7 of My Favorite Affordable European Makeup Products

Published in: Essence, Guest Post, Makeup, Travel, ZOEVA

Best Affordable European Makeup

Some of my favorite (affordable) European makeup

Europe definitely has a lot to offer the international traveler. I mean, so many different countries and cultures concentrated in a relatively small area…

But visiting a dozen countries in a month can get extremely expensive, so what’s a beauty lover to do? Pass on the makeup shopping??


Of course not!

On the good ol’ continent, you can find lots of top quality products that cost less than a latte.

Here are my top recommendations!

Best Affordable European Makeup

These are my favorite affordable European (but non-Italian) makeup products; for recommendations on Italian makeup, check out my series, “Best in Beauty From the Boot”

1. Catrice Defining Blush in 040 Think Pink (€3.99)

Matrice Defining Blush 040 Think Pink

If someone made me try the Catrice Defining Blush in 040 Think Pink after having depotted it, I’d for sure think it was a high-end blush.

I swear, I’d bet my entire makeup collection on it! It’s that good.

Creamy and not in the least bit powdery, nicely pigmented but easy to blend, and long-lasting, too.

Oh, and here’s the best part: it’s only €3.99!

2. Catrice Camouflage Cream in 010 Ivory & 020 Light Beige (€3.49)

Catrice Camouflage Cream

If you’re blessed with oily skin and occasional hormonal spots like this mama, then you’ll know that liquid concealers just don’t last.

To cover up those angry red zits and the marks they usually leave behind, I think it’s much better to use a dry-texture concealer.

In my opinion, the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage ($35) is the best in this category, but Catrice’s Camouflage Cream comes in a close second, and it’s just a fraction of the price.

Should you ever spot a Catrice stand during your European adventures, make sure you put your paws on this fantastic concealer.

3. Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencils in 01 Black Fever & 02 Hot Chocolate ($2.49/€1.99)

Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencil 01 Black Fever 02 Hot Chocolate

Ok, I know that you can get Essence at Ulta these days, but wouldn’t it be cooler to pick up something from this affordable German brand after admiring the majestic Cologne Cathedral or visiting the breathtaking Neuschwanstein Castle?

My first recommendation would be the Long-Lasting Eye Pencils in 01 Black Fever and 02 Hot Chocolate, because I mean, who doesn’t need black or brown eyeliner?

These glide on super easily and last amazingly well both on the waterlines and lashlines.

4. Essence Sun Club Matte Bronzing Powder in 01 Natural – Blondes/Lighter Skin ($4.99/€4.99)

Essence Sun Club Matte Bronzing Powder 01 Natural Blondes

Essence Sun Club Matte Bronzing Powder in 01 Natural is one of those bronzers that’s impossible to go overboard with, and that’s my favorite kind.

No patchiness, no Oompa-Loompa-ness. Just a healthy-looking complexion.

Plus, if you like coconut-scented products, you’ll find yourself opening the compact just to give it a sniff more often than you’d like to admit…

5. Essence The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat ($3.99/€3.19)

Essence The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat

I wonder if Cosnova (the German company that makes Essence and Catrice) keeps the exact formula of the Essence The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat in a vault like Coca-Cola does with their secret recipe…

This stuff is magical!

I’m sure there’s a secret ingredient that makes their nail polish shine brighter than a Swarovski store and last longer than finals week.

6. Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve (£8.99)

Max Factor Crème Puff Blush 10 Nude Mauve

Despite what the name suggests, the Max Factor Crème Puff Blushes are actually powder blushes (although, the non-powdery kind), and are said to be dupes for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes ($38).

My favorite thing about Nude Mauve is that it gives me a nice definition and very subtle luminosity without interfering with the color scheme of the rest of my makeup.

Best Affordable European Makeup Swatches

L-R: Essence Long-Lasting Eye Pencils in 02 Hot Chocolate and 01 Black Fever, Essence Sun Club Matte Bronzing Powder in 01 Natural, Catrice Camouflage Cream in 010 Ivory and 020 Light Beige, Catrice Defining Blush in 040 Think Pink, Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve

7. Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette (€21.80)

Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette

Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette Look

On my eyes I’m wearing Bitter Start, Substitute For Love, Pure Ganache, and Subtle Blend from the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette

Aaaand… I saved the best for last. This palette is UH-MAZE-BALLS!

