- Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with Beauty Bay (gifting) and Wow You! Beauty (affiliate code and links used below) and Marks & Spencer and Farmologie by Child's Farm (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page for further detail -
Today, continuing Affordable Beauty Month, we're talking low-cost skincare products that are amazing and don't seem to get a lot of hype. These are my top picks from under-the-radar brands...
First up; I wanted to talk about Beauty Bay's own brand skincare line, which was launched around about a year ago. I did actually do a full brand review here but there are some standouts I wanted to shout out for this post specifically. I honestly think the reason this brand didn't get more hype when it launched was because immediately after it came out, COVID hit and - as we all know - this had a knock-on effect on the supply chain for a good few months. I guess in that time they may have lost some of the people who were interested in this line. Hopefully as they expand the range there'll be a bit more awareness of this line, because it does contain a few gems.
First up let's talk about their Super Jelly Cleansing Gel with Prebiotics & Avocado | £6. This is a really great dupe for the Glossier or Dr Sam Bunting cleansers, if you like either of those; it's very similar in that it's a non-foaming formula that cleanses without stripping the skin. It's a really nice option for a gentle morning cleanse and contains moisturising ingredients that can also help support a healthy skin barrier. I also really enjoy their Thirst Class Rich Moisturiser with Oatmeal & Oat Lipid | £7. This is a nourishing but not overly thick or heavy moisturiser formulated with fantastic ingredients for dry, sensitised or otherwise compromised skin. It leaves my face feeling soft, smooth and deeply moisturised after use. All for £7!
- Q + A SKIN -
I will actually do a full review on new-ish skincare brand on the block Q + A, I'm currently still working my way through the products I have from them but there are already a few standouts. I really enjoy that they focus on the education side of skincare in relation to their packaging and I think their line is quite considered (they haven't just launched a million products all at once) and I'm excited to see where it goes.
The first product I'll talk about is their Superfood Facial Oil* | £8. Oils aren't really something you need to splurge on, but it's not always easy to find a nice, fast-absorbing, non-greasy texture for under £10. However, the Q + A formula gives me just that; it's nourishing and softening on my skin with jojoba oil, prickly pear seed oil and lots of antioxidant-rich fruit and plant extracts. It's perfect for sealing in the moisture if you're experiencing dryness and dehydration during the winter months. I also really enjoy their Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser* | £7.50. Again, it has a non-foaming jelly texture, which you can probably tell I'm a huge fan of for a gentle cleanse that won't dry me out. This contains hyaluronic acid, which I quite like in a cleanser, because it pulls water into the skin and you're obviously adding that water in as you wash your face. I wouldn't use this for makeup removal or anything like that but it's a great one to use first thing in the morning.
- WOW YOU! BEAUTY -
The next brand I have here is a capsule collection of products that's affordable, effective and cute to boot! They're a UK-based indie brand that make products I can rely on to work and include a lot of the ingredients I like to use. I do have an affiliate code with Wow You! Beauty: JASMINE15 which gets you 15% off. I do have a full brand review here, but of course I have a couple of standouts to talk about in this post.
One of the first products I tried and loved from this brand was their Glow to Sleep Rosehip & Retinol Moisturiser | £18. This product actually contains retinyl palmitate; a sort of retinol precursor that's a little gentler so fine for more regular use, though I wouldn't expect next-level results from a daily product like this. It combines this with rosehip oil, a really moisturising, non-fragrant ingredient that deeply moisturises the skin and could have some healing properties. This is a deeply moisturising product that does deliver skin-smoothing and clarifying benefits. My absolute. must-have from the brand has to be the Zen Cleanser with Cucumber & Oatmeal | £16. It's a beautiful rich creamy cleanser that doesn't foam and leaves my skin more moisturised than it found it. At the same time it's gently airy so doesn't feel heavy. It contains moisturising, calming ingredients and no obvious irritants, making it one of the few products I can trust when my skin is flaring up.
- PRIMARK X ALEX STEINHERR -
I've definitely had a few misses from the Primark skincare range created by beauty editor Alex Steinherr, but there are some fantastic products in the range and my job is really to try it all and tell you what's worth it, based on my experience. There's a brand review of the line here but there have been some new additions since then.
