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Whether you’re looking for the best make-up and skincare dupes, cheap product recommendations or just some expert tips on saving money on your beauty routine, you have come to the right place.

As a beauty editor with access to an entire cupboard of products at all times, I can tell you that there has never been a better time to shop beauty on a budget. In fact, a lot of my own skincare routine consists of products you can buy in the supermarket.

Whether it’s multi-tasking your make-up products or decoding your skincare ingredients lists, empowering yourself with this knowledge both saves you money and ensures you’re not getting ripped off by false marketing claims.

These are the five tips that I tell everyone and that I’ve learnt from my time interviewing experts in their field, because trust me, if a dermatologist tells you that you don’t need an eye cream, you don’t need an eye cream.

There’s also some practical advice that I’ve learnt the hard way, such as the £23 eyebrow pencil I used to love, which added up to £138 a year. Thankfully the dupe I’ve found has cut that cost down to £24.

So, before you click checkout on your online basket or head into your local Boots, make sure you read this first.

1. Get to know your make-up ‘dupes’

Back in the day, a lot of cheaper make-up brands got a bad reputation for simply ripping off high end brands. Things are very different now, however.

Affordable brands like e.l.f Link opens in a new window and Makeup Revolution Link opens in a new window have exploded onto the scene and due to popular demand Boots even revived their budget 17. range Link opens in a new window.

Like every brand, not every product is great, but some stand outs for me include e.l.f’s Bite Size eyeshadow palettes Link opens in a new window which contain 4 shades for just £4. They have a mixture of mattes and shimmers, blend with ease and are compact enough to throw in your bag.

Meanwhile Revolution’s Precise Brow Pencil Link opens in a new window is a dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz but will set you back just £4 instead of £23. A saving that really adds up on a product you go through repeatedly.

2. Know where to save and where to splurge

The Highstreet has really upped their beauty game and you can now get a good skincare and make-up routine in the supermarket.

However, there are some products it’s always worth spending a bit more money on. In terms of skincare that would be your serum or ‘active’ step.

Your morning routine should look something like this:

Cleanse - Active - SPF

Your morning ‘active’ step should be a vitamin C or some kind of antioxidant serum that protects your face from pollutants throughout the day. This is where you would expect to spend a little more.

Your evening routine meanwhile should look something like this:

Cleanse – Active - Moisturise

Again, it’s the active step where you want to invest. Whether that’s a retinol to target fine lines and wrinkles, a hyaluronic acid for dehydration or a niacinamide serum to brighten skin tone. You can then budget the rest of your routine.

When it comes to make-up, I would spend a little more on my complexion products, i.e foundation and concealer. Mascaras, eyeshadows and lipsticks can all be bought on a budget.

3. Read your packaging

Unlike make-up dupes, skincare dupes are a little bit harder to spot.

It might be common practice for you to read your food labels but understanding your skincare ones is just as important and will save you money in the long run.

An ingredients list can be found on the back of the product or sometimes on a separate piece of paper inside the box. In the beauty world we also refer to this as the INCI List.

The order of the ingredients on that list relates to their percentage in the formula. So, if, say, you’re buying a niacinamide serum and see niacinamide in the first five ingredients, you are getting the best value for your money.

If, however, niacinamide is down the bottom of the list, your serum only contains a very low concentration of it, and you would be better spending your money elsewhere.

Overwhelmed? Just take a photo of the ingredients list and upload it to Link opens in a new window who will tell you exactly what’s inside.

4. Multi-task your products

Multi-tasking isn’t just a money-saving hack, it’s also what the experts do and it’s where I’ve learnt some of my all-time favourite beauty hacks.

Let’s start with your make-up bag. For my day-to-day look I always use my bronzer as my eyeshadow, a trick I learnt from Kim Kardashian’s MUA, Mario Dedivanovic. The next one sounds old fashioned but trust me, if you double your lipstick up as your blusher you’ll never go back.

It’s also a good way of using up products you don’t like. If I really hate a facial moisturiser I will use it on my body instead. I never buy shaving cream as I think I get a smoother shave with hair conditioner and my lip balm doubles as a cuticle/dry skin salve.

5. Stick to the essentials

As you can see from the skincare routines above, you don’t need loads of products. In fact, most dermatologists I’ve interviewed have always told me that eye creams, neck creams and toners are additional steps but not necessary ones.

Same goes for any ‘miracle’ body creams. No body cream will firm your skin or remove cellulite, so don’t waste your money on these false marketing claims.

Finally, be realistic with yourself. Do you heat style your hair enough to warrant all these styling products or would you be better investing in a shampoo to preserve the colour you pay for every 6 weeks? Think of it like your wardrobe and invest in the products you’ll get the most use from.

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