YOU get what you pay for, right? Well, not exactly.
While there are some things in life worth splurging on, like perfumes, a good mattress and well-fitting shoes, sometimes, you can’t beat an affordable brand (tell us Cadbury isn’t the tastiest chocolate…).
They might not always be the best looking, but as the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book – or beauty product – by its cover.
Saving money in certain areas means you can then afford to spend more where it really makes a difference.
When it comes to these beauty buys, you don’t need to break the bank.
There’s a reason Batiste sells more than two cans of its dry shampoo every second.
It might not have been the first of its kind, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best.
- Batiste Dry Shampoo Original, £2.99 from Tesco – buy now
If you’re going to spray your hair with what is effectively pressurised talc, you don’t need to pay double figures for the pleasure.
Sure, some of the pricier options are better for building body, creating lasting texture or leaving a lovely scent (if there’s another Byredo X Ouai collab, I’ll be first in the queue).
But if you’re looking for an oil-absorbing spray to revive second-day locks, you don’t need to pay more than a fiver, especially when it’s best used in large quantities.
I douse my roots in Batiste Dry Shampoo Original, £2.99, most nights to keep grease at bay – this way, it has time to sink in and absorb the excess oils.
- Colab Dry Shampoo Spray Original, £3.49 from Feelunique – buy now
If you’re worried about a dusty residue, Colab Dry Shampoo Spray Original, £3.49, is invisible, and still costs less than a meal deal.
If there’s any cosmetics category worth investing in, it’s skincare – but not all steps require the same spend.
When it comes to active ingredients, the quality often increases in line with the price tag (although, the jury is still out on whether a triple-figure face cream can ever be justified).
- The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £11 from The Body Shop – buy now
Save your pennies for pricey serums and products containing vitamin C and retinol.
Cleanser, on the other hand, is often on your face for less than a minute, and you’re quite literally washing it down the drain, so why spend big bucks?
French pharmacy brands, such as Avéne and La Roche-Posay, have a whole host of face washes for around a tenner.
If they’re good enough for uber-cool (and always flawless) French women, they’re certainly good enough for us.
- CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, £12 from Asos – buy now
Cult classics The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £11, and CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, £12, both have a permanent place in my cabinet, and easily out-shine versions more than twice the price.
No matter how much time or money I spend on my at-home mani, I’m lucky to get a couple of days’ wear before it chips.
Yes, the designer bottles look lovely on my dressing table, and I’m guilty of falling for the pretty packaging now and then, but I have to reapply the colour so often that they generally go thick and claggy after a few months due to air getting into the bottle, no matter how expensive the product.
- Sally Hansen Insta-dri Quick Dry Nail Polish, £4.99 from Boots – buy now
If you’re going to spend good money, you might as well save it for the salon and get a gel manicure that lasts, especially after the awful year the industry has had.
With that in mind, splashing the cash on polish makes little sense, and it would seem the Queen agrees.
She reportedly gives Essie Ballet Slippers Nail Polish, £7.99, the royal seal of approval.
If you struggle to find five minutes to paint your nails, try Sally Hansen Insta-dri Quick Dry Nail Polish, £4.99, which dries in an impressive 60 seconds.
- Revolution High Gloss Nail Polish, £3 from Revolution – buy now
And with a mighty 64 shades to try out, what’s not to love about Revolution High Gloss Nail Polish, £3.
There aren’t many things more luxurious than an expensive body cream – they make great gifts, and take the idea of self-care to a whole new level.
But that’s the thing, they’re a luxury.
- Garnier Body Repair, £5.45 from Superdrug – buy now
When I’m slathering moisturiser on straight out of the shower, I’m not stopping to appreciate the scent or the packaging.
It’s purely functional, and I need something that will quench my scaly legs and sink in fast.
Plus, given the surface area body lotions have to cover, they don’t tend to last very long, so save costly creams for special occasions.
For the daily grind, you can’t really go wrong with the likes of Vaseline, E45 and Aveeno, but my top two buys are Garnier Body Repair, £5.45, and Nivea Soft Moisturising Cream, £4.99, which sells seven tubes every minute! And the best thing is, you can pick them up at the supermarket when you do the next food shop.
- The Body Shop Body Almond Milk Yogurt, £9 from The Body Shop – buy now
If you can stretch the budget slightly, try The Body Shop Body Almond Milk Yogurt, £9 – I’ve yet to find a body lotion that sinks in faster.
It’s the beauty buy with the shortest shelf life.
With decent offerings from almost all of the big high-street brands, and the fact you’re meant to replace it every three months, it pays to buy budget.
- Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, £9.99 from Superdrug – buy now
- L’Oréal Paris Air Volume Mega Mascara Waterproof, £10.99 from Boots – buy now
Trust me, it’s much easier to throw away a bacteria-riddled wand that cost £10 than it is one that cost three times the price!
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Everyone went mad for Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara, £9.99, when it launched this year, and the brand sells one mascara every seven seconds, so is obviously doing something right.
If you prefer a tubing formula that wraps lashes in mascara for a thicker, elongated look, you can get those on the cheap, too.
L’Oréal Paris Air Volume Mega Mascara Waterproof, £10.99, washes off with warm water, but doesn’t smudge, so it’s great for anyone who suffers from hay-fever-induced weepy eyes.
TELL us your favourite budget product in our Beauty awards and win some amazing prizes.
- Dots for Spots
- Dove 1 Minute Super Conditioner
- Garnier Micellar Reusable Eco Pads
- By Beauty Bay Soothe Paste Blemish Treatment with Salicylic Acid and Prebiotic
- Rimmel London Wonder’Ink Liquid Eyeliner
- Boutique Gel Nail Polish