There are plenty of holy grail skincare products out there—but let’s be honest, the Venn diagram between ‘effective’ and ‘affordable’ doesn’t always have the most overlap. We’ve tracked down the best cheap alternatives to high-end and luxury skincare products trending right now—from Paula’s Choice BHA dupes to a cheaper version of SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic serum (spoiler alert: it’s less than a quarter of the price). Whether you’re looking to fight blemishes, dry skin, fine lines or redness, check out our tried and tested affordable swaps to enjoy healthy, glowing skin on any budget.
1. Foreo Luna dupe
The cult classic: Foreo Luna 3 Face Brush: £135.20
The cheaper alternative: Magnitone London XOXO SoftTouch Silicone Cleansing brush: £40
Foreo’s facial cleansing massagers are the ultimate blend of skincare and tech. This sonic cleansing brush has two main benefits: it delivers a deep, professional-level cleanse; while offering all the skin strengthening, anti-ageing benefits of regular facial massage. Foreo’s star-studded fan base includes Drew Barrymore, Chrissy Teigen and Megan Markle—but if you can’t spring for the £170 price tag, you can still bag Hollywood-level skin with a great dupe.
This Magnitone cleansing brush is less than £30 with similar specs, delivering up to 8000 micro-pulses per minute with professional-grade antibacterial silicone bristles. If you’re new to the world of cleansing massagers, skip the expensive model and opt for this cheap and cheerful dupe—you can thank us later.
2. Paula’s Choice BHA dupe
The cult classic: Paula's Choics Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant: £29 for 118ml
The cheaper alternative: COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner: £20 for 150ml
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHA has a devoted following. A holy grail for dull and blemish-prone skin, this leave-on exfoliant dissolves built-up dead skin cells, unclogging pores and leaving you with a fresh, clear complexion. Unlike physical exfoliants (think: St. Ives Apricot Scrub), which can leave skin inflamed and irritated, chemical exfoliants like this offer a gentle yet effective way to slough away dead skin.
Enter COSRX: the Korean powerhouse making a name for itself as a skincare it-brand in 2021. This AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner offers the same gentle exfoliation as Paula’s Choice for just £20 (and, in a bigger bottle). Both formulas balance exfoliators (the BHAs and AHAs) with soothing ingredients—allantoin makes the COSRX toner ultra-hydrating and suitable even for the most sensitive skin. The spray nozzle is a huge bonus in our books, preventing spillage and ensuring you get the right amount of product every time.
3. Dr Jart+ Color Correcting Treatment dupe
The cult classic: Dr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment: £37 for 50ml
The cheaper alternative: L'Oréal Paris C'est Magic CC Cream Anti-Redness: £10.99 for 30ml
Dr Jart+’s all-singing, all-dancing CC cream has a cult following—and with good reason. This green-to-beige formula fights redness, blemishes and dehydrated skin while instantly improving skin tone. A combination of minerals, herbs and Dr Jart+'s original probiotic ferment, Jartbiome, make this colour corrector a powerful skin-soother, which can be worn alone or under makeup for a healthy, even complexion.
L’Oreal’s C’est Magic CC Cream may not have a fancy probiotic, but it’s a solid dupe for Dr Jart+’s Tiger Grass CC. Glycerin, vitamin E and fig extracts soothe and provide hydration, while the buildable, lightweight formula blends seamlessly into your natural skin tone—with none of the chalkiness that can sometimes be found in cheap CC creams. At less than half the price of the Dr Jart+ version, this cheap and cheerful CC is a great alternative with SPF 20 and a smoothing, soothing finish.
4. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic dupe
The cult classic: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Antioxidant Vitamin C Serum: £140 30ml
The cheaper alternative: Medik8 C-Tetra Serum: £35 for 30ml
Beauty lovers have been shouting about SkinCeuticals’ award-winning serum for a while now, but with a £140 price tag, it’s not the most affordable route to glowing, bouncy skin. We can’t speak highly enough of Medik8’s C-Tetra Serum, which comes in at around a fifth of the price and offers almost identical results.
