Copyright © 2020 Nameya Jacobs


My relationship with makeup heavily depends on one of two things: the time of year and the state of my bank account. In the summer, I couldn't care less about buying a new foundation because it's guaranteed to slide down my face by 11:00am due to the 30 degree weather of Southern Africa and my notoriously oily skin. In the winter, however, I get to spread my wings in Dischem and fly. Unfortunately, my excitement draws to a halt as soon as I check the price of whatever product I was hoping to buy, because due to the economy, (and my student budget), I can't afford to be spending R200 on an eyeliner; I have food to eat and a campus to commute to.

Fortunately, this dilemma has made me quite the bargain hunter, and I've even replaced some of my higher-end makeup products with lower-end ones because of it.

Here is a list of my current affordable makeup favourites, so that the next time you walk into Dischem, you don't have to worry about whether or not your card will decline or that you'll have to split the payment between card and cash...(speaking from experience).


Unfortunately, when it comes to foundation, you're going to struggle to find one that is affordable and POC-friendly due to the capitalist, whitewashed world we live in. Thankfully, due to the rise of activism in the beauty industry, drugstore brands have upped their anti and shade range. Both L.A. Girl and Maybelline are brands I turn to because of their shade range and affordability. The L.A. Girl HD Pro Coverage Foundation is buildable to full coverage, suitable for oily/combination skin, and only costs R175 at Dischem. A close runner up is the Maybelline FITMe! Matte + Poreless Foundation, which boasts the same benefits, but is significantly cheaper at R102.95.


Another member of the L.A. Girl family is the L.A. Girl Pro Concealer. There's no way you haven't heard of this concealer, because it was all anyone could talk about when it first touched down in Southern Africa, and for good reason. Not only is their shade range extensive, but the Pro Concealer formula allows for minimal creasing when applied properly, and suits all skin types.


I promise I'm not sponsored by L.A. Girl, (although my line is always open), it's just that their products have yet to fail me. I went through both high and low-end brands when searching for a bronzer, and finally landed on the L.A. Girl Matte Pressed Powder, entirely by mistake. I wanted to use it as a replacement for my foundation in the summer but ended up getting the wrong shade. Luckily, this meant I'd found my perfect shade of bronzer from a powder that lasts all day and all night.


Okay, before you throw a fit, hear me out. I used to be the type of person who instead of investing in a proper palette, I'd buy single eyeshadows and end up with colours I didn't even use or need. That's why I decided to bite the bullet and fork out R350 for the SwiitchBeauty #SlaysForDaysPalette. I knew that I didn't wear eyeshadow often, but that when I did, I never seemed to have the *perfect* brown shade to complete my look. I also struggled with finding a product to use for my eyebrows, because my heavy hand couldn't work with pencils. That's why it didn't take all of me to enter my CVV number at check out; I'd consider this product multi-use. I can use it as eyeshadow, brow powder, and even highlight!


I'm not going to lie, I was going to hit you with another L.A. Girl product, but I'd had yet to mention essence, which has been a long time favourite brand of mine, so I decided to introduce you to their lip products. From their lip pencils, lipglosses to matte lipsticks, essence has been there for me every time. Their shade range could use some work, but for their price? I'm not mad.

Whoever told you beauty had to be expensive, lied. The next time you watch your favourite beauty guru and wonder which flavour of 2-Minute Noodles you're going to have to live off of next month, remember that some of the cheapest items have paved the way of the most expensive ones.