These are the best affordable skincare brands that actually work

Good skin doesn't have to cost the earth

Three bottles of affordable skincare brands lined up - best affordable skincare brands

Good skin doesn't have to cost the earth

During the pandemic (and the numerous lockdowns that came with it) we all put down our make-up brushes and focused more on perfecting our skincare routines. We had to, we didn't have access to facials and treatments and we spent the majority of our days staring at our own reflections on Zoom calls. We were forced to take matters into our own hands. The thing is skincare can get pretty expensive (some brands are even famous for their outrageously high prices) however, we are here to tell you that skincare doesn't have to cost a small fortune. These are the best affordable skincare brands that will solve all of your skincare woes.

1. The Ordinary

Possibly the most iconic affordable skincare range out there?! Even though it wasn't the first-ever beauty brand to offer skincare at low prices, it was one of the first to deliver high-performance, ingredient-driven, and targeted treatments at super affordable prices.

Marie Claire-approved products:

RRP £5.60 | Feelunique

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, RRP £5.60 | Feelunique
This little beauty reduces the appearance of blemishes, fights congestion, and brightens skin tone.

£5 | Boots

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA, £5 | Boots
A brilliant hydrating face cream that's kind to the skin barrier thanks to its fatty acid, amino acid, ceramide and hyaluronic acid-rich formula.

2. The Inkey List

The Inkey List's aim is to take the confusion out of skincare and put the power back into the hands of the customer by educating them about specific ingredients. Which is exactly what it does and at incredibly low prices.

Marie Claire-approved products:

RRP £6.99 | Lookfantastic

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum, RRP £6.99 | Lookfantastic
Hyaluronic acid serums should feature in everyone's skincare routine. So if you're using one every day, you want one that doesn't cost a ridiculous amount.

RRP £10.99 | Lookfantastic

The Inkey List Salicyclic Acid Cleanser, RRP £10.99 | Lookfantastic
Blemish-prone and oily skin types will love this everyday cleanser that tackles blocked pores and greasy t-zones. A favourite of team MC, who consider it to be one of the best cleansers on the market.

3. CeraVe

One of the best things to come out of the United States since Britney Spears. CeraVe is a skincare brand developed with the help of dermatologists and it's driven by three essential ceramides to help care for your skin barrier.

Marie Claire-approved products:

was £10

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, was £10 now £8 | Boots
A really gentle, but really effective cleanser that doesn't strip the skin, yet removes all traces of the day.

RRP £10 | Lookfantastic

CeraVe Micellar Cleansing Water, RRP £10 | Lookfantastic
The brand's latest innovation is its micellar water. It won't disrupt your skin's pH and keeps your skin hydrated for 24-hours. Microbiome-friendly skincare at its finest.

4. Beauty Pie

Once you know the concept behind Beauty Pie, you will fall in love with Beauty Pie. The subscription service offers members luxury beauty products at affordable factory prices, by removing any mark-ups. The products come directly from some of the world's leading and most respected third-party labs. So customers get incredible formulations, ingredients, and textures for less.

Marie Claire-approved products:

from £15 (member price)

Beauty Pie Superactive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C & Vitamin E Serum, from £15 (member price)
These capsules hold just the right amount of potent vitamin C and vitamin E to brighten, hydrate and minimise the effects of oxidative stress.

from £20 (member price)

Beauty Pie Super Retinol High Dose Booster Treatment, from £20 (member price)
Within the formula, alongside the punchy 3% Encapsulated Retinol Complex, is a ceramide-blend, hyaluronic acid, and a soothing complex that prevents irritation.

5 . La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay is the brand that we recommend to friends and family whose skin is in slight disarray. It's the brand that takes things back to basics. It's efficacious and it doesn't cost crazy amounts of money.

Marie Claire-approved products:

RRP £18 | Lookfantastic

La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream, RRP £18 | Lookfantastic
One of the best facial sunscreens you can get. And at £18, there really is no excuse for not wearing sun protection every single day.

RRP £16.50 | Feelunique

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Fluide, RRP £16.50 | Feelunique
When your skin is having a major freakout and you have dry, inflamed, and flaky skin, stop what you're using and stick with Toleriane. This moisturiser will soothe irritation and give your skin the TLC it needs.

6. Simple

We all know Simple. It's the brand that most of us start our skincare journeys using. Our parents took us to the aisles of Boots to pick out our first cleanser, our first toner, and our first moisturiser.

Marie Claire-approved products:

£3.45 | Boots

Simple Kind to Skin Moisturising Facial Wash, £3.45 | Boots
A great everyday face wash that can be used on alternate days with other, more potent cleansers.

£3.45 | Boots

Simple Kind to Skin Alcohol Free Soothing Facial Toner, £3.45 | Boots
The rest of your skincare will work far better for you if you tone your skin after cleansing. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, something Simple will do just the trick.

7. B. Skin by Superdrug

B. Skin by Superdrug has made creating a skincare routine really, really easy. There are five ranges within the collection - Cleanse, Glow, Hydrate, Oil Control, and Age Define - which makes finding the right products for your needs super simple.

Marie Claire-approved products:

was £14.99

B. by Superdrug Balancing Serum, was £14.99 now £7.49 | Superdrug
When you're constantly plagued with blackheads and whiteheads, you want to be treating them at all times and this daily serum will clarify your complexion.

was £14.99

B. by Superdrug Protect Defence Sun Cream SPF50, was £14.99 now £7.49 | Superdrug
This sun cream contains hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and vitamin E to help protect skin against oxidation. Win win.

8. Bioderma

French pharmacy brands are the hero brands that beauty editors rely on. And whilst you'd assume they'd be on the more pricey side, they are in fact really affordable. And Bioderma is one of the best. You probably already use its micellar water, it's legendary.

Marie Claire-approved products:

RRP £10.80 | Lookfantastic

Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Micellar Water, RRP £10.80 | Lookfantastic
This iconic product is probably already in your bathroom cabinet. One bottle is sold every minute worldwide. A true icon.

RRP £16.50 | Feelunique

Bioderma Sensibio Anti-Redness BB Cream SPF30, RRP £16.50 | Feelunique
As a Rosacea sufferer, you might think you need to spend lots of money to tackle your worries. And whilst there are expensive in-clinic treatments that can help, this affordable BB cream counteracts redness to give you everyday confidence.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.