Three years ago, facial serums were about as sophisticated and spendy as beauty got. Nowadays, they've replaced toner as a more useful skincare basic (cleanser for clarity, serum for problem-solving, SPF moisturiser for comfort and protection – the rest is detail), and something you can pick up in the nappy and toothpaste aisle of Asda.
I hesitate to call many serums "budget" because they are generally more expensive than their skincare stablemates, and £20 is still a lot of money, but given that many serums of similar or inferior quality can be upwards of 60 quid, they represent a relatively virtuous buy. My advice to those on a budget is always the same: spend your money on a skincare brand that has an obscene amount. Any thoughts on globalisation and monopoly aside, the big guns such as Olay, Nivea and L'Oréal spend more on scientists, research and development than one dares consider. The result is often an extremely good product at a decent price. One often benefits from a company's luxury brands, as the technology and innovation trickles down to the high street (Lancôme/ L'Oréal Paris is one example of this). Here are my favourite budget serums. Some are cheap, some aren't. All are great value.
Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Super Serum (main image), £20, boots.com
This is fantastic on drier, dull skins. After four weeks, I saw a big improvement.
L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Super Serum, £16.66, boots.com
I love this range. Great for plumping up fine lines, adding vibrance and providing a smooth base.
Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum, £11, thebodyshop.co.uk
Layer under moisturiser on dry skins. Oily types can apply and skip straight to make-up.
Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum, £2.99 (from mid-December, in-store only)
Marvellous on dehydrated skin. Rich, non-greasy and leaves skin smooth and glowing.
Optimum Advanced Firm & Lift Perfecting Serum, £9.99, superdrug.com
The best anti-ageing serum under £10. Leaves older skin brighter, more even and smooth.
Avène Soothing Hydrating Serum, £17, boots.com
If your skin is sore and angry, this is wonderfully cushioning. There's not one dud in this brand's range.
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