Budget buys for darker skin tones

We may have left the recession behind us, but we all have those end-of-the-month-Salticrax moments where the thought of spending R500 on a lipstick hurts. Really hurts. Waay deep down. Couple with that the small of issue of not all shades looking create on darker skin tones and your trip to the beauty counters could become downright depressing.

But, there’s no need to break your budget. Here are our BeautySouthAfrica’s favourite make-up and skincare brands for darker complexions.


A fairly new brand to South Africa, Essence stocks everything from nail, lip and eye colours to foundations, blushers and bronzers. Fully stocked at your nearest Clicks or Dis-Chem store, Essence is imported from Europe but that hasn’t stopped the brand from keeping their prices low. Nail polishes start from R20, lip sticks and lip glosses from R30, while mascaras (from volume boosting to waterproof) and eye shadows (including my favourite gel eyeliners) all range within the R30 – R50 price tag. Personally, I’m not a fan of their foundations; I prefer a medium to full coverage foundation, not light coverage which isn’t really buildable either.

Budget buys for darker skin tones - Make-up

With Pabi Moloi as their new celebrity spokesperson, Avon continues to deliver fabulous colours at fabulous prices. The Glow range (R40 – R100) is perfect for that pre-summer warmth, and I highly recommend the Avon Glow Bronzing Pearls, R89.95, which can be used as a bronzer or blush. Other fabulous buys include the Ultra Colour Rich 24K Gold Lipstick, R89.95, which contains real gold flecks, the SuperShock Mascara, R54.95, Nail Experts nail care range, and eye popping True Colour Eyeshadow Duos, R99.95.


Darker complexions are prone to oiliness (which leaves them looking younger for longer – yay!) but it’s also more susceptible to hyper-pigmentation, dark patches and uneven skin tone. Essence also has a skincare range, but we prefer the big name brands that have been in the beauty game for yonks.

Budget buys for darker skin tones - Skincare

Revlon’s New Complexion Event Out range offers minimising serums, daily moisturisers with an SPF, and night creams all between R100 and R200, while Almay’s EvenSkin range has clarifying face washes and toners, mark minimisers and daily moisturisers from R80 to R150.

Budget buys for darker skin tones - Skincare

The recent Flawless Radiance range by Pond’s and Lasting Oil Control range is also reasonably priced from R49.99 to R94.99, and includes everything from facial foams and toners to day and night creams, lotions and serums.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Budget buys for guys
Bargain beauty buys for women

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45 Responses

  1. I agree. Essence has a great and affordable range. I love their range of colours too. The Almay Even skin mark minimiser works. I had a very uneven chin and after less than a month of using it, I can see a huge difference.

  2. I knew Essence would be on this list. It is a great make-up brand. Really affordable. The skincare range left a lot to be desired though.

  3. Great products. I love Essence nail polishes. They are affordable and they come in fun colours.

  4. Avon has really great products, it’s no wonder they’ve been around for a while and still are successful.

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