Our 50 tried-and-trusted hero buys – all for under £20
With the gifting frenzy of Christmas behind us but the dent in our pockets still very much with us, at YOU we decided this was the perfect time to put together a budget beauty special.
We capped the very upper limit at £20 but the truth is that we didn’t go that high. After rounding up all our favourites – not just those of the beauty desk (myself and Alice Robertson) but of the whole YOU team and even polling our friends and family – we decided we could put together a host of some winners, many of which would come in at £15. In fact, most are quite a bit less than that. The real exception came with Vichy’s Mineral 89 Serum, which is £16 but a real moisturising winner with its hyaluronic acid. Some people break the internet, this little beauty broke a potential price ceiling.
Other than that, included in our top picks are products that keep coming up trumps, alongside some new launches you may not have seen yet and, I hope, some that you may never have even thought of.
Everything on these pages is worthy of its place in a bathroom cabinet or make-up bag regardless of its price tag. Maybe some aren’t as luxurious, packaged as lusciously or fragranced as charmingly as some more expensive offerings, but they all deliver – they just don’t cost an arm and a leg (though one of them will moisturise them brilliantly).
My personal top ten budget beauty buys:
No 7 The Full 360 Mascara, £10 until 13 February then £14, boots.com
This doesn’t launch until Wednesday but it impressed me and the YOU team when it arrived recently. It doesn’t clump, can be layered to build up, separates lashes and has a well-designed curved brush to shape them. It’s a brilliant all-rounder.
Mary Kay Precision Brow Liner, £12, marykay.co.uk
Yes, there are some interesting products out there for brows at the moment but, for a good pencil that helps to give a bit of oomph and distinction, this one really is excellent.
Colgate Max White Expert Whitening Toothpaste, £6, boots.com
I’m terrified to do the full dental whitening, but I’m extremely impressed by this range. Don’t expect the same results as a pro treatment; it does brighten, though.
House of Glamdolls GlamBase Wheel, £15, houseofglamdolls.com
You get a lot for your money with this as it contains concealer, sculpting and illuminating options and is also well pigmented. I was introduced to it by make-up artist Lee Pycroft and I was seriously impressed. It gave coverage but looked natural, didn’t settle in lines and made me look loads better. Available for a range of skin tones.
Westlab Relaxing Magnesium Flakes, £8.99 for 1kg, westlabsalts.co.uk
These are a must when I need a good night’s sleep and help with winding down. At this price I’m happy to pour a load in the bath.
Elf No Budge Shadow Stick, £5, boots.com
Sure, you can buy expensive versions in fancy packaging but, frankly, this eye pencil is brilliant. I use it more as a chunky eyeliner and blend it out a bit. And it stays put – even throughout a rather merry and prolonged evening recently. I love it.
Lanolips Hydrating Lip Luminiser, £13, cultbeauty.co.uk
I always like a bit of Lanolips and am a fan of The Original With Colour too but this latest version also cares for lips and gives an added gloss-like shimmer.
Paul & Joe Fragrance Rollerball, £14, feelunique.com
Launched this month, this rollerball fragrance smells as delightful as it looks. Not a complicated high scent but that isn’t always what I’m after.
Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Face Cleanser, £5.99, superdrug.com
This creamy formula is a popular choice with beauty editors as it leaves skin clean and looking brighter. It also comes with a muslin cloth.
Rituals The Ritual of Ayurveda Foaming Shower Gel, £8.50, rituals.com
It couldn’t be more luxurious. Choose from a variety of fragrances or the one that comes out in the shape of a 3D flower. A treat to use.
Fab for the face
Clockwise from top:
Luxury Turkish Cotton Face Cloths, £1.50 each, george.com.
La Roche-Posay Serozinc cleansing mist, £10, boots.com.
B pure Micellar Water, £1.89, superdrug.com.
nSpa Deep Cleansing Facial Oil, £4.99, fragrancedirect.co.uk.
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, £9, feelunique.com.
Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C 23% Serum & Ferulic Acid, £10, victoriahealth.com.
Inkey List Caffeine Eye Serum, £8.99, cultbeauty.co.uk.
Sanctuary Spa 1 Minute Daily Glow Mask, £14, lookfantastic.com.
Vichy Mineral 89 Serum, £16, escentual.com.
eos Vanilla Mint lip balm, £5.95, beautybay.com
Heavenly for hair
Clockwise from top left:
Percy & Reed Dry Instant Volumising Spray, £15, percyandreed.com.
Pantene Superfood Shampoo, £3, tesco.com.
Fudge Clean Blonde Damage Rewind, £14.95, feelunique.com.
Redken Wind Blown 05, £13.50, lookfantastic.com.
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moisture, £4.99, superdrug.com.
Josh Wood Colour Shade Shot Plus, £5, boots.com.
VO5 Hot Oil, £4.99, boots.com.
Wetbrush Classic Detangler, £11.99, cultbeauty.co.uk.
John Frieda Frizz Ease serum, £6.99, johnfrieda.co.uk.
Batiste Dry Shampoo Original, £2.99, boots.com
Clockwise from top:
Childs Farm Sensitive Bubble Bath, £7.49, boots.com.
Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash, £2.65, boots.com.
Glossier Boy Brow Filler and Shaper, £14, glossier.com.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, £10.80, boots.com.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Lavender Bath Salts, £14.50, nealsyardremedies.co.uk.
Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturiser, £6.59, boots.com.
Nivea Creme, £1.39, boots.com.
Eucerin Urea Repair Plus Hand Cream, £8, boots.com.
Maybelline Great Lash, £5.99, boots.com.
Max Factor Colour Elixir Lip Cushion, £8.99, superdrug.com
Make-up must haves
Left to right, from top:
L’Oreal Infallible 24hr Fresh Wear, £10.99, boots.com.
Ohii Wake Up Pen, £15, urbanoutfitters.com.
Rimmel Glam’eyes Liquid Liner, £5.29, superdrug.com.
Revlon Kiss Cushion Lip Tint, £7.99, boots.com.
Avon True Ultra Volume Lash Magnifying Mascara, £8.50, avon.uk.com.
Topshop Ultra Matte Blurred mattifier, £10, topshop.com.
Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush, £6.99, boots.com.
Rimmel 60 Second Super Shine nail polish, £2.99, superdrug.com.
Kiko Matte Fusion Powder, £10.99, kikocosmetics.com.
Lacura Aloha Bronzer, £5.99, Aldi stores