Fight back against over-priced cosmetics! Post your cheap but outstanding discoveries

OK, I know there is already an excellent thread called 'post your outstanding make-up here', but I've noticed that quite a lot of people have recommended expensive, premium brands- which I'm sure are excellent- I have no argument with this, but recently I've become increasingly annoyed at the inflated prices premium brand companies are charging for their products. Even when you're lucky enough to find them on 'bargain' websites or Ebay they are still over-priced.

Unfortunately they get away with charging these prices because us women (myself included in the past) are willing to pay them. They know that we are all vain enough to go to any lengths in the name of looking good, and we have all contributed to the perpetuation of the myth that for something to be good it must therefore be expensive.

BUT it's time to fight back! Recently I have discovered a few little gems (two of them thanks to other MSE-ers) that prove that it's possible for a product to perform brilliantly- as good as, if not better, than the over-priced premium brands, but without the extortionate price-tags.

I thought it'd be a nice idea to start a thread where people can list their own discoveries of make-up, beauty or hair products that are not just cheap, but actually do give companies like Chanel, Lancome, Dior, etc. a run for their money, being equal to or exceeding them in terms of performance.

Most of the products below cost less than a fiver. Why not add your discoveries to this thread?

Please list anything you've used that is not only cheap, but also that you genuinely feel performs as well as the expensive premium brands (or better!). As they come in, I'll add them to the list below, so you can easily find what you're looking for.

The number of stars next to an item indicates how many times the product has been endorsed on this thread. Therefore please could you tell us about your fave product even if it's already listed below- so I can add a star!

If you try any of the products listed below, it'd also be really useful to share your opinion of it on this thread- many thanks.



