Ask any true beauty aficionado and they would likely tell you few things can replicate the secret glee of applying a slick of your favourite luxe lippy en route to a night out (Chanel, here’s looking at you). One such rare instance that illicits that same pitter-patter of the heart, however, is stumbling across a product that matches – nay, exceeds – your sky-high expectations, sans the sky-high pricetag. We’ve rounded up the real drugstore MVPs that are loved by beauty eds and beauty buffs alike - and our wallets.

Image: Instagram @moannn

The Customisable Tan

Fellow tan-a-holics, raise your bronzed hands if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by blotchy, tangerine tan. It’s been months since my last tanning trauma, and all credit goes to this guy right here. The beauty of this St Tropez Extra Dark Mousse, besides the stellar formula, is that it allows you to choose your depth of dark— leave on for 4 hours for the standard dark tan or sleep in it for 8 hours for an extra-dark beach bronze that lasts for days. A staple in my weekly Thursday night beauty regime, this really truly works. Case in point: I recently returned home from holidays still practically porcelain after weeks spent under the South-East Asian sun. Using just one coat of this bad boy and marinating in it for the full 8 hours while I slept, I managed to fake my way to a substantial amount of compliments regarding how “glowy” I looked post vacation. Keen to avoid a faux pas, I have never admitted my secret until now. No shame about faking this one.

The Micellar Water For Your Hair

Think clarifying shampoo, but sans the harsh stripping of your hairs’ natural protective oils (and therefore fading that exxy dye job with lightning speed). Micellar water was a true innovation in the beauty world, a must-have in any worthy bathroom vanity, and is the go-to for easily, gently and effectively removing dirt, makeup and oil from skin. So it’s a no-brainer that PANTENE Pro-V Micellar Shampoo and Conditioner would work the same impurity-eliminating magic on your mane also (although keep in mind that unlike regular micellar water, these products must be rinsed out). Not only that, but the range is also pH-balanced, silicone-, paraben- and dye-free – which is très important for maintaining shiny, healthy locks.

Pantene Pro-V Micellar Shampoo and Conditioner

The Foundation Brush of Dreams

Full disclosure: as a beauty writer, I am in the very privileged position to be constantly inundated with the latest and greatest beauty offerings. In other words, it’s a rare feat for something to come across my desk that impresses me to the point of having to wonder what on earth I was doing before coming into contact with said newly-found obsession. Cue this Real Techniques Blend & Blur Foundation Brush. Its large, densely packed oval head means it covers a bigger surface area to blend and buff your way to seamless results, literally cutting application time in half. Hot tip: it’s also a dream when mixing your liquid foundation with beauty oils. Thank me later.

The HG Sunscreen

Ask any derm worth their money on their number one skincare tip, and I’d be willing to bet my whole beauty stash that their answer will likely revolve around the importance of proper sun protection. As Aussies, daily application of sunscreen cannot ever be overemphasised – the problem always seems to be, though, that it’s almost impossibly hard to find a formula that a) sits nicely under foundation, b) doesn’t break you out, and c) won’t turn your visage so oily that the US wants to invade it. No small feat, the nifty La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch SPF 50+ manages to do all that. With the recommended SPF 50+ protection and drying matte upon application, the cult French pharmacy brand known for their sensitive skin formulas nailed the brief. Feel free to leave all your excuses as to why you don’t slip, slop, slap at the door, s’il vous plaît.

The Wine-Inspired Face Serum

Who says you have to drop a pretty penny on skincare? Blessing Anti-Pollution Light Face Serum, Antipode’s latest offering is not only certified vegan, but is designed to fight against the stress caused by urban environments by providing a barrier against pollution particles. Produced in New Zealand, our neighbours a mere hop, skip and jump across the pond, this potion is packed full of cold-pressed kiwi seed oil, features a divine jasmine scent and even boasts Sauvignon Blanc grape seeds, which are jampacked full of antioxidants (and are healthier on your visage than in a wine glass, although we won’t tell if you indulge in both, promise).

Story by Marina Gainulina

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