When it comes to beauty, I don't believe that you should have to spend hundreds of pounds to enjoy formulations that work. Which is why I dedicate lots of my time in my job as a beauty editor hunting out the best beauty dupes for high-end favourites and sourcing the finest affordable fragrances on the high street. But until now, there's been one shopping destination that I've left largely untapped on my quest for affordable beauty products: the supermarket.
First up, there's one thing to note about my relationship with supermarkets: I really hate them. The thought of having to spend my Saturday morning doing a weekly food shop at my local Morrison's fills me with the kind of trepidation usually only reserved for a trip to the dentist.
Instead, I usually opt to keep my cupboards stocked up with a bumper monthly online shop of tins and frozen food. I also have an on-and-off subscription to one of those terribly overpriced recipe boxes and make post-commute jaunts to Sainsbury's Local (I have to pass on my way home anyway). Essentially, I'll do pretty much anything to avoid having to traipse up and down the aisles of a supermarket regularly.
However, it was a recent reluctant trip to a big Sainsbury's that caused me to really sit up and start thinking about supermarkets differently—particularly when it comes to its beauty offering, anyway.
While in Sainsbury's Winchmore Hill branch, I stumbled across the store's new Beauty Finds section (while trying to locate some spring onions) and was seriously impressed with its offering of cult products and innovative brands. From glycolic face pads and hydrating sheet masks to eye creams and shower gels, Sainsbury's were really delivering the goods.
It really got me wondering what other beauty discoveries I could find in the great British supermarket. Well, it turns out that there are plenty. As well as many supermarkets offering classic beauty brands like Nivea and Garnier, many are also turning their attention to more cult, beauty junkie brands like Nip + Fab and Dr. PawPaw. In fact, Sainsbury's has even gone one step further and launched its own makeup brand, Boutique, while ASDA has just added its own line of vitamin C–infused skincare to its shelves.
It's no secret that Aldi stocks some of the best beauty dupes around, and this powder highlighter has definitely been inspired by the distinctive Benefit Box O' Powders. However, at a fraction of the price, I was really impressed at both the pigment and texture of this champagne-hued highlighter. Great for adding a subtle sheen to cheekbones.
This affordable concealer is loved by beauty editors, fashion girls and the whole Who What Wear team. Clearly, Morrisons knew of its cult status, which is why you'll find it in its beauty section. It does everything from concealing blemishes to disguising under-eye bags.
Turns out that George at ASDA doesn't just do clothing—it does beauty products too. This mascara boasts a densely-packed fibre wand that coats and catches every single lash for a separated, volumised lash look.
Everything in Sainsbury's own makeup collection, Boutique, comes in at under £6 and is cruelty-free because the supermarket believes that you shouldn't have to pay over-the-top prices for quality beauty products. This cream blush is so beautiful, lasts well on the skin and a little bit goes a long way. I love that it's really pigmented.
The Rimmel x Kate Moss lipstick collection is one of my favourite celebrity beauty collaborations of all time. Sadly, some of the shades can be trickier to find than others now, but Morrisons has one of my favourites—this bright, pillar-box red.
No longer the reserve of French pharmacies, you'll find micellar waters on the shelves of everywhere from Boots to Tesco these days. This is my favourite affordable one on the market, and I pretty much always add one to my big monthly shop. I love that it removes makeup and makes for a gentle, rinse-free morning cleanse.
Coming in at £2 for two sheet masks, Aldi proves that you don't have to spend a lot to enjoy trending skincare products. These moisturising treatments are infused with hyaluronic acid and chamomile extract making them ideal for dry and sensitive skin types.
I go through bottles of vitamin C serum, as I apply it religiously each morning, so I'm always on the lookout for affordable options. ASDA's new one is lightweight, hydrating and visibly boosts radiance—and for a fraction of the price of my usual favourites.
Turns out that for affordable vegan and natural beauty products, Waitrose really delivers. This hydrating cleanser is brimming with great ingredients like shea butter, almond oil and vitamin E. This makes an affordable dupe for any lovers of the cult cleanser from Liz Earle.
For me, Sainsbury's has the best collection of cult skincare products and one such example is this beauty-editor favourite—glycolic acid pads. I use these on my skin after cleansing to exfoliate and brighten. They're so good that it almost like having a mini facial at home.
Asda was the last place that I expected to spot a trending K-beauty hair product, but here we are. The next big thing in hair treatments, hair packs are effectively sheet masks for your strands. You leave this one on for 20 minutes and let the royal jelly, camellia and sesame seed oils nourish and pamper dry hair before rinsing it out.
Love Beauty and Planet is one of the best new haircare brands that I've tried recently, so I'm delighted that they're so easy to get hold of at Sainsbury's. All of its products use natural ingredients and the bottles are made from 100% recycled bottles, so you can look after your hair and the environment at the same time.
I've spoken before of my love of this serum. Actually, Tesco used to be the very place that my mum would pick it up for me during my early teenage years. Anyone looking for a helping hand with detangling or smoothing hair will love this.
Another nice haircare spot comes in the form of Noughty, which is sold at Waitrose. This brand prides itself on using natural ingredients that don't compromise on performance, and this avocado oil–infused conditioner is seriously good at defining your hair's natural waves and curls.
I go through dry shampoo as quickly as I go through pints of milk, so the fact that I can pick it up in Morrisons is a real bonus. The PR for Batiste actually alerted me to this version which contains a hint of colour—ideal for brunettes like myself who want to avoid the ashy finish that dry shampoo can often leave behind.