Ultimate Spring Beauty Bargains

Sunday 1 April 2018

Spring definitely calls for new beauty products, and what better place to start than the aisles of Boots? 

While I adore the luxury of high-end products (check out my last luxury beauty haul here), I think we all know the ‘drugstore’ (sorry, but British me still winces a little at that word!) is no stranger to producing a belter either. It’s one of my favourite things to explore the aisles and see what I can find. 

Is there anything sweeter than the thrill of finding a product that really delivers and is also a total bargain? 

Bourjois Aqua Blush

Flushed cheeks are super pretty and to me they really feel spring like, but I often struggle to find blushers that look natural on me and not too painted on! 

I almost always choose a pinkish-nude lipstick and buff that into my cheeks instead, but these sheer gel blushes from Bourjois caught my eye. Just dot on and blend out for a super sheer, believable wash of colour. The effect is really natural, so if you’re wary of the ‘doll cheeks’ look, you might love this. 

It blends out nicely without being patchy and the colour is much longer lasting than a powder blush. I love the effect these have on the skin.  This coral shade is super pretty and perfect for lighter nights and days. Definitely a new hero product! 

L’Oreal Stylista The Beach Wave Mist

Stylista is a recently launched range of styling products, and the revamped packaging really caught my eye. My hair is mostly straight with a slight wave, so often at the weekends, when I don’t want to spend time styling it, I’ll use a wave spray to add some texture and movement and create that undone look. 

I’m a huge fan of Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, because it’s one of the few I’ve tried that leaves my hair soft rather than crispy, but it’s quite pricey. Could this spray be a budget dupe? It promises a volumised, undone look with beachy, windswept waves. 

While I wouldn’t say this gave my hair any additional volume, it does produce a pretty texture that’s not at all stiff and still has plenty of natural movement. I’ve only used it to ‘spray and scrunch’ so far, but if you plaited the hair first, you’d be able to achieve more of a pronounced wave. 

The trigger spray makes it super easy to use and it has a pretty scent that perfumes the hair. A great budget texturiser for your tresses.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

A new launch from one of my favourite skincare brands demanded my attention. I love, love, love The Ordinary, from the amazing products to the great price points to the restrained packaging. My skincare is mostly made up of products from here and Beauty Pie, and I really think they’ve changed the game when it comes to effective results. 

A key part of any decent skincare regime is exfoliation. It removes the dead cells, gives you a fresh glow, and allows your lotions and potions to sink in and work better. So, a must-have. 

Personally, I really dislike the gritty feel of scrubs, and so I prefer a chemical exfoliant that can be quickly swiped on after cleansing. This is mild enough not to upset skin, but I do feel a strong tingle when I apply it, which may not suit everyone. 

Using Tasmanian Pepperberry, this is formulated to reduce the skin irritation that acid toners can have on the face. It also includes soothing Aloe Vera and Ginseng Root for radiance. This is 2% higher in concentration than the cult Pixi Glow Tonic, and without all the perfumes etc that has. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it's effects over time and hoping it will help to even out my skin a little. 

A fab introduction to exfoliating toners, if you haven’t tried one before.

Sanctuary Spa Wonder Body

On my high-end wishlist for a while has been the Vita Liberata Body Blur, which my best friend raves about, but I haven’t actually gotten around to buying it yet- and then spotted what seems to be a good drugstore dupe from Sanctuary. 

This body cream is basically a BB for the limbs, moisturising, blurring and providing a lightly tinted, airbrushed effect. I mean, who doesn’t want that when they go out? With colour adaptive pigments that transform to suit your skintone, you don’t need to worry about going orange, and the optical blurring agents help to disguise imperfections like thread veins and marks. It also has grape seed and Abyssinian oil to give a moisture hit.

 I found this super easy to apply and most importantly not at all streaky, where as similar products I’ve tried from L’Oreal (the Dream Legs BB) and Garnier have left me unimpressed because they’re so patchy, even with careful application. It really helps to even out skin tone and make the skin look perfected without being a fake tan, which I’m always wary of. The colour is light and natural and not orange at all, which is also where other products I’ve tried have failed. 

