When it comes to the great British high street, the Who What Wear fashion editors are always the first to know which products are destined for cult status or the affordable pieces that are trending on Instagram. When it comes to high-street beauty, however, it can seem like a different ball game.
Although stores like Boots and Superdrug are part of the fabric of almost every main shopping stretch, airport or train station in the UK, they're likely to be the last place on your list if you're thinking about treating yourself to some new, exciting beauty products. Why? Well, I'd hazard a guess that they're so familiar that they lack the thrill and intrigue many of us desire when embarking on a shopping trip.
However, next time you're in a Superdrug—no doubt for a last-minute dash to buy tampons or toothpaste—take a moment to actually have a browse. Honestly, the shelves are full of insider beauty buys and affordable gems that I swear by and genuinely come back to Superdrug for time and time again.
As well as classic beauty brands like Rimmel London and L'Oréal Paris, Superdrug has a top-notch selection of exclusive brands that you can't shop elsewhere. From its own Naturally Radiant skincare range (that includes a pretty impressive Liz Earle dupe) to affordable makeup brand Revolution (home of the best budget eye shadow palettes in the business), there are plenty of cult products to discover.
One of the best affordable concealers on the market, this vitamin C–infused formula does a great job of brightening under-eye circles and creating a dewy-skin look. Plus, although it's lightweight and glowy, it has a decent enough coverage for disguising blemishes too.
E.l.f. are one of my go-to high-street beauty brands for high-quality products at purse-friendly prices. Its brushes, in particular, really stand up to some of the more expensive options. This one is a new discovery for me. It's super soft, made from cruelty-free bristles and buffs out foundation like a dream.
Every now and then, an eye shadow palette will come along and take the beauty industry by storm, but often they're super expensive and contain at least a handful of shades that you'll probably never wear. Instead, when there's a trending eye-shadow colour or hot palette, I'll look to Revolution for an affordable dupe. Its palettes are a fraction of the price of some of the big-name brands, and are just as pigmented and versatile.
I've been using this hair serum for the best part of the last two decades (ever since my mum came home with a bottle after struggling to wrangle my knotty hair into a ponytail before school one morning). Since then, this serum has become a staple in my haircare routine. I haven't found anything that detangles quite like it, but it also works wonders at protecting hair from heat and smoothing flyaways.
Despite being something of a dry shampoo connoisseur, there's a reason this cheap and cheerful one continues to hold the hearts of many: It works. I'll always add a can of this to my Superdrug basket (especially when it's on offer), as it makes light work of absorbing even the oiliest of roots and extending hair-wash day.
I'm not particularly loyal to any hair mask, which is why, when I'm shopping at Superdrug, I love to experiment with the high-street options. This one from L'Oréal Paris is enriched with keratin, castor oil and vitamins to truly treat and nourish dry, damaged hair. I was seriously impressed with how soft and silky my strands felt after using this. I'd definitely repurchase.
Some days, only a manual exfoliator will do when it comes to sloughing away dead skin cells. That's when I reach for this one from Superdrug's very own skincare brand. It uses blueberry seeds to polish the surface of the skin with the added benefit of fruit acids to penetrate the layers beneath for added refinement. My skin always looks brighter and healthier after using this.
Superdrug has an incredible selection of sheet masks, but it's Skin Republic that I always come back to. At £5 a pop, they aren't the cheapest sheet masks on the high street, but they certainly live up to some of the pricier sheet masks that I've tried. This collagen infusion one is my favourite thanks to the way it leaves skin looking plump and juicy in just 10 minutes.
Another Superdrug-exclusive brand, I have been super impressed with this facial spritz. Mists are something of a bougie beauty product that are more synonymous with luxury beauty than the high street, but this one contains quality ingredients like vitamin C, caffeine and cucumber juice to really brighten and refresh tired skin.
Hands down, this might just be my favourite body scrub ever. It comes in a jar that's fancy enough to be displayed proudly in your bathroom and the stuff inside is incredible. A blend of gritty sea salts and nourishing oils like coconut, sweet almond and jojoba slough away dead skin cells while imparting a lingering oil that keeps skin hydrated.
I have the same dedication to body lotion as I do to moisturising my face (I do it every single day without fail). So as you can imagine, that means I go through buckets of the stuff. Thankfully, this one from Garnier is really affordable and does the trick. I can't really testify to its "seven-day" claims, but I can confirm that it sinks in quickly without leaving any greasy residue—and it smells delightful.
Seriously, is there a bigger beauty chore than removing your nail polish? This magic pot makes it a little more bearable for me. You simply stick your finger in the foamy hole at the top, give it a twist and pull it out to remove a nail polish-free nail. It's mess-free and totally brilliant when you're in a rush.