‘I’ve learned to duplicate my beauty regimen from drug store products’ – Keri Hilson
I’m 36 years old and I’ve been on a lifelong quest to find cheap beauty products that actually work.
Heat magazine used to do this fashion segment once a month the premise of which was a ‘pay day outfit’; a full outfit you could supposedly buy on your lunch break after pay day. It always irritated me that the total cost of the outfit was almost always over £200 and they were labelling it all as ‘affordable high street fashion’ I guess the average reader of Heat must have had way more disposable income than me.
I get that the terms ‘affordable’ and ‘high street’ are subjective; what’s affordable to me might not be affordable to you and vice versa. However it’s a massive bugbear of mine when people refer to a £30 lipstick as affordable or a £100 face cream as high street simply because it can physically be bought on the high street. Last year I wrote about whether expensive make up was worth the investment and whilst like most things (a good pair of leather boots for example) are worth investing in, these are actually what I would consider affordable beauty products that genuinely work.
If you’re a penny pincher like me, then here are my favourite products that I use on a daily basis which all come in at under a £6:
Superdrug Brightening Radiance Balm
I don’t use the term ‘miracle cream’ lightly but if I was only allowed to buy one beauty product for the rest of my life it would be this and I’ve been using it since I was 17. It’s the perfect moisturiser to wear under make up as it has teeny tiny light reflecting particles in which gives you a gorgeous dewy glow without making you look like you’ve been rolled in glitter (insert your own ‘polish a turd joke here). It’s also an excellent masker of hungover skin and it’s almost always on offer so even though it’s RRP is £5.99, I very rarely pay that much for it.
Poundstretcher’s Argan Oil Range
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used some absolute duffers of beauty products I’ve picked up from pound shops in the past, but there’s two items from Poundstretcher’s Argan Oil range that I would be lost without. I use the Hair Mask every day when I shower after the gym, since I was told whilst you don’t need to shampoo sweaty hair as it’s too drying, you do need to condition it. So I lather it on post work out to get rid of the salt that builds up when you’re as sweaty as me! The heat defence leave in spray is the best leave in conditioner I’ve ever used. I only straighten my hair once a week these days but a quick spritz of this and my hair is baby soft and shiny without being greasy. They’re both only £1 each as well, and there’s not much you can buy for £1 these days!
Cheap Aqueous Cream4
I use this more in the Winter than Summer when my skin is particularly dry but it also works brilliantly on hungover skin, which let’s be honest is a year round condition. I use it almost like a face mask at night instead of fancy night cream; just smear it all over your face, let it soak in and your skin will be considerably brighter then next morning, particularly under your eyes. I used to use E45 cream in the same way but found it too greasy and was causing me to have bad spot breakouts. My favourite aqueous cream is Kingsley House which I get in my local Pound Stretcher, however any Supermarkets own brands work just as well!
Style Expertise anti frizz serum (Superdrug)
I could write a whole other blog post about how much I love Superdrug’s own brand products (in fact, I think I might!). This is a new discovery for me but I wonder now how I ever styled my hair without it. I’ve always been wary of anti-frizz serums; Frizz Ease for example, I’ve never seemed to get right, too much of it and it leave your hair greasy, not enough and it’s not worth bothering at all. Since I started wearing my hair curly last Summer I’ve needed something to calm down its natural frizz and this serum is perfect. Two pumps in wet hair before I curl it to get those coveted beachy waves and it takes me seconds to do in the morning. It’s only £2.99 as well, as opposed to John Frida’s £6.99.
Colour Vibe colour shampoo (Boots)
This is a recent discovery for me; since I had a mid 30s crisis and decided to dye my naturally blonde hair ginger (much to my mum’s horror). I really embraced being a fake ginge, however have found that it took a bit more maintenance than my natural Scandinavian tresses. This shampoo from Boots however was a life saver. Remember Wella wash in/wash out toner sachets you used to be able to get in the 90s? This is basically them reborn but with some more modern colours. You use like a normal shampoo and leave on for 5 minutes before washing out. It contains a miniscule amount of temporary hair dye in and lasts up to 3 washes, so I use it twice a week. I switch between the Warm Copper Rose and the Auburn depending on whether I want my hair looks more brown or more orange, but find that it’s a great solution to keep the colour vibrant in between dyes. At only £2.99 it’s cheaper than my regular Aussie shampoo – win win!
What are your beauty bargain must haves?