Budget beauty is booming in Australia with the arrival of new players in the market and on the shelves of your local pharmacy. You no longer have to shell out a small fortune to save face, but how do you know which products work best? We took a selection for a test drive, and here’s our top 10.
Weleda Skin Food
La Mer’s iconic Crème de la Mer has long been touted as one of the best moisturisers in the business, but at a cool $715 for 100ml, it’s far from a steal. If you’re not in a position to shell out for this ridiculously rich and luxurious cream, Weleda’s Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich cream is an excellent alternative for just $26.95 for 75ml. Weleda was founded in 1921 by Dr Rudolf Steiner and Dr Ita Wegman, and its distinctive bright green tube is a bathroom cabinet and handbag staple for the likes of Rihanna, Julia Roberts and Winona Ryder. The appeal? It’s made with natural plant oils and waxes that deliver intense and long-lasting hydration. And it smells delicious.
Q+A Hyaluronic Serum
You’ve bought The Ordinary’s best-selling retinol from Toronto, and the cult caffeine eye cream by London’s The Inkey List. Now meet Q+A Skin, the latest wallet-friendly performance skincare brand. With a focus on naturally derived, clean and conscious ingredients, the UK brand has launched into Priceline in Australia with a range that is cruelty-free and mostly vegan-friendly. Products range from hyaluronic serum ($13) and peptide serum ($18), to a peppermint cleanser ($15) and a collagen face cream ($24). All feature the same minimalist, clinical packaging of the aforementioned brands, ensuring your #topshelfies will still look chic.
Acure Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil
This deep blue oil is a dupe for those whose pockets are not deep enough for the popular yet pricey Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Oil ($98). Both contain blue tansy, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, as well as other botanicals to quench thirsty skin. Use Acure’s version ($22.95) in place of a night cream for serious hydration, or as a daily treatment to soothe rosacea, eczema and other dry skin conditions. Pair it with the American brand’s Ultra-Hydrating 12-hour Facial Moisturiser to level up results.
Frank Body Coffee Scrub
Melbourne is known for its coffee culture but five friends took their love of the brew one step further when they launched Frank Body with a range of coffee-based skincare products in 2014. It’s grown from a single scrub into a full suite of body and beauty products with a loyal tribe of fans around the globe. The OG Coffee Scrub ($18.95) stimulates blood flow to aid collagen production while it exfoliates. Coffee has the same PH as your skin so it won’t damage or dry out it out, and it’s also high in anti-oxidants. You’ll also find the grounds in Frank Body’s charcoal face scrub ($21.95) and the hair mask ($16.95). And brand new to the range is the In-Shower Moisturiser ($14.95) with shea butter and vitamin E.
Alkira is the latest skincare brand from the founders of Sukin. Brother and sister team Alison Goodger and Simon O’Connor have once again created an affordable range of sustainable and ethical products packed with Australian native botanicals. There’s a cleanser that includes ingredients such as blue gum, and lemon and aniseed myrtle ($14.95); a blemish control pink-clay mask ($17.95); a luxurious kangaroo-paw and macadamia face oil ($19.95); and rich lilly pilly, desert lime and kangaroo paw night cream ($23.95). A quality alternative to more expensive Australian brands, you’ll find Alkira on the shelves of Priceline and Chemist Warehouse.
This all-purpose balm is considered magic for a reason. Purportedly based on the skincare of ancient Egyptian women, it contains just six ingredients – honey, beeswax, olive oil, royal jelly, bee pollen and bee propolis (a sticky, product bees use as a coating to build their hives) – yet has a myriad of uses. Apply it as a face and body moisturiser, eye cream, hair mask, face mask and highlighter for dewy skin, or use it as a cuticle oil, shaving cream or to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rashes and burns. Pop the 30ml size ($29.99) in your handbag or gym bag, and you’ll be set for almost anything life can throw at your skin.
Flower Beauty Light Illusion liquid foundation
Looking for a long-wearing, your-skin-but-better foundation for $13.99? This is it. The vegan, cruelty-free foundation is a hero product in the line-up of Drew Barrymore’s chemist brand, delivering buildable coverage with a dewy, slightly luminous finish. Pair with Flower’s Day Glow Highlighting Glaze ($9.99) on your cheekbones, brow bones and cupid’s bow and you’re good to glow.
Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing lipstick
This $28 tube of lip colour certainly does what it promises. Combining the colour pay-off of a luxury brand with the moisturising formula of an expensive lip balm, these cruelty-free lipsticks come minus any nasties in a wide range of hues to suit every complexion. Opt for Energy if you’re in the mood for a fiery red, or Memory for the perfect neutral rose.
Mario Badescu Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater Facial Spray
Think pink with this fairy floss-hued spritz ($17). Use it to set your make-up, boost hydration before moisturising or as a refreshing pick me up throughout the day. Spray it through your hair to hydrate brittle ends, or all over your body for a delicately scented glow. With herb extracts including rose, thyme and gardenia, you can also think of it as aromatherapy in a bottle.
Hourglass Mechanical Gel Eye Liner
Eye pencils smudge and liquid liner is often best left to the experts, but this thin and soft water-proof gel eyeliner ($27) is smudge proof and fool proof. Available in deep navy and bronze, as well as classic black and brown, simply click the tube six times to dispense enough liner to line both eyes with no pot, brush or clean-up required.