Real Techniques literally has a brush for everything.

The $30 product that’s better than $95 version


Being a teenager in 2018 seems way harder than it used to be.

Adolescence is supposed to be the time when we can make embarrassing beauty choices with absolutely zero traceable evidence.

In the past, beauty mistakes were temporary and being terrible at makeup didn’t matter.

Now, the beauty standards for young people are so damn high.

Girls are not allowed to have an awkward, ugly phase. One day, you’re just an adorable tween and the next you’re a Hailey Baldwin lookalike with perfect winged eyeliner and 15,000 Instagram followers. It’s wild.

Gen Z teenagers are so good at applying makeup, because YouTube tutorials and Instagram videos have shown them how to create professional looks at home.

Their knowledge is incredible. They know what a cut-crease is and can apply fake lashes without having a complete emotional breakdown. There are 13-year-old boys on YouTube who can nail professional contouring in 30 seconds.

Of course not all teenagers are beauty junkies. Some parents might feel like these kids are a different species compared to the grubby creatures they live with who communicate in grunts and refuse to regularly shower.

So whether the teenagers in your life are Sephora-obsessed beauty addicts or the type who roll their eyes when you beg them to bathe, we’ve got you covered with 13 excellent cheap makeup and skincare products.


Welcome to

Welcome to’s weekly beauty column, The Beauty


Neutrogena makes a great range of cheap cleansers for different types of teen skin.

Neutrogena makes a great range of cheap cleansers for different types of teen skin.Source:Supplied

Price: Both $14

Available from: Coles, Woolworths, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse

The most important grooming habit for teenagers to adopt is cleansing the face morning and night. It’s so basic, but it solves so many skin problems, especially breakouts and acne.

Many young people experience an overproduction of oil, as well as pores blocked with sweat and grime from running around outside all day.

Neutrogena makes a gazillion different cleansers for different skin types and they’re all pretty good.

The Oil-Free Acne Wash contains the BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) salicylic acid, a type of chemical exfoliant that dissolves the stuff that clogs pores and causes acne.

The Deep Clean Cream Cleanser is great for dry skin and has a nice cooling effect.

Even if your kid washes their face with soap, at least they’re washing it with something. Neutrogena makes a $2.50 soap called the Hypoallergenic Cleanser Transparent Bar that gets rid of all the crap on your skin in 30 seconds.

Other supermarket brands that make good cleansers for sensitive or inflamed skin are Cetaphil and QV.


Perfect for taking off makeup or doing a pre-cleanse.

Perfect for taking off makeup or doing a pre-cleanse.Source:Supplied

Price: $14

Available from: Coles, Woolworths, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse

If your teenager wears makeup, they need to learn to take it off every day.

Some people use micellar water as a gentle cleanser, but most people need something a bit more heavy-duty to properly deep-clean the skin.

A cotton pad soaked in this stuff will remove heaps of makeup, so the cleanser can penetrate the skin and do what it needs to do.


This stuff is great for keeping breakouts at bay.

This stuff is great for keeping breakouts at bay.Source:Supplied

Price: $37

Available from: Paula’s Choice online

Bad skin is never fun, but acne can be particularly painful for already vulnerable young people. Sometimes cleansing and moisturising isn’t enough and you need to bring out the big guns.

This is a cult favourite breakout-killer loved by many adults and it’s perfectly fine for teenagers to use too. Try applying it at night every second day and see if there’s an improvement.

As discussed above, salicylic acid is a great acne-busting ingredient and this bottle is packed with the stuff. It encourages cell turnover but is still hydrating.


Both of these moisturisers are hydrating but not oily.

Both of these moisturisers are hydrating but not oily.Source:Supplied

Price: Both $14

Available from: Coles, Woolworths, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse

Finding a moisturiser that is hydrating but not oily is difficult, but both of these Neutrogena ones get the job done. They’re appropriate for use morning and night.

They come in convenient pump bottles and unlike most supermarket products the packaging isn’t absolutely hideous.

There’s another similar moisturiser in this range with SPF15 plus, but that’s not enough protection for everyday — you need 50 plus — and you don’t want to be sleeping in your sunscreen.


Your kids will thank you for getting them into the habit of wearing sunscreen everyday.

Your kids will thank you for getting them into the habit of wearing sunscreen everyday.Source:Supplied

Price: $17.50

Available from: Chemist Warehouse, Priceline

Honestly, if your teenager is super lazy or has oily skin, this is the one product they should be putting on their face in the morning. It’s hydrating enough that it will moisturise the skin as well.

After cleansing, rub a teaspoon-sized amount of this between the fingers and slather all over the face, décolletage and back of the neck.

If they complain about the product feeling oily, tell them to shut up and give it a minute to sink into the skin. It will settle and the oiliness will disappear.



