Polish make-up brand INGLOT is one of such budget options. Some time ago they launched the Freedom System line, which allows you to create your own customized make-up palettes of eyeshadows, brow powders, brow wax, concealer, lipstick, powder, blush and bronzer. The palettes are available in different shapes and sizes to suit your personal needs, and the pans also come in different shapes and sizes, as shown in the photo:
On top of that, they also carry more 'traditional' palettes for 3 or 5 eyeshadow pans. Now, the price range here is much more affordable than MAC, but also the quality is obviously not the same. Definitely, Inglot has improved its quality over the past couple of years (and also become more expensive), so I'd say it's a good value for your money.
I decided to get myself a 3 pan eyeshadow palette to test the 'system'. The total (case + 3 eyeshadow pans) came to 29 PLN, which is about 6 pounds. The refills are available upon presenting a purchased case or a receipt of such purchase and are 10 PLN each (2 pounds). I don't how much are other refills, like lipstick or concealer, but it's probably a similar price range. Of course, these prices may be different in the UK and I'd guess they'll charge you more for the same thing. The pans come with a label on the bottom indicating the number of product (Inglot eyeshadows don't have specific names) and the finish. The case is black and sleek and equipped with a nice mirror inside, perfect for touch-ups on the go. The difference compared to MAC is that the case itself is magnetized, not the pans.
The eyeshadows come in 320 shades and different finishes. I chose three different ones, a matte, a 'shine', which is packed with tiny glitter and I guess could be compared to MAC Lustre finishes, and a pearl, very similar in texture and pigmentation to MAC's Veluxe Pearl. This last finish has the best consistency and color pay-off in my opinion, with the matte finish being least pigmented, but still smooth and blendable. I wore the middle golden shade today as a lid color and the first highlighting shade as a brow and inner corner highlight and was very happy with the application and longevity.
All in all, I was very impressed with the idea and how it was put into practice. Surely, the whole idea of 'Freedom System' is hugely inspired by MAC products, but for us it's just another option on the market worth of considering. I'm definitely going to repurchase, especially the more 'adventurous' shades for me to wear which I can't afford to buy at MAC. I already emptied the small palette by putting the pans in my MAC palette, so I can use it next time I stop at Inglot store or counter (which will be very soon, me thinks). If you're interested in their shades, check out Specktra for swatches.
Hope this helped some of you and answered some questions about this product.
Have you ever tried this range? How do you like it?