Our favourite beauty steals that won't make a dent in your purse
If, like most of us, you are on a budget and expensive skincare or make-up is more of a luxury than a regular occurrence, there’s no need to fret. You can still take care of your health and beauty needs with amazing products that really work – you just need to be a little high street savvy!
If you choose wisely, affordable make-up, haircare and skincare can be just as effective as any expensive version. Plus, brands like Maybelline, Bourjois and Olay have been around for over 100 years and have the weight of experience behind them to give you the best products possible.
Here’s another little secret – cheap beauty buys can often be just as good as the premium versions, because they’re owned by the same companies. The innovative technology used in your favourite high-end brands eventually trickles down to the less expensive lines, owned by the same big beauty houses. Only difference? These cheap beauty buys won’t break the bank!
So don’t be afraid – browse our favourite budget beauty buys and see what’s worth popping in your shopping trolley. With prices this good, you can rest assured knowing that you can afford to treat yourself to more than one and still have change left over from a tenner!
Our first budget buy is Cutagen Gentlecare 24hr Hydrating Moisturiser, a simple and classic face cream to give dehydrated, tired and dull skin a boost of hydration. The light texture absorbs instantly into the skin to rapidly replenish and lock in moisture levels for up to 24 hours. Free from perfumes and colourings this moisturiser is scented by its kind, active ingredients and includes vitamins B5 and E. And the best part is, this luxurious moisturiser costs just £4.99!
Scroll through for more cheap beauty buys, starting from just £1.49…
Quickies Deodorant Wipes give an ultra-clean feeling in a flash. Perfect for holidays, or just you busy ladies, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.
Only £3.90 each and with nearly 200 shades to choose from, KIKO Nail Lacquer is just amazing (as is the candy-like store in Westfield London). This shade – Amable Charteuse – is ideal for spring.
Could Realine Beauty Frown Line Patches spell the end of Botox? A new revelation in the beauty world, these tape patches are an easy-to-use and highly effective way of reducing frown lines without resorting to cosmetic surgery.
A quite large, diamond-shaped and hypoallergenic piece of tape, these patches are medically endorsed and boast proven results. Plus, they are so easy to use: Simply cleanse and, if you use moisturiser, allow products to be completely absorbed before pulling the skin taut and applying the Realine Beauty Frown Line Patch across the forehead. Leave on overnight to wake up with an instant result. Use over time to see the best possible results and spend that Botox money on something fun!
Make-up primers were first introduced in 1995 by Laura Mercier. Since then, they have become a must in any morning routine. Prepping the skin and leaving a smooth base for perfect make-up application, primers can do everything from minimising pores to blurring imperfections. If this all sounds appealing, but the price tag of a premium brand doesn’t, the OLAY Regenerist 10 Minute Miracle is for you. Owned by P&G, a huge organisation that pumps large amount of money into the research and development of their products, you can be sure that this primer is just as effective as any luxury version.
Maybelline is owned by L’Oreal, so eventually the innovative techology created for premium brands such as Lancôme, YSL and Armani Beauty will also be incorporated into this less expensive line. The Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner is one of these products. Gel eyeliners were big news when they were introduced last year: Longer lasting and easier to apply than liquid eyeliners, but with the same visual effect, brands such as MAC and Bobbi Brown led the way with their versions. Now you can get the look for a lot less with Maybelline’s brilliant version.
When a make-up brand has been around for 150 years, it’s a fair assumption that it’s still delivering! The original Bourjois Little Round Pot blushers’ success lies in the very finely milled powder that creates a long-lasting veil of colour with just the right amount of flush (plus there are 20 shades, so something to suit everyone). For those who prefer a creamier consistency though, the new-last-year sister Round Pot Cream Blusher has an easy-to-blend cream-to-powder finish and comes in four flattering shades. Our favourite? ‘Healthy Glow’ which has a subtle apricot hue.
The Body Shop Colour Crush Eyeshadow in Caramel Flirt, Brownie & Clyde and Chocolate Linger. Available in 30 shades, some matt, some slightly shimmery, all effortless. Easy to blend and layer, try using a few different shades to create a 3D effect.