Compared to the products I’ve mentioned so far, the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette might almost seem pricey, but €21.80 for 10 top quality eyeshadows is still pretty good in my opinion.

From the buttery texture, to the high pigmentation and blendability, there’s nothing I don’t love about these shadows.

The color selection is perfect for my taste (lots of warm goodness!), and there’s a good balance between shimmers and mattes (6-4).


If you want to have your mind blown by how well the Cocoa Blend shadows swatch, click on this Portkey (#harrypottergeek) to go straight to my blog! 😉

Best Affordable European Makeup

All the makeup I’ve used today is European, and here’s a breakdown of what I’m wearing:

Anyone coming to Europe this summer?

Carolina Braina

Hey, ladies (and gents), it’s Carolina here, reporting live from Bologna, Italy, to bring you the latest and greatest in beauty from the good ol’ continent! For an extra dose of that timeless Italian glam with a touch of humor and self-irony (because, you know, laughter is the best makeup), come say hi at carolinapage.eu and Instagram.


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So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Laure says:

    Loving the love for European make-up brands! ♥
    I’ve also really been enjoying Beauty from the Boot. 😀

    In Belgium we sadly don’t have much of a make-up market (some foreign high end and a few foreign low budget brands but not a lot of exciting stuff), but thankfully we do get Essence and Catrice. Some of my first make-up was from these brands and I still love it.
    I recently got a Zoeva palette for my birthday: SO GOOOOOOD. ♥♥

    • Hi Laure,
      I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my series on Italian makeup. 🙂
      Essence and Catrice have some real gems and they’re literally cheap as chips! If you wear nail polish, give that Essence top coat a go, it makes any polish last much longer.
      Carolina Braina recently posted … How I’m Fighting Post-Blemish Pigmentation

      • Laure says:

        Thanks, I’ll definitely give that topcoat a try. Since Essence discontinued my favourite topcoat, I’ve been on the lookout for a new one so it’s good to know the other topcoat also holds up. 😀

  2. Leah Rose says:

    That palette looks gorgeous, Bourjois has to be my favourite european brand at the moment.

  3. I couldn’t agree more, Essence, Catrice and MaxFactor are amazing and affordable makeup brands. Buying makeup when traveling is one of my favorite pass-times.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … June 2016 Favorites

  4. Okay, it’s settled then, gonna get that Essence top coat!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Best of June | ColourPop, Starbucks, Dr. Hauschka & More

  5. I love Essence and Catrice, especially their limited edition products! And they are coming out with more and more on trend items every season. I am loving their lip oils, blush palettes as well as the Catrice highlighter!
    Prettiful Blog recently posted … Colour Pop Cosmetics Haul and Postbox Courier

  6. Erin says:

    I wish I could get my hands on the blush!
    Erin recently posted … Josefina 2014 Rosé

  7. Lulle says:

    Very nice selection! I wish Zoeva had been a thing before I left France. My favorite affordable brand from Europe is definitely Kiko (Italy), but Bourjois has to be a very close second (France), and I also love the little bottles of Mavala nail polish (Switzerland)!
    Lulle recently posted … My experience with hair loss & RevivHair Stimulating Serum Review (Sponsored)

  8. anusha says:

    That lipstick looks sooo good on u!

  9. denise S says:

    Pretty look!Love gold eyes with a red lip. I like how the eyeshadow palette looks but won’t be in Europe anything time soon to buy it. When I was in Paris I spent my money on perfumes. Didn’t buy any makeup, next trip I will!

  10. Those Max Factor blushers are my favourite! Love them more than my Chanel and YSL etc.
    Marina (Makeup4all) recently posted … June 2016 Beauty Favourites

  11. Chris25 says:

    That palette is amazing. Loving that eye look on you!
    Chris25 recently posted … Review: L’Oreal Paris Wear Infinite Studio Secrets Eyeshadows in Deep Mocha & Smooth Latte

  12. Lauren says:

    Love the palette. Might have to grab that today

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