Pretty wise buys: Beauty products that are a genuine bargain

You don't always have to spend big to look great, says beauty expert Evie Leatham

Right now there's nothing more fashionable than spending wisely, which has spurred both luxury and high-street brands to work harder than ever for our loyalty. Whether it's a make-up formulation that lasts or a moisturiser that works for everyone, it's worth knowing when to splurge and when to save...

You don't need lots of hair product "Most hair is transformed by mousse alone," says Daniel Hersheson's creative director, George Northwood. "A good one boosts volume at the roots, gives light hold to a blow-dry and evens out frizz."

Buy the best serum you can afford These will have more potent levels of anti-ageing ingredients than a moisturiser, and are formulated to penetrate deeper and work harder.

Posh skin products are worthless if you're not using good sun protection all year round. Consistent use is far more effective than a luxury brand.

More important than money is spending time searching for the perfect match. A survey from cosmetics brand Bobbi Brown found that women try a frustrating £125-worth of foundation before they find the right one.

Spend more

YSL Rouge Volupté lipstick, £21 (department stores nationwide)

Unbeatably luxe packaging with mirror on the cap. This peachy-coral shade instantly updates your look for spring but will see you through summer too

Lancôme Génifique eye cream, £36 (nationwide)

Boasts the same technology as Lancôme's headline-grabbing serum, which claims to stimulate youth proteins in the skin

Shiseido Bio Performance Super Corrective Serum, £82

If you have a specific skin concern, say wrinkles or pigmentation, choose a serum that targets it, but for a good all-rounder, this is the one. Out this month

By Terry Or de Rose Elixir Extreme, £105 (

With the right primer, you'll need less foundation, and this has anti-ageing as well as skin-brightening and smoothing ingredients. As an added bonus, it smells divine

Omorovicza Shimmering Body Oil, £50 (omorovicza. com)

This nourishing oil is body-confidence in a bottle. The delicate shimmer adds glamour to exposed areas from collarbones to shins

Spend clever

Sebastian Whipped Crème, £17.25 (sebastian )

For great day-long hair, it's worth brushing off your wash-and-go mentality. A good mousse transforms and tames most hair types and this ultra-light foam is the only hair-styling product you need

Origins Brighter By Nature, £28 (available at Harrods from 19 March)

Replace old-school grainy scrubs with chemical or fruit acid exfoliators, such as this formulation from trusted brand Origins. With 40 pads, these peels work out at 70p a pop

MAC Face and Body, £23 (

This foundation lasts forever and can be used for everything from full-on base for faces to smoothing out the skin tone on legs

Spend less

Revlon Nail Enamel in Lilac Pastel, £6.29 (nationwide)

You'll spot lilac everywhere this spring, but it's easiest worn on nails. Unlike many budget varnishes, this pastel doesn't look like Tippex

L'Oréal Paris Colour Appeal Chrome Intensity, £4.99 (nationwide)

Make-up artist James Kaliardos' new on-trend eye colours are inspired by Matthew Williamson's spring fashion collection; at this price, it doesn't matter if they are a one-season wonder

Eucerin Aquaporin Active, £12.99 (

Eucerin is a cheapie constantly recommended by dermatologists – its new moisturiser doesn't just nourish skin but improves its ability to hydrate itself by directing water deep under the skin's surface

SPF La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+, £15 (

A favourite with beauty editors, who constantly advise us to protect our delicate face and hands, this is cheap at the price, considering the cutting-edge technology crammed into this SPF

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