Thursday 23 November 2017

Spend or Save? Our roundup of budget vs luxury skin care products

Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

For the day that's in it - here are some ideas to improve your skincare routine, no matter what your budget is.

Facial oils and serums continue to garner cult status. After a deep cleanse and face mask, massaging a nourishing oil into the skin helps replenish lost moisture and restore plumpness to the skin's surface.

Clinique's researchers have spent five years working on the new 'Smart Custom Serum' which addresses uneven skin tone and targets lines and wrinkles. Asia is known for being light years ahead in terms of skincare innovations, so I was excited to try out the Qian Baijia range, which is stocked as part of the non-surgical skin programme at Dublin Vitality Center.

Close-up female face with a big wrinkles on her forehead

Pronounced keen-bah-ee-a, the range boasts revolutionary products which contain important ingredients such as collagen, hyaluron and coenzyme peptides to keep skin plump, radiant and glowing. As per tradition, they recommend that you massage the serums into your skin using a pure jade skin roller. Anyone who sees you using what looks like a small paint roller to apply your night creams might think you have lost your  marbles - but I found the process both relaxing and beneficial to my existing regime.


Save: Qian Baijia, Anti-Aging Collagen Serum, €34.99 - available at


Spend: Clinique Smart Serum, €90


Clay masks are fantastic for drawing out impurities, and I find that moisturising products work much more effectively once pores have been purged. Apply a thick layer and allow it to harden before rinsing off with warm water and a soft facecloth.

Boots' own brand Tea Tree & Witch Hazel is one that I have been using since my teenage years as it really sorts out temperamental skin prone to blackheads and breakouts. Meanwhile Caudalie's gentle but effective 'Instant Detox' mask has been one of my favourite skincare discoveries recently - and I'm not alone, the mask has racked up an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5 on


Save: Boots Instant Deep Cleanse Mask, €4.79


Spend: Caudalie Instant Detox Mask, €30

If prolonging the signs of ageing is your concern, Aldi's affordable Lacura range continues to gain a cult following. Their latest release 'Caviar Illumination' uses omega-3 fatty acids and pure caviar extract to help lift and firm the skin. At the opposite end of the price spectrum, luxe brand Sisley was the first in the world to use botanical essences in their products and their reputation as innovators prevails. Renowned for their anti-ageing range, those in the know splash the cash on the 'Intensive Programme' and covetable 'Supremya Baume'.


Save: Lacura Caviar Illumination 7-Day Treatment, €8.99, Aldi


Spend: Sisley Anti-Aging Intensive Program Face and Neck, €359, Harvey Nichols

Toners are not for everyone, as some people dislike the feeling on their skin or find them drying. However, I am never convinced that I have removed every trace of makeup unless I have used some form of liquid remover to double cleanse. I also like how Boots Organics rose water spray refreshes your complexion in the morning and adds a dewy glow to skin.


Save: Boots Organics Rosewater Toning Spritz, €5.13


Spend: Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil Free Toner, €20

I'm not needy, but I do expect a lot from my cleanser. There's nothing more frustrating that spending time removing makeup - only to find half of it still comes off on a fresh white towel. Trilogy's new balm makes cleansing less of a chore, thanks to its luxurious consistency and rich scent of mango butter, coconut, sunflower and rosehip. Better still, it comes with unbleached, organic cotton cloths to help speed the cleansing process along. On nights when you can't find the energy, opt for Simple facial wipes, as they are enriched with micellar water and don't strip the skin of moisture while effectively removing grime, dirt and makeup.

simple wipes.jpg

Save: Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Wipes, €5.33


Spend: Trilogy's Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm, €24.90

Finally, as I get older I am duly understanding the importance of a good night cream. For a while, I experimented with sleeping slathered in coconut oil, but I soon realised it's pretty impractical going to bed every night looking like a glazed ham. Instead, I have fallen in love with the detox range from Nuxe which has made me realise that waking up with baby soft skin is actually a possibility when you layer the right products before a good night's sleep.


Save: Nua Naturals Coconut Oil, €6.95


Spend: Nuxe, Nuxellence Detox, €49

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