  • Aldi's Siana anti-wrinkle moisturiser £1.89. *++ Heavily endorsed on another thread.
  • Nivea Creme (blue tub)**
  • Tesco Skin Wisdom moisturiser*
  • Vaseline*
  • Boots Petroleum Jelly*
  • Boots Expert Sensitive Light Moisturiser (good for mixing with foundation for tinted moisturiser)*
  • Nivea Oil free moisturising fluid*
  • Nivea Visage Light Moisturising Day Care cream**
  • Garnier Pure A Daily Treatment Moisturiser (for oily skin)*
  • Rescue Oil (available in Wilkinsons and Poundland)**
  • Olive Oil (see posts 171, 175, 189 & 190)**
  • Asda Essential Care moisturiser*
  • Lidl's Iseree day cream with Q10*
  • Lidl Iseree Intensive Anti Wrinkle Cream*
  • Clean and Clear Morning Glow moisturiser*
  • Pond's Regener-Activ day treatment**
  • Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter**
  • Superdrug's Vitamin E 12 hour moisturising cream with SPF 15**
  • As above, 'illuminating' version*
  • Superdrug's 'Natural High' anti ageing night cream*
  • Astral moisturiser**
  • Australian Organic Oil Free Moisturiser (for oily skin), John Lewis*
  • Holland & Barrett's Vitamin E oil (2-3 times per week)*
  • Avon Botanicals Vital Day Cream (spf 20)**
  • Barefoot Botanicals SOS cream*
  • Lidl's Iseree foaming facial cleanser**
  • Lidl's Iseree Cream facial cleanser*
  • Quickies eye make up remover pads*
  • Lush oil-based cleansing bar (for spotty skin)*
  • Boots Time Delay facial wipes**
  • Boots Essentials Cucumber Face Wipes**
  • Superdrug whitewillow facial wipes*
  • Anne French Deep Cleansing Milk*
  • Simple Purifying Cleansing Lotion**
  • Simple eye make-up remover**
  • Boots 'essentials' fragrance free eye make-up remover lotion*
  • Simple skin care wipes*
  • Clean & Clear cleanser (for oily/spotty skin)- similar to Clinique toner*
  • Cidal soap (for spotty skin)*
  • Boots Expert anti-blemish cleansing foam (similar to equivalent Clinique product)*
  • Vit E & Aloe cleanser (Home Bargains)*
  • Ponds Cold Cream**
  • Boots Essentials Cucumber Facial Wash*
  • Asda's essential care facial wipes**
  • Astral moisturiser*
  • Boots Time Delay Purifying Balm*
  • Lush Ultrabland hot cloth cleanser*
  • Dove Unscented cleansing bar*
  • Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2 in 1 wash and mask*
  • Oil Cleansing Method (see article)*****
  • Boots 'Traditional Range' Rosewater and Glycerin toner*
  • Plain Rosewater (from 'ethnic' food section in Tesco)****
  • Cooled green tea*
  • Time Delay Refining Toning Water*
Eye Creams:
  • Superdrug Vitamin E eye cream*
  • Boots Botanics lip and eye correction serum*
  • Revlon dark circles correction pen (Poundland)*
  • Revlon redness correction pen (Poundland)*
  • Aldi eye gel*
Lip Balms/ general-use balms:
  • Carmex***
  • Vaseline**
  • Blistex Relief Cream**
  • Paw-Paw ointment*
  • Balmbalm Rose Geranium lip balm (from Superdrug)*
  • Burts Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter (Ebay)**
  • Burts Bees lip balm*
  • Solar Oil- pinkie bottles (Ebay)*
  • Boots Botanics Super Balm**
  • Smith's Rosebud Salve (Ebay)*
  • Gayle Hayman Lip Lift*
Facial Exfoliators:
  • Boots Time Delay facial scrub***
  • St Ives facial scrub***
  • St Ives' Apricot Blemish Control Facial Scrub*
  • Clean & Clear Blackhead Clearing Daily Scrub*
  • Champneys Skin Glowing Facial Scrub Mask*
Face masks:
  • Mudd Mask*
For spots & blackheads:
  • Tea Tree oil*
  • Aloe Vera Gel*
  • Savlon*
  • Sudacrem (use as nightcream on face)*
  • Holland & Barrett tea tree oil*
Hand Creams:
  • Vaseline Intensive Care*
  • Cuticura Dry Skin Intensive Hand and Nail Cream (£shops, Home Bargains)*
  • Boots Petroleum Jelly*
  • Dove Night hand cream*
  • Cotton Tree Creamy Petroleum Jelly (from £shops)*
  • Aldi's Siana anti-ageing handcream*
  • Burt's Bees Lemon Hand Salve*
  • Tesco Barbara Daly Helping Hands*
  • Atrixo*
  • Soap and Glory handcream*
  • M&S hand and body lotion**
  • Nivea in blue tub*
Body Moisturisers:
  • Palmer's Cocoa Butter************
  • Palmer's Skin Smoothing Lotion with AHAs*
  • Vaseline Intensive Care*
  • Jojoba oil (see posts 29 & 177)**
  • Aqueous Cream**
  • Wilkinsons Skin Therapy Intensive Silk Moisturising Body Lotion*
  • Nivea Creme (blue tub)- for feet*
  • Boots Petroleum Jelly*
  • Boots Cocoa Butter and Mallow**
  • Whipped Shea Butter (Ebay)**
  • Boots Mediterranean Bergamot Body Butter*
  • Topicrem (from French hypermarkets)*
  • Olive Oil (see posts 171, 175, 189 & 190)**
  • Sally Hansen Leg Shine (Poundland)*
  • Astral moisturiser*
  • Boots Cucumber facial moisturising lotion*
  • Lidl intensive facial anti wrinkle cream*
  • Hollywood Beauty Cocoa Butter (from black hair shops)**
  • Raw cocoa butter sticks (from black hair shops)*
  • Superdrug Vitamin E all over body cream*
  • Avon foot cream*
  • Aldi Lacura body lotion*
  • Vaseline with Aloe Vera*
  • Johnsons baby soothing naturals cream*
  • Korres guava body butter for dry skin*
  • Aveeno*
  • Ultrabase*

