We’ve been programmed to think if something is expensive, it must be the best we can get. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially in the world of beauty where each product is trialled and tested thousands of times over to make it consumer-safe and true to their word, whatever the cost. With advertising standards upping their game, this means beauty brands have had to follow suit in order to make the cut, and we as consumers are able to recognize the bull from the real thing. Here at SL we’ve been splurging, slathering and testing budget beauty brands so you know the bargains that deliver, saving you time and, most importantly, £££’s too. Here’s our top 32 affordable buys.
£5 and under
e.l.f Velvet Matte Lipsticks: Experiment colour without spending a fortune. These super-moisturising formulas will give good pout.
Rimmel London Nail Nurse Base & Top Coat 5 in 1: Nurse your nails to good health with a coat of this nail treatment that doubles up as a shiny clear polish too.
Lotil Original Cream: The cheap (wo)man’s version of Eight Hour Cream. Slather on your face, body, hands, feet – basically anywhere – for hardcore moisturisation.
Simple Dual Eye Makeup Remover: Banish panda eyes without the sting with this soothing formula that is gentle enough for sensitive eyes.
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo Oat Milk: Blast your roots with this miracle worker. It removes greasiness, adds texture and prolongs the time between washes.
Pantene ProV Repair & Protect Intensive Mask: Over-styled hair needs extra TLC. Wrap freshly-washed hair in this treatment and leave for 10 minutes for shiny, reformed locks.
The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream: Keep your mitts in tip-top condition with this sweet-smelling hand moisturiser. The almond oil (a manicurist’s essential) and shea butter will nourish dry hands in seconds.
Boots Body Detox Brush: A great way to boost circulation and tackle cellulite at the same time. Just remember to use long firm upward strokes (towards the heart).
£10 and under
Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara: With one bought every 2.5 seconds in Boots, the figures speak for themselves.
Topshop Longwear Eye Crayons: For intense colour with long-lasting results, this will soon become your new best friend.
The Inkey List Caffeine Serum: Get your daily caffeine fix with this no-nonsense eye serum that leaves you bright-eyed and buzzing to go.
GOW Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid: This range from Victoria Health is causing noise in the beauty world. Affordable, hard-working and without any nasties. This is one of our faves so far.
Charles Worthington Everyday Gentle Miracle Jelly: A leave-in conditioner proven to bring life back to your tresses within just one week.
L’Oreal Magic Retouch Precision Instant Grey Concealer Brush: Pressed for time? This is your answer for quick touch-ups in between salon visits.
Bio-Oil: A favourite with the Kardashian clan, this multi-purpose miracle worker nourishes and strengthens skin without a grease mark in sight.
Soaper Duper Deluxe Nourishing Coconut Body Wash: Lather up and transport yourself to sunnier climes. Smells like a holiday in a bottle.
£15 and Under
Revlon ColourStay Foundation: An oldie but a goodie, this keeps your skin looking impeccable all day long.
Rosie for Autograph Starstruck Lip and Cheek Colour: This multipurpose stick delivers easy on-the-go colour leaving a rosy I’ve-just-come-in-from-the-cold glow to skin.
Sanctuary Spa 1-Minute Daily Glow Mask: This super quick glow-getter is your answer to tired skin. Pop on pre-shower for a morning boost.
Glossier Milky jelly Cleanser: An all-round cleanser that removes makeup – even waterproof varieties – and leaves skin squeaky clean without feeling dry.
Nourkin Shampoo & Scalp Cleanser: Wakes up scalps with a pleasurable tingle while strengthening thinning hair. (And great for men, too!)
GHD Straight & Tame: Manages unruly, rebellious locks and puts baby hairs in their place.
This Works Deep Sleep Shower Gel: A must for every insomniac. Delicately fragranced with Camomile, Lavender and Vetiver to put you in wind down mode.
Weleda Calendula Oil: Not just for babies. Super-hydrating, super-nourishing and super-gentle. Add a few drops to your bath for a skin boost, just beware of a slippery tub.
£20 and Under
GloBeauty Illuminating Primer: Makes fine lines less obvious while adding luminescence to the skin.
Clinique Take The Day Off MakeUp Remover: Dissolves makeup in seconds – even the waterproof varieties – without the need to tug or pull on skin. Gentle enough for contact lens wearers and sensitive skins too.
Indeed Labs NanoBlur: Blurs the appearance of fine lines and large pores in under 40 seconds.
Super Facialist Retinol + Anti-Ageing day Cream: A great intro to first-time retinol users. Keeps skin hydrated, firm and lines at bay.
Nexuss Nutritive Encapsulate Serum: For enviable shine, coat hair in this fast-absorbing hair serum that nourishes and tames unruly ends without feeling sticky or greasy.
MorrocanOil Root Boost: Ensure your style doesn’t full flat throughput the day. Lift, volumize and boost your tresses in just one spritz.
Rituals Ayurveda Body Scrub: Slough away dead skin with this rose-scented scrub that leaves a silky oily veil on ‘fresh’ skin.
Isle Of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops: Customise your tan according to your look with these easy adaptable drops. Genius!