The 35 Best Beauty Buys Under £30

The best rated budget beauty buys, according to Grazia's Beauty Team.


by Cassie Steer |
Published on

The British high street has had a facelift. The local drugstore is no longer reserved for last minute dashes for cotton pads and toothpaste. These days the high street has become a place where the beauty obsessed flock.

Thanks to the constant - and considered - evolution of Boots, Superdrug and co. , the high street is a leading the charge for best in affordable beauty. From cult classics to game changing new-gen buys, affordable beauty has never been better. Today, you can pick up premium haircare brands on tap, swatch a sample of those buzzy buys going viral on TikTok, and even have free skin consultation if you wanted (thank you: Boots Battersea).

The offering is now so good that it can be hard to know what is really worth buying. That's where Grazia's Beauty Team comes in. Here, they cut through the noise of the high street's beauty market, to bring you the make-up, hair, skin and body buys they rate most. And the best bit? They're all under £30.

Cassie Steer, Acting Head of Beauty

As a seasoned beauty editor of over two decades I’ve been lucky enough to base my decision on what products actually make it into my bathroom on efficacy rather than cost. The result is a mish-mash of prettifying, ‘guest-friendly’ products that I am happy to leave on show and the ones that I actually use on my face and body, and I can attest that a good percentage of these are high street.

My most loved mascaras are budget friendly buys. As a fan of the OG Volume Million Lashes by L’Oréal Paris, £9.59, it’s no surprise that its latest iteration Volume Million Lashes Panorama, £10.39, is one that went straight into my make-up bag (the press release got me at ‘1.4x bigger looking eyes’).

But it’s not just mascaras that have won me over, and while colour is something the high street also does with aplomb (3INA and Kiko Milano being my go-to for obscure shades), it’s the – now discontinued – Barbara Daly for Tesco £9 foundation which I will forever lament, having remained unrivalled as my ultimate skin perfecter.

Skincare used to be the area to splurge on, but then brands like the Ordinary entered the space. Right now, I’m slathering Cerave’s Advanced Repair Ointment, £11, on to the stubborn patches of eczema I get around my hairline when stressed, and on to my lips which seem to have developed a particular aversion to winter this year. Not glamorous but very, very welcome.

I’m a huge fan of amalgamating my skincare into as few products as possible and this multi-tasker does it with aplomb. What I really love about this particular product though is the way my makeup sits on the lightweight texture.

I would rather forgo mascara than eyeliner, so integral is it to my day-to-day aesthetic, so needless to say I have become quite the aficionado when it comes to mastering the ultimate flick. Although I have got my technique down pat, the ergonomic (patented) handle, budge-proof formula and precision tip have made my mornings even easier.

I’ve made peace with my pale skin to the point I rarely wear bronzer but for those days I’m feeling particularly pasty or for special occasions like a summer wedding this buildable bronzer gives me just the right amount of warmth, offering a whisper of sheer colour in a stick formula that’s super easy to use.

Everyone needs a does-it-all hero in their skincare arsenal and this barrier-restoring balm has usurped my previous skincare stalwart. I’ve been slathering it onto the stubborn patches of eczema I get around my hairline when I’m stressed and it’s working a treat. Not glamorous but very welcome.

It took me a while to cotton onto the fact that despite not having been a ‘natural’ blonde for about two decades, shampoos dedicated to coloured hair really do help to keep your colour fresher between salon visits. John Frieda are known in the industry as colour connoisseurs and this strengthening shampoo has been proven to preserve hair colour for 40 washes.

No7 earnt my badge of trust as soon as they launched the now iconic Protect & Perfectserum. Despite my rapidly dwindling collagen reserves, oiliness and blemishes are still beauty bêtes noires and I found that this antioxidant-rich serum did a sterling job at balancing everything out.

There are two types of handwash in my household – the ones I don’t begrudge the kids using and the ones I reserve for ‘best’ and this is one I would happily roll out to the scrutiny of guests. The warm, woody scent infused with cardamom, cedar and sandalwood is both comforting and chic.

Verity Clark, Acting Health & Beauty Director

One of my most asked questions as a beauty editor is whether expensive equals better when it comes to beauty products. My honest answer? If you’ve got the cash to splash then go for it, but when the high street is serving up so many brilliant, efficacious products at affordable prices, why would you? Some of my most loved, and most recommended products are from affordable brands – La Roche Posay, Cerave and Byoma are my skincare staples. Make-up wise, Maybelline Lash Sensational, £7.99, is my mascara holy grail – it separates, lengthens and curls my lashes for under a tenner, what more could you want?

In the last year, innovative, scientifically proven products have cropped up on the high street. Case in point? The Bright Reveal range from L’Oréal Paris, heavy on niacinamide to target discolouration.

Hairwise, I used to rely on expensive in-salon treatments to sort out my damaged hair but bond technology – the stuff that fixes frazzled locks – has filtered down to in-shower products. When I’m strapped for time, and cash, I’ve been reaching for the Pantene Pro-V Bond Repair Intensive Hair Mask, £10.

