Ruth Griffin: Budget beauty - 10 under €10
From moisturisers to mascara, these great value products pack a powerful punch.
A recent BBC documentary called The Truth About Looking Good set out to test whether the price of a skincare product had any effect on its actual effectiveness. This is a question most of us that are interested in the skincare and make-up world have asked at one stage or another. The documentary pitted expensive brands and budget skincare lines against each other in a blind test. It unearthed some very surprising results regarding the effectiveness of some of the very high-end beauty products, compared to their more budget-friendly cousins in the skincare family.
So, who was the winner in this skincare competition? It may come as a surprise that the A+ gold star top scorer was the much-loved, no nonsense, plainly packaged Nivea and their Soft Moisturising Cream, which comes in at a very affordable ¤7.99. Bearing in mind that some skincare lines offer products that can reach prices of hundreds of Euro, this is great news for people who take their skin health seriously but maybe don't have a huge budget for it.
The show reported that an indication of how good a moisturiser is depends on the level of humectants present in the product (a key ingredient for retaining the skin's moisture), rather than price.
Generally, I try and keep an open mind about most things in life, and skincare and beauty are no different. I'm happy to recommend a product that I've sampled and loved that is at the higher end of the price scale as well as those that I love at the lower end. If it works for you, go for it, I say!
It's best not to be a skincare snob generally, in case you miss some of the most gorgeous beauty finds around - I've outlined my Top 10 for you here to try yourself. There is a bounty of budget beauty buys waiting to be discovered -trust me!
Celeb Inspiration: Cate Blanchett
This Australian Oscar-winning actress is also a 48-year-old mother-of-four and swears she keeps her blonde barnet in check with Pantene Pro V Moisture Soufflé Leave-In Conditioner, €4.45
TREAT Vs CHEAT
Estée Lauder Double Wear Radiant Bronze Cushion Stick
This cheek colour gives a gorgeous natural glow and is super handy to throw in your handbag if you can't face faffing about with brushes and multiple products. From department stores and pharmacies nationwide.
Catrice Blush Flush Cushion Powder Cheeks
This is a lovely alternative, if more a blush colour than strictly bronzing. From Penneys stores and pharmacies nationwide.
● Best Make-up Brushes
Good brushes can make such a difference to how your make-up looks - a good brush will spread the product properly, shave time off your application and give a polished, perfected finish to your look. Collecting your brushes can be really expensive, but a great vegan and 100pc cruelty-free option is now available from Wet n Wild, at just €5.95 - €7.95 each. From pharmacies nationwide.
● Best Organic Skincare Line
Increasingly, more and more of us are looking to include organic and natural skincare into our bathroom cabinets. It can be costly, though, to opt for 100pc synthetic chemical-free options. A really amazing line that is inexpensive and very effective is the Le Mara Organic Seaweed Line. Seaweed hand-harvested off the Irish west coast is the hero ingredient in this cost-effective line. Try Le Mara Body Butter, €3.99, from Aldi nationwide.
● Best for Nails
If you suffer from flaky, peeling, weak nails, look no further than this nail-strengthening polish for a gorgeous- looking mani in weeks. Rimmel Nail Nurse Strengthening Stronger Nail, €6.50, from pharmacies nationwide.
● Best Mascara
Mascara is a make-up staple that over 90pc of women wear. For good hygiene, tubes should be dumped after three-to-six months. So, if you love serious lashes but you'd rather use your budget for other longer-lasting products, check out NYX Colour Mascara, €7.95, from Arnotts, pharmacies, Boots and littlewoodsireland.ie. Another favourite is Catrice Lashes to Kill Pro Instant Volume Mascara, €5.50 from Penneys and pharmacies nationwide.
● Best Lippies
For a slick of scarlet for your pout, forget those costly high-end lippies. If your budget is a bit anaemic, try elf Matte Lip Colour in Rich Red, €6.45, for a brilliant alternative this Valentine's Day. From Penneys and pharmacies nationwide.
● Best Blush
Catrice is a make-up line that I think punches way above its beauty weight. This season they have launched a blush line, which incorporates cream, powder and ombre blushes, that is definitely worth checking out. I love their Catrice Blush Flush Ombre Blush Palette, €5.95, from pharmacies and Penneys stores nationwide.
● Best Oil
A relatively new addition to the budget market in Ireland is the & Other Stories beauty range. It is a no-nonsense, plainly packaged, hard-hitting make-up, skincare and candle line that is definitely worth checking out. Their & Other Stories Fig Fiction Body Oil, €9, is divine. Mix with your usual moisturiser or use alone. From & Other Stories, Grafton Street, Dublin, and stories.com/ie
● Best Foundation
Finding the perfect foundation can be a very expensive process - what suits you in the winter looks dreadful in the summer sun. Inexpensive foundations can sometimes just not cut the mustard, however this year there are two amazing foundation options I urge you to try - the totally gorgeous PS Velvet Finish Foundation SPF 30, €6 from Penneys, and NOTE Luminous Moisturising Foundation, €9.94 from pharmacies nationwide.
● Best Hair
If your hair is looking less than glossy and your bouffant needs a massive dose of TLC but your budget can't stretch to a high- end conditioning treatment, try Cien Professional Repair Conditioner with Keratin, €1.69, from Lidl stores nationwide. (Also keep an eye out for their Argon Oil hair line for some deep moisturising.)
● Best Primer
Some people feel that a primer is not for them, as it can be costly and just another step in their seemingly never-ending make-up routine. I promise that primers are actually the lazy girl's best friend: in one step they will give the skin a glow and lift that usually only comes to those that drink kale smoothies and get 12 hours' sleep a night! Try CYO Turn On The Light Illuminating Cream, €6.40, from Boots nationwide.