Between the shiny, millennial-centric brands delivering fresh drops through your letterbox, the more established, cult buys and the indie outfits selling a fine line in 'natural and organic' products, the beauty landscape has never felt more cluttered.
To help you to navigate this brave new world of retinol, AHAs, jade rollers and double cleansing, WH beauty editor, Perdita Nouril, is here to try and test the new drops that are making their way into her (very full) bathroom, via her new column, Beauty Dispatch.
Here, she'll share the freshly released heroes that she loves: ready to let you know where to spend your skin and hair care cash.
This time around, she's testing Aldi's brand new premium skincare range, which includes dupes of some of the best products from Drunk Elephant, Sunday Riley and Huda. Here's how it claims to save you £288 on your routine...
More intensive skincare routines are on the rise, with one in five of us increasing the time we spend each day layering on products, per a recent survey. As such, it’s no surprise that 76% of people who bought cleansers, toners and serums last year said that price remains a key factor, when they choose which item to buy.
It's why budget supermarket Aldi is following in the footsteps of ingredient-led yet inexpensive brands like The Ordinary, Inkey List and Beauty Pie and is launching a brand-new premium skincare range that promises beauty lovers high-quality ingredients without the hefty price tag. These are being sold under the shop's 'Lacura' range.
Here's everything you need to know...
What is the Aldi Lacura skincare range?
The range includes a Jelly Cleanser, Microdermabrasion Scrub, Vitamin C Serum, Intensive Eye Cream and Glycolic Exfoliating Treatment – basically all the staples you'd need to tackle dullness, fine lines and pigmentation.
The entire range will set you back a mere £30.94. Pretty tempting, right? But do the products work? And what's more, how do they stack up against some of their leading beauty competitors that have near-identical ingredient lists?
Here's what happened when I gave them a go...
Lacura Jelly Cleanser (£3.99, 150ml)
Hero ingredients include marula oil, glycerin, watermelon extract as well as coconut, all of which are known to melt away the day's dirt and make-up. It's also free of skin-stripping ingredients such as fragrance or essential oils and is certified cruelty-free.
Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser, (£27,150ml)
This too contains coconut-based surfactants that work together to create a rich foam, which dissolves make-up, sunscreen and sebum. There is also virgin marula oil, glycerin and antioxidant-rich cantaloupe fruit (aka melon) to soothe and hydrate.
These products are so similar it was hard to tell the difference. Lacura's lathered up nicely, allowing me to really massage into the skin and it did a stellar job at removing stubborn make-up and daily grime build-up.
Best of all, it didn't leave my skin feeling squeaky clean or tight, which some cheaper products are guilty of. I will say the scent was pretty much non-existent, which I wasn't expecting. I thought I'd at least get a whiff of the watermelon. Drunk Elephant's did feel a tad more luxurious to use. Ultimately though, for just under 4 quid I'd definitely make the switch.
Lacura Pineapple Microdermabrasion Scrub (£3.99, 100ml)
Designed for those who want to dial up their glow, this scrub contains pineapple extract and enzymes that will give complexions a much-needed dose of AHAs for a radiance boost, while continued use will lead to increased absorption of skincare products which can make them more effective.
Huda Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, (£34, for 100ml)
This too contains pineapple and papaya enzymes as well as AHAs that leave the skin with a healthy glow. However it also has the addition of BHA (salicylic acid) so it tad more potent, and also better equipped at blitzing blackheads.
If you have sensitive skin or are new to acids, then Lacura's scrub is a good shout because it's very gentle, yet effective enough for you to notice a difference come morning. However, the added dose of the BHA in Huda's scrub makes this a wiser choice for those who want to keep pesky pores in check.
Lacura Vitamin C Serum (£5.99, 30ml)
This is formulated with an impressive amount of vitamin C (15%), as well as vitamin E (which increases the potency of vit C) and essential fruit extracts. Like most vitamin C serums it's designed to leave your complexion with that enviable ‘lit from within’ look, while providing antioxidant protection from the daily onslaught of environmental aggressors.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (£67, 30ml)
This skincare hero is renowned for its ability to brighten skin like nobody's business. As well as containing Vitamin C, there is also an impressive lineup of pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extracts, which help to dissolves dead surface skin cells for super smooth skin texture and reduce sun damage.
Again, it was hard to tell these two products apart, both had that tell-tale vitamin C smell and both are packaged well enough so that the product doesn't oxidize, rendering it useless (although Drunk Elephant have the edge here, as you mix the serum in a bid to keep it even fresher).
I've always gotten on well with C Firma, and it's served my skin well (along with Alumier MD C+E, another favourite of mine). Ultimately, swapping in Lacura hasn't done my routine or skin any harm. My skin is still getting that hefty dose of antioxidant protection, so if you're looking to cut back on your spending, this is an easy swap to make.
Lacura Glycolic Exfoliating Treatment (£5.99, 30ml)
Aldi says of this product 'Enriched with Glycolic Acid, Prickly Pear and Lemongrass Oil, it offers intense moisture, gentle exfoliation and can even be used as a treatment mask to reveal healthier, more radiant skin.'
Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment (£85, 30ml)
Yep, this too also contains glycolic, lactic acid, prickly pear and lemongrass extract and is loved by a legion of fans for its ability to breaks apart pore-clogging debris, reduce the appearance of congestion, minimise fine lines and brighten skin over time.
For me, nothing will ever beat 'Good Genes.' It's worth its weight in gold in terms of a product where you can see a visible difference the very next day. That's not to say Lacura's glycolic treatment didn't do an admirable job, but it didn't quite beat Sunday Riley.
I suspect because it contains less glycolic (Lacura's contains 4.9 % while SR is thought to contain 7%). I know SR's is an investment but a little really does go a long way.
Lacura Multi-Peptide Moisturiser (£6.99, 50ml)
Formulated with a powerful complex of seven peptides, proteins and nutrients and enriched with Waterlily Extract, the gel-cream is designed to help improve skin tone, texture, firmness and elasticity.
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream (£57, 50ml)
The ingredient list is more impressive here. It contains 9 signal peptides, pygmy waterlily stem cell extract, soybean folic acid ferment extract and acetyl glutamine, all of which help to maintain your skin's collagen levels so that skin stays firm and strong (think of it as a protein shake for your skin).
Drunk Elephant takes the crown here. Overall, their texture felt less greasy, and I didn't need as much to feel as though my skin my getting a heavy hit of hydration.
Lacura Intensive Eye Cream (£3.99, 15ml)
This contains all the ingredients you'd want in an eye cream. It's packed with Vitamin A, C and E as well as Pro-Vitamin B5 (brilliant for brightening) while remaining gentle enough to use daily. Designed to hydrate and smooth the skin as well as help to defend against further damage.
Dermalogica Intensive Eye Repair (£49.50,15ml)
Again this contains all the goodies you'd want from an eye cream. There's vitamin A, C & E, Pro-Vitamin B5 help and dose of wild yam extract and grape seed extract to further shield the eye area against further environmental damage.
It's a bit too soon to tell if the lacura eye cream is making a huge difference but the immediate plumping effect it offers is impressive. It also sits well under make-up, doesn't feel greasy and has a mattifying effect. So far, so good, especially for its price point.
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