    Body Scrubs:
  • St Ives facial scrub (used on feet)*
  • Lush Angels on Bareskin*
  • Simple Smoothing Scrub*
  • Ikea flannels*
  • Boots Mediterranean Bergamot Body Scrub*
  • Soap and Glory Flake Away body scrub (similar Clarins relax body scrub)*
  • Tesco's finest self tan exfoliator*
Self Tan
  • Asda Boots soltan tinted tanning moisturiser*
  • Olay's everyday sunshine moisturiser*
  • Dove Summer Glow***
  • Wilkinson's self tan wipes*
  • Rimmel Instant Tan Makeup for face and body*
  • 'Natrusan' moisturiser with hint of self-tan (from Poundland)*
Sun Creams
  • Sainsbury's Sunprotect Face anti-ageing sun cream 50spf*
Bath & Shower / other toiletries:
  • Aldi shower gel*
  • Aldi liquid soap**
  • Dove Cherry blossom Shower cream*
  • Tidmans Bathing Salts (Holland & Barrett/ Sainsburys)*
  • Epsom Salts*
  • Boots Coconut & Almond Oil Shower Gel*
  • Dettol (in bath for spots on body)*
  • Avon Skin so soft PINK shower creme*
  • Avon skin so soft dry oil body spray- turquoise bottle (excellent as an insect repellant)***
  • M&S shower gel*
  • Johnson's bodywash*
  • Asda Ultrabrite toothpaste*
  • Lidl's Cien Deodorant in Mango*
  • Pit Rok deodorant spray (from larger Superdrugs)*
  • Sure Crystal Pink*
  • Sure Girl Tropical Power*

