Cash flow-friendly beauty is booming, but which brands provide standout quality at a high street price? Here are 7 cheap beauty brands that are blowing our minds (and not our budget)
When it comes to a beauty bargain, we all have our go-to brands. Whether it's Topshop for a lipstick, Revolution for an eyeshadow, Sleek for a highlighter palette, Beauty Pie for skincare or No7 for a foundation , we no longer have to wait until payday to get our fix. What's even more exciting though, is the number of low price brands entering the fold - our pennies now go further than they've ever gone before.
Benefiting both consumer and retailer, the business of budget beauty is currently booming. Superdrug is one such example, with the high street heavyweight having seen a 41 per cent increase in profits in 2016. With its cosmetics category growing by 14 per cent, its success was due in part to the introduction of a number of new brands to its portfolio last year to provide an unprecedented amount of choice at our fingertips. And it isn't just Superdrug; other retailers are also stepping up to the plate to expand their offerings further. Which brands offer standout quality at an affordable price? Whether recently launched or just less well known, here are seven that hold their own alongside our favourites.
While prices may have started at 10, 25 or 50 cents in the brand’s first Amsterdam store in 1926, HEMA’s value for money still proves pretty hard to beat nearly a hundred years on. From stationery to furniture, concealers to cosmetics, the Dutch lifestyle store stocks a wide-ranging variety of products to suit both home and makeup bag - and it’s all of supremely great quality. Highlights include the bestselling Soft Matte Lip Balms , £4.75, (available in 14 shades), pigmented powder eyeshadows (starting from £2) and Sun Screen Coolbag , £5.50, whose silver lining ensures your makeup won’t melt in the heat - brilliant ( read our full review of the SPF bag here ).
Lacura at ALDI
In terms of beauty dupes , Lacura from Aldi is currently creating quite the stir in the industry. In the skincare stakes, its Hot Cloth Cleanser gives Liz Earle’s cult variation a run for its money , while its new Lacura Exfoliating Mud Mask , £5.99, acts as a doppelgänger packaging-wise for GlamGlow’s Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment (£39). Containing witch hazel, red algae extract clay and green tea extract, the mud mask aims to leave skin firmer and more radiant - if you have sensitive skin , turn away, but if pores, fine lines and wrinkles are areas you’re looking to tackle, it makes for a less costly alternative that you can just pop into your trolley during your grocery shop.
From hairdryers to fake tan , stress sprays to face sculpting palettes, the extensiveness of Primark’s beauty range may very well come as a surprise to many people. However, there are some eye-catchers in there that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially where its line of rose gold Mermaid Makeup Brushes (from £10 for a full set of five) are concerned. Furthermore, its PRISM range (starting from £5) of shimmering eyeshadows, colour changing lipsticks and glitter body paints gives the collection a fun and other-worldly appeal as well as ample opportunity to experiment with colour without blowing all your well-earned cash.
With its purse-friendly price tags and huge social media and US fan bases, e.l.f. has established itself as one of the premier brands in low cost beauty. However, its sparse e-commerce presence on our side of the pond ensured it was somewhat restricted in its availability - that was until Superdrug opened its doors to the brand earlier this year (e.l.f’s first major distribution deal in the UK).
Standing for Eyes. Lips. Face, its offering of skincare and makeup makes for the perfect pre and post payday treat. Its Mix and Match Blush Palettes , £7.50, Need It Nude Eyeshadow Palette , £12.50, and e.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powders , £5, are just a handful of picks that caught our eye, but in all honesty, it’s extremely hard to choose just a handful. The partnership with Superdrug spells great things for better nationwide awareness (and if you have a Superdrug Points card!), but for a more comprehensive assortment of its skincare and shades, we’d recommend heading to the brand’s UK site . Both have their place.
Finding colour cosmetics for darker skin tones can usually be an expensive business, so when we stumbled across this brand while attending a Superdrug Shades of Beauty campaign event a couple of years ago, its range of options for medium to dark brown complexions immediately piqued our interest. Pigmented and premium, its blushers , £8 (Tropicana is a personal favourite), medium coverage powder foundations , £13, and lipsticks , £8, all come highly recommended.
Created by the brains behind budget beauty favourites, Makeup Revolution, this equally cheap and chic palette-building brand offers a variety of choices at your fingertips. Providing the option to pick and mix your shades that clip in and clip out, its highlighters , £3, and eyeshadows , £2, are of particular note for both their high intensity finish and selection of colours.
If you’re looking for beautifully scented products with the ability to take your bathroom from city to spa, this collection of blissful bath, hair and body care products prove going ‘free-from’ needn’t mean you have to splurge on high end brands. Free from sulphates, parabens, petrochemicals, silicones, MI and cocamide DEA (a bath and shower gel thickener), its hydrating Super Shine Argan & Kukui Oil Conditioner , £4.99, and Coconut & Monoi Foaming Sugar Scrub , £5.99, are just as delicious as they sound.