I am a broke magnificence skilled

This interminable cost-of-living crisis means that, at 53, I’m as strapped for cash as when I first moved to London a quarter of a century ago. Only this morning, I found myself putting not Prada, nor even Primark, but peanut butter on the credit card.

Still, some beauty products are non-negotiable, however low funds go. Below are my must-haves.


Cleanser is stuff that washes away down the plughole rather than lingering on your face, so the theory is ‘go cheap’. However, I’ve found that serious scrimping can upset my reactive midlife complexion.

This means that — however destitute I find myself — a non-irritating make-up remover remains vital. Step forward, Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micellar Water for Sensitive Skin (from £5.49,

For your second cleanse, pick your texture. For me, it has to be a nourishing oil, Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil For Very Dry To Eczema-Prone Skin (from £18,, and/or a milder lotion, namely Avène Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser for Sensitive Skin (£14.50,, now on a three for the price of two offer).

Hannah Betts reveals the beauty products that are non-negotiable, however low funds go


SPF50s abound, but not all make beautiful make-up bases. Aussie smash hit, Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen (£16, — designed with make-up-wearers in mind — is not only competively priced, but acts as the perfect primer, helping one’s slap last hours.


Foundation is an area in which I have found no bargain option, however stalwartly I’ve strived. I want my skin to look impeccable and will shell out for this, if nothing else. This means Glossier Stretch Fluid Foundation (£34, — a ‘bouncy’, skincare-rich, gel base that fuses seamlessly with skin rather than languishing mask-like on top of it — plus the Stretch Balm Concealer (£22) that inspired it. Invest in them together for £50.


The only other make-up must-have is a lip colour that suits its wearer perfectly, whatever its cost. This is ‘The One’: your ultimate, ultra-flattering lifter-upper, making your eyes pop, your skin glow and your heart gladden. It will suit you with, or without, anything else on your face, and will also look amazing brushed onto your cheeks as blush.

It took me until my 40s to discover mine —and it is Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Festival Magic, which is a rather beauteous berry hue (£28,


I have to have a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo & Volume (£3, about the house or I panic. There’s a reason why this great British booster sells two cans every second. There’s nothing like it for refreshing lank locks, or eking out a blow dry.


The body product I keep coming back to is Dove Pro Age Body Lotion (now £3.50, Face cream-inspired, it descales, plumps and reduces age spots. Another essential is Mitchum Women Triple Odor Defense 48HR Protection Deodorant in Unscented (£9.90, — an unbeatable shield with no naff reek.


It is possible to concoct your own bath oil with essential oils from Holland & Barrett, from £6, plus olive oil from the kitchen cupboard. However, when I am flush, I will wallow in Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oil (£58 for 55ml, aromatherapy; or Chanel’s paean to vetiver, Sycomore Les Exclusifs de Chanel Eau de Parfum (from £215,

Skimp, when needs must, but be aware of the luxuries that make life worth living, too.


Created for Liberty, DS & Durga’s Wear at Maximum Volume eau de parfum (£155, has sold out online, but is still available in the store’s new Fragrance Lounge. Inspired by David Bowie, apparently it’s a cosmic trip of Martian(!) pepper, Liberty silk, South London moss and moonlit patchouli. 




A classic, adored for its buttery, shimmering texture and wide colour range, from browns to pinks and bright purple.



Lilac eye make-up boasts more than 12.5 million views on TikTok. Join the craze with this foolproof, creamy formula in this flattering hue.



When smoky-eye fan VB is doing bright colour, you know it’s a thing. It’s waterproof so ideal for holidays.



The brand’s hit shadow stick now as a slimmer, chubby liner, to create sleek, defined looks effortlessly.



Creamy, water-resistant, intense pigment in eight stonking shades, for the perfect daytime glamour.



Keeley Hawes

British actress Keeley Hawes, 48, wore Violette-FR Yeux Paint in Nuage de Lilas on her lids at the Met Gala

Brilliant Brit Keeley, 48, was prepped for the Met Gala by make-up artist Justine Jenkins, using et al. Intelligent Skin Radiant Foundation (£45), with et al. Complexion Glow in Rose Glow (£30,, plus Violette-FR Yeux Paint in Nuage de Lilas (£33, on her lids. Keeley is ambassador for Boots No 7 Future Renew.


Tending my eyebrows in the manner of small, but ever-expanding pets has become my midlife obsession, given that brow bolstering is a cunning means of looking spring chickenish.

Nothing, but nothing, has worked as well and as speedily as Olaplex Brow Bond Building Serum (£64,, whether on me or chemo denuded pals — even my brow shape has radically improved.

It also contains an innovative peptide designed to reduce new grey hairs.

After cleansing, apply a small amount to each brow and massage in gently. Use as part of your daily routine — once in the morning and again at night.

It’s so good that I have to admit, I’ve stockpiled it.


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