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Some of the most hyped-up products on the internet don't exactly come at a purse-friendly price, and - as a blogger - I've been lucky enough to try a lot of them, as well as plenty of more affordable products. Today I'm taking a selection of those cult products and sharing some great dupes and affordable alternatives...
(Side note: for some reason, a lot of these products are from Pixi - that's just a coincidence. If you're wondering why the Ordinary is absent from this post, that's because I did an entire feature of dupes from that brand here!)
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Toner | £21 for 100ml (£34 for 250ml) | vs. Pixi Rose Tonic* | £10 for 100ml (£18 for 250ml)
Rose isn't going to be a skincare ingredient for everyone - if you're very sensitive, you're probably best to steer clear of it - however I really like it for hydration.
This is a pretty easy one for me; you really don't need to be spending a lot on such a basic ingredient! As lovely as the Fresh toner is with its real rose petals and the rose oil it's formulated with, as well as the boost of hyaluronic acid, I think £34 for the full-sized product is very steep for a rose toner. It's nice, it leaves my skin smooth, plump and provides lasting hydration, however I probably won't pick it up again. The Pixi version is hydrating and calming for half the price. Pixi's edition is formulated with rose flower extract along with soothing ingredients like chamomile and elderflower. It's a product my skincare shelf is never without a bottle of!
- VITAMIN C SERUM -Drunk Elephant C-Firma Serum* | £67 for 30ml | vs. Pixi Vitamin C Serum* | £26 for 30ml
Vitamin C is a great skincare ingredient for brightening the complexion. Not only does it give you that immediate glow-boost and a gorgeous 'dewy skin' look, but it can also help to even out the skin tone and get rid of dark spots over time, making it an essential if you suffer from hyper-pigmentation.
This one is more of an alternative than a straight dupe; I actually think the texture of the Drunk Elephant more closely matches the Vitamin C from Fourth Ray Beauty and the Pixi consistency is more like the Glow Recipe pineapple serum, however I just wanted to provide a great alternative to a product people sing the praises of. Both products come in opaque packaging to keep this ingredient stable. The main difference here is that the Drunk Elephant serum is definitely more oil-based. It has an orange colour to it, which can be a sign of a Vitamin C having turned, however don't worry with this one; it's meant to be that colour. Along with l-ascorbic acid, it also includes Vitamin E and sodium hyaluronate (a derivative of the super-hydrating hyaluronic acid). It just has this amazing brightening, refreshing effect so my skin looks its absolute dewy best. It's also done an amazing job of evening out the tone of my skin. The Pixi version is a newer addition to my collection but I'm already loving it. This is more yellow in colour and has a very fluid texture, making it fast-absorbing. It gives that gorgeous juicy, dewy look to the skin which I love. My complexion looks radiant, fresh and it's definitely a 'my skin but better' effect.
- HYALURONIC ACID SERUM -Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex* | £38 for 30ml | vs. Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid Serum* | $6 for 30ml
Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient I talk about a lot on this blog because I have dehydrated skin and HA is known for having incredible water-retention properties. I personally like to use a face mist and apply my a HA serum immediately afterwards to slightly-damp skin so it really locks in the moisture. It's also fast-absorbing and lightweight, so a serum like one of these will be easy to slip into your skincare routine to get a fuss-free hydration boost.
My favourite HA of all time ever is the Niod so obviously I haven't found something that tops it but this one from Good Molecules is pretty darn good! What I tend to take note of with HA serums is the consistency of the formula and the Niod version is super fluid and watery. It contains 12 forms of hyaluronic acid molecules to get that penetration on every level of your skin. I just love the plumpness, fullness and hydration this gives to my skin, creating this lovely dewy quality. I find the Good Molecules version to also be very fluid and fast-absorbing with no tackiness. I really love how hydrating this is, plumping out any dehydration lines and making my skin look really healthy. I prefer this one to the Ordinary's HA serum and I think it's the best affordable formula in my arsenal. Although I do still love my Niod (and already have two backups in my drawer to get through...) the Good Molecules version is a really great alternative that I recommend checking out.
- CERAMIDE CREAM -Dr Jart + Ceramidin Cream | £35.50 for 50ml | full review | vs. Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream* | £24 for 50ml | full review
Ceramides are an all-round miracle addition to any skincare routine. These lipids naturally occur in the skin but dwindle in their numbers as we get older. They work to reinforce the skin's barrier, meaning that your skin will retain moisture more effectively. Not only that but they help protect your skin from environmental aggressors. You will find ceramide-based skincare in opaque packaging to ensure the stability and integrity of the formula.
