A Pharmer’s Journal reader recently requested my favourite budget beauty buys… and ’til then I hadn’t noticed I’d been hanging a heavy on the high end recently.
I LOVE drugstore/pharmacy finds, (eh hello, I work in a pharmacy all day long!), and so I set myself the challenge of a ‘Fifteen under €15’ post… That was until I realised my holy grail cleanser is actually €18.50, and so the budget was upped to €20 (but to compensate I doubled the quantity of gems!).
My one rule – Every product must be something I currently use, and have repurchased. Thereby ensuring true ‘favourites’ worth!
And so, starting with face masks (my achilles heel)…
Originally I panicked at the thought, as the majority of masks I use currently are admittedly high end (Guinot, Glamglow, Dermalogica etc). But then I remembered these two gorge bags – Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty, and No7’s Beautiful Skin Hydration Mask.
Mask of Magnaminty is a clay mask I’ve only recently discovered, and I’m already on tub number two. It’s amazing as a detoxing mask – it clears the skin, exfoliates and tightens pores. Plus it smells amazing. Win, win, win.
No7 Hydration Mask is one I discovered many years ago when robbing my Mum’s beauty stash. I love hydrating masks – this little beauty moisturises, brightens and soothes the skin.
Side Note: Use those ten million No7 vouchers in your bag for this one. Side, side note: The vast majority of products mentioned in this article also qualify for a Boots 3 for 2 offer…
I use micellar water by the bucket – in the gym, to remove eye make-up, when cleansing make-up brushes, doing damage limitation on dodgy eyeliner… The vast majority of micellar water falls under the €20 bracket anyway, BUT whilst I do love Bioderma, the difference between it and the likes of this Garnier version is negligible.
I ADORE this magical elixir. It has replaced my Dermalogica Precleanse, as it’s totally on par yet half the price. Full review of this beaut right here!
Here’s where La Roche Posay Hydraphase instantly jumped out. Alas it just missed the €20 cut off, leaving me with a moisturiser I actually enjoy using far, far more now that I think of it – The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Moisturiser. This cream noticeably brightens, hydrates, provides SPF30 and adds some luminosity to your face.
To be honest, there are very few budget exfoliatants that I use, as I prefer using chemical exfoliants which generally retail that little bit higher. However I always have a physical face scrub in my shower – which I use to remove the last of pesky clay masks. This St. Ives one is gorgeous, takes me back to my tweens, smells incredible and brightens my skin.
The Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion scrub is totally worth a mention here too – When used gently it’s fantastic for blasting away dry skin and getting the glow…
La Roche Posay Seronzinc is the only toner I’m currently using – and I can’t see me upgrading any time soon. I either spritz my face in the mist, or spray a cotton pad and use on my T zone. It’s fantastic for blemishes or irritated skin.
The Nuxe Reve de Miel balm is glued to my bedside table – It’s incredibly soothing and hydrating.
The comparison’s to Creme de la Mer’s lip balm are in constant occurrence, and for very good reason.
I’m all about beauty oils… Bio-Oil is one I’ve been using for fifty million years – I use it as a night oil on my face, as a body moisturiser, as an after-sun, as a bath oil…
Fret not, I’m not one of those coconut oil cult groupies – I enjoy buying beauty products waaaaay to much to settle for a one-cures-all product.
But to be fair, this one is pretty awesome. I use it mainly as an overnight hair treatment, and hope to one day gain the courage to start oil-pulling (vom). As a face oil/make-up remover/body moisturiser, I personally find coconut oil too greasy, but whatever you’re into…
This Neutrogena body oil on the other hand is gorgeous. It’s rarely in store so if you see it, GRAB it!
Nuxe is up there as one of my favourite skincare brands; fantastic quality, smells insanely gorgeous, affordable etc etc. I slather myself in this stuff after showering, and also whack it through the ends of my hair when it’s violently frizzy. Ditto for face when it’s violently dehydrated.
