I've Finally Found Affordable Dupes for My Fave Expensive Foundation and Mascara

Sadaf RaziSadaf Razi

Finding the perfect mascara and foundation is like dating. Or baking. It can take a lot of bad dates and banana bread recipes to find the one.

Take foundation, for example. I want it to last all day, without looking cakey, but throw in how difficult it is to find a foundation shade to suit my skin tone, and I used to leave department stores feeling disheartened.

Sure, many a wonderful beauty counter gal has kindly recommended a slew of foundations for me over the years, but none ever felt or looked quite right.

And mascara... we all know the struggle of finding a good mascara, right? You want length, but no smudging. Volume, but no clumps. It's a mission.

Side note - do you need a makeup primer? Check out our YouTube tutorial below to find out!

Luckily, after a lot of trial and error, I found my perfect foundation and mascara. The bad news? They're both kind of exxy.

Normally, this is OK because I’m happy to pay for quality products I love that work. But like many of us, my wallet's been in panic mode ever since Miss Rona showed up and turned our worlds upside down.

Now, I don't want to use my pricey beauty products every day because I can't afford to replenish them as frequently - plus, no one can really tell the difference between bargain and bougie products on Zoom meetings.

This led me to my next challenge: to find the best budget foundation and the best budget mascara in Australia to use as affordable dupes for my expensive ones. I was up for the challenge, and to my bloody delight, I was successful.

Let me introduce you to my two new favourite affordable makeup mates I now use daily.

Disclaimer: Both of my budget picks happen to be from the same affordable beauty brand but I'm 100 per cent not on their payroll - they're just the two products I found that work the best, and I'd only bring you the best!

Best Affordable Mascara? Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara.

Maybelline Lash Sensational MascaraMaybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

When it comes to mascara, I want drama.

My expensive mascara is all drama, but I soon realised she was a little too much for everyday wear. For my new covid normal life, I needed something less ‘extra’ that wouldn't flake throughout the day or break the bank.

Enter, the best 2020 mascara in Australia - Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof

Now, I know I don’t have to convince anyone about Maybelline’s mascaras. Whether it’s this one or the much-loved Maybelline The Colossal Mascara Glam Black, these popular wands already have a pretty impressive cult following. 

Beauty editors and industry insiders rave about Maybelline mascaras because they deliver on look and affordability. This makes them the perfect faithful everyday mascaras. See evidence below.

Maybelline Lash Sensational MascaraMaybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

So, what makes this one so damn good?

The Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof wand has a small curve, which is great for a low-key curl for a feathered, fluffy look (some days I’ll still use my eyelash curler for subtle oomph). 

Stepping in as my new go-to daily mascara, my lashes stay well behaved and fluttery throughout the day wearing this budget find.

No flaking. No clumping. Still looks like I just applied it at 5pm. Win.

Best Affordable Foundation? Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover FoundationMaybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation

My approach to ‘everyday makeup’ is pretty simple.

I wanted a bargain alternative to my spesh foundation - something medium coverage and lightweight that'd still make my face cute should I run into an Idris Elba lookalike.

After trialling quite a few affordable foundations, I landed on this magical little tube. I’m genuinely sad for my pre-pandemic self that I didn’t discover the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation sooner.

It ticks every box. Not only is it cheap as chips, but it glides on effortlessly because of its silky texture to create a skin-like finish, which is exactly what I want from an everyday use foundation. Tick, tick and tiiiiick.

See how glorious it looks? It's the perfect your skin but better foundation.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover FoundationMaybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation

OK, but what else makes this foundation a winner? I’ll tell you.

As the name suggests, the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation is designed to protect your skin from ‘urban aggressors’ like pollution and the sun. While we’re not heading out as much right now, having that extra protection built into your base for when we do counts.

The coverage is buildable, so depending on the day or where I’m going, I will sometimes layer to build up to a heavier coverage. And to my surprise, while a lot of foundations start looking dull as the day goes on, this one looks consistently fresh.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation also contains SPF 40. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, really.

(IMPORTANT: This doesn’t mean you’re allowed to skip your sunscreen application step beforehand, though! SPF in your foundation is just an added bonus.)

To say I’m elated to have found these two budget-friendly makeup gems that are perfect dupes for my expensive products is an understatement. 

They’re now officially the stars of my daily makeup routine and staples in my makeup bag.

Idris Elba lookalikes, I'm ready.

Want to shop Sadaf's favourite mascara and foundation? Find the Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation here, and the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara here.

Want more excellent makeup product recommendations? Check out these stories from our Adore Beauty team below!