Look this good for less with my guide to budget beauty

Hannah Betts’s Better… not younger: Look this good for less with my guide to budget beauty

  • Hannah Betts shared a selection of recommendations for beauty on a budget 
  • The UK-based beauty columnist picks five mood enhancing cosmetics 
  • Dr Hauschka Revitalising Day Lotion is this week’s cosmetic craving 

Over the many years I’ve written about beauty, I’ve never understood the snobby claim that costly cosmetics are superior.

This is sometimes the case, but it’s often not — meaning that, even if you’re a rich gal, it pays to be a cheap date in certain areas.

Like all sane shoppers, especially in penniless January, I scrimp in some places so I can splurge in others. High/low beauty is about getting the best bang for your buck.

A company such as Procter & Gamble has a lot to spend on research. This tech may be headed into its ritzy SK-II label first, but it will also filter down to Olay, which is flogged on such an epic scale that prices remain low. If you long for Lancome’s mascaras, take a look at Maybelline, also owned by L’Oreal.

Some product genres do merit the spend, such as foundation, concealer and scent.

UK-based beauty columnist Hannah Betts recommends a selection of cosmetics for beauty on a budget (file image)

Last year’s L’Oreal True Match Tinted Serum (£13.99, superdrug.com) is apparently an exception to this rule, receiving rave reviews for its sheer, long-lasting finish — but it’s impossible for me to say, because its palest version makes me look like the actor George Hamilton.

Those of us who fail to fit into the bog-standard shades are not well-served by budget skin coverage.

Besides, good foundations are so outstanding as of late that I would rather save in other ways and spoil myself here. After all, I don’t want a passable complexion, I want sensational gleam.

Similarly, Zara’s eau de parfums formulated by Jo Malone are worth a look. I’m told the breakaway hit is Magnificently Dubai (£15.99 for 40ml, zara.com), a saffron, nutmeg and leather blend.

However, I don’t intend to purchase something online that I haven’t sniffed in real life. I’d rather invest in a scent I know I adore from an online discounter, or save my pennies up for something sublime.

If this sounds precious, rest assured that there is nothing I will not do to secure a bargain elsewhere.

Despite being deluged by fancy free stuff, my shelves are bulging with finds from Boots, Superdrug and supermarkets.

Budget beauties include: Simple, Dove, Johnson & Johnson, Olay, Nivea, L’Oreal, Garnier, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, CeraVe, The Body Shop, Rimmel, Bourjois, Elf, Kiko Milano, Batiste and Mitchum. I often seek out a buy-one, get-one-free deal on these to boot.

Aldi’s Lacura range is full of devious dupes, and the supermarket is about to start selling a £3.99 gua sha massager (aldi.co.uk).

Aromatherapy Associates’ less costly sister brand, Aroma Active Laboratories, is also a cracker. I can’t get enough of its Rich Soothing Universal Repair Cream (£10, boots.com) and Sleep Salt Soak (£15), Epsom salts laced with calming valerian, lavandin, ylang ylang and buddha wood.

Urban myth once held that all mascaras, eyeliners and eyebrow pencils were made in the same Eastern European factory. Not true. However, these are realms in which budget offerings can be just as good as their upmarket rivals.

Hannah Betts (pictured) said cleanser does not need to have expensive added benefits, as it stays on the face for seconds before being sent off down the drain

Cleanser does not need to have expensive added benefits, as it stays on the face for seconds before being sent off down the drain.

CeraVe’s new Micellar Cleansing Water (£10, lookfantastic.com) removes grime without upsetting the skin barrier, unlike more abrasive options. It is also enriched with the fatty ceramides that our skins start to lack in middle age.

Use Skin Proud Clear Skin Microfibre Cleansing Pads (£12.95 for two, asos.com) and you won’t even require cleanser.

I’m sporting Q+A Superfood Facial Oil (now £6, hollandand barrett.com), beneath L’Oreal’s Revitalift Filler SPF 50 Day Cream (£19.99, boots.com) plus cold-weather classic Eucerin 10 Per Cent Urea Body Lotion (£14, boots.com), and very happy I am, too.

May I also recommend the Pot o’ Wonder — not merely a cheap trick, but free. Simply pool the dregs of all your old face creams and serums together to make a super-charged, magic elixir.

Don’t mix retinol with vitamin C or alpha hydroxy acids, or niacinamide with vitamin C, but otherwise let rip. The best cream money can’t buy.


The gloom-dispelling MAC Viva Glam X Keith Haring limited-edition lipsticks are inspired by the late New York graffiti artist’s primary palette. Behold: Red Haring, a suits-everyone red; St Marks Yellow, a frosted canary; and Canal Blue, a velvet matte that looks sensational sheered down with lip balm.




Emily In Paris star Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu (pictured), 58,  takes D+ For Care Collagen & Spirulina supplement

The Emily In Paris star, 58, is a juice and intermittent fasting fan. She takes D+ For Care Collagen & Spirulina supplement (£75.25, dplusforcare.com) and loves Korea’s ZQ-II Moisturizing Amino Acid Cleanser, Cliniccare’s X3M EGF Refresh Serum (£38, skincity.com), and La Fervance Eclat Extraordinaire (£163, lafervance.com). She also uses a gua sha stone and a derma roller daily.


I rely on skin-brightening classic Dr Hauschka Revitalising Day Lotion (£25, drhauschka.co.uk, right) at all times of year.

However, its simple, organic nourishing formula is particularly soothing in January, when skin feels parched and overloaded.

Botanical extracts and oils stimulate natural moisture production, while apricot, carrot and St John’s wort get grubbily grey skin glowing.

Shout out as well to Dr Hauschka’s four face treatments: the Hydrating Cream, Revitalising, Soothing and Firming Masks (£14 for 12.5ml each).

I can’t really tell them apart, but I love loading them on as salve for a tight, red, rash-ridden winter complexion.



 I have been smothering myself in this relaxing body oil to score a beautiful night’s sleep.


Find a moment of calm with the scent of this shea butter and avocado oil formula.


This helps repair the skin’s barrier.


A silk-lined hug for your head that won’t leave you with hat hair.


A heliotrope and almond scent that is clean, yet utterly comforting.


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