If you’re after something a little more resilient, No7 Stay Perfect Mascara, has the same technology as many premium brands to allow it to be removed only with warm water. Smudge proof, tear proof, flake proof and humidity proof, this mascara is pretty much life proof!
Garnier Perfect Blur is transparent on the skin, hides pores and fine lines, and makes skin look rested and youthful. It takes just 5 seconds to apply and immediately improves the look of your skin. A great new find for your kit!
L?Oréal Paris GlamShine Stain Splash has new, to-die-for long-wear glossy stains in great shades. We can?t get enough! The first of its kind, it’s 30% water-based, making it a gloss that acts like a stain.
The softest and smudgiest long-wear liner, no others compare to Avon SuperShock Gel Eyeliner, winner of a 2013 W&H Best in Beauty Award. It comes in a range of metallic hues, making it perfect to add a flash of colour to your make-up bag.
Not only are the Bourjois little pot blushers a miracle buy for only £8, but Bourjois’ Healthy Mix Serum Foundation is another secret weapon to add to the arsenal – these two products combined will help you look the picture of health in wintery conditions. Following in the footsteps of sister brand Chanel, Bourjois has taken the premium brand’s innovation for ccombining skincare benefits – vitamin and anti-oxidant superfruits – with medium coverage to create this gel formula that melts in to skin, evening skin tone and minimising blemishes. Luxury beauty at a fraction of the price!
Two-in-one polish and glitter topcoat: Models Own Artstix Duo Polish in Nude Beige/Jack Frost or Bubblegum/Blizzard. Use the glossy polish on its own, or layer it with the sparkly topcoat for a fun evening look.
Autograph Ultimate Shine Twist-Up Lip Colours in Nude and Apricot. Great shades and texture, these lip pens are easy to apply for both day and night time looks. We love these!
B Groomed Eyebrow Kit is available from Superdrug. Firm pencil one end to pencil in subtly colour, and clear wax the other to keep your brows in place: genius.
The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder can be used every day of the year. Blend over cheeks for a naturally sunkissed glow. I love it because it’s perfectly matt for contouring. Enriched with real honey, it comes in four shades.
New Nivea Daily Essentials BB Cream 5in1 Beautifying Moisturiser. This blemish balm covers, fills, smooths and perfects, all at a bargain price. It contains light refecting pigments for a really illuminating finish. Just fab.
L’Oréal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Day Cream, with Pro-Retinol A, is effective yet absorbs fast. This fabulous daily essential might be low budget, but it treats skin amazingly. The broad spectrum UV protection helps protect skin against the sun’s most damaging rays.
L’Oréal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil. A great way to try using an oil cleanser on blackheads and deep-down dirt. Lighweight and non-greasy, this product is the perfect way to erase your oil fears.
Dirty Works Overnight Facial Lift, available from Sainsbury’s, works magic on tired skin whilst you’re asleep. Wake up fresh and bright with this triple-peptide and super-nourishing shea butter skin-plumping treat.
Even if just for the smell, Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Shampoo, with honey and apricot extracts, is divine but also works on strengthening and thickening your hair with every wash.
Perfect for the summer, VO5 Cherish My Colour contains UV filters to protect your expensive hair colour while you’re out and about in the sun. Enriched with a blend of five oils, it enhances colour vibrancy and adds killer shine.
Take it everywhere, Charles Worthington Salon At Home Volume & Bounce Root Lift Backcomb Powder is just a pot of magic volume that, past 25, almost every head of hair needs! It adds the same volume as a traditional backcomb, but with none of the long-term follicle damage. A must have.
Don’t you love a good scrub? Grace Cole Pineapple & Passion Fruit Body Scrub has a deliciously fresh aroma too. In fact, there are six juicy flavours in the range – why not try them all?
Soap & Glory Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel is just £6.50 for a huge 500ml bottle – we wouldn’t want to drop that on our toes in the shower!
I’m majorly impressed by the ease of application and even colour of St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Lotion. It’s the best cheaper self-tanning range on the market – great colour and goes on like a dream.
The ultimate hand cream for rough hands, Atrixo Regenerating Treatment with Panthenol is light, fast to absorb, yet leaves hands so soft. This cream is ideal for when your hands are at their most sore and chipped.
The original body butter has been around for more than 20 years now but we think The Body Shop Mango Body Butter is still the juiciest by far! Perfect for the dryest of skins, it contains shea butter for 24 hour hydration.
