By Zoe Bradbury
I remember my first day at Bondi Beauty very clearly. Nervous, apprehensive, unsure what to expect, I walked into the team meeting and was immediately welcomed with smiling faces – and a large bag of (free) beauty products, just waiting for me to sample and try and write about. And it’s a practice that hasn’t changed.
As beauty writers, we’re in the incredibly fortunate position to try the latest and greatest beauty products, without the price tags.
In exchange for our honest reviews and promotions, a magnitude of products land on our desks each week. It means we’re given the freedom to experiment, critique and sample products that we wouldn’t normally buy.
And although we don’t have to pay for beauty products, we always take into consideration the cost of what we’re sampling. We love a good bargain, and a product where a little goes along way.
So, here are our current must-have beauty products, under $50, that the team wouldn’t hesitate to spend their lose change on.
Type of product: Mask and moisturizer
“As someone that suffers from dry and sensitive skin, this mask is my lifesaver. While it is technically an overnight mask, I use it as a rich moisturiser. It dries clear and makes a great dewy base under makeup but also makes your skin radiant without.
The product is super gentle but locks in the hydration so you can wear it throughout the day or overnight and wake up looking fresh.” – Tara
Type of product: face mask
“Okay, so this product is $1 over the thresh hold, but I am seriously in love with this product. No pun intended. The pads are designed to help your skin absorb skincare products better. Using a specially formulated enzyme to clear skin and remove dead skin cells, it preps the skin like a primer, so when you apply your face oils, face serums and moisturisers, they lock in moisture better and last longer on the skin.
One side of the pad is bubbled for a soft exfoliation, whilst the other is smooth for a softer clean.” – Rebecca
Type of product: Moisturizer
“This is my go-to product for the days when my skin is dry and flaky and needing some extra TLC. Although my skin is more oily than dry, on extra cold or hot days, I do find it struggling against the elements, resulting in a natural dry out of any oils.
This cream is smooth and soft to apply and repairs any damage on the skin caused from drying out. My skin always feels like I have visited a beauty clinic after using”. – Rebecca
Type of product: Face Mask
“The trilogy mineral radiance mask is a great, natural clay mask that’s easy to use to tighten pores and deep clean skin in minutes. It is a bit messy so best to use before a bath r shower. There’s no fragrance and it’s natural so great for sensitive skin.
“I like the glass jar and the product is super simple.”
Type of product: Contouring and highlighting
“I started buying this product when it first came out almost 4 years ago in collaboration with Chloe Morello. While I initially bought it for Chloe, I repurchased for the product itself.
The kit comes with a undereye setting powder, a contour shade, a bronzer and a highlight which makes it the perfect compact for travelling or your everyday makeup bag. The formula is super blendable and the contour shade is the perfect cool/ neutral – which is ideal for paler skin types.” – Tara
Type of product: Mascara
“The MCo Beauty XTENDLASH Black Extension Mascara is everything a girl needs in a mascara. With a sleek, long applicator, I am able to easily coat all my lashes in one fine sweep.
The mascara is relatively buildable meaning I can opt for either a natural or bold lash look. Because the mascara wand itself is bendy it is super easy to coat those inner lashes that are normally hard to reach. This product is certainly gives high-end mascaras a run for their money.” – Anisha
Type of product: Highlighter
“Now that festival season is upon us, a product that I’m loving and constantly returning to for a highly pigmented, intense shine of colour is the COVERFX Shimmer Veil in shade “Celestial”.
This cream shimmer feels weightless on the skin and provides a high-impact, bold look, perfect for that OTT festival look. The other great thing is this product is also multi-use; it can be applied to the eyes, cheeks and even the lips for a truly glamorous sparkle. My favourite place to apply this is in the corner of my eyes, right by the tear-duct, to open up the eye and create a bright look. The pigmentation in this is crazy; the colour bold, strong and lasting all day.” – Zoe
Type of product: Blush
“The Bobbi Brown Blush in the shade Sand Pink has been my all-time favourite blush since I started wearing makeup. The colour is perfect for my dark complexion but also lends itself to compliment a variety of other skin tones too.
The formula is very blend-able and a little definitely goes a long way. As the pigment is quite strong I tend to use a fluffy brush to apply it onto my cheeks for a more naturally flushed look.” – Anisha
Type of product: Highlighter
“Gone are the days of messy highlighter staining fingers or spilling all over your beauty station. The LUMA On the Glow Highlighter stick is my current go to for when I’m out and about and need some extra shine. The formula here is intensely creamy, blending easily into the skin with a simple swipe of the tube-applicator.
“ My favourite shade is “Wander-Musk”, the perfect in between of a blushy-pink and a luminous glow. I’ve been loving applying this to my collarbones, cheekbones and down my nose for an iridescent touch.” -Zoe
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