The luxe beauty routine that won't cost you an arm
You shared with us your ultimate beauty products, the ones you swear by and keep purchasing. So I thought it'd only be fair to reciprocate. When it comes to beauty products I do not discriminate. I can splurge on the most luxurious beauty numbers and delight all the same with smart bargains. I look for the right smell, the right texture, a clean colour, and overall look and feel of the product. And if it feels right, it can literally be the cheapest thing, it shall be miiiine. So where it'd be boring to go on and on about my Estée Lauder, Sisley and Aesop favourites, I thought I'd share a few of my cheapest beauty secrets. Because who does not enjoy a goooood bargain?
Nope, not a joke! For years I was a Dior and Guerlain lipstick girl (my mother's daughter I suppose), and one day, mostly out of curiosity and clearly in a search for a quick happiness fix, I decided to try HM make-up and thought I'd be better off just starting safe with a cheap lipstick. I was wowed. I now buy the same one over and over again, pretty much each time I visit their stores, too scared they might discontinue my favourite colour. They have quite a range from matt to creamy to glossy, but I always go for the Sheer Lipstick 'It's your Mauve' *pic below. The texture is glossy without being sticky, the coverage is pretty clear but pigmented enough to give your face a lift, so you can use it at work and layer it up for a night out or a date. Perfect #9to9daily little helper. Price point is super affordable and the package cute. Give it a try!
My best kept secret is probably that one. For less than a tenner you get this super-concentrated treatment concealer with a soft little applicator to help instantly erase your dark circles and fine lines. I stick faithfully to this product everywhere I go. The name funnily enough changes from country to country but the texture and colour palette remains. I usually have the 'Neutraliser' as my basic product and the 'Light' one that I like to pair for a natural contouring if I go out. Spread the word, it's worth it.
The story of that one traces back to my first year as a student in Edinburgh. One of my dear friends from SciencesPo had the most luscious hair. Thick, shiny, smooth and effortlessly put. At the time, I yet hadn't discovered my magic formula to tame this hair of mine, so I couldn't help but bitterly envy her princess hair. And so I dared asking. Baby shampoo. No soap, no harshness, pure softner. Price is incredibly cheap, and the smell is babiliciously devine. Being French I opt for Mixa's but my years in the UK made me an avid follower of Johnson's too. So whatever floats your boat, it's more a question of smell at this point, formulas all match. Give it a try for a month. You will send me flowers and chocolates in pure devotion.
Nivea Smooth Daily Moisture
My skin is tricky. Dry, sensitive and prone to eczema when I'm stressed or when I work-out too much in lycra. I alternate between some La Roche Posay and Smooth Daily Moisture. Nivea's option is with shea butter for a deep nourishment and yet is super light weight and easily absorbed after a shower. I find that it really calms and softens the skin when leaving a di-vine smell on my skin. Cheap, efficient, lovely. What else?
I buy mine on my recurrent US trips (I love a good CVS), but a lot of European countries carry it too. Same as for the Nivea option above, I use Cetaphil as an alternative to my other products. The skin gets really used to products and stop reacting to their properties after a while, so switching often is always a good idea. I generally use it to take make up off or for a gentle cleanse and combine it with a scrub. Also my go-to option in my gym bag. It feels like a gentle creamy lotion and doesn't leave any sticky film on the skin but your face will feel plump and soft. Caveat: the bottle could look sexier.
Batiste mini dry shampoo
I discovered that one in the UK as a student - when big hair were posh and swanky. Dry shampoo hadn't even found a market in France and I thought I had touched gold. It now lives religiously in my bag if I have a #9to9 day. It has saved meetings, dates, post-gym brunches and more I might keep to myself. I prefer the classic number, but it comes in all colours and funky perfumes if you fancy something a little more fun.
If you want more beauty hacks, make sure to check our ultimate guide to French pharmacy products.
Now lovely readers, what are your best beauty bargains? Hit us in the comments!