A good black eye kohl is hard to find, but search no more because L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Le Smokey ticks all the boxes. It comes in an intense black pigment that is soft enough to create a sultry smudge but it stays put, and the kohl doesn’t disintegrate when you sharpen it. We also love the soft sponge tip at the other other that’s perfect to achieve quick, smoky eye.
New Garnier Moisture Match moisturiser comes in five forms: Goodbye dry, Start afresh, Shine be gone, Wake me up, and Protect & glow, so you can find your perfect match. Our overall favourite is Protect & glow, which suits normal skin and contains light-reflecting pearl particles to illuminate your skin. It’s lightweight and has SPF20 protection, which makes it our go-to summer moisturiser.
Boots No7 Protect and Perfect range is a real hero range because it’s has beaten all of the luxe brands to be the first anti-ageing range that’s scientifically proven to work. Beat wrinkles – without breaking the bank.
As much as we love winter, cold weather isn’t great for the lips so keeping Vaseline Lip Therapy in your handbag is essential. It forms a protective, moisturising barrier from the elements.
A saviour for everyone who battles with unruly tresses, the dawn of a new era came when John Frieda launched this beauty must-have, John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum. At just £3.99, this hair smoother is a steal and small enough to just pop in your handbag and go!
Tackle the areas that reveal the ageing process most – eyes, jawline and neck – with Olay Regenerist 3 Point Treatment Cream. This little pot will still leave you with enough change for another treat or two for yourself this month.
In a stunning array of on-trend shades, Barry M Nail Paint is as good as any high-end nail polish range and frequently gets the nod from beauty insiders. Snap up a handful to ensure your nails are always perfectly painted.
Pop Dove Pro-Age Hand Cream in your handbag or on your desk for a quick moisture burst for hands. Tackling wrinkles and age spots, this clever, under-£4 budget buy restores elasticity to your skin, giving it a noticeably smoother appearance.
A great beauty secret, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection foundation gives all-over coverage, hiding blemishes and dark circles with a light consistency. It lasts all day and night – meaning there’s no need for mid-afternoon touch-ups.
There’s no need to spend out on mascara or eyeliner when the high street has so many brilliant options. We love the ever-so-easy to apply Rimmel Glam Eyes eye liner.
A great conditioner doesn’t need to cost the earth. James Brown (hairdresser to Kate Moss) uses red seaweed extract in his James Brown London High Gloss conditioner to give hair great shine and manageability – without the hefty price tag.
Hairstyles and celebrities swear by L’Oreal Elnett Hairspray to keep their hair in place all day without the stickiness. It’s super-gentle, doesn’t damage hair and brushes out at the end of the day. No wonder this little gold can has won so many top beauty awards.
Good tools are necessary to perfect your make-up application. No 7’s range of make-up brushes is as good as any expensive brand, with super-soft, long-lasting bristles.
Of all the dry shampoos we have tried (even those pricey ones that promise so much), Batiste Dry Shampoo always comes out on top. Spray on to second-day hair to banish grease and give roots a boost, then massage in to the hair with your fingers. Now available in blonde, brunette and dark.
Forget the expensive pots of £100 wrinkle-reducing moisturisers, you can iron out fine lines with just as much success with Olay’s Total Effects day cream. Said to keep skin moist and soft all day, the possibility of wrinkles creeping up on you is far less when you reach for this budget wonder cream!
Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula lotion is used by make-up artists the world over on photo shoots because it instantly nourishes parched skin, leaving a gorgeous natural glow.
Hair oils are the latest must-have beauty buy. Rather than making hair greasy as you might expect, they actually nourish dry ends adding gloss and shine. The brilliant L’Oreal Mythic Oil is one of the best we’ve tried. Add a tiny amount to wet hair and style, or smooth a little through the ends after blow-drying.
Give your hair a real treat. Smother the ends with Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle while you’re relaxing in the bath. Wait a little while then rinse well, and, voilá, silky, manageable hair that smells divine.
Exfoliating all over keeps skin looking young and feeling soft. Soap & Glory’s brilliant Flake Away body scrub is packed with all-natural ingredients like shea butter, sweet almond oil, sea salt and sugar.