My best budget buy? It’s a toss up between the caffeine rich Revolution x Sali Hughes Ring Light Creamy Illuminating Eye Balm, £10, and the jumbo body wash, £18, from Naturium. Race you to the high street!

The public reported a rise in pigmentation concerns and L’Oreal answered their woes by bringing out a range of skincare that goes heavy on niacinamide to target discolouration. The SPF is worth a special mention, yes it protects against UV exposure but it also helps to fade signs of existing sun damage.

My best budget buy? The caffeine rich Revolution x Sali Hughes Ring Light Creamy Illuminating Eye Balm which at £7 is a revelation for reviving tired eyes. You can even apply it over makeup for an afternoon refresh. No, your makeup won’t budge.

I usually shy away from liquid blush - too much faff, too high risk of overdoing it - but this has a nice chunky applicator that makes application a breeze. Plus, the texture is more creamy balm than runny liquid, it blends seamlessly and the colour pay off is impressive.

The french pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay is one of my most recommended skincare brands. Efficacious and affordable aka everything I want in skincare. I don’t have acne but I do have monthly breakouts and this lightweight gel moisturiser lets my skin breathe during those times while keeping it hydrated. Salicylic acid helps keep redness and pigmentation down too.

Don’t get me wrong, I still relish a few hours at the hands of an expert but when I’m strapped for time, and cash, I’ve been reaching for the  Pantene Pro-V Bond Repair Intensive Hair Mask, £10. It works by sealing damaged cuticles to minimise fluffy flyaways and breakage, hello glossy hair.

I’m obsessed with this jumbo body wash from skincare brand Naturium. Salicylic acid lends a gentle exfoliation, it lasts for ages and looks, and feels, much more premium then the price would have you believe.

Rachael Martin, Junior Beauty Editor

During lockdown I did an obscene amount of online beauty shopping – which was good for testing skincare, and bad for my bank balance. Now, I relish the opportunity to shop in person, where I can swatch, test and carefully consider my purchases before parting with my money.

Happily, the high street shopping experience has never been better. Sephora returned to the UK! Boots opened a stand alone beauty store! Boots now offer a skin scanning service where you can speak to a dermatologist, get a diagnosis and a prescription – no GP appointment required. Plus, there’s always help available on the shop floor too.

I have an oily complexion and was convinced that I couldn’t use rich moisturisers. A skincare advisor urged me to try INKEY List’sBio-Active Ceramide Moisturiser, £18.99, because ‘the ceramides will help bolster your skin barrier and balance your complexion.’ My skin has never looked better.

Better still, glamorous interiors are no longer reserved for fancy department stores. My local beauty shop? It’s all marbled floors and glossy countertops. Hitting the high street can be a luxury experience – even if you’re just popping out for cotton buds.

When it comes to skin perfecting products L’Oreal never gets it wrong. Made with a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid, it works to plump and brighten tired my complexion after a late night. Plus, a little goes a long way when buffed into the skin with a fluffy brush.

Shea butter and ceramides ensure this new launch is a skin nourishing wonder. A small amount swept across a freshly cleansed face works to soothe and calm a compromised skin barrier. If you’ve gone OTT with your retinol then consider this the perfect solution.

A non-negotiable in my beauty routine, Avene’s SPF50 sits beautifully under my make-up while never leaving a white cast - no small feat.

At this point, it’s a total myth that budget shampoos are damaging to your hair - brands like Tresemme put hours of scientific research into each of its products to ensure their benefits. Look to their new Replenish and Cleanse shampoo for proof. It’s brimming with Vitamin C to clarify and minimise product build up leaving strands feeling silkier and smoother.

I’ve been waxing lyrical about Byoma’s brightening toner for quite some time now ​​and for good reason. It’s formulated with mandelic acid known to gently exfoliate, tone and brighten. It’s good stuff - especially if you have an oily complexion.

The scent. Oh, the scent. Just a small amount of this luxurious shower oil will coat limbs in a rich floral perfume that lasts all day. Allow the compliments to come rolling in.

Just a slick of Maybelline’s Lifter Gloss makes light work of plumping up my lips - there’s the infusion of chilli to thank for that. If you don’t mind a burn, or what the brand describe as ‘an intense heated sensation,’ then you’ll be delighted. But the more sensitive skin among us should proceed with caution.

Sameeha Shaikh, Beauty Writer

I’m a recovering beauty snob. My first brush with make-up and skincare came via the high street
– Rimmel London’s Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner in Jungle Green and lashings of The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Moisture Day Cream. Then I convinced myself that anything more ‘serious’, such as acne-busting skin solutions or budge-proof foundations, could only be sourced at luxury counters rather than from high-street stores.

