The beauty industry is designed, run, and packaged as a beautiful thing. Inundated with words and phrases like "flawless", "velvety", "blends like a dream", "glow from within", and more, the beauty industry wants you to get one step closer to that sparkly, fragrant, impossible dream by opening your wallets.
If you can afford to, go nuts. There's nothing wrong with splashing out for the products you love, and there's a sense of attending to your well-being when you indulge in a luxurious self-care routine. However, you don't need to spend a lot to get good results.
Here are some of the best kept secrets on the high street:
Dove Beauty Bar might look like a bar of soap but it's not. It's formulated with a quarter moisturising cream and gentle enough to not strip your skin of its natural oils. Used as a cleanser on your face - with no make-up on - it can effectively clean your skin without drying it out; some even notice an improvement in skin condition and texture when its used consistently.
Pixi Glow Tonic has 5 per cent glycolic acid, which helps to gently remove dead skin cells improve skin texture. Good for day and night, this toner will leave your skin feeling soft, refreshed, glowing and hydrated.
It's only in the past couple of years that Western markets have caught onto essences, but Hada Labo has been spearheading the movement for ages. Packaging is going to vary depending on which country you're in, but look for emulsions or lotions (light), which can be used after cleansing and before a serum or moisturiser.
For a foolproof serum that works for every face, you can't go wrong with The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2 per cent + B5 serum. Hyaluronic acid is the beauty industry's darling because it is a moisture-binding ingredient, despite having "acid" in its name, that holds more than 1,000 times its weight in water. It also plays nice with most other ingredients you may already be using in your routine.
The Olay Whip moisturisers are fantastic for daytime. They're lightweight, hydrating, and provide a semi-matt finish so you don't look oily or greasy. Depending on what you're after, the Luminous, Total Effects and Regenerist ranges all come in the Whip formula. Just be careful not to grab the SPF version, which does leave behind a shine.
For a comprehensive range of sun protection products for all skin types and lifestyles, you can't go wrong with Neutrogena. From non-greasy formulas you can wear under make-up or reapplied throughout the day as a spray, to heavy duty SPF for athletes, there's one that will cater to your needs.
From Lift and Luminate to Essential Moisture, the No 7 Night Cream range from British chemist Boots is designed with different skin types and needs in mind. Non-greasy and quickly absorbed, No 7 skincare is effective and affordable. Our favourite kind.
At the chemist, no one does eye cream quite like Garnier, whose Eye Roller series comes with beautiful ingredients to treat common under-eye problems. The packaging also comes with a rollerball applicator so you can glide and massage the product into your under-eye to depuff the area. Keep it in the fridge for an extra cool boost to reduce those bags.
If you're a make-up wearer, you should always double cleanse at the end of the day - start with an oil-based make-up remover to get rid of any trace of cosmetics, and then follow up with a mild cleanser to really clean your skin of product build-up. For a wallet friendly oil cleanser, because we can't always afford Shu Uemura or Tatcha, DHC offers a few different oil cleansers that are gentle but effective.
You should exfoliate regularly - every other day or once a week - to get rid of dead skin cells or product build-up so your skincare products can be absorbed better. Which one you use depends on your skin type and sensitivity, but St Ives carries such a wide range of exfoliators you're sure to find a match for what you need.
If you have sensitive skin, go for a moderate or gentle scrub, if your skin is hardier, it can probably handle a deep cleansing scrub. Use gentle pressure to rub in circular motions all over the face for 30 seconds to a minute.
L'Oreal really changed the game recently with its extensive range of face masks to target different skin issues. Whether you need something to treat your acne or to deeply hydrate, this brand has you covered. It's also so inexpensive you can stock up on a few and rotate depending on what your skin needs that day.
Used as the final step of your evening skincare routine, a facial oil creates a barrier and locks in all the products you've used before it. This is particularly good if you live somewhere where you might have the air-con on while you're sleeping for a good chunk of the year. Elf Cosmetics Nourishing Facial Oil is packed full of rose, avocado, and grape seed oil to protect and hydrate your skin all through the night.
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