Once upon a time, cheap shadows were where a humble makeup budget could come undone. No more, though. Here are three of my favourite cut-price palettes I have spent one of my more satisfying working weeks playing with high-street palettes. Satisfying, because budget makeup is now often of such excellent quality that I can barely spot the difference between posh and pish. You could always respectably scrimp on pencils, mascara and blusher (where a subtle wash of colour is ideal), but eyeshadow (which requires denser pigment and easy blending between multiple shades) was previously where you got exactly what you paid for. Cheaper shadows tended to have less colour payoff, dry, talcy textures that either blended into one generic, dishwater hue, or sat tight, refusing to soften and blend at all. Technology and lower production costs, however, have now changed budget shadows beyond recognition. There are some great examples within the remarkable Elf brand. This multi-award-winning US favourite was slow to get here, but well worth the wait, even if price points are a little higher than they are across the Atlantic, where some products from the vast line sell for a buck a pop.
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