Like the SkinCeuticals serum, it contains vitamins C and E, which minimise the appearance of ageing while protecting skin from environmental aggressors (AKA: pollution). If you’ve ever used this SkinCeuticals serum, you’ll be familiar with its, ah, funky smell—the Medik8 C-Tetra offers a light citrus scent, which is a nice perk on top of the more affordable price.
5. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream dupe
The cult classic: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream: £28 for 50ml
The cheaper alternative: The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA £4.95 for 30ml
This iconic moisturiser is Kiehl’s number one best-selling face cream—and it lives up to the hype. Deeply hydrating without being greasy, the lightweight formula contains squalane and glacial glycoprotein to leave skin softer, smoother and visibly healthier. It’s suitable for sensitive skin, too!
No dupe list would be complete without The Ordinary. This science-led skincare brand offers no-frills, clinical-grade treatments at very wallet-friendly prices. At less than £5, this moisturiser offers the same easily-absorbed, ultra-hydrating finish on the cheap. The ‘Natural Moisturising Factors’ here are a blend of skin-quenching ingredients—think ceramides, urea and glycerin, which hydrate the skin and prevent moisture loss. Hyaluronic acid helps create that smooth, bouncy complexion we love from Kiehl’s Ultra Facial cream. We’re personally partial to The Ordinary’s packaging, too—the tube feels more user-friendly and avoids the risk of contamination.
6. Elemis Cleansing Balm dupe
The cult classic: Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm: £44 for 100g
The cheaper alternative: The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm: £9.99 for 150ml
If you’re after a rich, luxurious cleanser, this Elemis cleansing balm is the product for you. With vitamin E and a mix of starflower, almond, coconut and shea oils, it provides next-level hydration while gently cleansing the skin. The only catch is the £44 price tag!
Want indulgence on a shoestring budget? Opt for The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm instead. Almond oil, colloidal oatmeal and oat kernel oil gently cleanse pores, melting away dirt and makeup for a gentle deep clean. Though the INKEY List balm doesn’t feature Elemis’ dreamy lavender, chamomile and eucalyptus scent, the fragrance-free option is a great pick for ultra-sensitive skin.
7. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm dupe
The cult classic: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm: £33 for 50ml
The cheaper alternative: Lumene Nordic Hydra [Lähde] Hydration Rescue 24H Replenishing Balm: £17.90 for 50ml
Clarins’ Beauty Flash Balm is essentially a cup of coffee for your face—the lightweight balm gives your skin an immediate pick-me-up, brightening, tightening and re-energising tired complexions. Witch hazel, olive leaf and bisabolol extracts leave skin smooth and soothed. This balm works well as a primer, or to give you a boost on those makeup-free days.
If you don’t want to spring over £30 for a pick-me-up, get a similar radiance boost with this Lumene Nordic Hydra Replenishing Balm. Like Clarins, Lumene uses botanical extracts to deeply hydrate and immediately smooth skin’s appearance. Organic Nordic birch sap gives your complexion an instant refresh, while hyaluronic acid and almond oil improve skin texture. Top tip: both balms can be used as a face mask for stressed out skin. Smooth over your face and neck, leave for 10 minutes and voila! Enjoy your fresh, radiant face.
8. La Roche Posay Duo dupe
The cult classic: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ Ultra Concentrated Serum: £32 for 30ml
The cheaper alternative: Revolution Skincare 2% Salicylic Acid Serum Super Sized: £14 for 60ml
La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo+ range is hugely popular—we love this Ultra Concentrated Serum for targeting both blemishes and fine lines and wrinkles. The purifying formula contains a cocktail of salicylic acid, LHA and glycolic acid to gently exfoliate, with niacinamide for a hydration boost. Perfect for oily skin, this water-based serum is easily absorbed and gentle enough for everyday use.
This Revolution Skincare serum comes in a supersized bottle at less than half the price. Salicylic acid is the star in this dupe, too—expect an improvement in the appearance of enlarged pores, blackheads and breakouts thanks to this exfoliating powerhouse. Witch hazel acts to soothe and calm angry skin, which is great for combatting redness and irritation. Both formulas come in a luxe glass bottle with a pipette for easy application, so you won’t feel like you’ve skimped with the more affordable option.
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