Foundations/ tinted moisturisers:
  • Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse*
  • Avon Mousse Foundation*
  • Collection 2000 compact foundation*
  • Tesco Barbara Daly foundation***
  • Tesco Barbara Daly One Step Powder Foundation*
  • Boots 17 Super Wear foundation (mix to achieve desired colour)**
  • Boots 17 sheer light coverage foundation*
  • Lily Lilo Mineral Foundation (mail order)*
  • Collection 2000 Sheer Moist (oil-free)*
  • Tesco Skin Wisdom Instant Benefits Visibly Radiant Tinted Moisturiser*
  • GOSH X-ceptional wear light-reflecting foundation (Superdrug)*
  • Cover Girl TruBlend make-up (Poundland)*
  • Avon personal match barely there tinted moisturiser*
  • Elemental Beauty mineral foundation (**
  • Nivea Visage 'Young' Be Beautiful Tinted Moisturiser (not just for young skin!)*
  • MEMEME Cheek & Lip Tint- Superdrug, copy of Benefit's 'Benetint'***
  • Rimmel Cream Blush*
  • ELF bronzer*
  • Rimmel Sun shimmer bronzing powder*
  • Superdrug's 2True cheek & lip tint*
  • Boots Natural Collection blusher*
  • Rimmel lipsticks***
  • Boots 17 lipsticks*
  • ELF moisture care lip colour*
  • Aldi matching lipstick and lipliner sets*
  • Miss Sporty Mini-Me Automatic Lip Liner (Superdrug, Boots)*
  • Boots 17 lip liner*
  • NYC lipgloss (Superdrug)- copy of MAC Lipglass**
  • ELF lip gloss**
  • Rimmel Lipgloss*
  • Rimmel jelly lip gloss*
  • Boots Natural Collection Lip Gloss (similar to Clinique Superbalm)*
  • Collection 2000 plastique lip gloss***
  • Barry M solid lipgloss*
  • Go Cosmetics eyeshadows*
  • Rimmel Cream Eyeshadow*
  • Kryolan Eyeshadow (see posts 99 & 108)*
  • Crown Brush eyeshadow palettes (mail-order)**
  • Primark Opia eyeshadow*
  • Collection 2000 Dazzle Me loose eyeshadow powders*
  • NYC mineral eyeshadows (Superdrug)*
  • Rimmel eyeshadow palettes*
  • Boots Natural Collection eyeshadow in white opal (good as base colour)*
  • Elemental Beauty mineral eyeshadow (*
  • ELF eyeliner*
  • Boots 17 Metallic Eye Pencil*
  • Bourjois Eyeliner Pen*
  • Boots 17 Eyeliner Pen*
  • Go Cosmetics gel liner trio*
  • Kryolan Cake Eyeliner (see posts 99 & 108)*
  • Collection 2000 Kohl Eyeliner**
  • Rimmel eye pencils**
  • Bourjois Kohl Liner*
  • Yves Rocher kohl pencil in 'Snow White'*
  • Wilkinsons 'Image' eyeliner pencils*
  • AVON Colour Trend Pencil Eyeliner*
  • Rimmel eyebrow pencils*
  • Revlon brow powder (poundland)*
  • Collection 2000 Clear Mascara (for eyebrows too)**
  • Boots Natural Collection Clear Mascara**
  • Maybelline Great Lash Mascara**
  • Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara**
  • Maybelline full and soft mascara*
  • Go Cosmetics Mascara*
  • Max Factor Masterpiece mascara***
  • Miss Sporty mascara*
  • Rimmel (curl and lift) Exaggerate Mascara (Superdrug)*
  • Lidl double-ended mascara*
  • Aldi sensitive eyes mascara*
  • Rimmel Hide the Blemish*****
  • Tesco Barbara Daly concealer***
  • Collection 2000 Illuminating Touch under-eye concealer*******
  • Rimmel concealer 'Anti fatigue'*
  • Dermacolor Concealer (see posts 99 & 108)**
  • Aldi Lacura Concealer Pen (when available)**
  • Elemental Beauty mineral concealer (*
  • Lush T for Toes*
  • Collection 2000 shine away powder compact*
  • Miss Sporty Pressed Powder*
  • Corn Silk*
  • Rimmel powder compact*
  • 2 True nail varnish (Superdrug)*
  • Collection 2000 Nail Varnish**
  • Barry M nail varnish*
  • Rimmel nail varnish***
  • Rimmel 60 seconds nail varnish*
  • NYC nail varnish (Superdrug)*
  • Bourjois 1 Second Nail Polish*
Make-up Brushes:
  • Crown Brush Studio Make-up Brushes (see post 108)*
  • ELF Make-up Brushes*
  • Neutrogena make up correcting sticks (from some £shops)*
  • ELF All-Over Colour Stick*
  • Barry M Dazzle Dust**
  • Tesco Barbara Daly oil-blotting sheets*
  • ELF oil-blotting sheets*
  • No7 Colour Calming Make-Up Base (for rosacea)*
  • Lipcote (lipstick sealant)*
  • Lauren's make-up tutorials on You Tube*
  • General site good for tips:*
  • Website for cheap big brands:*
  • Revlon illuminating foundation primer (Poundland)*
  • M&S version of Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (make-up base)*
  • Preparation 'H' for under-eye tightening*
  • Lanacane Anti Chafing Gel (used as foundation primer- similar ingredients to Smashbox)***
  • Alberto Balsam shampoos & conditioners*
  • Tresemme range***
  • Dove Intense Care Repairing conditioner for dry hair (dark blue bottle)*
  • Dove shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair (dark pink bottles)*
  • Nice and Easy colourseal gloss*
  • Lidl's Pool shampoo*
  • Timotei sensations copper radiance henna extract shampoo and conditioner (for brown hair)*
  • L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss shampoo and conditioner (pink bottle)**
  • Pantene ProV for curly hair (for frizzy hair)*
  • Whipped Shea Butter (Ebay) (intensive conditioner)*
  • Unrefined Coconut oil- pre-wash conditioner (for frizzy hair)- see posts 137 & 162**
  • Vitapointe leave-in conditioner (for frizzy hair)**
  • Boots own brand heat protection spray*
  • Boots Botanics Volumising Leave In Conditioner*
  • Sunsilk shampoos and conditioners*
  • Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo*
  • Tesco's Silky Soft Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (don't have to have dandruff to use!)*
  • Avon mirror shine spray for hair*
  • Schwarzkopf Gliss hair repair shine tonic*
  • Tesco wheatgerm and cornsilk shampoo*
  • Naked Bodycare (Boots) shampoo & conditioner*
  • Lush shampoo bars (very long-lasting)*
  • Eyes Lip Face (ELF) **
  • Barbara Daly range- Tesco**
  • 2 True range- Superdrug*
  • NYC range- Superdrug*
  • Boots Natural Collection*
  • Boots No17*
  • Boots Expert**
  • Aapri**
  • Paula Begoun (CosmeticsCop)*
  • Go Cosmetics (mail order, local markets, ebay, Ideal World)*
  • Collection 2000 (Boots & Superdrug)*
  • Miss Sporty (Boots & Superdrug)*
  • M&S £2.50 make-up range*
  • M&S toiletries*
  • Models Prefer (QVC)*
  • Leichner make-up*
  • DHC (like Japanese Avon)*
  • Himalaya Herbals skincare & supplements*
  • Maybelline cosmetics (it's a premium brand in the US!)*

