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Today I wanted to spotlight some affordable skindie brands that are a little less accessible than just popping down to your local Boots or Superdrug but trust me: they're well worth placing an order for. I've already done some brand reviews on some of the products featured, so I'll link those, and I have a couple more in the works but today we'll give a little overview of each before focusing in on a top pick I'm really enjoying right now...
- VERSED -
Technically Versed is available at Boots now, but as often happens: independent brands with a slightly larger selection of products don't always get every single one of them into stores. Versed have well-considered products at affordable prices in really cute packaging. I think they're often overlooked and are really underrated in the skincare world, but their formulas offer incredible bang for your buck and I'll absolutely be doing a full brand review this year.
My pick for today is the Versed Out of Sight Dark Spot Treatment* | £13.99. This is a spot treatment that I'm going to give two pieces of advice on in terms of using this and whether it's for you: firstly, it is obviously meant to be spot-applied and only comes in this small tube, so if you have discolouration that's more like melasma or a different kind of uneven skin tone issue you want to address, I think you're better off with an all-over serum, the second is that this really needs to go onto new pigmentation because it's a spot treatment rather than something you use daily and older marks are pretty hard to shift. With that in mind: I apply this gel as soon as the spot has healed, so there's no head any more and the inflammation has calmed but there's a dark mark looking like it's about to form. It's formulated with ingredients that are fantastic at inhibiting tyrosinase (the hormone that triggers melanin overproduction after a skin injury like a breakout) such as tranexamic acid, kojic acid and licorice extract, but also niacinamide to help stop pigmentation spreading (which is what's happening when you have a spot and the scar ends up being bigger than the original injury). With these forces combined, I find that using this gel daily for a few weeks after I've had a large spot that I'm worried will scar does really help in preventing it before it has a chance to really set in.
- MAD ABOUT SKIN -
Mad About Skin is a new brand launched towards the end of last year by Rob from the YouTube channel of the same name. This is currently a really simple capsule line that combines different gentle actives and skin-supporting ingredients to make products that you can use every single day. They also ship internationally at reasonable rates so should be accessible to most of you!
A standout for me is the Mad About Skin Maximum Impact Moisturiser | £10.50 | for its unique texture and feel on the skin. The moisturiser is formulated with squalane, glycerin, fatty alcohol, ceramides, urea and plant oils. These ingredients are lovely and moisturising and also support the skin barrier and help with water content in the skin. It comes out as a cream that kind of melts down to almost a gel; this combination means you get a deeply-nourishing, skin-softening moisturiser without it ever feeling heavy or suffocating. It's no-frills but provides moisture to my skin that lasts, and it's a great AM to PM option, working both under makeup whilst also being substantial enough for overnight use.
- GEEK & GORGEOUS -
Geek & Gorgeous is a Hungarian brand I discovered around the middle of last year due to their cult following on YouTube and I'm planning a full brand review at some point. They're also available internationally (it was quick and cheap for me to ship my order to the UK, despite The Political Event That Shall Not Be Named) and they actually formulate with some of the most effective skincare ingredients out there in my humble opinion. At the same time, all of their products come in at less than €20, so I can't wait to dive into more of them.
My standout from the brand so far is the Geek & Gorgeous aPAD 20% Azeclair Serum | €10.50. Don't freak out: this is an azelaic acid derivative, which is why the 20% should still be fine for most skin types to handle most days. Rather than that thick, paste-like texture that often comes with this ingredient, the derivative has been formulated to be water-light, neither adding nor taking away anything from your skin, so it's suitable for pretty much any skin type. It's a fantastic product and over the few months I used it, it really helped take down redness and helped with the overall evenness of my skin tone without causing me irritation. I always believe that issues with scarring and uneven pigmentation require a multi-pronged attack but this is a fantastic product to add to your arsenal, particularly if you have rosacea or general redness.