It’s a beautiful product that just works really well and definitely something my bathroom shelves won’t be without now - and for half the price of the Vita Liberata! Major win. 

L’Oreal Color Riche Shine #Bae

L’Oreal are launching some uh-may-zing products recently, have you noticed? (Their Paradise mascara is the best drugstore lash treat I’ve tried in a very long time). 

While matte lips have been the main story for a few years now, glossy finishes are always my preference - hey, I came of age when Juicy Tubes were the last word in chic! What could be more flattering than a delicate sheen on your pout? 

Typically, it was the packaging that first drew me to these new launches- I adore the quilted effect Perspex tubes, so chic! This formula is infused with oils so that it glides on and leaves lips feeling hydrated. There are a range of shades but the one which really caught my eye was this holographic colour, which can be worn on it's own or over the top of others. The mix of iridescent pigments is just so gorgeous and it’s a really cool product. I love how it looks over a nude or a pink lip and it’s also flattering on it's own. 

These feel like a balm to wear as well, and I’m really impressed with them. I’ll definitely be adding a few more shades to my collection. 

Lacura Caviar Illumination Serum

The Lacura range of skincare usually impresses me and I think people are so curious about if something like this is really effective- the most popular ever posts are my reviews of the Caviar range, which is a dupe for the La Prairie range, where prices start at over £200.

There’s nothing in the performance or packaging that feels cheap, even though this is from budget supermarket Aldi and only costs £6.99. The whole range is really good, so I was intrigued to give this Serum a go. With skincare professionals raving about it, it’s definitely worth a try. 

Caviar extract is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals so is supposed to help combat signs of aging. The range also includes star hydrate Hyaluronic Acid, which plumps and smooths like nothing else and Snow Algae extract, which has been shown in labs to extend the life of skin cells. Supposedly, it ‘triggers’ the skin’s own stem cells to replace damaged cells and rejuvenate the skin. 

The Serum is a clear gel that contains little black iridescent pearls (these are not actually Caviar beads, but have the look of them). Presented in a hygienic pump format, the formula is quite sticky to apply but it quickly settles down. 

While I haven’t noticed any dramatic, immediate effects on my face, I have a couple of tubes to get through so I’m hoping to see results by then. It does leave my skin nicely plumped up in the morning, and despite the price tag feels like a much higher end product to use. The 3 Minute Peel Mask is still the best thing in the range so far, but this is well worth a try.

No1 Lime, Basil & Mandarin, No3 Pomegranate, No4 Freesia & Pear

The internet could not have been more hyped when these dupes for Jo Malone eau de toilettes were announced. It sent everyone into an absolute frenzy and I’m afraid I wasn’t immune - I drove out of my way to a couple of different stores to get my hands on them! 

I’ve been a fan of the Aldi JM-dupe candles and Reed diffusers since they launched. They smell lovely (if not as potent as the originals) and the packaging feels really quite high end of product that are under a fiver. They’re a great way to add a touch of affordable luxury into your home. 

So when they announced a limited edition run of fragrances, I was determined to try them out, especially at just £5.99 each. And so was everyone else apparently, given that the set of three are being sold on for over £50 on eBay right now. Madness. Confession- I haven’t actually smelt anything by Jo Malone, so I have no idea if these actually smell like the originals, but they are lovely! Freesia and Pear is my favourite - it’s light, fresh and delicate without being overly sweet. Perfect for wearing to the office. 

Lime, Basil and Mandarin is a delicate, herby cologne that could definitely be unisex. Pomegranate is quite musky and probably my least favourite, although far from unpleasant. They all smell sophisticated. The perfume is terribly long lasting, but at this price you can afford to splash them around - especially when you consider the originals would cost £212! For me, it was a great way to try some of these cult scents and se if I liked them, then perhaps invest in the premium version. In the event, I don’t think any of them are really ‘me’ so I may just have saved myself an expensive mistake. 

Packaged in heavy glass bottles with metal lids, I think the joy of these is exactly the same as the Lacura skincare- it really doesn’t feel cheap in any way. I’ll always want to try their new offerings because they prove that budget doesn’t have to mean an inferior experience. 

So those are my current purse-friendly discoveries. What have you tried lately that’s rocked your world? 

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