Scottish Daily Mail

Look this good for less with my guide to budget beauty

- Hannah Betts

OVER the many years I’ve written about beauty, I’ve never understood the snobby claim that costly cosmetics are superior.

This is sometimes the case, but it’s often not — meaning that, even if you’re a rich gal, it pays to be a cheap date in certain areas.

Like all sane shoppers, especially in penniless January, I scrimp in some places so I can splurge in others. High/low beauty is about getting the best bang for your buck.

A company such as Procter & Gamble has a lot to spend on research. This tech may be headed into its ritzy SK-II label first, but it will also filter down to Olay, which is flogged on such an epic scale that prices remain low. If you long for lancome’s mascaras, take a look at maybelline, also owned by l’Oreal.

Some product genres do merit the spend, such as foundation, concealer and scent.

Last year’s l’Oreal True match Tinted Serum (£13.99, superdrug. com) is apparently an exception to this rule, receiving rave reviews for its sheer, long-lasting finish — but it’s impossible for me to say, because its palest version makes me look like the actor George Hamilton.

Those of us who fail to fit into the bog-standard shades are not wellserved by budget skin coverage.

Besides, good foundation­s are so outstandin­g as of late that I would rather save in other ways and spoil myself here. After all, I don’t want a passable complexion, I want sensationa­l gleam.

SIMILARLY, Zara’s eau de parfums formulated by Jo malone are worth a look. I’m told the breakaway hit is magnificen­tly Dubai (£15.99 for 40ml,, a saffron, nutmeg and leather blend.

However, I don’t intend to purchase something online that I haven’t sniffed in real life. I’d rather invest in a scent I know I adore from an online discounter, or save my pennies up for something sublime.

If this sounds precious, rest assured that there is nothing I will not do to secure a bargain elsewhere.

Despite being deluged by fancy free stuff, my shelves are bulging with finds from Boots, Superdrug and supermarke­ts.

Budget beauties include: Simple, Dove, Johnson & Johnson, Olay, Nivea, l’Oreal, Garnier, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, CeraVe, The Body Shop, rimmel, Bourjois, Elf, Kiko milano, Batiste and mitchum. I often seek out a buy-one, get-one-free deal on these to boot.

Aldi’s lacura range is full of devious dupes, and the supermarke­t is about to start selling a £3.99 gua sha massager (

Aromathera­py Associates’ less costly sister brand, Aroma Active laboratori­es, is also a cracker. I can’t get enough of its rich Soothing Universal repair Cream (£10, boots. com) and Sleep Salt Soak (£15), Epsom salts laced with calming valerian, lavandin, ylang ylang and buddha wood.

Urban myth once held that all mascaras, eyeliners and eyebrow pencils were made in the same Eastern European factory. Not true. However, these are realms in which budget offerings can be just as good as their upmarket rivals.

Cleanser does not need to have expensive added benefits, as it stays on the face for seconds before being sent off down the drain.

CeraVe’s new micellar Cleansing Water (£10, lookfantas­ removes grime without upsetting the skin barrier, unlike more abrasive options. It is also enriched with the fatty ceramides that our skins start to lack in middle age.

Use Skin Proud Clear Skin microfibre Cleansing Pads (£12.95 for two, and you won’t even require cleanser.

I’m sporting Q+A Superfood Facial Oil (now £6, hollandand, beneath l’Oreal’s revitalift Filler SPF 50 Day Cream (£19.99, plus coldweathe­r classic Eucerin 10 Per Cent Urea Body lotion (£14, boots.

com), and very happy I am, too. may I also recommend the Pot o’ Wonder — not merely a cheap trick, but free. Simply pool the dregs of all your old face creams and serums together to make a super-charged, magic elixir.

Don’t mix retinol with vitamin C or alpha hydroxy acids, or niacinamid­e with vitamin C, but otherwise let rip. The best cream money can’t buy.

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