There's another thread dedicated to this, but the following posts from this thread have recipes for making your own products:
body lotion
face mask for spotty/ congested skin
face mask for sensitive skin
coloured lip balm
Vit E face cream
cooling foot cream
facial toner
Olive Oil & sugar body scrub (see posts 171, 175, 189 & 190)**
body oil/cleanser/treatment for itchy skin/athletes foot*
Oil & Salt body scrub*
Cling film feet and hands treatment*
multi-purpose nettle ointment*
Website on creating home-made spa treatments*
Fresh yeast facemask*
toothpaste as 'nail mask'


  • Bargain_Rzl
    Bargain_Rzl Posts: 6,254 Forumite
    Great idea for a thread! :)

    Do most Aldi branches still have a stock shortage of the Siana moisturiser or is it generally in stock these days?

    Personal recommendations for cheapie products are as follows, though I can't remember the actual prices:

    Rimmel Hide the Blemish concealer
    Nivea ordinary moisturiser in the blue tub
    Palmer's Cocoa Butter

    And I LOVE Boots Time Delay facial scrub, which although its retail price doesn't put it into the super cheapo category (as opposed to the £2 you can get the really cheap ones for) it is frequently available with a Boots £5 off skincare voucher making it free. I love the TD facial wipes, too.
    :)Operation Get in Shape :)
  • nali77
    nali77 Posts: 81 Forumite
    i second the palmers body butter, its the best! waaay cheaper than bodyshop butters and moisturises more.

    i also love alberto balsam shampoos & conditioners for about £1.50. i have strawberry & cream, it smells delicious and makes my hair soft and shiny.

    EDIT: after a bit of rummaging around my makeup draw I have also found...

    LUSH T FOR TOES - actually a foot powder, but i use it for my face and the tea tree oil improves spotty skin. It's also £5 for a massive tub, so I am sorted about face powder for a few years!

    CLEAR MASCARA by collection 2000. I have dark eyelashes anyway and this doesn't run with rain or crying. it makes my lashes longer and prettier and only a few pounds.
    Ciao £6.72
    Piggypoints 785, £7.85
    Ipoints 442, £2.21
    Rpoints 510, £5.10
    Toluna 28 585
  • harryharp
    harryharp Posts: 1,215
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Thanks for the recommendations folks. Keep 'em coming!

