But there’s one key thing missing from the budget skincare range…

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From Aldi’s Lacura  to Lidl’s Cien  and Boots’ new budget own-brand anti-ageing offering , cut-price skincare, and bargain dupes , have become par for the course in the beauty industry, as more and more of us are clued up on ingredients and increasingly less seduced by ‘smoke and mirrors marketing’. Functional basics come before fairy dust, and if we can pick up our moisturiser with our mop heads and weekday meals, all the better.

The latest budget skincare launch beats other affordable brands to it in the race to the bottom from a price point perspective: everything in the six piece #6 range by Poundland costs £1 (I mean...Poundland), allowing you to deck out your entire bathroom shelf for little over a fiver.

The clean, green, grey and white packaging, plus recognisable font, will ring bells if you’ve popped into a certain high street chemist in the past few decades, and the #6 naming is about as blatant as beauty copies come. Poundland is sending up a particular Boots range good and proper, and actually, much of what you’ll encounter in the Anti-Ageing lineup isn’t half bad, even if it doesn’t exactly do what is says on the tube. Here’s what works, and what misses the mark.

The good

Everything’s a pound

Let’s start with the glaringly obvious, but there are six products as follows, all equally priced:

Micellar Water

Anti-Ageing Day Cream

Anti-Ageing Night Cream

Anti-Ageing Derma Serum

Anti-Ageing Night Cream

Anti-Ageing Collagen Filler

You can see which rough demographic they’re targeting here, but the likes of the micellar water and eye cream in particular will suit all skin types, and products are light textured and quick to absorb, as well as being light of your wallet across the board.

It contains some impressive skincare ingredients

The roster of beneficial actives you’d prioritise in a more premium range are all present and correct: think vitamins A , C  and E, hyaluronic acid , peptides , ceramides and antioxidant algae extracts. In what quantity, and of which quality, we can’t precisely determine, but formulators have thought this one through, and the abundance of moisturising agents will leave skin nicely soft and hydrated.

It’s not loaded with perfume

The Micellar Water and Derma Serum are both fragrance-free , meaning that in theory they pose far less risk of irritation, and while other products in the #6 range do list ‘parfum’, it’s generally pleasingly low down on the ingredient lists, with more restorative components further up. You’d be surprised at how many smellies sneak in towards the top in the luxury skincare market, so a move away from perfume, even if it’s predominantly in just a few products, is a positive step.

It’s hydrating

Glycerin, hyaluronic acid and light, non-fragrant plant oils smooth and soften dry or dehydrated skin, but despite the inclusion of heavier hydrators such as shea butter, textures are surprisingly light. If you’re in need of a plumping day or night cream for less than the price of your average high street filter coffee, #6 has nailed that.

The ugly

There’s no SPF

Just when you thought you had your whole routine sorted- the most key element of all in the ‘anti-ageing’ bracket is AWOL. This is likely due to the fact that sunscreens are most expensive to formulate and subject to stricter safety regulations, but still, a day cream without SPF (and containing a  retinoid , which can make skin more sensitive to UV rays) is risky business. Here’s hoping #6 becomes #7 soon.

The collagen thing is a bit of a gimmick

Poundland has pumped  collagen  into four of the six products (the Day Cream, Night Cream, Eye Cream and aptly named Collagen Filler), but even though it’s listed as ‘soluble collagen’ on the packet, given that the collagen protein molecule is notoriously large, there’s no telling whether it’ll absorb directly into skin and be of real benefit. Dermatologists generally agree that you’re better off sticking to cell-communicating ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C  that encourage your body to synthesize its own collagen. Also, the Collagen Filler in the range won’t get you anywhere near the effect of an injectable as its name implies- the ‘filling’ element is down to moisture-binding hyaluronic acid, and you can attribute instant line smoothing to silicone. Nice try.

Otherwise, on the whole, bravo #6 for bringing useful, economical and skin-barrier boosting basics to the masses. Everyone can afford this stuff, and it will quench thirsty skin effectively, even if it isn’t at the cutting-edge of anti-ageing or skincare tech.

#6 skincare is available at  Poundland stores

The new budget Boots own-brand range that starts at 75p

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