These Budget Skincare Buys Are Just as Good as the Expensive Versions

Mica Ricketts
·7-min read

After a feature on the affordable beauty products that I love just as much as their high-end counterparts, I had an influx of questions coming from friends and colleagues about what other beauty dupes were lurking on the shelves of the high street. Well, it turns out there are plenty.

Today, I'm going to be honing in on skincare—mainly because when it comes to my beauty routine, this is what most of my dosh goes on. Skin is big business in the industry, and generally, I think there's a perception that spending more money on a skincare product means that it will work more effectively. Well, friends, I'm here to tell you otherwise.

While there are plenty of luxury skincare options in my regular routine, I've also found a fair amount of affordable alternatives for when you don't want to splash the cash. Who knows? You just might find a new favourite.

Keep scrolling to shop the high-end skincare products that I love and their budget skincare dupes that are just as good.

If you love:

Pixi Glow Tonic (£18)

The product that Jourdan Dunn swears by for actual supermodel skin, this glycolic toner has something of cult status within the industry. Sweep it onto clean skin with a cotton pad, and say hello to a brighter, more even complexion.


The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£7)

Another glycolic acid treatment that will remove impurities and brighten your face. At over half of the price of Pixi, it has to be worth a try, right? This has a higher concentration, so be careful if you've got more sensitive skin.

If you love:

Eve Lom Cleanser (£55)

This is one of my favourite balm cleansers, mainly because I feel so damn fancy whenever I use it. It's packed with cocoa butter, chamomile, eucalyptus and clove oils and manages to remove makeup, calm blemishes and cleanse skin.


Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm 97% Organic (£7)

This is a really decadent cleansing balm that belies its affordable price point. It uses shea butter, jojoba and sweet almond oils to cleanse, hydrate and remove all traces of makeup.

If you love:

111Skin Sub-Zero De-Puffing Eye Masks (£65)

After big nights out or on particularly bleary-eyed mornings, these are the ultimate de-puffing eye solutions. They feel incredibly cool whether you've put them in the fridge or not and do a great job of fading dark circles and brightening tired eyes in just a few minutes.


E.l.f. Hydrogel Under Eye Masks (£9)

Infused with purified water, soothing seaweed extract and brightening licorice, these more affordable options also do a great job of de-puffing your under-eyes. I'd pop them in the fridge beforehand to supercharge that cooling effect.

If you love:

By Terry Baume de Rose Nourishing Lip Balm (£40)

I'm lip balm–obsessed, and this one is top of my current love list. It's incredibly moisturising, non-sticky and leaves lips looking plump and juicy.


Glossier Rose Balm Dot Com (£10)

This cult-classic lip balm provides that same rosy tint as By Terry but at a fraction of price. Admittedly, the texture of the same as its pricier counterpart, but it gets the job done and is great for chapped lips. Plus, it's a bit easier to carry around with you.

If you love:

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (£76)

I've spoken about my love of Drunk Elephant before, and this serum is one of my favourites. Yes, it is pricey, but when I use it a couple of times a week, it does an amazing job of evening out my skin tone and reducing the appearance of blemishes.


The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6)

This actually has a higher concentration of AHAs than the pricier Drunk Elephant version, so if you want a really intense solution to battling blemishes and evening skin tone, then try this. Be warned, though: This stuff is strong, so stick to using it only a couple of times a week.

If you love:

Shani Darden Texture Reform (£80)

Celebrity facialist Shani Darden is the woman behind the glowing skin of everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Chrissy Teigen. This retinol serum is something of a beauty insider secret thanks to the way it delivers facial-like results overnight.


No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate (£34)

The thing that people love most about Shani Darden's formula is that it doesn't irritate skin—something that retinol is known for. However, this brilliant retinol from No7 is seriously gentle too and is less than half the price. It's affordable anti-ageing at its finest.

If you love:

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream (£45)

One of the best-selling skincare brands in the U.S., Peter Thomas Roth provides seriously hardworking skincare solutions for every complexion need. This intensely hydrating moisturiser is ideal for days when your skin is feeling particularly parched.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream Moisturiser (£13)

This more affordable option is also oil-free and packed with hyaluronic acid for a lightweight texture that penetrates the surface of the skin for intense hydration.

If you love:

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (£59)

I particularly love this product during summer when I just want a hint of coverage on my skin. The tint releases as you massage it in along with protective SPF 30 and antioxidants to protect skin from environmental stressors.


No7 City Light Tinted Moisturiser (£13)

Admittedly, the SPF isn't as high as the Perricone MD moisturiser, but this No7 version really delivers in terms of providing a hint of radiant coverage and protecting your skin against pollution and other skin-damaging nasties. A great option if you live in the city.

If you love:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II (£82)

This has to be one of the most iconic serums in the world, and in fact, it was the first serum ever formulated. At its core, it's a hyaluronic acid–based serum that restores moisture to your skin overnight and diminishes fine lines and pores.


Missha Time Revolution Night Repair (£30)

This Korean skincare treatment is something of an insider secret with very similar ingredients and results to the classic ANR serum. It's one of the priciest "affordable" options on my list, but it genuinely lives up to the Estée Lauder classic.

If you love:

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream (£427)

Disclaimer: I have not ever spent (and never will) this amount of money on face cream. However, this is a really beloved moisturiser in the beauty industry that's packed with caviar extract to firm, brighten and hydrate skin. In essence, it's a facial in a pot.


Lacura Caviar Night Cream (£7)

Undoubtedly, this budget moisturiser won't have as luxurious as an ingredients list as the La Prairie version. However, it does contain brightening caviar, snow algae extract and moisturising hyaluronic acid, and it's a genuinely good night cream.

If you love:

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water (£16)

The OG product that changed all of our night-time routines, thanks to its use by our fave models backstage. I use this to gently remove makeup and avoid face wipes.


Garnier Micellar Water (£3)

You can't go wrong with this purse-friendly alternative, which works just as well on sensitive skin and still manages to get every inch of makeup off with ease. Win-win.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil (£30)

Looking for a product that helps makeup sit perfectly without looking caked? It'll help your application glide on while leaving your skin looking glowing. Dreamy.

Nyx Hydra Touch Oil Primer (£13)

The budget-friendly option is by Nyx, which always comes up with its more affordable product offerings.

Next up, I swapped skincare routines with my grandma and this is what happened.

This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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