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As part of our Designer Dupes series, we’re reaching for the affordable body oils, haircare products and fake tans that feature the same hero ingredients as their big-ticket counterparts. Your self-care routine is about to get an upgrade.
There’s only one thing better than a cult beauty buy and that’s a cult beauty buy that’s half the price. As our financial futures look (even more) uncertain, we’re looking for ways we can save a few pennies and get our wages to last until payday. Designer products are out and dead-ringers are à la mode.
We’re putting down the scissors poised for a home-haircut, resisting the urge to give ourselves TikTok bangs and turning to miracle-working at-home hair products that’ll give our neglected locks a boost. That means more than just a weekly wash, FYI. Throw in some purse-friendly bath salts and invigorating, skin-buffing detox soaps and your Sunday routines have been given an upgrade.
Save on self-care with these standout products for hair, bath and body
1. Dry Shampoo
COLAB dry shampoo > Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo
Confession time. Whose hair-washing routine has been downgraded from three-times-a-week to once? Extend your messy bun for another few days with the best dry shampoo on the market. It smells divine and, unlike other products, there’s no tell-tale white residue left on your scalp.
2. Root cover-up
Josh Wood Root Smudger > Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch Up Spray
Forget trying to snag a supermarket delivery slot, we’re hankering for a serious sit-down with our hairdresser – our root regrowth is out of control. Fake a fresh cut-and-colour with professional hairdresser Josh Wood’s miracle root smudger. Think of it as a beauty blender for your roots.
3. Deep conditioning mask
BLEACH London Reincarnation Mask > OUAI Treatment Masque
Rest, recuperation and reincarnation. Whether you’re the victim of a bad at-home dye job or your ends are brittle from too much bleach, slather this mask on for 20 minutes to ease your stressed-out tresses.
4. Heat protector
Cantu Shea Butter Thermal Shield Heat Protect > Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray
For the rare days (read: Friday Zoom quiz dates) that you turn to your straighteners or curling tongs, run a pea-sized amount of Cantu’s heat protector through the ends of your hair. It’s packed with natural moisturisers that’ll safeguard the ends of your hair and boost shine.
5. Surf spray
Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturising Sea Salt Spray > Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
After locks that looked like you’ve just surfed the shores from Bondi to Coogee despite not leaving your sofa? A quick spritz, scrunch and upside down hair-shake are all you need to nail this low-maintenance look. All that’s missing is your wetsuit.
6. For curls and coils
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Souffle > Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard
A complete match to Kinky Curly’s cult product. If you’re blessed with a thick head of curls, use this gel-based souffle to hold, add body and keep shine – it’s enough to elevate all Monica-in-Barbados hair days.
The Seaweed Bath Co. Exfoliating Detox Body Shop > Aesop Body Cleansing Slab
It might not be as aesthetically pleasing as the Aesop packaging, but it performs way better. Stuffed with hand-harvested seaweed (to boost skin elasticity), coffee (to exfoliate), cinnamon (which activates skin cells) and Hawaiian kukui oil (to hydrate). Essentially, it’s like a vitamin-shot for your skin.
8. Body wash
Aldi No.3 Pomegranate Luxury Hand & Body Wash > Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Body & Hand Wash
The savvy beauty guru knows to turn to this German supermarket for more than just fruit, camembert and bars of Milka chocolate. Pretty much the same scent, ingredients and packaging as the staple Jo Malone version, this body wash is a great addition to the guest room or downstairs loo.
9. Body Moisturiser
Aldi Lacura Booty Balm > Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
We’re under no illusion that this booty balm produces the same result as 1,000 squats and a five-times-a-week (virtual) PT session, but it does make our skin feel more supple and it smells insane.
10. Bath bombs
RoseVale Natural Vegan Bath Bombs > Lush Bath Bombs
Self-care has never been more important. Sink in for a fragrance-filled soak with RoseVale’s all-natural, vegan-friendly bath bombs. They’re as relaxing (and Insta-ready) as the OG Lush versions, for a fraction of the price.
11. Bubble bath
Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak > Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Honey Bath
Sure, bathing in Laura Mercier’s crème brûlée-inspired bubble bath feels like bathing in, well, a Michelin-starred crème brûlée, but its price tag is just too steep. Switch it out for the paraben-free Herbivore version. It smells just as good, lasts longer and you won’t mind as much when your housemate “borrows” it by mistake.
12. Bath salts
Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Foaming Bath > This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak
To relieve muscles from all those Core Collective workouts, of course.
13. CBD Bubble bath
OUAI Chill Pills > Alice + Olivia x Kush Queen CBD Bubble Bath
If there ever was a time we needed to chill out, it’s now. Pop one of OUAI’s Chill Pills in the bath and sink in for an easy-going, anxiety-free soak.
14. Body oil
Body Shop Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil > Tom Ford Soleil Blanc
A carry-on essential as soon as we’re allowed to travel again. Smooth over shoulders, collarbones and legs or use as a liquid highlight for your cheekbones and brow arch, it’ll accentuate any tan – real or fake.
15. Face roller
Herbivore Rose Quartz Roller > Angela Caglia Vibrating Rose Quartz Sculpting Roller
This roller claims to aid detoxification through the lymphatic system while metaphysical vibrations from the crystal correspond to the heart chakra, the energy centre of love. Need we say more?
16. Fake tan
St Moriz Advanced Pro Formula Dry Oil Mist > Sisley Sun Glow Gel
St Moriz has bottled that feel-good sensation of being freshly tanned – except unlike other high-street fake-tanning products, there’s no streaking, no residue left on your sheets and no gross biscuit smell.
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