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Today I wanted to share some of the best of the best skincare products I've found for under £10 to build a really effective routine that won't break the bank!
Morning or second cleanse: Q + A Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser* | £7.50 | I personally like a non-foaming jelly cleanser that's refreshing and hydrating but doesn't strip my skin and this option from Q + A fits the bill perfectly. I'll definitely be doing a brand review of Q + A because they've really impressed me since I started using their products a few months back. This jelly cleanser is formulated with hyaluronic acid to pull water into the skin. I find this cleanser leaves my skin soft, smooth and hydrated. I personally wouldn't use something like this to remove makeup but it's a simple cleanser for the skin that works!
Makeup-removing cleanser: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser | £5.50 | Please ignore the visual here; I personally have the supersized version open at the moment, which is £13.90 for 150ml, but the standard version is £5.50 for 50ml, so that's what we're talking about when it comes to 'under £10'. This is a creamy-balm cleanser that's not quite like anything I've ever tried before; it melts down into more an an oil-based product that lifts makeup easily and emulsifies when you add water so it can be easily removed with a damp cloth. This is a gentle, effective cleanser that I often use in the morning when my skin is quite dry because squalane is a plant-derived skin-similar oil that can really help replenish the skin when it's dull and lifeless.
Exfoliator: The Inkey List PHA Toner* | £9.99 | This is one of my go-to gentle exfoliating toners that you can actually use every day. PHAs are a fantastic multi-tasker for your skin (though if you're more on the oily side, you might prefer a BHA 2-3 times a week instead) because they gently exfoliate on a surface level to remove dead skin cells without causing any irritation. They also have hydrating properties for the skin, making this a brilliant all-rounder for soft, smooth skin.
Treatment toner: Q + A Niacinamide Daily Toner | £8 | You can use one of your toners in the morning and the other in the evening. I'm more of a fan of treatment toners if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Hydrating toners are nice but they aren't going to dramatically change your skin. Niacinamide is a fantastic multi-tasking ingredient that offers a range of benefits to the skin; it can regulate oil production, strengthen the skin barrier and calm inflammation. This is a gentle product that has really helped my skin's overall health and appearance.
AM serum: Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum | £3.29 | I'm personally not a big advocate of doubling down on actives, so if you're using a treatment or exfoliating toner; I recommend keeping your serum basic and hydrating, and this is a lovely simple option to have in your arsenal. This is going to work for just about any skin type, including sensitive, because it's free from fragrance and other potential irritants and contains the skin essentials. Ceramides are often called the skin's 'building blocks' because they're fundamental to healthy barrier function, ensuring sensitisation is minimised and that your skin is able to retain water and maintain hydration levels. Urea, glycerin and allantoin hydrate and condition the skin. There's also a little lactic acid in the mix, which usually works as a chemical exfoliant, but it also has hydrating properties, so in this product and in this concentration, I think it's more there for those properties. Overall; this has a lovely texture and it hydrates and replenishes the skin, all whilst costing under £3.50!
PM serum: Me+ Tranexamic Acid Booster | £8.99 | I'd go for something a little more treatment-focused in the evening and, as someone who suffers with uneven skin tone, tranexamic acid is a great option. It's effective at combating this whilst also playing well with other skincare ingredients. On my skin it's a very gentle option and can be used daily, but you can alternate it each night with your less active, more hydrating serum if you want to. This serum isn't sticky or messy and absorbs nicely into the skin, which is great for this price-point and - most importantly - it works incredibly well! If you have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation; this really helped to clear and clarify my skin so those stubborn marks faded into my overall skin tone nicely.
Day cream: Primark x Alex Steinherr Maximum Moisture Moisture-Locking Everyday Moisturiser* | £5 | This moisturiser really doesn't get the hype it deserves; I think it's such a good formula! It contains calming and replenishing ingredients like allantoin, urea, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, then peptides to plump and hydrate the skin. This is thicker than a lotion but nothing too rich or heavy on the skin. It leaves my skin incredibly soft and smooth and the texture and feel is lovely; you definitely can't tell it costs just £5!
Night cream: Beauty Bay Thirst Class Rich Moisturiser | £7 | If you're decidedly more dry than oily, you can definitely wear this during the day, I just think for most normal and combination skin types; it's more of a night cream. It's a rich formula but it isn't thick or heavy; the texture itself is actually pretty light but it's incredibly nourishing and softening without feeling greasy. It's a fragrance-free formula with lovely ingredients to really keep the skin barrier strong and healthy like oat kernel oil, panthenol, colloidal oat and niacinamide.
Sunscreen: Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced Face Fluid SPF 50 UVA & UVB | £8 | I would say I tend to lean towards Asian sunscreens, which aren't unaffordable, but pricing can vary widely depending on where you purchase from. This is an option you can pick up in Boots for £8. You give it a good shake and it comes out as a very lightweight fluid (not dissimilar to the La Roche-Posay, though that one can pill up on me sometimes and it is more expensive) that melts into my skin, doesn't make a mess, doesn't make me greasy and I can apply the correct amount without getting any white cast. I think it's a fantastic option and this is the most important step in your skincare routine, so if you're looking for something that's pleasant to apply and won't break the bank; give it a go.
What do you think of my picks? Have you tried any of these brands?
Read more posts from this series here!