The emerging brands offering budget-friendly skincare

A beauty game-changer?

The emerging brands offering budget-friendly skincare

By Sally Underwood

While the beauty industry only gets bigger and bigger (currently worth £427 billion and counting), alongside an increase in colour, texture and ingredient options has also emerged a niche market for brands selling high-quality active ingredients at high street prices.

Minus the elaborate (read: expensive) branding and packaging of their luxury counterparts, these companies can offer unfussy- yet often just as effective- products to suit most budgets.

One of the first, and perhaps best-known, companies to offer a range of targeted products was Canada-based brand The Ordinary. With prices starting from £3.90 for a makeup primer (the High Adherence Silicone Primer,, and a focus on hard-working ingredients like retinols, salicylic acid, and Marula oil on offer, The Ordinary’s pared-back formulas are ideal for adding on to an existing routine or mixing together for a customised skin cocktail.

The success of The Ordinary spawned a whole industry of low-budget, high-quality products, which saw the arrival of The Inkey List.  Founded by a former Boots buyer and product developer duo, The Inkey List has expanded to a range of 23 products since its launch last year.  Prices start from £4.99 for the brand’s Q10 Serum and end at £14.99 for a peptide cream (Hepta-Peptide,

Meanwhile, US companies have also got in on the trend with brands such as Fourth Ray Beauty entering the market. Vegan, cruelty-free, and with a focus on ‘clean’ ingredients, Fourth Ray Beauty’s aesthetically-pleasing packaging will be familiar to Instagram beauty buffs but is otherwise as yet fairly unknown in the UK.

Less about active ingredients and more about moisture, hydration and skin-softening products, Fourth Ray’s range starts from £6.40 for a face mist (Mellow Milk Mist,, and includes face masks, serums, cleansers and moisturisers.

Finally, it is not just skincare which is getting the budget-friendly treatment.  Makeup is also increasingly no longer a choice between pharmacy finds and big name brands.  Companies such as Colourpop Cosmetics are now offering hundreds of colour choices from as little as £3.60 for an eyeshadow.  While predominantly aimed at the youth market, amongst Coloupop’s multicolour lineup of eyeliners, lipsticks and glitter gels are also some sensible basics like the brand’s No Filter Natural Matte Foundation, available in an impressive 42 shades. (£9.60,


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