Why You Don’t Need To Spend A Fortune On Skincare: ‘Own Brand’ Is The Secret (Very Effective) Option

Those little bottles of serum and pots of face cream have never been as sexy, glamorous and aspirational as they are right now. Historically skincare has always been the dull side of the beauty industry, with the focus very much being on game-changing makeup or instantly transformative haircare, but over the last decade our opinions have been transformed. As we collectively seek out ways to ensure our complexion remains radiant, healthy and strong throughout our lives (and the focus very much being on keeping those signs of ageing at bay for as long as possible,) skincare provides the tools we need to make a difference. Previous generations may have relied on soap, water and a little pot of cold cream, but now we’re turning to the most advanced science we can find – and integrating upwards of eight steps into our morning regime. Like with anything us consumers can get our hands on, the assumption is that ‘you get what you pay for’ and we should all be turning to super expensive lotions and skipping the budget potions altogether. However, if you know what to look for and how to shop your product portfolio doesn’t have to set you back the price of a designer handbag.

Own brand skincare has always had a bit of a reputation for being naff, ineffective and something you’d rather hide away in your bathroom; often the design of the packaging, marketing and information behind it doesn’t exactly help either. When presented with a relatively plain looking pack versus a super luxurious pot, which would you rather choose? However, often own branded skincare has been developed with the same science and within the same labs as some of the most expensive and aspirational brands – you just don’t pay the premium for that brand name and fancy pot. Unless a brand is part of a huge conglomerate, they tend to outsource their product development to other companies and utilise existing technology to develop the next ‘groundbreaking’ serum or face cream. (In fact Boots have a huge UK plant where they develop too many of the high street names to mention; you’d never know it was essentially all the same stuff unless you knew where to look!)

What’s interesting (and rather exciting) is that some of the ‘own brand’ skincare is therefore just as good as stuff that will set you back three times the price, because it’s developed in the same labs by the same people and often even produced in the same factories. The difference is that because that brand doesn’t have to pay themselves up to a 60% margin for the privilege of being sold in their stores (Boots/Superdrug/Tesco etc all buy in products at an average of 40% of the retail price, allowing themselves a tidy profit,) they can focus on creating the best product while keeping the price point down. That’s why Boots No7 is clinically proven to be so effective, but remains incredibly affordable; similarly, that’s why Superdrug’s own brand skincare is receiving increasing industry praise while often costing less than a tenner. Even brands including Avon and M&S have some beautiful products that really make a difference to skin, but you may never think to turn to them because of the perception you may have.

Like it’s become socially acceptable to hunt out a bargain or admit to buying that stellar dress from Matalan, the perception of own brand skincare is starting to change – which is great for both our complexions and our purses. If you look past the brand name and the (usually) rather dull packaging, you may find yourself a little gem that works just as hard as something super premium. Need a place to start during your weekend shop? Here are some of my personal fave affordable and effective skincare own brand products.

Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum (£32.95)
Clinically proven to reduce the signs of ageing, these products were truly groundbreaking when they first launched and caused a stampede of women to form in stores nationwide after being featured on TV. They’re pleasurable to use, have been formulated for different age ranges and don’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Superdrug ‘B’ Radiant/Nourished Day Cream (£10.99) 
Another great range that’s clinically proven to deliver results in only four weeks, this day cream is light enough to apply under makeup while still providing the hydration skin needs. Both my Mum and Nan but this range to the test a couple of years ago and loved everything about it; they genuinely thought it had made a difference to their skin and assumed it was some super-dooper expensive brand. (They tried it blind for four weeks. See the results in my post here!)
Anew Ultimate Supreme Dual Elixir (£20.00) 
Combining the power of two individual formulas in one pump (both an oil and serum,) this formula includes black pearls and gold peptides to help purify skin cells, provide a protective moisture barrier and reverse the signs of ageing. It’s a real pleasure to use and feels way more expensive than the £20.00 price point, proving you don’t have to stretch to Elizabeth Arden prices if you don’t want to.

M&S Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream (£22.00)
of the very few products I’ve used to the very last drop, this
beautifully formulated overnight treatment helps to leave skin radiant
and refreshed – while tackling those signs of ageing over time. Not only
does it feel incredibly luxurious, but I knew every night I used this
that I didn’t have to worry how I’d look the following day.

Have you ever used own brand skincare? Have you always had a perception that it’s not as good as more expensive counterparts, or does branding not bother you at all?

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



  1. Daniela
    February 22, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    I have to say I like reading posts like this a bit more about the "backroom" of beauty industry because as much as I enjoy a good review and preview of new products (and I know that for many blogger is how they earn their living) seeing more than 10 reviews of some new product is sometimes enough for me to get so tired that I don't bother anymore. I fully agree that own brand skincare might be as good (sometimes even better) than so many expensive products that pay to be featured everywhere.

    • Hayley Carr
      February 22, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Absolutely. And often they're not as glam so don't get featured anywhere near as much – but they're well worth checking out.

  2. Mrs Tubbs
    February 22, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Most most of my skincare comes from Superdrug – mainly because of recommendations from you and Jane @ BBB. It does the job, doesn't come hideously patronising anti-aging messages, leaves me with change and is leaping bunny. Why pay more?! Yay for some new things to try.

    • Hayley Carr
      February 22, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      When you put it like that, why buy anything else eh?!

    • Mrs Tubbs
      February 24, 2017 / 10:27 am

      I am less rational about lipstick. We all have something 🙂

  3. Beekeyper
    February 25, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    I've used quite a few bits from the M&S pure range and loved every one. The Boots Botanics eye cream is my ultimate HG and costs about a fifth of some eye creams!! I think it's easy to overlook own brands with all the sparkliness of luxury/high end skincare sometimes-but I've always had positive experiences! Beekeyper – latest – Little Ondine Review and swatches

  4. Ramblingmads
    February 28, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    The Superdrug vitamin E range is amazing and so cheap. My stroppy sensitive skin loves it.

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