Woman’s revealing Aldi experiment
I WAS walking through the supermarket Narnia that is ALDI - past my favourite $5 wine, beloved imitation ice-creams, and budget biscuits - when a little nook of make-up caught my eye.
There, nestled among the sanitary pads and panty liners, was a modest collection of Lacura cosmetics. A no-nonsense make-up collection that has precisely zero chance of looking luxe thanks to ALDI's hospital-inspired lighting.
I scanned the options; a foundation, compact powder, compact blush, eyebrow pencil, mascara, and lipstick were all on offer. I mean, who needs eyeshadow? Or concealer? Or bronzer? Psh! Not the ALDI woman! She's as low maintenance as her pantry is financially responsible.
The prices were low. The packaging was mediocre. The decision I had to make was obvious.
I would buy every damn makeup product ALDI had. Then, I'd challenge each product to a duel with its high-end counterpart. Because, of course.
I devised a foolproof plan to put the Lacura makeup to the ultimate test: At a family gathering, I would wear all the ALDI products on one side of my face, and all of my regular make-up on the other.
I would then make family members guess which side the ALDI makeup was on. Those who got it wrong would be killed off one by one, Underbelly style. (Just kidding - I'd just judge their taste in cosmetics forevermore.)
I unboxed my Lacura goodies and got to work on my less-than-ideal canvas.
The $4.99 foundation was first, and smelled like a mixture of Clag Glue and sunscreen. Not a great start, but I was pleased to find the texture - lightweight and silky - was much like the $67 high-end foundation it was competing against.
I would've been a little more excited if it weren't for the unacceptable range of foundation shades. Consisting of 'ivory', 'honey', and 'tan' - it's apparent ALDI make-up doesn't cater to women who fall outside the 'Reflex Paper' category of whiteness. While their ivory shade suited my skin tone just fine, you'd think a multinational company would be a little more inclusive in 2019.
Next up was the $5.99 transparent compact powder to set the foundation in place, which honestly outshone most of the exxy powders I've used recently.
I found the $5.99 blush (which came in a grand total of one shade) to be hyper-pigmented, even more so than my regular $20 go-to product, while the $6.99 mascara was frighteningly similar to my $26 long-time favourite. Tick, tick.
Then things started to go a little bit wonky.
The $6.99 "24 hour" lipstick quickly proved itself to be a liar, unless "hour" was a typo for "minute". A minor speed bump, but one that didn't have anything on the eyebrow pencil; as soon as I got that bad boy out of its packaging, something was clearly very wrong. And by "very wrong" I mean that there was no actual product inside - just an empty cavity to store all of my disappointment in the foundation's limited shade range. Hooray!
To make the experiment as fair as possible, I skipped the eyebrow product on the expensive side, too, bringing the total price of the products on the Aldi side of my face to $30.95, and $194 on the expensive. (Don't judge me.)
My very scientific experiment - in which I thrust my face into my loved ones' visual fields while they tried to eat sausages - was officially ready to commence.
Truthfully, the majority of my family members had absolutely no idea which side of my face had the ALDI makeup on it. At one point, my little sister Evelyn grabbed me by the jaw and forehead, twisting my head back and forth to discern which was which.
"Left is ALDI," she eventually announced. "The pores around your nose and cheeks look slightly bigger."
My little brother's girlfriend agreed - the makeup on that side of my face apparently looked marginally warmer and, in her opinion, cheaper. My boyfriend chose the left side, too, although was unable to say why. "You just look more normal on the right side," he shrugged.
My mum, aunty, brother, and elder sister all swore the left side of my face looked "better" than the right.
My cousin Carolyn flip flopped for a good hour, before deciding she was too torn to pick a side at all.
Finally, I took to Instagram and asked my followers which side they thought was the ALDI makeup.
More than 1100 people correctly voted the left side, while 740 got it wrong and opted for the right.
Special props went to the ALDI mascara, which was so lengthening they insisted it must be from a high-end brand. (Wrong, but … sure.)
All in all? The difference was there, but it was marginal. The ALDI makeup became slightly shiny around my t-zone, and didn't have the staying power of the higher-end alternatives. But given the huge price difference, I've got to say I was pleasantly surprised by how not-terrible the Lacura products were.
I have a special soft spot for the blush and mascara, which I will probably use again. The setting powder was OK, without setting my world on fire. The lipstick is a no. The foundation gets a DNF for refusing to acknowledge anyone who dares to be born darker than Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Let's just not talk about my skin in the days after, though, OK? Somehow I don't think it's a coincidence that I'm now sporting a colony of pimples on my left cheek and on the left-hand side of my chin.
This is the kind of sacrifice I make for complete strangers on the internet, apparently.
Michelle Andrews is a freelance columnist and podcast host from Melbourne. Follow her on Instagram.