    Bargain Rzl- re. Aldi cream- was out of stock in my Chester branch for ages, but they now have loads. Probably a similar story in most branches now.
  • Kazza14
    Kazza14 Posts: 9 Forumite
    This is my first posting so I hope it's ok and of use (and in the right place etc).

    This site is brilliant for cheap make-up e.g. eyeshadow for £1.50 - and they also do free deliver on orders over £30.

  • harryharp
    harryharp Posts: 1,215
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Kazza14 wrote: »
    This is my first posting so I hope it's ok and of use (and in the right place etc).

    This site is brilliant for cheap make-up e.g. eyeshadow for £1.50 - and they also do free deliver on orders over £30.

    Many thanks Kazza. I have heard of this company but not tried them yet. Can they compete with the expensive brands in terms of quality in your opinion?
  • Philippa36
    Philippa36 Posts: 6,007
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    ELF - their All Over Cover Stick 3 in one product is great - especially the 'toasted' colour. Well worth it for £1.50 (+P&P)
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    Kurt Vonnegut
  • Beenie
    Beenie Posts: 1,628
    First Anniversary First Post
    I am great believer in trying the less expensive products first, and then changing if they do not perform as you would wish.

    The first bargain is Vaseline Intensive Care lotions (there's original, aloe and unscented). I got a 400ml bottle for £3.00 at Asda today. The reason I rave about this is that a couple of years ago, I had hand surgery and was told to keep my skin well-moisturised. Vaseline was recommended by the consultant surgeon. Then I had hand physiotherapy and the hospital physios said the same thing - there's nothing better than Vaseline lotions (hand and body). So forget the Chanel stuff.

    Next bargain is almost anything in the NYC range at Superdrug. Their lipglosses are the exact copy of MAC Lipglass, but at a fraction of the cost.

    Rimmel Cream blush is about £3.50 and it's really natural looking.

    The self-tanning range by Johnson & Johnson (Holiday Skin) is available at Poundland for £1 (of course!) but has arabic writing on the packs - but don't let that put you off.
  • curly07
    curly07 Posts: 164 Forumite
    I'm also a fan of the cheaper products!

    I have been using Mac make up but I'm going off it, I'm just not too keen on the foundation anymore, not sure which to try now! Hate trying new products that aren't cheap incase I don't like them!

    I would recommed The 2 True range from Superdrug, I have bought nail varnishes from that range and loved them! they stayed on well and longer than my rimmel one did! They have them on any 3 for £5 at the min! Never tried the eye shadows but at that price I think I will give it a go!! They have more of a variety in store than online though!

    Love this idea of a thread!! :D
    - Winners make things happen, losers let things happen -
  • lolly5648
    lolly5648 Posts: 2,257
    First Anniversary First Post
    Siana moisturiser still out of stock at my Aldi.

    I love Palmers coco butter and Barbara Daly makeup at Tesco.

    Dont try the Siana hand cream from Aldi, very strong smell and takes ages to absorb
  • I have to agree about the Palmers Cocoa Butter - although if I use it every day it tends to make me feel really sickly!
    So, I alternate with either Vaseline Intensive Care, St Ives (bought when on BOGOF) or E45

    Make Up - Boots Natural Collection or Boots No17
    (I buy Natural Collection Clear Mascara and use it for eyebrows and lashes for everyday)

    I can thoroughly recommend St Ives facial scrubs - I only buy on BOGOF though - somewhere always has them on offer (Boots, Superdrug, Sainsburys' are the best for offer on these)
    Also, having recently had the £5 Skincare voucher from Boots - well several of them! I am converted to Time Delay Facial Scrub - have enough for the next few months!!!

    Also, boots expert range is good, as is Aapri stuff usually found in Home Bargains etc

    Facial moisturisers I usually go for Aapri and buy things like Clearasil/Clean and Clear/L'Oreal etc when it is on offer

    HTH's someone??
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