THE BEST BEAUTY BUYS UNDER $30

Posted in Makeup, Skin on April 13, 2017 by


Everybody LOVES a bargain.

While readers of Gritty Pretty are likely to splurge on beauty, we also understand that anyway to cut costs without cutting corners is also welcome.

At the start of the year, we received a reader request for the best affordable products she could buy; something that wouldn’t break the bank and was comparable in quality to products twice or three times the price.

FYI, we’re always watching, listening and reading your feedback – so we did a massive call out for beauty products under $30, both new launches and iconic favourites, and had each member of the team test out a different category. The only way to do it, right?

After a month of testing, below are our team picks of the best beauty buys under $30. *Drum roll*.

FAKE TAN: Model Co. One Hour Tan ($19.99)

“This tan is one of the best I have ever used. You don’t have to sleep in it and you have complete control over the depth of colour so it is perfect for all skin types. Minimal smell and absolutely no streaking, the slightly tinted mousse helps as a guide when applying (I used a mitt to apply) and the mousse didn’t dry my skin. It gave me beautiful, golden colour and wasn’t patchy coming off. An absolute MUST-BUY.”
– Michelle, Art Director & Self-Appointed Fake Tan Expert

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BODY: FRANK BODY Original Coffee Scrub ($16.95)

“I hadn’t tried FRANK BODY before testing it for this post. Now, I AM A CONVERT! I never believed in exfoliating, because I am too God-damn lazy, but it was a fun and good experience. My skin, especially behind my arms and the back of my legs softened up instantly.”
– Morgan, Creative Director

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DEODORANT: The Healthy Deodorant Sport Luxe Vanilla Breeze ($26)

“I’m not a big fan of aerosol deodorants because they contain aluminium which can get into your pores and irritate some skin types so this natural deodorant is my pick and a great alternative. It does a comparable job to anti-perspirant rolls on, is gentle on underarms and was specially made for those who live active lifestyles. Plus, it doesn’t smell sweet like vanilla at all – it’s very, very fresh.”
– Wendy Hoang, Beauty Editor

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SERUM: Goodness Organic Chia Seed Oil ($19.99)

“This oil makes my skin feel so smooth and hydrated, but it’s not greasy – just light on skin. Chia is full of essential fatty acids that are integral for smooth, vibrant skin. I mixed it in my morning moisturiser and my skin instantly soaked it in with no residue leftover. It keeps my skin feeling hydrated all day.”
– Lauren, Digital Sales & Partnerships Manager

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MAKEUP REMOVER: Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water ($13.99)

“I was extremely impressed by this brand. I have really sensitive skin and it didn’t aggravate it at all. AT ALL. And it completely cleanse my skin of any makeup, dirt and impurities. It took two wipes to take off my eyeliner – but after that, everything was gone. My skin felt clean enough, but it’s always good to use another cleanser after removing your makeup.”
– Morgan, Creative Director

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SKINCARE: Philosophy Purity One-Step Facial Cleanser ($30)

“I can’t say I’ve ever used a cleansing emulsion before but this makeup remover/cleanser/toner 3-in-1 has totally changed the way I cleanse. The multi-tasking formula never left my skin feeling stripped dry or tight – and unlike oil and cream cleansers, it left no residue nor did it irritate my eyes. Interestingly though it does contain 12 essential oils which gives it an invigorating scent. Skin felt refreshed and properly clean. (Note: I’m normally a double cleanser, so I cleansed twice with this product during testing).”
– Wendy, Beauty Editor

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MOISTURISER: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Youth Concentrate ($24.99)

“Got dry, dull and tired skin? Let it drink up this night gel. Packed full of Vitamin E, Hyraluronic Acid and Olive Extract and formulated with a genius release system (that releases hydration as you sleep throughout the night). Neutrogena HydroBoost Night Concentrate is beauty sleep in a jar – and on a budget.”
– Eleanor, Founder & Editor

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MIST: A’kin Hydrating Mist Toner ($19.99)

“I love the A’kin mist toner. It smells amazing and instantly refreshes my skin during the day. I particularly love that it contains coconut water, green tea and chamomile, all calming, soothing and hydrating ingredients that my skin soaks up.”
– Lauren, Digital Sales & Partnerships Manager

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SUNSCREEN: NIVEA Protect & Moisture Moisturising SPF 50+ ($15.99, 200mL)