- GOOD MOLECULES -
Good Molecules is a brand that's been consistently in my rotation for a while now with odd products here and there, and I really enjoyed their initial line but I actually feel like they just got better and better with each new launch! I feel like they really take on board what consumers are saying (removing fragrance, being transparent with their ingredients and so on) and their product range is easy to navigate and not overwhelming. The line is available at Beautylish and they ship for free within a reasonable timeframe if you spend $35, which really isn't too bad.
A recent pick I have is the Good Molecules Glycolic Exfoliating Toner* | $14. This is so much more than your average exfoliating toner! It's formulated with 3.5% glycolic acid, which is really nice and gentle and you could really get on with this even if you're not usually a fan of glycolic. There's also <0.5% salicylic acid to give a very mild pore-penetrating exfoliation, there's a little niacinamide, a little soothing aloe, some hyaluronic acid for its water-attracting benefits and also galactomyces ferment filtrate, which is rich in vitamins and minerals. It's not remotely irritating but softens, smooths and hydrates my skin. At this concentration, I think you can use it every other day.
- BUBBLE -
I discovered Bubble Skincare last year and I'm still hoping they'll come to the UK officially, though the website does ship here. It's obviously free above a standard threshold in the US and can be access in some stores. This is kind of the Gen Z skincare brand at the moment, elevating the market for teen skin with its gentle, skin-supporting approach. Plus, how cute is this packaging?
My current pick is the Bubble Wipeout Makeup Remover* | $13. This is kind of like a lighter, more lotiony take on the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. This is a creamy makeup remover that contains oil-based ingredients to break down makeup and sunscreen without feeling oily. Of course, oil-based makeup removers are the most effective but I know a lot of people (including many of those with younger skin) cringe at the thought of oils on their skin and this is perfect for them. Massage it in and then remove it with a damp cloth to take off face and eye makeup as well as your daily sunscreen.
- SOS SKIN -
SOS Skin is a line I definitely want to explore more, so let me know if you'd be interested in a brand review. It's a capsule line of functional products geared towards sensitive skin.
My pick from this brand is the SOS SPF 50 Sun Cream* | £15 (50ml). One gripe: they advertise this as 'mineral-based' but it's actually a hybrid so contains a blend of chemical and mineral filters. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with that but we should obviously strive to be clear in the marketing of beauty products, otherwise it kind of seems like you do think there's something wrong with certain ingredients! Anyway, hybrid sunscreens can be a really great option for sensitive skin and this comes out as a light cream that melts right into my skin, and I've seen it demoed on a range of skin tones with a lovely final result. It's not irritating, I've used it on sensitive skin days and my face has got on great with it. It works perfectly as an everyday sunscreen and can be worn effortlessly under makeup. I don't find it overly shiny, but do remember: I have a drier skin type.
- FACETHEORY -
Facetheory kind of elevates the concepts behind brands like the Inkey List and the Ordinary, by combining different actives within a single formula so you can reap the benefits of multiple ingredients, targeting a concern without the need to layer numerous serums. I honestly don't know why they don't get more hype, but I've been really impressed with their serums in particular. It's a little pricier but you're getting targeted serums with lots of good stuff in it, and I do have a discount code for 25% off: JASMINETALKSBEAUTY25 (not affiliate).
I think my favourite product from the line (by a hair) has to be the Facetheory S10 Exaglow Serum with Tranexamic Acid, Vitamin C and Licorice | £18.99. This gentle serum is targeted towards evening out the skin's overall tone and making it glow! Tranexamic acid is a newer topical to the cosmetic market but seems promising for treating uneven skin tone, particularly melasma. Licorice extract is another great ingredient for dark spots. There's some lactic acid in here too, an AHA to smooth and actually hydrate the skin too. Niacinamide is a great ingredient included in this formula for many reasons but a lot of people don't realise that it can actually stop excess pigment spreading through the skin, so if you often get breakouts where the scar ends up being larger than the original injury: this is going to be great for you. Then we have sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a Vitamin C derivative to brighten the skin. This was such a skin-friendly serum for me: no irritation and I saw a marked improvement in the overall tone of my skin: it was glowing in general and when I broke out, I felt like the marks moved on pretty quickly. All for under £20!
Have you tried any of these brands? What would you add to my list?