Battle of the Budget Beauty Brands


Game-changing budget beauty brands


Over the past few years, Budget beauty brands have been shaking up the beauty industry by offering affordable skincare that really works! Proving that you don’t have to drop a whole load of cash to see great results.

I was preparing to post about my favourite The Ordinary products but with all the drama that’s happened in the past week, I thought I would chat about other affordable skincare brands in case the unthinkable happened and The Ordinary disappeared from our lives. While we can now all breathe a sigh of relief that Deciem isn’t going anywhere, I’m glad I’ve taken off my blinkers as these new brands seriously rival The Ordinary!

Similar to The Ordinary these budget beauty brands offer simplicity, transparency and high-quality ingredients and are set to join the ranks of game-changing beauty brands around the world. So let’s find out more about them!


1. The Inkey List

Only launched last month, The Inkey List is the creation of Mark Curry and Colette Newberry, who were previously of Boot’s branding and product development. If you consider the success of No 7 protect and perfect serum, this duo must know what they’re doing!

Like The Ordinary, The Inkey list  – an industry term referencing the ingredients listed on a beauty product, offers advanced formulations and honest labeling for low prices (everything is between 6-12) but where it differs is it offers an explanation of the product without all the confusing scientific lingo (something I give out about in this post).

The brand saw that there was a demand for high-quality low price products but found that there was a lot of confusion about how to use them. They launched their 15 ingredients driven products with the idea that using the products use was easy to understand, could be easily slotted into your skincare routine and is formulated to suit as many skin types as possible.

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On my wanted list!

The Inkey List boasts skincare essentials like retinol, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C in the form of serums, masks and moisturisers. The ones that I am interested in are


  • Tumeric Cream Moisturiser 30ml £8 / €9.60

Tumeric is great for bringing down inflammation. I suffer from Seborrheic Dermatitis and I find mixing turmeric powder with a pink clay mud to make a mask really helps to bring down the redness and helps with the itching. This moisturiser is meant to hydrate the skin, brighten skin tone and reduce irritation – I’m sold!


  •  Hemp Oil Cream Moisturiser 30ml £8 / €9.60

Hemp and cannabis oil are going to be the next big thing in beauty so get used to hearing about them! Hemp oil has a high content of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which help to nourish the skin and are excellent for dry and dehydrated skin. Like the Turmeric cream its meant to help calm irritated skin.

I’m looking forward to trying out the two of these moisturisers and comparing them. Also for under €10, you can’t go wrong.


  • Glycolic Acid Liquid Toner 100ml £7 / €8.40

I’m nearly out of my Glycolic Acid Toner from The Ordinary – which I would purchase again, but the sake of trying out new products, I’m interested in trying this. It’s a higher concentration of Glycolic (10%) than The Ordinary’s version (7%) meaning its stronger and could be a bit more irritating on the skin but could also have better results.


I would like to get more of the products but as I’m trialling other products at the moment I’ll have to wait until later to add to the collection.

The Inkey List is available from Feel Unique and Cult Beauty

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2.Revolution Skincare London

Revolution is known for their super dupes of more expensive makeup versions and this summer they branched into skincare. A UK brand, you can find their make up brands in a few chemists are Ireland. Unfortunately, I don’t know when the skincare line is launching in Ireland but you can order it online for the moment.

The products looking strikingly similar to The Ordinary with their clear glass dropper bottles, but they have a bit more of a fancier look with rose gold detailing (I’m a sucker for rose gold – put it on anything and I’ll want it!). Apart from a few products most of them are direct copies in ingredients as well as looks. Eg the 30% AHA + BHA Peeling Solution. Whether the products are as good remains to be seen.

One thing that does set off alarm bells is the retinol product is not in UV protected bottle, which means the retinol will degrade very quickly.

You can find a great review from beauty blogger Nia Patten which compares each of the products to it’s The Ordinary counterpart here.

On my wanted list!

Because I already (ahem) own most of original The Ordinarys versions, I won’t be rushing to order all of Revolution Skincare but I’d be interested to try.


  • Skin Plumping and Hydrating Solution 2% Hyaluronic Acid £6 /  €7

I’m always on the lookout for a good Hyaluronic Acid as I go through so much of so I would like to try this to see the comparison to The Ordinary’s version, which like a lot of people, I’m not a big fan of the texture.


