I think all of us like a bit of luxury. A beautifully smelling body scrub, moisturiser in a thick glass jar or foundation that just glides on beautifully – don’t know about you, but they can cheer me up on the worst of days. But we don’t always have the budget for that, be it because we have other things to spend money on, or are simply students, forever short of cash.
So today I decided to show you a few of the absolutely beauty heroes, which won’t break your bank. Ones that I will be happy to carry on using even after the tight times are over.
My general rule is to invest in my base (foundation) and, as much as possible, save on everything else (though I admit to sometimes not being able to stop myself from buying a high end blusher…). But there are things I discovered that I don’t see myself replacing even when I’ve heaps of money to just spend on beauty. Here are the chosen ones.
Rimmel – Stay Matte Powder, £3.99
Can be found in literally all drugstores. I go for shade 001 – Transparent, because it doesn’t really have any colour to it, so you don’t have to waste time colour matching. I have slightly oily complexion, and it keeps my face matte (but not flat matte) all day during September-June period (and I do mean close to 10-12h), and for roughly half the day if the temperatures go over 30 degrees. I apply it with a powder puff (also bought for a few pounds), and it lasts me for around 3 months. It really is my holy grail of powders, I’ve been using it for a few years now, and even got my mom hooked. Really, I couldn’t recommend this little beauty highly enough.
Collection – Lasting Perfection Concealer, £4.19
Sorry about the appearance, but low price sometimes means crappy packaging
It has come highly recommended by numerous bloggers, and boy, did it live up to the high expectations. It’s not the highest coverage, but I use it to hide my under eye dark circles and it does the job brilliantly. I used to use the Clinique Airbrush Concealer for that, which is 5 times more expensive and… does exactly the same job. The collection one also seems to last longer, which makes sense, as there are 5ml of it in the tube, as compared to the 1.5ml or so in the Clinique (which makes Clinique 15 times more expensive or so, if looking at the quantities of the product). If you need something to hide loads of blemishes, this might not be up for the job, but for under eye circles – we’ve got a winner.
3INA – The Lipstick, £4.95
Loads of colours to choose from, beautiful shades. I stumbled upon their newly opened shop in Covent Garden when I was coming back home, angry at the Apple Store. I have to admit, this lipstick was a total ‘cheer-me-up-asap’ kind of purchase. But unlike most of such random buys, this one exceeded all expectations I may have had of a £5 lippie. It might not have the gliding feeling of some of the more pricey ones, but it stays on better than anything I’ve ever put on. If I apply it in the morning, at 9pm my lips will still have a nice colour to them. Not as neat and lovely as when I first put it on, but you have to admit, the staying power is impressive. Given that, you know, I eat during the day. So if you’re on a budget but looking for something that will survive a wedding/prom/work day with little to no touch ups, head to the 3INA store or website, you won’t be disappointed.
Skin care is a bit of a difficult one. We know that if we want some serious quality, we need to splurge a bit. As my absolute beauty guru, Caroline Hirons, says, making a high quality product simply takes money. That’s why those with loads of fantastic active ingredients will not be cheap. Research isn’t cheap, after all. But if you have young, unproblematic skin, or are yet to start your anti-aging regime, I think you can get away with more budget-friendly products, without compromising on quality.
Superdrug – Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser, £4.99
This is my absolute holy grail. I tried to go without it. I couldn’t. I tried cleansers 2, 3, 4 times more expensive than this one. They didn’t compare with my trusted Superdrug. I know, not the most glamorous of cleansers. The smell is average (very characteristic for products with vitamin E), the packaging is alright (though the writing and stickers stay on, no problem), the ingredients are nothing special. But the way it works… It’s beautifully creamy, almost lush, and it literally *melts* make up off. That’s right. Anything you have on, give it a rub with this beauty and it’s gone. Poof. And it’s great for eye make up removal, too. Even though I’ve sensitive eyes, and massaging most cleansers over the eye area results me in tearing up as if I was watching Titanic, this cleanser does nothing like that. I probably had it in my eye more times than I can count to, and never, not once, had a bad reaction to it. It’s also usually on either 3-for-2 or buy-one-get-one-half-price offer, so even better for the wallet.
Jason – Revitalising Vitamin E 5,000 IU Moisturising Cream, £7.30
I discovered it while looking for some affordable face cream on lookfantastic. It didn’t look too exciting, but the low price (they offer a student discount, too, through Unidays) and a decent looking ingredients list convinced me to buy it. This is a no fuss moisturiser. It won’t wow you with any special features, won’t brighten your face, give you SPF protection or anything like that. It will, quite simply, properly moisturise your face, using pretty good ingredients. Sounds like a good deal? It definitely is, given that the jar is a massive 113g, so roughly twice the size of a regular face cream. It’s effective, absorbs well, and can be used under make up. Beware, it might be better for slightly oilier complexions, as I tested this on a dried-skinned Mr Arguably Honest and he didn’t find it moisturising enough. But that guy is obsessed with moisturising.
Nip+Fab – Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme, £14.95
A bit less budget-friendly, but they’re constantly on a half price offer in Superdrug, so I wouldn’t sweat over the price, just wait for the offer to pop up. You get 60 pads soaked with lovely acids: glycolic, lactic and salicylic, all of which act to gently, but effectively, exfoliate your face. If you’re one of the people who think they can only exfoliate their face if they’re rubbing it with something sharp then, well, you should try these pads. Your epidermis will thank you. Physical exfoliation can cause micro damage to the skin, giving bacteria and all the nasties a little party space on your face. Acids do the same thing much more gently. The pads cause a slight, acid tinge, but nothing out of ordinary, they’re not as extreme as they think they are. I use them around 3 times a week, and at this rate they will last me around 5 months, which I say is really good for the price. They’re also fantastic if you’re a bit spotty.