusher and lipstick

Well, yet again I find myself diverted from the post I intended to write, and compelled instead to report without delay on my latest beauty product find - Make Up Gallery from Poundland. This beyond bargainous cosmetics collection - where every item is an absolute steal at just a pound (obviously) - was reviewed in The Times ages ago, and for months I walked around with the torn out page from the supplement at the bottom of my shopping bag, to remind me to check the range out when I was next in town. I suspect I have actually been into Poundland a few times since, but was doubtless distracted by pyramids of Toblerones or PG Tips, because I never made it to the beauty aisle. But last Saturday - having been consumed recently by the hunt to find a replacement for my sadly discontinued Holy Grail blusher, NARS Penny Lane - I decided to pop in and check out the blusher range at the very least.

Well, colour me impressed. Not just by the blushers, which offered a couple in quite tasteful shades, but by the lipsticks in particular. I did buy a blusher in fact - Soft Blush 1 - which is not a million miles off my much lamented NARS, albeit powder rather than my preferred cream. Even in the absence of tester pans I thought to myself: 'For a quid, how bad can it be?' Okay, at that price you might wonder if it has been tested on migrant tulip pickers in Spalding (I jest!), or made from not very finely milled aggregates or arrestingly vivid pigments, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got it home. My only quibble - and it probably would stop me buying a Poundland blusher again - is the 'fall out' (as I believe it is technically known in the beauty biz), of which you get a goodly amount as soon as you take brush to pan. So yes, messy, but otherwise classy in its colour / effect.

I also bought a lipstick in 04, Choca Mocha. I have a few things to say about the lipsticks: firstly, how nice not to be cheated out of the 'u' in a Poundland makeup item - unlike a L'Oreal Color Riche lipstick, for example. Also, you could buy the entire lippy range in Poundland for pretty much the same price as a single shade from a high street brand such as L'Oreal. Then I have to say that the names of the shades bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to their actual colour: Choc Mocha is a pinky-nude that comes up quite dark with what I read as a hint of red? (which took me aback, though maybe that is just how it reacts with my quite strong natural lip colour).

Anyway, I was so excited about my purchases that I photographed them in the car park behind the shops, so eager was I to tell my friend Rachael (a former make up artist) about my mini-haul.

And today I went back and bought two eyeshadows, which I have yet to try, and another lipstick - No 3, Naked Brown - which is a bright, cheery pink, also on my lips! Brown...er, hello??? They come in a case with a completely see through cover, so that is good at least for verifying what colour the blessed thing really is. ;)

No, it's not 'all about the pout', or not in my world

And I might also mention that some of the shades are very bright and garish indeed, but the fact that there were even these two in a more restrained colourway was most encouraging. (NB They are both more subtle looking shades than you might think from the photo.) And what I like best of all is that the feel of these Poundland lipsticks is incredibly hydrating and creamy - in a blind test I think you would mistake them for a brand costing twenty times as much. I was very, very impressed with the feel of them on application.

04 Choca Mocha on left, 03 Naked Brown on right(!!)
One thing to watch for is that the lipsticks twist up, but don't retract beyond a certain point, which means you need to replace the cap with care, as a fair bit of the bullet protrudes above the rim of the case. It's good for hand-to-eye coordination, mind, so I am not complaining.

The eyeshadows I scored today are in a browny taupe (Mocha 8 - they like their coffee imagery!) and a pinky mauve (Vintage Rose 6). In the pan, the former sits somewhere between Toast and Hustle in the original NAKED palette from Urban Decay, while the other is like a pinkier version of my MAC pot in Shale. I will try them this week and update this post with my verdict, but I wanted to get the word out about the lipsticks first!

And I must also add that no one at Poundland is paying me to write this review - and even if they did, it would only be a quid.

In other news, they have four packs of Topic bars on offer at the moment! Topics are very much the endangered species of the confectionery world, so if you are a fan, I would urge you to pick up a pack while the going is good. And maybe a lipstick with that?

There were other make up products which were also favourably reviewed in The Times, but because I chucked the article I can't rightly recall - it may have been the BB cream, I think - or the powder. Oh, and the concealer stick gets extra points for a fun name (Hide 'n' Chic).


  1. Isn't it fun to get a bargain beauty buy, V? I hate it when the names are so different to the colours though. I have such a problem with brown lipsticks I think I'd find it hard to purchase one with it in the title but that pic really does show they are pink-toned.

    I love Poundland for their dark chocolate Just Brazils and 7 small envelopes for a quid (obviously) - perfect for perfumista packages.

    Have you checked out 2True cosmetics in Superdrug? The lippies are £2.29 and I'm a fan of the £1.99 eyeliners. Everything is under a fiver.

    1. Hi Tara,

      I also have problems with brown lipsticks, but luckily was drawn to the tester, and had already swatched it on my hand with pleasing results before I clocked the name. Very strange naming policy there, though 01 and 02 lived up to their respective billings as a 'nude' and a 'peach' coloured one.

      I am with you on the 7 small envelopes for a quid! I buy those too, though the parcel tape is rubbish. Post it notes are okay, mind.

      For me all the confectionery is amazingly well priced, and I also stocked up on Poppets this time. ;)

      Thanks for the heads up about that cosmetics line in Superdrug, which is a new one on me.

  2. "If they paid me it would only be a pound." I had to laugh out loud at that. Seeing that I just tore a muscle in my leg which has me on my knees so to speak, this laugh is highly appreciated.
    Hugs. B

    1. Hi B,

      So sorry to hear about your knee injury, but I'm glad at least that I took your mind off it. Hope you haven't done yourself any serious mischief. :( x

  3. I must say that my experience with bargain makeup is such that I'm well and truly not going there anymore. Also, since I don't use a lot of makeup, what I have lasts for long enough that it's definitely worth it to buy the good stuff. My absolute preferred brand for quite some time now has been Armani: it does hurt that the packaging is gorgeous, however, it IS the opposite of Poundland ;-)
    Thanks as always for a highly entertain post :-)

  4. Arrgh, DOESN'T, obviously...

    1. Hi Asali,

      I do think this stuff is in a different league from what you might have tried - I haven't had good results with a lot of cheapie make up either.

      This range impressed the testers at Vogue though!


      And Cosmopolitan...


      Not everything in the line is good, though, and I was disappointed in the fall out from the blusher, as I say. But I am now curious about the foundation, which seems to be the other hero product in the collection.

      And I quite agree that we don't need as much make up as we own - just as we don't perfume(!) - but I love the frisson of excitement trying something on skin and wondering if it will or won't suit me.

  5. I trust you implicitly. Wanna grab me a red one, or some colour that has NO pink in it, not even a tiny bit? I will give it a go. I mean it's not like being asked to wear Roger Dove now is it? Forsooth.

    1. Hi Val,

      Would be glad to. There's a darker red one I know, a berry shade, a nude, my two, the peach one, and some vivid pinks - even a mauve. I think the darker red might hit the spot - or the one I have that is a bit red on! For a quid who cares? ;)

  6. I'm with Asali on this one.

    I think I just will not enjoy these lipsticks if I haven't paid $20+ for it ;)

    1. Hi Undina,

      Fair enough! I will agree that there is much less tactile and aesthetic pleasure to be had from a £1 lipstick, but the product itself did impress me.