  • Skin Nourishing CBD Oil   £10  / €12

This is one of the “non” The Ordinary copies. As I previously said Hemp and CBD are going to be big in skincare so I would like to see what this one is like.


  • Superfruit Extract – Antioxidant Rich Serum & Primer £10  / €12

I’m always on the lookout for a good primer, especially one that has extra antioxidants in it. This has gotten some good reviews and I’m also a sucker for pretty packaging. Be warned though it does contain fragrance so it may react with sensitive skin.

Revolution Skincare is available on its website and in Superdrug.



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3. Garden of Wisdom

Unlike the rest of the budget beauty brands, Garden of Wisdom or GoW been around for the past 10 years or so. Founded in the US with the USP of bringing cruelty-free products with natural ingredients at an affordable price point. While it has many devotees, it started to become more popular this year thanks to the UK website Victoria Health.

Becoming the site first “own brand” skincare Victoria Health worked with Garden of Wisdom to tweak its products and redesign its packaging to launch the brand in the UK. (Coincidently very quickly after Victoria Health stopped stocking The Ordinary and other Deciem products – so much drama!)

Like The Inkey List, there is less sciecne speak and it’s easier to understand which products to use and like The Ordinary, they are called by their ingredient name.


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On my wanted list!


  • Niacinamide Serum  £9 / €10.17

I love The Ordinay’s Niacinamide serum, and currently on my third bottle. I going to order the GoW version so I can test them both at the same time and see which is better.


  • Azelaic Acid 10% Serum  £9 / €10.17

I have just about finished my Azelaic Acid from The Ordinary so I would love to compare the two. I found the it really helped with pigmentation on my cheeks.


  • 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil  £20 / €22.60

At £20 for 30ml its not exactly “budget beauty” but when you consider prickly pear seed oil is one of the most expensive beauty oils in the world (some brands sell it for $200 dollars) £20 is a steal! It’s a really versatile oil and can be used to treat a number of skin concerns. Learn more here.

Garden of Wisdom is available at Victoria Health.





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4. Alex Steinherr x Primark Beauty

The most recent launch of budget beauty brands is from beauty guru Alex Steinherr in collaboration with Primark. Combining her years of experience from sitting on a beauty desk, with two years research and development with labs based around the world.

  The 20-piece skincare range designed for all and rather on focusing on skin types, the products are split into 5 ranges based on skin concerns – dehydration, tiredness, dullness, congestion and urban skin.

Called Plump & Glow, Maximum Moisture, Pollution Solution, Pore Balance and Sleep Spa – you can dip in and mix and match according to your skin’s needs. And the best bit they only cost between €4-€6!


On my wanted List!

I was lucky enough to pick up a few bits that I wanted the other week, as they were obviously sold out straight away!


  • The Micellar Cleansing Gel £4 / € 6 

This is only product I’ve actually tried as I’ve had a flare up with my skin and can’t use anything else for the few days. It did a pretty good job of taking off my make up over the weekend and for €6 its great value!


  • Facial in a Stick. £4 / € 6

Really hoping this works as it will be great for travelling. You are meant to combine it with water to cleanse your face and /or leave it on your skin for a moisturising boost.


  • Every Night Eye Mask£4 / € 6

I love overnight masks and I’m a sucker for anything that promises to help with puffy eyes and dark circles.


  • Blemish Rescue Stickers. £4 / € 6

Another great one for travelling. I’ve tried blemish sticks from Primark before and found they worked, so hopefully these will to.

The Alex Streinherr x Primark is only available in selected stores across Europe.


Other budget beauty brands that punch above their weight to keep an eye out for are E.L.F, the Lacura and La Mara range from Aldi (yes the supermarket) and Beauty Pie.

ps want to grab yourself a good deal? I’ve put together a list of beauty discount codes and special offers!

What are your favourite budget beauty buys?  Have you used any of these brands? Let me know in the comments below.

Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.

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5 Responses

  1. I am going to check some of these brands out. I am currently using a mix of Face Theory skincare and Be Barefaced skincare, they are affordable and great quality, both brands are so good

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