Rimmel 60 Second Nail Polish in Double Decker Red

Beauty editor favourites for FIVE pounds

For those who think that in order to look-good-feel-good must always weigh in at a hefty price tag, then check out my list of all time favourites that won’t cost more than just FIVE pounds.

Years working as a magazine Beauty Editor means that I have tried and tested A LOT of beauty products and what I’ve learnt is that expensive doesn’t always mean THE BEST. Don’t get me wrong, I love a luxury beauty product and there are loads out there that are fantastic and worth the hit. The same can be said of organic ranges too – usually more expensive – but I’m happy to invest a little more money for really good ingredients. It’s also important to remember that everyone’s experience and needs are totally individual and will vary depending on budget not to mention skin and hair type. The $445 billion beauty industry knows this and it is BOOMING with beauty start ups and solutions for all our cosmetic and skincare needs. While this is a good thing, for the consumer it can get bloody confusing. Which is why I wanted to share this with you – because it’s just such a simple edit of my beauty essentials that will not break the bank…  *drumroll please

Carmex Lip Balm £2.69

I’ve probably tried every possibly lip balm in the land (well it sure feels like it!) They are most definitely my weak spot and as a dry lip person, I’m a total sucker for a cute pot or pretty tube. Vaseline will always be my best all rounder because you can slap it on anywhere (!) and on anyone. It’s great for all the family – did you also know that you can get the tins personalised now? In close second, it’s cult and celebrity favourite, Dr Paw Paw. However, when it comes to that hydration hit and getting that perfect pout, nothing in my opinion rivals Carmex. My kids aren’t fond of the tingling sensation but that’s fine with me! They can use all the other balms that are dotted all over the house because THAT’S what I love about Carmex! And no one else does it. That subtle plumping feeling and no matter how dry or chapped your lips are, in moments they are pillow soft, pumped up and ready.

Vita Coco Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil £2.99

I have very dry skin. Being brown means that this shows up way more than it would on fair skin types. As a kid I remember rolling down my white socks in assembly to see a pair of ashen, flaky legs. Back then, Mum would use Johnson’s Baby Oil but I would hate how it’d make my legs look like shiny sausages! As an adult, I would go through tons of The Body Shop Body Butters but although they smelt amazing, admittedly it’s a bit laborious. Some days, I liked the fact that you had to massage it in -great for circulation and blood flow- but if you’re rushing to get the 07:22 ensuring that it’s all soaked in becomes an unwelcome morning challenge. Which is why I find coconut oil SO much easier. The secret is to apply it only onto damp skin to avoid looking like a Sunday joint! This way, you’ll lock in way more moisture. I prefer any Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and I am always looking for reduced lines in Holland & Barrett. I love Tiana and use this top to toe – it makes a great overnight hair treatment too but it tends to come in a HUGE glass container that’s not really portable. Which is why I love this handy Vita Coco travel size jar. Nuff said.

Rimmel 60 Second Nail Polish in Double Decker Red
Rimmel 60 Second Nail Polish in Double Decker Red £2.99

You’ll seldom see me without a red nail. Guaranteed it will always be THIS shade from Rimmel. I’ve grown up with this Brit brand. It started as a teenager in the ’90s with their infamous Coffee Shimmer lipstick closely followed by their Black Cherries Lip Liner. I’ve got a lotta love for Rimmel as a brand both professionally and personally. As for their nail polish, this shade and formula wins hands down. (Pun intended) Why? The bottle is the perfect size. Like a biro pen, you’ll rarely get to the very end. By the time this gets gloopy, it’s nearly finished and time to buy a new pot. Plus, it’s the perfect shade of red for my skin tone. It’s a bright red, not a cherry red that can make dark skin look ashy around the knuckles and a little out-of-date. Finally, this really does dry in 60 seconds. Just one coat drops enough red if I’m in a rush. Two coats results in a more vibrant finish and if I’ve got time for a top coat, my mani can stay chip-free for up to 10 days.

Superdrug Tea Tree Oil £2.99

There isn’t enough time here to tell you about my skin woes (I promise to post in more detail later) but in brief, I suffer from bouts of hormonal acne. Working as a beauty editor in the teen  sector for over 10 years on magazine like Mizz, Bliss and We Love Pop, I would often encourage readers to use tea tree oil on blemished areas and leave zits well alone. While I can’t admit to not squeezing my own spots (seriously, who does?) I do carefully try and extract the gunk when it’s good to go. Pat with cotton wool and hot water after and then purge the f*cker with a cotton bud soaked in tea tree oil. I’m not loyal to any brands in particular, but some are stronger than others, so find one that doesn’t irritate you, especially if you breakouts anywhere near your forehead or cheeks. The more concentrated formulas will make your eyes STREAM. Most uncomfortable! I’m talking from experience. You’ve been warned. During periods of bad breakouts, I use tea tree oil nightly on the affected areas only. And always apply onto just cleansed skin.

Tropic Skincare Bamboo Face Cloth £5

I used to love facial exfoliating products. A good skin scrub is almost orgasmic, right? However, I’m now in my 40s, so my skin is a lot more sensitive and while certain areas, like around the nose and chin, can do with a little bit more sloughing, as a rule, I don’t like rolling anything remotely scratchy over my face now. Which is why I love a face cloth. Simply apply your regular cleanser all over your face with a bit of water. Use fingers to work it in. At the moment I am using Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Replenishing Cleansing Oil. Soak the cloth in hot running water, before ringing it out and then whilst it’s still hot (but obviously not burning) apply it flat over your entire face and leave on for a few second to allow the steam and heat to open up pores and work with your cleanser. As it begins to cool down, gently, but with a bit of firmness in your fingertips, drag the cloth downwards. As you get to those problem areas, around the nose and chin in particular, apply more pressure to unclog dirt, make-up and the usual nasties that your complexion picks up throughout the day. I find Bamboo cloths a little more softer and although some say they have anti-bacterial properties, I’m not totally sold on this, so a cotton flannel with serve you just as well. Just remember to replace them regularly and routinely cleanse in this way every evening followed by your usual night cream or serum.

So there you have it gang! Are any of these your all time favourites? Feel free to share your bargain beauty buys in the comment box below.



  • Have always LOVED Clinique… being a ‘tad’ older this was the only hypoallergenic brand (other than Almay-and who who wants primary coloured makeup….) so have used since I was 12 years old. Love, love their moisture surge range. Plumps little lines so they disappear (I’m lucky haven’t got many) and is fab on sensitive dry skin. Even use on my 13 year old, hormonal, prone to break outs daughter…..not specially cheap but on my Christmas (eeek who said that word????) list every year! X

    • Hi Cathy. I’ve tried their 3step and it’s ok, the soap is a bit drying on my skin, but although it’s not mega expensive, it’s still a little dear but as you say, there’s always Santa! That’s great that you’ve found what works for you and that really is key. Most of us get all our best beauty habits from our mothers. FT xoxo

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