Budget Vs Blowout: The High Street Alternatives To Some Awesome Summer Beauty Gems

Innovation within the beauty industry now filters down increasingly quickly from premium brands to their more affordable counterparts. No longer is the phrase “you get what you pay for” technically true, as you’re just as likely to find a great product for a fiver in Superdrug as you are within the beauty halls of Harrods. I love the whole experience a more premium product can offer (from the scent, texture and pleasure experienced simply from looking at the packaging,) but equally there’s nothing quite like the buzz you can get from finding a bargain that really performs. Right now there are a tonne of great summer launches landing in stores that offer fab results, but don’t necessarily cost a small fortune. I’ve pinpointed three of my current favourite premium products, along with a more affordable alternative that performs *almost* or just as well – so you don’t have to wait until payday to justify a little splurge.

Clinique Super City Block BB Cushion Compact (£30.00) vs 

L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique Cushion Foundation (£14.99) 

I was a little bit dubious about the whole cushion foundation trend initially, but I’ve totally gotten on-board with it this summer; I prefer the lightweight and dewy finish to a BB Cream for daytime, while the added skincare benefits make it a no-brainer. I’ve been loving the L’Oreal version for quite some time (I’m on my third pot already,) as it provides a lightweight texture that glides over skin to conceal colour imperfections without weighing my complexion down. However, when this Clinique number landed on my doorstep it was even more effective than the product I’d come to know. Clinique have managed to encapsulate everything the cushion foundation is about, but provide a slightly heavier base that provides an even more flawless finish; the bonus SPF50 and moisturising ingredients make this perfect for summer and into the transitional period. It’s definitely the best cushion foundation I’ve tried to date, but if you can’t justify the price or lug it down to Fenwicks to pick one up, L’Oreal offer a great alternative.

Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer (£24.50) vs 
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer (£12.99) 
Technically these are actually slightly different formulas, but they look the same and both offer fab results – so that counts right? Clinique are building on their Pep-Start brand which aims to inject a touch of ‘I’m awake really’ into our mornings, and this new moisturiser combines the benefit of hydration with a little blurring action. Ingredients including Vitamin E and Peptides boost collagen production to diminish wrinkles over time, while the matte velvety formula (more like a primer than a moisturiser) helps to blur away fine lines and pores in an instant. The unusual texture does feel strange when you first apply it, but on days when I’m looking my best I’ll be all over this! As a great alternative for days when you just need some added hydration, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost is a refreshing water-gel moisturiser that contains a unique Hyaluronic Gel Matrix to instantly lock in intense hydration and continuously release it as and when your skin needs it throughout the day. It’s a great way to look after skin in the summer and ensure it remains plump – plus it’s incredibly refreshing.

Marc Jacobs Glistening Illuminator (£28.00) vs 
Revlon PhotoReady InstaFix Highlighter (£9.99) 
When Marc Jacobs announced he was trying his hand at makeup after a hugely successful run in perfume, I can’t deny the fact I got a little bit excited. I was awaiting seriously lustworthy palettes, colours that made me go ‘WOW’ and textures that were as good as his scents; skip forward a few months and I can’t help but be a little bit disappointed. The products are good, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t have the wow-factor I was looking for. This highlighting stick is a perfect example of something that could be amazing, but is in fact pretty much the same as one a third of the price: it’s richly pigmented but subtle, easy to apply and blend, but there’s nothing incredible about it other than the fact it looks great on your dressing table. On the flip side, the Revlon InstaFix highlighter is more practical in size, just as pigmented and has a very similar texture; unless you feel the need to splurge, opt for the cheaper alternative!

Do you have any high street buys that are just as good as their more premium sisters? We all love a dupe and saving money, so do share them in the comments below!

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  



  1. Pam Scalfi
    August 19, 2016 / 10:06 am

    the revlon highlighter looks stunning! might need to pick that up and stick it in my to go makeup bag!Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  2. taislany
    August 19, 2016 / 10:52 am

    Great post. Really want to try the Prep-Start!Lots of Love,BLOG | TAISLANY

  3. Philippa
    August 19, 2016 / 11:05 am

    I love the loreal cushion foundation, I use a brush rather than the sponge to apply it but I find it really good for minimal coverage days!Philippa x

  4. sampan_27
    August 19, 2016 / 11:07 am

    I love a good "dupe" as they say! I also love a good stroll in Boots to find these, so perfect post to read Hayley 🙂 http://www.samspeaks.co.uk

  5. Andrew BeautyandTheBoy
    August 19, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    I like the idea of a cushion foundation i really want to try one because i think they might look good for me http://www.beautyandtheboy.com

  6. Leanne Page
    August 19, 2016 / 6:54 pm

    I love the sound of both the Clinique moisturiser and the Neutrogena one. I'll defo check them out when I'm in next boots. I've been intrigued by the Revlon Instafix but I haven't heard too much about. But i will be buying it now 🙂 The best 'dupe' I've found is the L'Oreal lipstick in the shade Evas Nude, its exactly the same shade and formula of Charlotte Tilbury's Bitch perfect xxLPage Beauty

  7. The Sixth Lisbon
    August 19, 2016 / 9:29 pm

    I love my L'Oreal Lumi Cushion! The only downside I find is the limited shade range. Someone else commented on this but I also prefer using a brush than the sponge that comes in it. thesixthlisbon.blogspot.com

  8. Jasmine Riel
    August 20, 2016 / 12:04 am

    AWESOME dupe list. I really want to try both the l'oreal cushion foundation and the neutrogena moisturizer during the colder seasons when my skin is on the drier side.thesixthdisneyprincess.blogspot.com

  9. Sophie B
    August 20, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    I love finding high street dupes of high end products, some good ones I've seen are MUA 12 Shade Undressed Palette (£4) vs Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette (£37), No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter (£9.95 vs Benefit Watts Up (£24.50) and Rimmel Kate Matte Lipstick in Kiss Of Life 111 (£5.49) vs MAC Ruby Woo (£15.50) xwww.skintstyle.blogspot.com

  10. Peridot
    September 2, 2016 / 7:06 pm

    Not sure it's the intention but after reading this I'm interested in the two Clinique products! And the Revlon one too. A very interesting piece, thanks

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