Affordable serums for parched skins. #shopyourstash

The month of January brings about ( especially in the Western Hemisphere) cold, bitter winds and also empty pockets. The last is true of most of us who celebrate Christmas. Come January, my dwindling funds and angry looking bank account is only less depressing than the sight of my grey, pallid skin.(yes even a permanent tanned moi can look pale)

I need all the help I can get for that funny shade of grey-iege that I become and I look to serums to layer under my skincare. Today I’m talking about the kind that infuse your skin with pure hydrating ingredients.(The over 30’s should be using a serum with active ingredients at night, this I would use in the day) Your skin drinks it up and it instantly looks dewy. It’s been the buzzword for skin care for a while, but glow has never gotten more love than in 2017 ( and it looks to be here to stay, not that I’m complaining. Glowy, youthful, skin…what’s not to love?)

A friend of mine threw me a challenge, she said that I should try talking about affordable skincare, those that more of us can buy. I know that a lot of us feel poorer in January than any other time of the year. So I rose to the challenge, and took it a step further. I shopped my stash. ie- I didn’t buy another serum ( even for research purposes which is always how I justify my skincare and makeup spending ) But I picked a bunch from my own shelf. And I kept it affordable.  I do believe that serums  are usually the most expensive  bit of skincare for a reason , ie. Serums are made to penetrate into the deeper  layers of our skin and hence contain a higher concentration of actives or Hyaluronic Acid (HA). This bumps up the price. Estee Lauder’s iconic Advanced Night Repair II ( or ANR as it is widely known) is the industry standard for a good serum. ( it retails at a whopping £53. And that’s its smallest bottle. Worth every penny, but that’s not the point here.)


However companies like the Ordinary have practically turned the beauty industry inside out and raised the stakes, you can get lots of serums, oils and skincare lotions and potions that have either a single or a few powerful ingredients for as little as £4! Other brands have had to step up their game.

For the purpose of research, I have both stuck to budget( all of these cost under £20), and I shopped my stash. Just so that there was some sort of order to my thoughts( yes sometimes even I can be methodical.) I grouped them in the order of price, from lowest to highest.

1.) L’oreal Hydra Genius ( *£6.66 at Boots/ Superdrug)


This is marketed as a cream, inspired by Korean Skincare, and its multi layered approach. But the ingredients contain HA which makes it more of a serum for me as it is too light to use on its own. I love its silky feel, and the slightly tacky texture that HA leaves. (I don’t have sensitive skin so there should be a warning here that it does have a lovely light fragrance, and this could be a potential irritant. Even the one aimed for sensitive skins.)

I do use this as a serum and for this price its a brilliant little multitasker. I will try this under an SPF in the summer which means that when I’m travelling to hotter climes ( a girl can dream) I don’t need to pack a serum + moisturiser. More room for eyeshadow palettes in my makeup kit.:)

2.) Lacura Caviar Power Serum ( *Aldi £7.99)


Forget Kim K, this range broke the internet when it launched two years ago, hailed as a dupe for the La Prairie range, not just in its packaging but also its main ingredients like caviar and snow algae. The Serum also contains HA which makes it a whopper for the price you pay. The Bottle looks pleasing and luxe which is so important too. But thats not why I love it; it’s a beautiful texture, goes on smoothly and hydrates beautifully,(it must be said that it doesn’t smell fishy AT ALL) Now this range is targeted for dry, and mature skins, so those with oily skins should proceed with the rest of the range with more caution. This however, is one for us all, its just purely hydrating and it does its one job beautifully.

Buy it, and if you don’t like it, give it to your friend, sister, cousin, mum, or even me. I suspect however, that the occasion will never arise.

3) The Ordinary Matrixyl 10%+HA ( *£9.00 in ASOS)


This viscous, but still light formula from the Ordinary is amazing. What the Ordinary have done is taken out the extras in your skin care, kept its packaging simple to keep the costs down. They usually stick to single or a few high quality ingredients. ( Downside is that you really need to research your ingredients as they are named after the scientific principal ingredient… the website however, does give you a reference grid of how to use each and every thing.)

What I love about this serum is that not only does it give you the hydration from HA, but it also has a high percentage of peptides. Does anyone remember Nadine Baggott and her pentapeptides advert? This was way back in the early 2000’s. But peptides was the buzzword before HA came to steal the scene. There’s no reason why the two can’t live in harmony however. And that’s what this serum does beautifully. Hydrates and nourishes. This serum from the Ordinary is anything but.

5) Vichy 89 Mineral ( *£14.66 at escentual)


This latest launch from the pioneer of the serums company is only going to be good. It is supposed to have 89% mineralising water and just 11 other ingredients. I’m no skin care expert but from reading from the blurb on their website, I’ve gathered that this is meant to be suitable for the most sensitive and the dehydrated amongst us.

Ok… what it does for me, when my skin is feeling particularly sensitive after a dermarolling session ( watch this space ) or retinol treatments (again…watch this space )I turn to this serum under a repair balm. It just hydrates without any expectations nor activity. No strings attached. With some things in life, there is a free lunch after all!

4) Vichy Aqualia Thermal Power serum Dynamic ( *£16.66 at escentual )


Anything that I have to say about this game changer of a serum has already been said, ( please read up what Sali Hughes has written about this in the Guardian). French pharmacies have been riding the crest of the skincare wave for so long that it’s a given that this will be good, this hydrates, pure and simple. It does it’s job  simply and beautifully. My dehydrated skin always looks beautiful after I’ve applied this. You only need a little penny sized amount to cover the face and neck.

I’ve purchased two backups just in case of any unforeseen emergencies.  Like the apocalypse maybe…

There are so many more budget friendly serums, Superdrug has a highly rated one for £2.99, The Body shop has an aloe one for £12.99. But the memo was to shop my stash, so I stuck to my promise.

And why do I give so many options? Because if one size fitted all, I’d be wearing Kate Moss’s Size 2 jeans darling! Love Elle xx


*PS- Prices go up and down, and the price mentioned was good at the time this post was written.

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.





Published by Lav Mell

Beauty Musings, Makeup reviews, Skincare lover, I am a self confessed makeup and skincare magpie and this is my little corner of the blogiverse.

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