Which products would a beauty insider spend their money on and where would they buy them from? Our new 'Beauty Shopaholic' series looks to answer those questions. First up, award-winning journalist, Claire Coleman

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When it comes to the shopping habits of industry insiders, what products would those in-the-know spend their paychecks on? From the high street bargains that provide high end results to the blowout buys that are worth paying the extra money for, we’ll be asking beauty experts for their go-to picks and shopping advice in our new Beauty Shopaholic interview series.

First up, award-winning freelance editor and features journalist Claire Coleman, whose expertise in the science behind beauty makes her the perfect first person to quiz on products that meet or exceed expectations claim and cost-wise.

GTG: What do you look for when you shop for beauty products?

CC: I mostly look for efficacy and something functional rather than buying into a brand name or beautiful packaging. I will make exceptions, but when it comes to skincare, I don’t care what it looks or smells like as long as it does what it says it does. I like to have nice bath oils and shower gels, but I don’t use skincare for my face as a pampering ritual.

GTG: In-store or online?

CC: I’m increasingly buying more online. I’m not a big believer in newer being better - if something works for you, there’s no reason from a convenience perspective not to repurchase it online. With colour cosmetics it's different, especially if you're buying, say, a foundation for the first time where trying something in person makes sense. I recommend not buying it that day, but taking the time to see how it wears as you never know how a foundation will react with your skin.

GTG: You have £500 to spend at a makeup counter or on a brand. Where do you put your money?

CC: I’m really conflicted about this as I’m not someone who needs something to have a beautiful brand name attached to it - it’s more important to me is that it does what I want it to do. And that its packaging is really resilient as I’m constantly dropping compacts - it has to be tough! I love Charlotte Tilbury, but I don’t love her foundations as much as I love others.

In terms of real value for money and totally getting what you’re paying for, I’m in love with Beauty Pie. I think founder Marcia Kilgore is an absolute genius. Having spoken to her about where the products are made, I have no doubt that you’re getting proper quality for a fraction of the price. For me, it’s really difficult to justify buying a bronzer that costs £50 or a powder for £30 when I think Beauty Pie can offer the exact same thing for a tenth of that. It’s not to say that I don’t love other brands, it’s just that if I was going for quality and quantity, Beauty Pie would be my choice. Your could buy their whole range for £500 and that's not something you can say about most brands.

GTG: Favourite budget beauty buy?

CC: Cetaphil Moisturiser , £8.99, as it’s so cheap and so effective. It doesn’t have a sophisticated formula, but it does what it says on the tin - it moisturises and that’s what I want it to do. I always direct people to The Ordinary too, even though you need to have an understanding of how the products work first. If you want efficacy at budget prices, they’re doing it well.

MORE GLOSS: The Ordinary foundations review

GTG: And the most expensive?

CC: Really boringly, I’d probably say something like CE Ferulic from Skinceuticals , £129. It’s something every dermatologist recommends but it’s so expensive that I find it hard to recommend it to consumers. From a personal perspective, I’d say Aesop Hand Washes , £27. I love the smell of them and I’ve been known to buy and use them as shower gels too. I’m literally washing money down the drain! So in terms of totally pointless self-indulgent products, they’re up there.

GTG: What’s next on your beauty shopping list?

CC: I’m excited about Glossier coming to the UK next month. I don’t love all of their products, but I think it’s a really cool brand and I’ve been using their Stretch Concealer from the States.

I also want to buy YSL’s new All Hours Foundation , £33.50. It’s brilliant. I like the way that it feels on the skin and the way it provides good coverage without being cakey.

I love seeing what Guerlain has in store for Christmas too - the collections always look beautiful. I’m also really excited by the Stylpro Makeup Brush Cleaner , £49.99 - if I didn’t have one already, I’d want one. If you’re shopping for a makeup junkie and don’t know want to get them, buy them this - because who doesn’t want an easy and fast way to clean their makeup brushes?

Follow Claire on  Twitter  and  Instagram .