My hair is literally gasping for oils and serum 24/7. The L’oreal Extraordinary Oil totally holds its own against the likes of its Kerastase sibling… This smoothens frizz and silkens my mane without being too heavy.
I’ve lost count of how many pots of this ridiculously named hair mask I’ve ploughed through. (FYI Lush have a Back-to-Mac type scheme where they exchange five empties for one freebie)… This smells vile but transforms my hair when used as an overnight mask.
This Bleach purple shampoo is amazing – I always have a bottle in the shower. It tones brassiness far more effectively than its drugstore competitors, and has replaced my Shu Uemura Art of Colour toner – that is until I can justify a repurchase of the latter!
I haven’t bought a budget shampoo since I had my first Brazilian blowdry back in university… Back then I made the switch to sodium-free shampoos as opposed to the sulfate free versions popular at the moment, and haven’t looked back. Annoyingly, these are always pretty expensive, and so I’ve yet to find a decent one to fit the under €20 bill.
However I fell in love with this Kebelo clarifying shampoo earlier this year and am now on bottle number three. I use it roughly once a fortnight, and it manages to turn my unruly hair silky. No mean feat.
The CoLab range seems to have totally divided opinion, but I adore it. In saying that, my hair rarelu gets greasy, and so I use dry shampoo for texture/scent as opposed to oil-absorption, but the CoLab range gets my vote every time. I spritz my roots at night, pin my hair up and by morning it looks freshly blowdried.
Tangle Teezer brushes are anabsolute life saver – Must have, holy grail, LOVE!
I am so, so in love with Soap & Glory’s Whipped Clean. This is an in-shower body conditioner, smells incredible and leaves your skin super hydrated. Obsessed.
My other favourite body product being this incredible Nuxe shower oil. Adore! This hydrates your skin, leaving your body with a subtle golden shimmer, and smelling insanely gorgeous.
There are so many amazing budget body moisturisers – Soap and Glory, The Body Shop, Lush and Aveeno all spring to mind. However I’m currently obsessed with L’Occitane hand creams – They’re incredibly moisturising and totally worth the extra few euro. In winter there’s always one floating around my handbag, and I always have one on my bedside table for my disgustingly dry feet. yolo.
No-one does budget bronzing like Cocoa Brown; It’s totally in a league of its own.
Cocoa Brown is so affordable and accessible, whilst still ticking the tanning boxes – Nautual colour, not too heavily scented, no streaks…
Under eye concealers are where I’m stuggling big time to find one I love, both budget and high end. This Kick Ass concealer is one of my current favourites. It reminds me of Benefit Boi-ing, and comes with an under eye setting powder (plus a decent mirror).
In keeping with the S&G theme, I couldn’t not mention Glow All Out – one of my favourite budget powders/highlighters. I actually smashed a brand new one into smithereens this morning in my gym bag, sigh. Read my full review on this gem HERE!
Foundation wise, it’s a toss up between L’oreal Infallible and L’oreal True Match. Both I adore, both I continuously repuchase. Infallible has it by a pinch though, I think. This gives flawless coverage, doesn’t dry out the skin, gives a dewy glow and is long-lasting. Sure what more do ya want!?
L’oreal have it when it comes to mascara as well – I adore their Volume Million Lashes.
This totally compares favourably with my favourite high end wands, and I’ll happily repurchase again and again.
Those Chapman ladies played a blinder when creating the Real Techniques collection. These compare with brushes far more pricey – yet are totally affordable. I’ve washed mine a billion times yet the bristles remain soft and full with no fall out. Winning.
The last of the Soap and Glory big-ups, I swear! There’s a reason why makeup artists adore the Solar Powder bronzer – It’s subtle, buildable, never orange and always natural.
There are sooo many amazing drug store lipsticks – I adore Rimmel, Bourjois, Topshop…
NYX lip products just have ‘it’ though – and I have pretty much the entire collection – lipsticks, pencils, butter glosses…
So there ya have it! I’d ADORE to hear your thoughts and suggestions – If any of you know a good BrightMud budget dupe, I’m all ears! Or eye creams in general for that matter…