The Beauty Spy: Why budget can be best

Forget the fancy packaging -- you can look your best with inexpensive beauty buys.

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My beautician once told me that the only difference between a tube of supermarket face cream and the fancy department store variety is the packaging. Apparently all the extra money you're spending on a new "patent-pending formula" is for that pretty crystallised glass bottle and smart box. Who needs to spend hundreds (read thousands) of dirhams on lotions and potions when creams a fraction of the price will do the job?

Here is a quick guide to start off with the basics: a good face wash can take you a long way, such as Olay's Skin Adapt Face Wash, which removes every last inch of make-up. If you're more of a wipes-while-in-bed kind of girl then nothing beats Boots Essentials Cleansing Cucumber Wipes.

When it comes to make-up I stick to these rules: L'Oréal for mascara (Volume Million Lashes), Revlon for eyeshadows (Colorstay 12 Hour Eyeshadow Quad), No7 for base (Intelligent Colour Foundation and Instant Radiance Concealer), Max Factor for eyeliner (Masterpiece Glide & Define Liquid Eyeliner) and The Body Shop for shimmery bronzers and blushers (Shimmer Waves). All have great textures and shades and most will cost you less than a slap-up lunch, with pudding.

For the body I always use a rich shaving cream such as Gillette's Satin Care gels that does wonders for dry skin even if you're using a hotel shaver. Sebamed also does a great shower oil - perfect for sensitive skin. Soap & Glory's The Righteous Body Butter Lotion is great if you are looking for a non-greasy deep moisturiser that smells delicious. I still swear by Dove Original Deodorant Cream, which keeps my underarms powdery fresh even after the gym.

John Frieda Weather Works by Frizz-Ease shampoo and conditioner protect your locks from frizzing during the humid summer months. For updos that last all night, Wella's Wellaflex Hairspray is the key and unlike most hairsprays, it smells lovely.

If you're trying to save some cash on manis and pedis, stick to the following: Flexitol Heel/Foot Balm, a good pumice stone, Neal's Yard Remedies Melissa Hand Polish, CnD Solar Oil cuticle treatment and Bourjois 1 Seconde nail varnish. To keep those hands silky soft rub in Bell'sAlmond Oil and wear Boots Botanics Moisturizing Spa Gloves overnight. Now go out and spend all the money you've just saved.

Three of the best clarifiers

CLARINS VITAL LIGHT NIGHT, Dh441 For stressed, slack skin with fine lines. For an anti-oxidant fix dollop on this revitalising cream packed with plant-based ingredients. With a deliciously creamy feel, you'll have a smooth, nourished complexion in no time.

CLINIQUE NEW CLARIFYING LOTION, Dh112 For over-sensitive, red and dry skin. This gentle soothing toner clears away pollution, grime and spots without drying out your skin.

L'OCCITANE IMMORTELLE MOISTURE BRIGHTENING MASK, Dh339 For sallow and dull skin. A fresh, gel-cream texture that boosts micro-circulation and brings a wonderful feeling of well-being.

M loves


The season's beauty trends revolve around high-octane glamour and dark drama, so we've fallen for H&M's new bold and vibrant make-up collection. Launched last week in the Middle East, the line offers a wide range of eyeshadows, powders, foundations, nail varnishes and lip glosses. With affordable prices and fabulous textures and shades, they are sure to complement our H&M accessories.

Prices start from Dh21. Available in H&M, Dubai Mall, 04 330 8327 and Mall of the Emirates, 04 341 4921