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Can discount stores really match the beauty giants?

You’ve got to hand it to Aldi and Lidl. They know how to tempt the middle classes.

First it was their mouth-watering offers of cheap smoked salmon, sirloin steak and Parma ham, then last August, Lidl’s sparkling bank holiday deal, a case of Prosecco for £20, had fizz fans queuing at 7am. They reportedly sold out in five minutes.

Now they are luring us in again — this time to their hair & beauty sections — with the same simple, effective tactics.

Both German discount supermarket chains know we like the finer things in life, but have no desire to pay top whack. So they’ve cleverly re-created their own version of bestselling favourites, such as the Tangle Teezer hairbrush, at thrillingly low prices.

Aldi began the trend back in 2015 with its Lacura Caviar Illumination Day Cream, a piffling £6.99 for a 50ml pot, devised in homage to the La Prairie equivalent, the Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer, an eye-watering £292.

Anna Maxted gave her verdict on Aldi and Lidl’s best cash-saving beauty supplies available for a limited time.  She rated Aldi’s Blending Sponge (pictured right) 3/5

This month, Aldi has launched a Blending Sponge that is almost indistinguiable from the pricier Beautyblender bestseller (as illustrated), adding to its impressive Lacura spring beauty collection.

And today Lidl introduces a hair care range for those who want to maintain a salon-glossy look without paying salon prices. As that sounds like everyone we know, you’d better make it snappy as, just like any desirable Aldi or Lidl products, they are all limited edition and will be gone as soon as they sell out.

Here’s our pick of which cash-saving goodies to fight over . . .

THE MAKE-UP MIRACLE

Aldi Blending Sponge (£1.49) is pink and egg-shaped with a tapered tip, in the style of the Beautyblender (£16, Boots). I dampen it as instructed before using its wider base to apply and blend my liquid foundation and it goes on like a dream, light and impressively even, in four seconds flat. (I confess, I’ve always used my fingers to apply foundation, and this is quite the revelation.)

My only grumble is that the sponge looks grimy after one use, despite a rinse in warm water. Replacement every 1-3 months is advised, but I’d replace it after a month, if not sooner. I can’t complain though — the Beautyblender’s recommended lifespan is just as brief.

VERDICT: 3/5

Anna claims the Aldi eyeshadow palettes (pictured) are a treat. She compared the quality to Urban Decay's Naked Palette and rated it 5/5 

Anna claims the Aldi eyeshadow palettes (pictured) are a treat. She compared the quality to Urban Decay’s Naked Palette and rated it 5/5 

THE PERFECT PALETTE

Aldi Naturals, and Naturals Two (£5.99) are a glamorous pair of eyeshadow palettes inspired by Urban Decay Naked Palette (£39.50 — eek!), and they are both impressive. Ooh, I purr, feasting my eyes on the 12 neutral shades — sandy to silver, charcoal to slate, beige to nude. They’re matte, shimmery, satin, metallic, a truly gorgeous selection. Spoilt for choice, I go for gold with a dusting of beige.

Urban Decay’s Naked Palette sets a high bar: long-lasting, beautiful tones that blend like butter. But the Aldi colours (above) also slide on smooth as silk and blend well. One sweep of the brush picks up a generous amount of powder — I suspect this isn’t a palette that will last you for ever — but frankly it’s both a treat and a steal.

VERDICT: 5/5

Aldi¿s Lacura Moisture Complex Sheet Mask (pictured) gave Anna softer, brighter skin in 15 minutes. She rated the refreshing mask 3/5 

Aldi’s Lacura Moisture Complex Sheet Mask (pictured) gave Anna softer, brighter skin in 15 minutes. She rated the refreshing mask 3/5 

DRY SKIN SAVIOUR

Aldi’s Lacura Moisture Complex Sheet Mask (£1.99) for sensitive skin contains pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid, and is lavishly infused with a moisturising serum — much like Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Pomegranate Hydrating Face Sheet Mask, which fans hail as a saviour of dry skin (£2.99 Boots).

Aldi’s mask promises intensively hydrated, refreshed skin fast. My face looks tired, crinkled, and spotty, so I’m hoping for miracles.

After 15 minutes I peel off the mask and massage in the residue. Half an hour later I crossly wash it off, as I can feel it sitting on my skin’s surface. I glower into the mirror, then look again. The crinkles remain, but my complexion feels softer and looks brighter and less inflamed.

VERDICT: 3/5

Anna was impressed with Lidl's Miomare Detangling Brush (pictured) and rated it 4/5 

Anna was impressed with Lidl’s Miomare Detangling Brush (pictured) and rated it 4/5 

DETANGLER WITHOUT THE ‘OW’ FACTOR

The Lidl Miomare Detangling Brush £1.29 — based on the cult classic, the Tangle Teezer (around £11, tangle teezer.com), does the trick. I am a reluctant hair-brusher as my scalp is sensitive, but this dinky little brush renders the process almost painless. That said, my hair isn’t as thick and tangly as some. There’s a tiny amount of pulling at the ends, because my hair hasn’t seen a comb in a week, but it’s minimal.

I don’t truly understand how this product removes the ‘ow’ factor, but I don’t care. It might not look as fab as the original, but it works.

VERDICT: 4/5

Anna says she prefers Lidl's Silvercrest Professional Ionic Hairdryer (pictured) to her Philips Care Control

Anna says she prefers Lidl’s Silvercrest Professional Ionic Hairdryer (pictured) to her Philips Care Control

BUDGET HAIR DRYER

Lidl Silvercrest Professional Ionic Hairdryer £14.99 is just over half the price of a BaByliss Pro Speed 2100 Salon AC Hair Dryer, (£28, John Lewis) and I’m hoping its 2100W AC motor will blow shine and gloss into my hair.

It boasts a volume diffuser, concentration nozzle, two speeds, and three heat settings — yes, yes, impressive, but how does it actually perform? Brilliantly, is the answer.

It has a smaller nozzle than my more powerful Philips Care Control (2200W, £27.40 Amazon), so its air-flow feels more intense. It dries my hair within minutes, and the look is far smoother than normal. I’m so impressed that I unplug my Philips. The Silvercrest takes its place as my primary hairdryer.

VERDICT: 5/5

Anna rated Lidl¿s Silvercrest Hair Straightening Comb (pictured) 4/5 for it's inexpensive ability to achieve sleek, straight hair

Anna rated Lidl’s Silvercrest Hair Straightening Comb (pictured) 4/5 for it’s inexpensive ability to achieve sleek, straight hair

MAGIC STRAIGHTENER 

Lidl’s Silvercrest Hair Straightening Comb £12.99 is a less financially ruinous option than the Dafni hair straightening brush (£120, John Lewis), which it resembles. My hair is low on shine and fuzzes at the ends.

I plug in the Comb, which quickly heats to 150c. As my hair is fine and highlighted, I reduce the heat to 120c as instructed, slightly dampen my hair and tentatively slide the brush through it.

I’m nervous of singeing my hair to a crisp, but a few careful strokes and I’m Cleopatra’d. My hair looks sleeker, elegant and straight. I catch myself smiling in the mirror, ready to raise a glass of bargain fizz to inexpensive glamour!

VERDICT: 4/5



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