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15 Best Budget Beauty Buys Under $30

The cost of living is rising. Here’s how to keep a lid on your beauty spending.

By Lucy Adams

If there’s one question I’m asked most frequently as a beauty editor, it’s whether a luxury product is “worth it”. And honestly? These days, more often than not, I find myself replying ‘no’.

That’s because affordable beauty brand have come such a long way – in terms of formulations and efficacy, that there’s rarely any need to shell out a small fortune of expensive products. I don’t! Instead, you’ll often find me stocking up on beauty products in my local chemist.

And with inflation at a 30-year high and this week’s Federal Budget not exactly glittering with positivity, there’s never been a better time to try a few affordable options. You’re welcome.



1. Cancer Council Face Day Wear Serum SPF50+, $24.95 The single best thing we can do for our skin every day is to wear SPF. This multitasking serum offers maximum protection and hydration (thanks to added hyaluronic acid). It also sits beautifully under make-up.

2. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, $6.95 I hate having dry lips. I have these stashed in my handbag, car, desk and beside my bed so I won’t get caught out.

3. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, $13.99 One thing most beauty ed’s never splurge on is cleanser. It washes straight off! This simple but super-effective option removes the day’s dirt (make-up included) while keeping my skin calm and hydrated.

4. RoC Retinol Correxion Under Eye Cream, $24.99 Another that I use every day to keep my eye area in tip top condition. It helps with fine lines, dark circles and reduces puffiness. RoC is a firm fave among beauty editors, as all products are rigorously tested and dermatologist-recommended.

5. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast B5 Mask, $13.95 Don’t be alarmed if you open my fridge and find a stash of these in the side door. They are the perfect quick fix for a skin glow-up and hydration boost before a night out (or work event!) years ago, La Roche-Posay was only available from French pharmacies, and I remember convincing friends to bring them back from holidays in France. Today the brand is owned by L’Oreal and much easier to find, and I’m still yet to find a product of theirs that my skin doesn’t like.

Burt's Bees







6. MECCA MAX Zoom Shadow Stick, $19 I don’t have the patience for powdered eyeshadows. One swipe of this nifty number along my top and bottom lashes (then rub in) adds a subtle depth and a soft wash of colour that lasts all day.

7. Rimmel Wonder Volume Thrill Seeker Mascara, $19.99 Fellow PRIMER beauty editor Sherine and I both swear by this volume and length giver. I don’t leave the house without it.

8. Flower Get Real Serum Foundation, $9.69 I get a lot of DMs asking if this foundation is really that good? And the short answer is… yes. It glides on easily, adds a subtle glow, feels like your skin is naked and is available in a wide range of skin tones. Tick!

9. Go-To Skin Care Prep Step, $29 My latest glow-getting obsession right now is misting my face all over with this before I apply foundation.

10. Mavala Switzerland Cream Colors, $8.95 La Nina has been dampening everything lately – even my spirits. Call me shallow but a fun pop of colour on my nails seems to help perk me up. (Hot pink ‘Sydney’ is my current go-to) What’s more, it’s easy to apply, long lasting and helps keep nails hard and healthy.









11. Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Milk, $17.95 This trans-seasonal weather can really catch you out with pasty pins; this one lives in my bathroom shelf for such occasions. Rub it in like regular body moisturiser to eliminate the ghost-like glow throughout the day.

12. Weleda Skin Food Body Lotion, $29.95 I’ve long sung the praise of the OG Weleda Skin food for its skin-quenching powers, so there’s little wonder I love lathering this all over my body for its same nourishing effect.

13. Manicare Dry Body Brush, $15.49 Elle, Gwyneth and Mirada do it…and while there’s no fast fix for cellulite. I feel like dry body brushing, even once a week (or when I remember) really does boost your body’s circulation and help firm everything up.

14. Dermal Therapy Hand Balm, $4.69 It might not look sexy, but it really worked wonders keeping my hands soft and smooth all winter.

15. Lanolips Lips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm, $18.95 Cuticle care, cracked lips, dry elbows and knees, paper cuts and skin irritation be-gone with this do-it-all super handy hydrator.

Bondi Sands








The Ordinary


BY Lucy Adams

Lucy is PRIMER's beauty editor, and has spent 20 years working in beauty, including at marie claire.

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