Best editor-approved budget beauty products under £12 to buy in 2022 – including The Ordinary, Nivea and Avon

I recently got to test out a new skincare range – exquisite packaging, gorgeous textures, loved by beauty editors and celebrities… and with an A-list price tag to match. And while I was impressed by the products, I couldn’t help thinking if a pot of face cream was REALLY worth over £100.

As someone who gets asked for recommendations all the time, it feels extra exciting when I’m able to share an absolute beauty superstar that doesn’t cost as much as a tank of petrol or monthly electricity bill.

Luckily, it seems that the beauty aisles are aware that we’re all feeling the pinch at the moment, as there have been plenty of launches recently that deliver excellent results from top to toe, without costing you an arm and a leg.

Here are some new beauty bargains, all under £12, that I’d happily swap my more pricey products for…

Best bargain beauty products to shop in 2022

The lengthening mascara

Avon Legendary Lengths Mascara, £9 here

This was a slow burner for me, as it doesn’t give the immediate oomph of dramatic volume that I’m normally seduced by in a mascara, but now I find myself reaching for it almost every day. It has the same quite dry consistency of my former £30 favourite, which clings to every millimetre of the lash, stretching and fanning them out. I find it to be completely clump-free and smudge-proof, too.

The lip saviour

Barry M Lip Rehab, £4.99 here

With the frequency with which I apply, misplace and unwittingly lick off lip balms, I always need them to be cheap. True story, Barry M’s is currently sitting on my desk next to one that costs £41 (!), and it’s this bargain that I keep reaching for. With a texture sitting somewhere between a balm and a gloss, it coats lips in a light, non-sticky layer of oils, giving them a natural fresh, juicy look. Find it in clear Coconut or lightly-tinted Grapefruit.

The bond builder

Andrew Fitzsimons Restructuring 10-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner, £11 here

In the hair world, the bond-repairing market has been dominated by one particular brand for years, but nowadays there are certainly some more affordable ways to get in on this hair-strengthening action. This new range from hair stylist Andrew Fitzsimons – who counts celebs such as Khloe Kardashian and Megan Fox as clients – contains a protein-based complex that strengthens the hair structure from the inside, increasing flexibility and manageability. This all-in-one spray has already replaced my trio of detangler, leave-in serum and heat protection mist.

The lash and brow booster

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow Serum, £12.40 here

I rave to anyone who’ll listen about the eyelash and eyebrow serums that have created thick, lush forests of hair on my upper face over the last year, but my recommendation is always followed by a “…but they’re REALLY expensive, sorry.” But this offering from science-led brand The Ordinary looks to be a top-notch alternative, as it contains several ingredients similar to my fancy favourite (biotin, panthenol, green tea extract, various peptides). This, plus the fact that the sister version for hair on the head has already gone viral, means I’ll definitely be giving The Ordinary a go once my current posh tube runs out.

The suits-all cleanser

Q+A Oat Milk Cream Cleanser, £7.50 here

I will always be a firm believer that you needn’t spend a lot of money on a product that momentarily brushes your face before disappearing down the plughole, and Q+A’s is one that I really think every skin type would get on with. Made from oat three ways (milk, seed oil and amino acids), it’s soothing on sensitive skin and hydrating without feeling heavy. And at £7.50, it’s not much more than an oat milk flat white at my swanky local coffee shop…

The luxurious lather

M&S Apothecary Calm Hand Wash, £5 here

I’ve definitely been that person who buys one posh hand wash then once it’s empty, refills it with a cheap alternative. There’s no need to, however, with this luxe-yet-low-cost hand wash. With an aromatic cedarwood, eucalyptus and lavender scent and chic packaging that looks remarkably like a popular high-end brand, it’s sure to impress any fussy house guest. It’s part of a line-up that also includes products like body butter, eau de parfum and a scented candle.

The non-greasy night cream

Nivea Hydra Skin Effect Regenerating Night Gel-Cream, £9.99 here

It can be tricky to find a reasonably priced night cream that doesn’t leave skin sticking to the pillow all night long, but this one’s perfect. Ideal for dehydrated skin or sweaty sleepers (me and me), this sinks immediately into the skin and really feels like it’s hydrating it deep from within (it’s not one for very dry skin types though, who’ll miss that unctuous feel). It doesn’t contain any retinoids or acids so you can save extra pennies by using it in the morning, too – just remember to follow it with an SPF.


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