I first tried the Dr Jart + version and was amazed at how this smoothed, nourished and replenished my skin without being overly rich or leaving a greasy excess on the surface of my skin. It's an absolute favourite of mine; it melts into the skin and just gives my complexion this healthy glow and soft, smooth finish. I definitely get a similar vibe from the Pixi version in terms of that smoothing effect and it making my skin look healthy and radiant, however it does have the added rose. The impact of this is twofold; for me this makes it a little richer and definitely more appropriate for dry skin (whereas I think the Dr Jart + version could work for almost any skin type) but it also means it won't be great for sensitive skin, whereas the Dr Jart + version is specifically formulated to be non-irritating. So, I think those two factors will be the deciders on which is better for you!
- OIL CLEANSER -Dermalogica Facial Precleanse Oil* | £39.50 for 150ml | full review | vs. Primark x Alex Steinherr One-Step Night Cleanse | £5 for 50ml | full review
I recommend to absolutely every makeup-using human to double cleanse by removing makeup first and then cleansing the skin itself. I personally prefer an oil-based cleanser; I just find them more effective at lifting up makeup (even waterproof eyeliner and mascara) so you can gently wipe it away with damp cloth. This is a wash-off product and of course I would always be cleansing my skin again after so, for me, as long as it's gentle, does the job and can be fully removed afterwards with no excess left behind: you can definitely go cheap in this department!
I really like the Dermalogica cleanser - I have no issues with it; it removes my makeup very effectively, it doesn't sting my eyes and it doesn't leave my skin greasy. However, this is just fruit oil extracts and I personally don't think there's any reason this needs to be £40! It's not sitting on your skin, there are no wonder ingredients in it, so for me this is a very easy place to save some money and you can easily go with something like the Primark option. Ignore the name; this is a first cleanse, not a one-step product, but it'll remove your makeup without stinging you eyes and doesn't leave an excess on the surface. That's all I want my first cleanse to do!
- MAKEUP REMOVER -Glossier Milky Oil Cleanser | £10 for 100ml | full review | vs. B. Stubborn Makeup Remover* | £7.99 for 100ml | full review
I have pretty much the same thoughts on dual-phase makeup removers as I do on cleansing oils. There are no fancy ingredients so just cleanse your face after use and if the product does the job: happy days! These cleansers need to be shaken up to mix the ingredients together and used on a cotton wool pad to effectively remove makeup. I tend to reach for them in 'emergencies' when I just need my makeup off fast!
Ok, £10 doesn't exactly break the bank but I was really disappointed with how quickly the Glossier one went down! I find the B. one lasts longer, I can just get it in Superdrug and it's often on sale for about £3.99. The Glossier formula has some added skincare benefits that the B. version doesn't like Vitamin B5, however I'm not convinced it's a big benefit, as a makeup remover isn't sat on your skin; you're washing it away with you second cleanse. Neither formula stings my eyes; both do the same job!
- CREAM OVERNIGHT MASK -Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask | £42 for 64ml | full review | vs. Pixi Nourishing Sleep Mask | £18 for 45ml | full review
I love slapping on a nourishing overnight mask for nourishing, softening and smoothing my dehydrated skin by morning. Whilst the two products here have different ingredients, they both 'do the job' for me, having similar textures and giving me similar results.
The Summer Fridays mask contains the magic ceramides we just talked about, along with vitamins and antioxidants. The Pixi mask contains hyaluronic acid and fruit and flower extracts. I personally find the Pixi mask that bit richer and more nourishing, however if you have sensitive skin, you might not agree with some of the extracts used in it, so I'd opt for Summer Fridays. If you're just looking for the most moisturising option possible; I actually find Pixi's cheaper version more effective!
- OVERNIGHT LIP MASK -Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask | £25 for 20ml | full review | v Primark x Alex Steinherr Sleep Spa Overnight Lip Mask | £4 for 15ml | full review
Since introducing a lip mask into my routine I pretty much never get chapped lips or need to use a manual exfoliator on my lips. These products are both thick gel-paste-like products that you apply a good layer of to your lips in order to soften and smooth them overnight.
I can't actually find the ingredients for the Primark product annoyingly (having thrown away the packaging months ago and with it only being available in-store) so I can't compare on that basis however the look and feel of these two products is very similar. I prefer that Primark's comes in a hygienic tube as opposed to a pot. I find they do the same job for me; softening and smoothing my lips overnight so it's a no-brainer - if you can find the Primark version in one of their stores, I'd recommend saving some money and picking up that.
Have you replaced any more expensive products in your routine for amazing dupes?