Slowly but surely the high street has proved me wrong. Now, I head there for beauty discovery and test out that viral product that has been making the rounds on TikTok. The latter is what led me to my current obsession with Mitchum’s Natural Power Gel Cream Lime & Eucalyptus Gel Deodorant, £5. Then, there’s Gillette’s new Venus Dermaplaning Razor, £10, which really does elevate an otherwise bland personal self-care ritual. Sol de Janeiro’s body mists are good perfume alternatives and the newest Cheirosa 59 Perfume Mist, £22, is particularly delicious.

A bout of dehydrated, compromised skin led me to discovering this skin reviver. It’s loaded with plumping hyaluronic acid, strengthening niacinamide, and protective carnosinet to bring skin back to life, which is only helped by its refreshing gel texture.

Revlon ColorStay Micro Liner
Price: £8.99

Whenever I do wear liquid liner, which albeit isn’t very often, I need something easy, budge-proof and long-wearing. This liner does just that. Its 0.1mm tip allows for max precision and the pigment really does last.

I've tried a handful of natural deodorants but nothing compares to this. The silky gel-cream formula is loaded with botanical oils to cancel odour, bamboo powder to absorb sweat and is completely free of aluminium. I particularly love the fresh scent of lime and eucalyptus and how comforting it feels on the skin.

Despite my greatest reservations, I gave into dermaplaning when I started my laser hair removal journey. Part of that requires ad hoc face shaving at home, which I often dread, but this razor has made all the difference thanks to its easy glide and protective blades.

This easy breezy lip oil follows the success of the viral Lip Oil Lip Drip, but unlike its older sister (and many others on the market) Slick Click offers a no-fuss, no-spill, clean application process thanks to its reimagined packaging. It’s ultra-nourishing formula is powered by avocado, cloudberry and raspberry oils, and if like me you love a high-shine finish, this will be your next handbag staple.

I’ve been led to believe the best shampoos often cost a pretty penny. But this proved me wrong. Loaded with keratin, shea butter and vitamin E, it’s hydrating and strengthening, and especially good when paired with its sister conditioner for long-lasting nourishment.

I adore Sol de Janeiro's mood-boosting, on-the-go body mists and its latest didn’t disappoint. Its creamy, warm scent envelopes thanks to vanilla orchid and sheer sandalwood, and easily leaves me wanting more.

A potent yet gentle complex of 2% salicylic acid, squalene and willow bark extract make this a clever clearer of clogged pores and breakouts. While potent, I found the well rounded formula - which also includes antioxidant-rich neem seed oil and soothing colloidal oatmeal – worked to balance while working its magic.

Renee Washington, Digital Fashion and Beauty Assistant

I used to struggle to find my foundation shade at my local beauty store, and if I did it would often turn out to be a dried-up tester. Totally demoralising. Thankfully that’s changing. Brands have – finally – woken up and most now offer a wide array of shade options that cater to all skin tones.

The skincare department is strong too. Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Butter, £17.56, is a cult favourite. It’s rich in texture but delicately scented and feels like I’m indulging in a luxury spa treatment.

When it comes to keeping my tiny hairs in place, you can’t beat Got2b Glued 4 Brows and Edges 2in1 Gel, £5.50, for taming flyaways. Apparently Maya Jama loves it too. And, it doubles up as a great brow gel for achieving the perfect arch. Continuing the hybrid theme, Ruka Hair Perfume, £25, has been a game-changer for me, not only does it eliminate that post- straightening burning smell (yes, I use a hair protecting spray first!), it makes a delightful daytime scent, all yours for £30.

Thought candles were an expensive treat? Think again. I always stock up on & Other Stories Déjà Vu Mood Scented Candle, £23 – raspberry, jasmine and saffron will whisk me away somewhere incredibly exotic.

If you’re looking for a good all-round mascara, make a play for the Max Factor Lash Wow 2-in-1. My favourite thing has to be the brush, it is twisty and coats the lashes with ease. Best believe you don’t need to sacrifice on length or volume, because it does it all.

Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Butter is a cult favourite among influencers, and I totally understand why. Applying it feels like indulging in a luxury spa treatment, it leaves my skin irresistibly smooth and delicately scented.

When it comes to keeping my tiny hairs in place, got2b Brows and Edges is my secret weapon for achieving the perfect arch, and taming flyaways for just £5. And it actually lasts all day.  Listen, high street beauty is not to be underestimated.

Cozy vibes are instantly set by & Other Stories Déjà vu Mood Scented Candle – it's like relaxation in a jar. Light this one up as soon as you get back from work to set the vibes. My favourite notes have to be the raspberry, jasmine and cotton candy!

I hate taking my makeup off after a long day but this cleanser makes things a lot easier. I simply rub it on my face and it melts away my foundation without much effort. My skin after? Soft, supper and radiant.

This little brush comes in handy for blending out the smaller details around the eyes. I actually use it to bronze my eyelid, to contour my nose, or blend out stubborn concealer - it is a multi-tasker!

Pair this serum with the OG E45 cream and you can say bye to ashy skin. The serum provides a whole lot of moisture and promises up to 48 hour hydration. I don’t have 48 hours in my day, but I can say it withstands the full office day (including the treacherous commute).


Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us