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Today we're going to walk through some cheaper alternatives to some of the most beloved high-end skincare products in the beauty community (as well as within my personal collection!) Obviously with skincare you can't exactly 'dupe' a product but we're talking similar ingredients, textures, performance and application for far less money...
Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore* | £135 (48ml) vs. Byoma Moisturising Rich Cream* | £13.99 (50ml)
This Skinceuticals barrier support cream is formulated with the three fundamental components of the skin's lipid barrier in the ratio they occur naturally: ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. We all want a healthy skin barrier so our skin isn't irritated or dry or otherwise compromised. I particularly recommend working something like this into your regular routine if you use stronger actives in your routine (like acids, retinoids and Vitamin C) to support your skin through these more intensive treatments. What I always loved about the Skinceuticals formula is that it's surprisingly light; many ceramide creams can be quite rich and heavy on the skin, which isn't everyone's preference, but this one isn't. It's enough for my dry skin but I also don't see it smothering oilier skin types when used as a night cream.
However, £135 is a lot to spend on any moisturiser, particularly when there aren't really active ingredients in there, and my alternative comes in at under £15! The Byoma moisturiser also contains ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids, plus bakuchiol (for its antioxidant, skin-brightening and potential skin-smoothing benefits). This one is also free from fragrance and fragrant essential oils, which the Skinceuticals isn't, so that could be an added benefit for some. But, most importantly, it's similar to the Skinceuticals in texture; it's substantial, nourishing and softening but feels lovely and light on my skin. For that reason, I think it's a great alternative for a fraction of the cost.
Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10* | £89 (30ml) vs. Geek & Gorgeous A-Game 10 | £17.95 (30ml)
The Medik8 retinal line of serums (available in a range of strengths, 10 is the highest available through retail channels) has been my absolute favourite for around two and a half years now. Retinal is not a common skincare ingredient to formulate with, though it's now gaining popularity, so it's only recently that any affordable options have come to market. Retinal is a retinoid (or Vitamin A derivative), meaning it can boost collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and diminish the look of discolouration. Retinal in particular is my favourite retinoid option because it delivers me those results fast, it doesn't irritate my skin and I don't find it drying. Medik8 go from CR1 through to 20 so you can work your way through the different strengths. These serums are formulated as creamy-lotions with plenty of moisturising ingredients to ensure your skin is nourished whilst you use this powerful active.
Geek and Gorgeous have finally delivered a cheaper alternative for people who just can't spend that amount of money on a retinoid. The equivalent of CR10 is A-Game 10; though there aren't as many options in this line, there's also a less-intense A-Game 5 available. This is a little less luxurious to apply and feels more basic and less moisturising, but the important similarity is there, and that's the results! This gave me the retinoid effects without any irritation or drying out my skin. I'm so happy I finally have something I can give a genuine recommendation of that's cheaper than my beloved Medik8 and that more people can hopefully get their hands on this and experience how great retinal is!
Sunday Riley Autocorrect Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream* | £60 (15ml) vs. Bondi Sands Eye Spy Vitamin C Eye Cream* | £9.99 (15ml)
Eye creams are a funny one; though I've had the chance to try the Sunday Riley product and felt it did help my eye area look a little fresher, I couldn't see myself going out and spending £60 on it if I didn't already know it worked for me. Ultimately, it can be a bit of a toss-up as you're gambling with your money that the product you're buying will address the root cause of your dark circles / eye bags (and these causes can really vary). Sunday Riley's formula is nicely light and lotion-y and has a peachy tint to it to help colour correct dark circles whilst you're wearing the product (plus it has a subtle luminosity to reflect light). That titanium dioxide also gives a bit of visible light protection. It's formulated with a bunch of antioxidants to prevent free radical damage around that delicate eye area and caffeine, which is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it can help reduce the dark appearance caused by blood vessels under the thin skin of the eye. Plus it contains plenty to hydrate the eye area and plump out any dehydration lines and moisturise it without overwhelming the skin with product.
I recently tried the eye cream from Bondi Sands' Everyday Skin line and couldn't help but notice the similarities with the Sunday Riley formula. Firstly, it has that peachy tone and slightly luminous finish that gives that kind of 'makeup-skincare' hybrid benefit that the Sunday Riley formula does as well as iron oxides and titanium dioxide giving the visible light protection. It also contains antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C and coffee bean extract (also a source of caffeine for those vasoconstriction benefits). The only slight thing I'd say about this is that you don't want to over-apply it, otherwise it can pill a little, but for a £50 saving, I'm sure it's worth just being slightly more careful when it comes to application!
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic* | £150 (30ml) vs. Geek & Gorgeous C-Glow | £11.95 (30ml)
The Skinceuticals ascorbic acid (pure form Vitamin C) is famous for a reason; it's patented as the perfect combination of factors to create a stable, effective, non-irritating formula. Ascorbic acid has amazing antioxidant and skin-brightening benefits, plus has the ability to boost collagen production in the skin. It's by far the most well-studied and proven type of Vitamin C on the market, but it has real stability issues, so most products containing it will turn orange and be ineffective before you're even halfway to emptying it! The Skinceuticals formula has a really good unopened shelf life and has been tested to last for 6 months once opened. The reason it is this expensive is because Skinceuticals carried out and paid for almost all the research we have on Vitamin C, however either way this price-point is probably going to be out-of-reach for many.
I tried a bunch of alternative ascorbic acid formulas to see if anything out there compared to Skinceuticals and surprisingly, the cheapest product I tried was the best! Geek and Gorgeous, like Skinceuticals, use a 15% concentration of ascorbic acid, stabilised and boosted by Vitamin E and ferulic acid. And - despite me not keeping this in the fridge as suggested by the brand - I got through 3/4s of the bottle before the colour even started to shift. This is likely because Geek and Gorgeous formulate the product regularly in very small batches so the products are fresh and haven't been sat in a warehouse for months. It doesn't irritate my skin and provides those amazing benefits you can only really guarantee with the pure form of this ingredient. For the price difference, I'm amazed at how effective this formula is!
Have you tried any of the products featured? Have you found any amazing alternatives to high-end skincare that everyone seems to love?
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