My journey of budget beauty began, like many low-priced odysseys, in the hallways of my local Aldi.
In the middle of a last-minute backpack before a business trip abroad, I discovered that I had run out of my usual cleaning wipes (MAC, $ 25 for 30 wipes), so I went to the corner store and threw a pack. in Aldi Lacura Cleaning Wipes ($ 1.69 for 30 wipes) in my basket. Not only did they remove all the dust and grime while I was working in Texas, the soft almond and aloe vera oil formula proved to be the perfect stimulus for my sanding skin (walking all day under the warm sun on a ranch will do that. with you).
I returned to Sydney, a Lacura convert, and wondered what other low-priced beauty products could outperform my expensive arsenal of skin care. As a longstanding sufferer of rosacea and ridiculously sensitive skin (mysterious rashes, blemishes and itchy materializing God knows why, but God knows all the time), I always thought that spending a lot of money was the only way to placate and protect my face. But what if it wasn't? Recently there has been a proliferation of new affordable skin care brands that claim to deliver real results. I decided to try them on.
Aldi Lacura Scarves, $ 1.69 for a pack of 30. Photo: Provided
I started with a trip to Sephora, which recently launched a $ 9 to $ 30 collection of skincare products from cleansers, micellar water, and scrubs, to eye creams, serums, and mud masks. The line was created in France by adding a je ne sais quoi marketing soup to the cheap cleaner. Sephora claims it contains a minimum of 90% "natural ingredients", which I thought could be as kind as the more expensive Sisley, Aesop and Votary products I had purchased for the same reason.
When I got home, I started replacing my thefts twice a week from Dr Natasha Cook Micropeel Concentrate ($ 125 for 16 sachets) with Sephora Shine Pads ($ 24 for 60 pieces). Where my handkerchiefs by the Sydney dermatologist had the fine texture of damp tissue, Sephora's were pleasantly thick with exfoliating bumps on one side. The bite of the cheap pillows was much less powerful (if that is any indication of effectiveness), but I still experienced noticeably smoother skin after use, and the small container was perfect for my frequent work trips.
Unfortunately, Sephora's Firming Night Cream and Ultra Glow Serum (containing a mixture of vitamin C and E) were far from rich enough for my skin, and I found myself constantly reapplying them.
But with so many low-priced brands on department store shelves, how do you know which ones really produce results?
"It's possible that economical products deliver results similar to luxury brands, but it depends on what the ingredients are, so you need to do your research," says Michelle Wong, a PhD in Sydney chemistry whose Lab Muffin website uses science to analyze which Beauty products are worth buying and which not.
Where I came to pay was The Inkey List, a British brand that recently arrived in Australia. In the UK, it claims to have sold a product every 60 seconds since its September launch last year. Like the Canadian brand The Ordinary, The Inkey List's USP is no-frills formulas and reduces expensive packaging to focus on premium single ingredients such as retinol (which has backed by evidence wrinkle-reducing properties), niacinamide (used to treat premature aging caused by air pollution) and alpha hydroxy acid (a chemical exfoliator that makes skin brighter and wetter).
Inkey List Salicylic Acid Cleaner Photography: PR
I tried the branded vitamin C serum (30 ml for $ 18, containing 30% vitamin C compared to my usual 50 ml Kiehl Powerful Power Line Reduction Concentrate for $ 103 with 12.5% vitamin C), lactic acid serum ($ 18) and polyglutamic acid serum ($ 22), which the Inkey List claims to retain four times more moisture than hyaluronic acid.
After using the products together, my skin became soft as a freshly peeled egg, and it was nice to customize a specific cocktail for my skin, instead of having to buy more expensive products with ingredients I didn't need or wanted. I also liked the minimal black and white packaging and the explanations about the product without BS.
"We found that there was a lot of confusion in skin care and a gap to help people understand the ingredients and how to use them," says The Inkey List co-founder Colette Newberry, who previously worked for the British giant of Boots pharmacy. "Our experience with large-scale beauty companies has allowed us to move further up the supply chain directly to the source of quality ingredients for the best price."
The Ordinary beauty products focus on unique active ingredients and retail at much lower prices than traditional beauty brands. Photo: Jerome Clarke
Wong says, "The real ingredients of beauty products don't cost much. Usually, they're well below $ 1, so it's things like packaging, logistics and celebrity endorsement that drive up prices. But with the products really, really In economical terms, there is not much in the formula in terms of raw ingredients.Frequently, fillers are used, such as water, ethyl alcohol, or something oil-based, which helps the ingredient thin or spread better on the skin. "
Perhaps that's why I found the $ 29 Bakuchiol Booster (a retinol substitute) by British brand BYBI Beauty to produce less than brilliant results and Mario Badescu Hydro Moisturizer with Vitamin C ($ 28 per 59ml) without the promised "shine boost" effect. However, K-beauty faced the challenge of cutting the price. AN Brand Kelp Sheet Mask (only $ 2!) revived my puffy face after a great night out.
To have the best chance of succeeding with the beauty budget, Wong recommends reading the label carefully to see what percentage of active ingredients a product actually contains and to go through online reviews of people with a skin type similar to yours. . "The ingredient list is useful, but it doesn't predict how it will work on your own skin."
Georgina Safe, the author, spent two weeks replacing her skin care regimen with cheaper products. Photo: Jessica Hromas / The Guardian
Once you've chosen a few low-priced candidates, the best test is to try one product at a time instead of putting multiple anointings on your face – so that's not what I did.
"Don't get too many things into your skin at one time or you risk irritation," says Wong. "Try each product for a week or two so you can really see if it works or not."
Wong's favorite budget purchases include The Inkey List and Australian QV brands (for their Body wash) and Natio (for his $ 19.95 Daily Defense Face Moisturizer SPF 50+ ) In my own journey of affordable beauty, I also found several Australian brands effective. For example, Lanolips' Aussie Flyer Leave-on Recovery Mask ($ 26 per 60 ml) punctured my dehydrated skin better than the outrageously expensive one. Chanel Sublimage Mask ($ 305 per 50ml) I was using.
After two weeks of lathering, moisturizing, scrubbing and masking, my skin was no better or worse than before. This may have happened because I refused to change my main cleaning routine and often caught myself in my intense moisturizers when budget shopping was not nutritious enough.
Although there are some beauty expenses that I will never give up, after my first encounter with Lacura Scarves, I discovered other affordable products that I will definitely present. Maybe I'll see you in the Aldi corridors soon.
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