There are a few different ranges under this banner but both of my favourites are from the Maximum Moisture collection, because that's just what my skin needs. The Maximum Moisture Milky Softening Lotion* | £5 | is gorgeous if you, like me, find your skin suffering around this time of year. Layering on hydration can really help combat this feeling and this K-beauty inspired product has enough substance to it that you can just pat it on with your hands. It's formulated with peptides (to plump and hydrate the skin), centella asiatica (to calm and moisturise the skin) and lactic acid (possibly providing gentle exfoliation and a hydration boost). It leaves my skin soft, smooth and deeply moisturised. I also really enjoy their Maximum Moisture Moisture-Locking Everyday Moisturiser* | £5. It's a simple moisturiser that works. It's enough for my dull, dry skin but has a lovely texture that feels light and non-greasy on my skin. It softens and smooths my skin with good stuff like peptides and squalane.
- FACETHEORY -
Facetheory is a brand I first tried many years ago but since then they've really come into their element and carved out a niche that actually isn't that populated at the moment. Facetheory create affordable (think a touch higher than the Inkey List's price-bracket) active ingredient blends that target your skin concerns with a multi-pronged attack. Their formulas have been fantastic in my experience, too. I'll be doing a proper brand review of everything I've tried from them very soon.
My star product from Facetheory is probably going to have to be their Porebright Serum N10 with 10% Niacinamide & Azelaic Acid* | £14.99. Niacinamide is a fantastic all-rounder to help with uneven skin tone, regulating oil production in the skin, reducing inflammation and encouraging a healthy skin barrier (10% is a really great percentage too; it won't irritate but will deliver the results). Azelaic acid is a great product to combat hyperpigmentation and there's also a little salicylic acid in the mix to reduce breakouts and clear the skin. I find this product gentle yet effective; it delivers on clearing up and clarifying the skin so its tone looks more even and pigmentation marks fade nicely. I recommend this as an everyday serum for skin prone to breakouts or hyperpigmentation because it attacks these problems on all fronts. A great barrier repair cream for the winter months is their Rejuvenating M2 Moisturiser for Sensitive Skin* | £12.99. This has a lovely light texture, so works really well as a day cream for me but could be a good nighttime option for more combination / normal skin types that are suffering a little during the winter. It contains nourishing cocoa and shea butters, panthenol to help with water retention in the skin and hyaluronic acid to attract moisture. It leaves my skin so calm and soft after use!
- M&S PURE -
I recently did a bit of work with Marks & Spencer which gave me the opportunity to try some of their own-brand skincare. The line that really appealed to me was Pure, not because of its 'natural' ingredients or whatever, but because the products are simple, effective and affordable. It's really made me want to explore more high street own-brand ranges to find gems like the two products I have here.
I've really been enjoying their Super Hydrate Eye Serum* | £14. It's always a delicate balance for me; I enjoy using an eye treatment to prevent dryness and target specific concerns, but using too rich of a cream can give me milia. This eye serum is the perfect lightweight balance of great ingredients in a fast-absorbing texture. It contains hydrating glycerin along with some fatty acid rich oils, which work really nicely on my eye area. Their standout product for me, however, is the Ultimate Rose Cleansing Balm* | £12. This is a sumptuous solid-to-oil cleansing balm that offers a beautiful sensorial experience (on a budget) with rose and fruit oils. It's effective at removing makeup, emulsifies easily on contact with water and leaves my skin lovely and soft. If you're a fan of something like the Elemis, Eve Lom or Emma Hardie cleansing balms but can't afford to repurchase them right now; this is a lovely alternative.
- FARMOLOGIE BY CHILD'S FARM -
A more recent find for me has been Farmologie by Child's Farm. It's a budget-friendly brand that's formulated for dry and sensitive skin types. A lot of their products are more on the body care side of things, but they do have one facial skincare product I really rate!
They do both a fragranced and unfragranced version of their moisturiser but my personal pick is the Unfragranced Moisturiser* | £3.49. This is one of the cheapest moisturisers I've ever used, yet it has a really pleasant texture! Sort of a lightweight lotion, but one that provides lasting moisture to my skin, even when I'm heading out to face the elements. We have glycerin and cetearyl alcohol for hydration. For that deep nourishment we also have colloidal oat, oat oil and shea butter, which leave my skin feeling lovely and soft!
Have you tried any of these brands? Which affordable products do you feel don't get the hype they deserve?