“I live at the beach and Nivea Protect & Moisture Moisturising SPF 50+ not only protects skin against UVA and UVB rays but it doesn’t leave a thick, ghosting veil. Thank goodness! Instead, NIVEA Protect & Moisture Moisturising SPF 50+ is hydrating – thanks to Vitamin E – and is four hours water resistant. Excellent.”
– Eleanor, Founder & Editor

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LIPS: Lanolips 101 Ointment ($18.95, 15g)

“Lanolips 101 Ointment is a cult Aussie beauty product and with good reason. This 100% natural medical-grade emollient doesn’t just soothe dry, chapped lips but also cuts, bites, stings and even tame unruly eyebrows. A must-have for any woman’s handbag!”
– Eleanor, Founder & Editor

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FACE COVERAGE: Garnier Anti-Ageing BB Cream ($15.99)

“OBSESSED. I was trialling a tone that was a touch dark for my complexion, but I found I could easily mix a small amount with my moisturiser to lighten it. The product itself is extremely light and has a beautiful glow to it. I never felt matte or dehydrated and on days I needed a touch more coverage I would build on top of those areas with either extra product or concealer, giving me more coverage but still not needing to cover my face in foundation. I felt fresher, lighter and like I was allowing my skin to breath by only using this BB cream during the day.”
– Morgan, Creative Director

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MAKEUP APPLICATOR: BEAUTY BLENDER Beautyblender Original ($30)

“In particular, I loved the size. It didn’t feel too big or too small for my whole face. Being able to use one tool across my whole face made it a WINNER instantly. It was a great way to not OVER DO your foundation and create a smooth, luminous, hydrating finish.”
– Morgan, Creative Director

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NAILS: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish ($14.95)

“I love this polish as I don’t usually have the time to be meticulous about applying a base coat and a top coat, so this one step process was a lot less work for a flawless look. The wide, flat brush only takes one stroke to cover the whole nail. My favourite was no. 237 World is My Oyster (pictured), an edgy colour with a metallic shine that dries quickly and looks great with any colour clothing. It did fade slightly after a few days, so I would recommend layering it with a top coat to keep the colour fresh (I didn’t do this when I tested it).”
– Lauren, Digital Sales & Partnerships Manager

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MASCARA: MAX FACTOR False Lash Effect Mascara ($25.95)

“I’m impartial to formulas that claim to make lashes thicker and more dramatic because look, it’s not like I’m heading to the Grammys. My criteria is defined with a slight curl to open up my eyes so, I was skeptical of MAX FACTOR False Lash Effect because its name obviously suggests false lashes = drama. I was really pleasantly surprised at how silky and fine, yet effective, long-wearing and comfortable the formula was. The wand isn’t anything fancy, but it works. The best everyday mascara I tested for sure.”
– Wendy, Beauty Editor

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EYES: REVLON ColorStayNot Just Nudes Palette ($29.95)

“We’ve all had one of those eyeshadow palettes where you get 3-4 colours you never use – this isn’t one of those. Revlon ColorStay Not Just Nudes offers ten very wearable eye colours that you can wear singularly or blend together for a smouldering eye. The best part about this palette? The possibilities are endless.”
– Eleanor, Founder & Editor

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CONTOUR: MCo by ModelCo Bronze 2-in1 ($23)

“Adding warmth and creating contoured cheekbones has never been so easy with MCo by ModelCo Bronze 2-in-1. The dual palette contains one matte bronzer to sculpt and one with light-reflecting shimmer to add highlight. Cheekbones like Georgia May Jagger? Boom.”
– Eleanor, Founder & Editor

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HAIR: Pantene Pro-V 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner ($6.99)

“During summer my hair becomes quite coarse and dry from constant exposure to the sun and the salt water, but I don’t like wearing hair masks that need to be left in for 10-20 minutes as I hate getting out of the shower and then getting back in because it’s a hassle and takes up too much time. This is a conditioner/mask that only needs to be left in for 3 minutes to see the effects, so it’s amazing if you need to add a quick boost of shine to your locks.”
– Morgan, Creative Director

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HAIR STYLING: Muk Beach Muk Sea Salt Spray ($24.95)

“I’ve used a lot of sea salt sprays in my time and it’s true, the best ones with all the conditioning ingredients tend to be more expensive. This one is good value for money though. It gives your hair texture – minus that crunchy, dirty feeling so you’re not rushing to wash it out and it. Bonus points for the fresh scent. Just be careful not to go OTT with it because it contains natural sea salts which, while very authentic in their results, may dry hair out like the real thing.”
– Wendy, Beauty Editor

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Have you used any of these products?

What are you favourite budget beauty buys under $30?