As previously stated in last month's '10 Under £10 : Makeup' post, when it comes to feeding my beauty obsession, my picks tend to originate from luxe sources. Regarding skincare especially, my mantra of 'quality over quantity' is applied with little regard to financial regulation. My skin is fussy, and I'm a big believer in investing in skincare. Better skincare equates to better skin, and therefore less need for makeup [and isn't a flawless bare face every girl's dream??]. Despite my extravagant inclinations however, I most certainly do not shirk from those affordable offerings which have succeeded in their missions when applied to my finicky and sensitive skin. If it ain't broke, then why fix it?
Whilst a good majority of budget skincare offerings make me cringe [I spotted wasabi face wash in Boots last week?], the high street pharmacy is also home to some fantastic skincare brands which offer effective, innovative, and affordable options for the discerning skincare user. You can find some of my favourite budget beauty brands listed here, and in truth I'd recommend anything from the brands below. La Roche-Posay and Avene especially are brilliant options, and I'd happily use them exclusively for the rest of my life [if necessity called for such an extreme!].
Below are ten products, all of which can each be picked up for less than £10, but which I would happily spend twice as much on. Long-term favourites of mine, regulars on the 'must repurchase' list, and frequently recommended to those friends and family members who would rather not spend their pay-check in Space NK. They all work just as well as [if not better than] many of their high-end counterparts.
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water In my opinion the best of the high street's many attempts to dupe French pharmacy favourite Bioderma Sensibo H2O. This makeup-removing marvel looks, smells, and feels like water [and is every bit as gentle], but is formed with micelles [tiny oil particles which attract and lift oil and wax based substances [e.g. sebum and makeup] from your skin]. A few cotton pads soaked in this solution provides the ideal way to remove the majority of your makeup [including stubborn mascara] before using something like the below cleansing oil for a second cleanse. It removes makeup brilliantly, doesn't aggravate my sensitive skin and eyes, and doesn't leave an oily residue upon the skin. It's also nearly always on offer in Boots, FYI.
The Body Shop Chamomile Silk Cleansing Oil Rarely do the words 'budget' and 'luxury' meet, especially when it comes to skincare. However this Body Shop favourite is more than worthy of both. A light and gorgeously scented oil which melts away the last traces of makeup and leaves your skin feeling clean, soft, and bright - yet rings in at just £10 [!?]. It's not the most speedy or fuss-free of products, but does make for a sensual cleansing experience, and is ideal if you like to take the time to massage your cleanser into your skin.
Soap & Glory The Ultimelt Hot Cloth Cleanser Soap & Glory's take on the popular hot cloth cleanser trend is in my opinion the best of the bunch [yes, better than Liz Earle!]. Another product which adds something a little extra to the cleansing experience [I like to massage it in for a while before steaming my face under a hot cloth, then remove], this isn't your regular wash-on-wash-off. Like the above, it's brilliant at removing stubborn makeup, and is fantastic for using in the winter or if you suffer from dry skin - it's super moisturising.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. By far the best spot-on spot-treatment I have ever used [and coincidentally sister product to my ultimate favourite Effaclar Duo], I am never without a tube of this skincare goodness. Unlike many similar products, its efficacy doesn't wear off after a matter of weeks [anyone else find their skin builds an immunity to some treatments?], and doesn't dry out the blemish [leading to scarring]. Reducing the size, redness, and pain of blemishes in a matter of hours, this stuff is seriously speedy. If I apply it the second I feel that ever so slightly tender pre-spot sensation, then a quick dab stops said blemish before it's even had chance to properly form. Kick ass skincare, for sure.
La Roche-Posay Serozinc* Serozinc is one of those 'love it or hate it' products which gets a lot of airtime in the beauty blogging world. Formulated solely from thermal water, zinc, and salt, it's easy to see why some people are sceptical in regards to its oft acknowedged prowess. Admittedly I was also a sceptic to begin with, but am now wholly converted and spray this can in wanton abundance. I've found it to be a massive help in calming the angry inflammation currently plaguing my cheeks - it's incredibly refreshing and instantly calming.
Lush Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask I'm a big fan of Lush's face masks, and truly there isn't one I wouldn't recommend. There's nothing quite so soothing as applying a thick layer of cold, freshly-scented product to a troublesome complexion! This is one of the first Lush masks I ever used, and probably my most repurchased. It's aimed at blemish-prone skin and is enriched with honey, tea tree, and garlic [natural anti-bacterials] so leaves skin clean and blemishes treated. If you're ever tempted to reach for harsh, strong products when battling breakouts, opt for this instead; it's gentle, moisturising and soothing - exactly what you need.
No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm Most cleansing balms come with a rather hefty price tag, but this one can be picked up from as little as £4.50 [with the addition of those helpful little No7 vouchers]. Like an oil, a balm is a comforting and luxurious way to cleanse and remove makeup, and this one in particular always leaves my face feeling especially soft and hydrated. Note that it's hypoallergenic, so is a fantastic option if you have especially sensitive or dry skin.
Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser
One of my all-time favourite
cleansers products ever, I [and every self-respecting Parisian] am never without a bottle of this miracle worker in my bathroom cabinet. The wonder of it is that the product itself is light, delicate, and soothing - the gentlest, mildest, most unassuming white lotion you could ever imagine, yet it removes grime from your face that you didn't even know existed. I always recommend this to those with sensitive skin, or anyone has spent years plaguing a blemish-prone complexion with harsh astringent products. This is back to basics skincare, at its best.
The Body Shop Facial Massager A facial massager is a worthy addition to any skincare lover's lineup. By stimulating blood flow to the surface of the skin and encouraging cell turnover, they can help to reduce the appearance of scarring and fine lines, as well as boost a tired or lacklustre complexion. Five minutes use before bed is a fantastic way to massage in [and thereby improve the performance of] your evening skincare products [oils and serums in particular can really benefit from such a massage], and saves you getting greasy hands. I decided to opt for this budget offering over more expensive alternatives just in case it didn't work for my sensitive skin. It's been such a success however, that I wouldn't advise spending any more than £10 when this does the job so well.
No7 Essential Moisture Day Cream I'm often asked to recommend a good basic, 'does what it says on the tin' moisturiser, and this is always my first proposal. It's exactly that; a sound and simple cream which applies thick and cool, providing a boost of moisture, and guaranteeing a bright and plump complexion come morning. It's cheap, so when my skin is particularly dry or dehydrated, I lather it on thick and mask-like [don't neglect the neck!]. I've used both the day and night versions but bizarrely find the day version to be thicker and better. Again, with the voucher, a tub will cost you less than your bus fare.
What are your under £10 skincare favourites?