Love Mecca Max

Love Mecca Max’s luxe packaging.Source:Supplied

Price: $29

Available from: Mecca Maxima

Base formulas have come a long way in such a short space of time. All the popular girls in my year at high school were caked in awful, drying drugstore foundations that didn’t match their skin tone. It was embarrassing.

But now there are so many options out there for people who want coverage but a natural finish. BB creams and CC creams are great for teenagers because they’re cheaper than foundations and usually contain other skincare benefits such as sunscreen.

This BB cream is very hydrating, has reasonable coverage and comes in a super-cute tube. There are only five shades, but they are all pretty forgiving if you don’t find your exact match.

Plus, all of the Mecca Max products are 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free.

Garnier also makes great BB Creams for about $15, but sadly they only come in two shades.


So cheap and covers spots easily.

So cheap and covers spots easily.Source:Supplied


Available from: Woolworths, Coles, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse

The world is full of great illuminating and brightening under-eye concealers, but it’s hard to find a cheap concealer that covers up blemishes well.

This is a very thick, pigmented formula that’s easy to dot on pimples.

The only problem is the shade range. As a general rule, you want your concealer to be lighter not darker than your blemish — it cancels out the redness.

I would recommend you buy your teenager a $30 Beauty Blender from Sephora, because they’re the best tool to use for covering up spots.

Here’s the best technique for hiding a breakout

1. After applying a thin layer of base all over the face, apply another blob onto the affected area.

2. Do not blend straight away. This allows the product to settle and harden a bit. If you keep blending, you will just smoosh the product around and it won’t stick to the pimple.

3. After a minute or two, use the Beauty Blender to smooth out the edges.

4. If the pimple needs more coverage, apply a big blob of concealer.

5. Again, wait a minute or so for the concealer to set a little before fixing with the Beauty Blender


This packaging is so damn fun.

This packaging is so damn fun.Source:Supplied

Price: $29.95

Available from: Sportsgirl stores and online

Luxe eyeshadow palettes are the most coveted makeup items among beauty junkies. They’re very expensive, very Instagrammable and very pretty.

The two most popular brands are probably Huda Beauty ($95) and Anastasia Beverly Hills ($75), both from Sephora, and Urban Decay just released another rendition of its best-selling Naked Palette in a variety of pinky, reddish shades ($83 from Mecca Maxima).

Unpopular opinion: While these palettes are beautiful, they’re wildly impractical and the colours don’t actually look that nice.

The reality is that most people suit neutral, nudey-taupey-bronzey shades, not crazy pink glitters.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pink glitter. It’s super fun. But it’s not the most flattering shade.

If you’re after a palette that has BOTH the neutral shades you need for everyday, plus the crazy bright pigments and one glitter pop shade, then this Sportsgirl x Allens eyeshadow palette is perfect. All the colours are amazing and the packaging is super cute.

I absolutely froth on all of Sportsgirl’s palettes and I love that they keep the price point down for their young customers.


The super cute packaging makes you forget you bought it from Chemist Warehouse.

The super cute packaging makes you forget you bought it from Chemist Warehouse.Source:Supplied

Price: RRP is $29.95, but they’re always on sale for $15 from Chemist Warehouse,

Available from: Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and Adore Beauty

It’s so hard to find a supermarket or pharmacy highlighter that gives you that beautiful natural glow.

These liquid drops are a bit of a dupe of those $62 Cover FX drops from Sephora. They can be mixed into foundation or a base product for an all-over glow, or you can dab a bit on the highpoints of the face (cheekbones, bridge of nose, cupid’s bow).

This is not a blinding highlight but it gives skin that stunning Krispy Kreme doughnut sheen that I’m constantly seeking.



Love a cheap mascara.

Love a cheap mascara.Source:Supplied

Price: $12.95

Available from: Sportsgirl stores and online

I first discovered this mascara last weekend at the pub. I met a woman with the most incredible eyelashes and harassed her until she revealed what mascara she used. It was this one.

The first time I used it I was underwhelmed. Then I realised that you need two coats for this product to work properly.

After applying a second coat, my eyelashes became deliciously long and spidery. I’m now obsessed.


Real Techniques literally has a brush for everything.

Real Techniques literally has a brush for everything.Source:Supplied

Price: From about $16, but prices vary. Sets available

Available from: Priceline, Real Techniques online, Adore Beauty

There are loads of cheap brushes out there but almost all of them are crap. Expensive brushes are absolutely worth investing in and they last for years if you wash them weekly.

But in the meantime, there’s Real Techniques. These are great quality makeup brushes used by loads of professional makeup artists. They’re affordable and easy to buy.

Everyone needs a brush for bronzer and blush, as well as two eyeshadow brushes — one stiff to apply product and one fluffier to blend out the edges.

Brushes are crucial for achieving that professional, polished makeup look. Nothing is sadder than seeing an adorable girl on the train trying to do her makeup with her fingers.

Please parents. Put your daughter out of her misery and buy her a brush set.



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