Best budget beauty to buy from the high street and supermarkets – starting from £2.50

Best budget beauty to buy from the high street and supermarkets – starting from £2.50

As someone who requires constant inspiration and advice for almost every minor life decision I have to make – from what I should be wearing this season to what to cook for dinner tonight – it’s always a joy to receive a recommendation that’s not only affordable but easy to get my hands on.

It’s the same when talking about beauty. Me waxing lyrical about a face cream I love isn’t much use to anyone if it costs hundreds of pounds, is only available from some obscure overseas website and has a three-month waiting list.

Luckily nowadays there’s no need to travel far – or take out a new credit card – to top up your bathroom cabinet or make-up bag, with the high street brimming with brilliant budget beauty buys. Here are some exciting new finds to look out for on your next shopping trip…

The high street is brimming with brilliant budget beauty buys

Pharmacy favourites

Perhaps the most obvious place to shop for beauty, but healthcare destinations like Boots, Superdrug and Lloyd’s Pharmacy have really upped their offerings in recent years. Boots stocks over 500 beauty brands – more than anywhere else on the high street – from makeup giants like NARS and Laura Mercier to more niche names such as The INKEY List and Starface.

Boots’ own labels continue to stay at the forefront of skin innovation, too, with No7 plus its cheaper sister skin:edit both recently introducing new ranges specifically created for menopausal skin (from £9.99 here).

Supermarket sweep

When lockdown hit, out of necessity we all suddenly started paying more attention to the beauty aisles of our local supermarket – and were probably pleasantly surprised by what we found, with a great array of grooming offerings to be found alongside your groceries.

Arguably leading the way is M&S, whose beauty section is well worth a browse the next time you’re popping in for Percy Pigs. There you’ll find top names like REN, Emma Hardie and new addition Benefit alongside M&S’s own brands like the luxe-looking Apothecary and the recently relaunched Formula skincare.

Aldi, meanwhile, regularly makes headlines with its limited-edition Lacura launches that bear more than a passing resemblance to luxury brands. Latest in-store additions include a lip oil, £2.99, under-eye concealer, £3.99, and glow-boosting serum, £4.99 here (you can decide which fancy favourites they might have been “inspired” by…).

A great array of grooming offerings to be found alongside your groceries

Fashionable finds

Pop into your favourite fashion store for a cute new outfit and you’re likely to have added to your bathroom cabinet as well as your wardrobe by the time you leave. Once something only done by high-end fashion houses, in recent years some of our favourite high street fashion brands have branched out with their own beauty ranges.

Take Primark’s latest PS…Skin+ collection, for example, which contains science-led active ingredients that you’d usually pay top dollar for (retinol, lactic acid, vitamin C) yet starts from just £2.50 in stores. Zara, meanwhile, has impressed snooty beauty editors with its fragrances (including a range by Jo Malone CBE) and modern take on makeup, the latest being the lightweight and Luminous Hydro Glow Tinted Moisturiser, £14.99 here.

Some of our favourite high street fashion brands have branched out with their own beauty ranges

High street icons

Of course, some beauty shops that have always been regular fixtures on the high street, and are as popular today as they ever were. The Body Shop has been THE place to head to for its Fairtrade formulas and fruity fragrances for over 40 years – the new Avocado Body Yogurt, £12 here, is going straight on my shopping list – and no high street is completely without the heady scent of a Lush store wafting down the pavement. Look out for a new “self-preserving” skincare range designed to support the skin’s natural microbiome, with prices starting from £10 here.

Shop our editor’s picks

Three new frugal finds that have seriously impressed

Our OK! beauty editor loves these bargain beauty products

e.l.f. Cosmetics Halo Glow Liquid FIlter, £14 here

Touted by beauty fans as an alternative to Charlotte Tilbury’s pricier Flawless Filter, I’ve used this brilliant primer/highlighter hybrid every day since I laid my hands on it. It makes my skin look radiant and juicy without being shiny or shimmery, and good enough to go foundation-free for the first time in ages.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor, £4.99 here

This high street stalwart has just had an upgrade, with a richer, thicker formula that delivers even deeper conditioning, in the time it takes to wash your face or shave your legs. Impatient types like me should make this easy squeezy bottle a constant in your shower.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Cosmic Black Mascara, £11.99 here

I wasn’t particularly wowed by the original Sky High – a view that put me vastly in the minority as it achieved viral fame on TikTok and quickly became the UK’s bestselling mascara. This new extra-pigmented version, however, I adore. It gives the same lifted, lengthened – and completely smudge-proof – results as the original but with a generous extra helping of drama and definition. I’ve already bought back-ups.


Read More