Inge van Lotringen's Better… not younger

Inge van Lotringen’s Better… not younger: The £3.25 lipstick and other bargains to put a smile on your face

  • Inge van Lotringen explains how she is cutting the costs on her cosmetics 
  • She says Gen Z-focused brands hold the key to affordable working skin regimes
  • UK-based columnist says Cellderma GF5 Serum justifies its expensive price tag

Now, I am too young (I love saying that, so rarely does it apply now) to remember the energy crisis of 1973-74, and I certainly didn’t think we’d be going through something similar in my lifetime. 

But here I am, cost of living crisis in full swing, freezing my buns off in April because I don’t want to pay through the nose for my heating, and badgering my husband about the number of pints he’s drinking in the pub. 

He should be cost-cutting on his so-called essentials, I tell him, to match my efforts: I am saving loads on skincare and make-up. 

Having been in this game a while (25 years, to be precise) I know that for (almost) every costly tube and jar, there’s a just-as-good affordable alternative. 

Inge van Lotringen explains how she is cutting the costs on her cosmetics. She says The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Anhydrous Solution (£5.20, is great

It’s those I’m reaching for now, and it’s only fair I share my spoils. 

Scoring problem-solving skincare on a shoestring is not half as hard as it was before The Ordinary unleashed its budget skincare revolution five years ago, inspiring dozens of good also-rans. 

These largely Gen Z-focused brands hold the key to an affordable skin regime that works. All the ingredients and products you need are there if you can just look past the groovy packaging and freshfaced youths advertising them.

Make a note of The Inkey List, Q+A, By Beauty Bay, Facetheory, Bad Habit, Byoma and Garden o f Wisdom: their stuff is solidly good for £5-£20 per item. For high-quality basics and affordable SPF moisturisers, add the more grown-up CeraVe, La RochePosay, Bioderma and Garnier.

But what to select from their huge collections? Well, any dermatologist will tell you that the ideal regime for holding back the years is simple and universal, and needn’t comprise more than five items. 

You need a gentle facial cleanser, an efficient moisturiser, a vitamin C serum and SPF for day, and some form of vitamin A (retinoid) for night-time. I would throw in an acid exfoliant and a good spot-buster, but that’s it. 

Of course, skin type and personal preferences come into it, but allow me to concentrate on my own favourites here. 

Inge (pictured) says largely Gen Z-focused brands hold the key to an affordable skin regime that works

CeraVe Hydrating Cream To Foam Cleanser (£12.50, boots. com) has mild bubbles to break up make-up and grime, but leaves skin moisturised. If you prefer the ritual of a balm cleanse, By Beauty Bay Butter Cup Cleansing Balm (now £6.80, is lovely and soothing. 

A brightening, protective vitamin C serum is a must for daytime, and Garden Of Wisdom C-Deep (£18, is the best for my money. Top it with an SPF30 or higher — that’s the best antiageing cream available. Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV AntiDryness Cream SPF50 (£6.50, coddles skin and can be used round the eyes. 

Overnight, a retinol is your most reliable collagen-booster. The Inkey List Retinol Serum (£9.99, boots. com) is a slowrelease formula that minimises irritation — very important. To start with, use it over a gentle moisturiser like Q+A 5-HTP Face & Neck Cream (£12, hollandandbarrett. com) or, if you have oily skin, a light hydrator such as Byoma Hydrating Serum (£12.99, 

I always have an alcohol-free 2 per cent salicylic acid serum to hand: nothing works better to nuke random spots or breakouts and, when used all over the face at night (no more than three times weekly), it’s the perfect brightening exfoliant. 

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Anhydrous Solution (£5.20, is great. 

As for make-up, Morphe, Revolution, NYX and Elf have enormous product lines featuring textures as good as any high-end brand at a fraction of the price. Finding an eyeshadow palette in any shade range you like for under £20 is a cinch. 

My favourite current finds, though, are NYX Bare With Me Concealer Serum (£11, super — you only need the tiniest amount to cover eye bags and spots, and it can double as a foundation — and Morphe Blush Balm Soft Focus Cream Blush (£12, 

For mascaras, Maybelline and Max Factor are still the best. The latter also has a pretty good foundation-cum-skincare that covers all bases: Miracle Pure Skin-improving Foundation SPF30 (£13.99, 

My favourite lipsticks are from another classic High Street brand and are universally flattering: Revlon Super Lustrous in either Cherries In The Snow (between red and pink) and Fire And Ice (between red and orange). 

I prefer creme versions over the matte ones for mature, parched lips. Snap them up on Amazon from £3.25.


Excuse me while I sit in this vat of C. O. Bigelow Lemon Body Cream (£59.50 for 907g, libertylondon. com). It’s a seriously rich (but non-sticky) blend of shea butter, glycerin and other moisturisers, and smells of fresh lemons. It also comes in a more modest size at half the price. 

 libertylondon. com



Inge says Bridgerton’s Golda Rosheuvel (picured) isn’t afraid to experiment and for the second series of the hit Netflix show used Pat McGrath Lab’s Mothership V Eyeshadow Palette

Actress Golda isn’t afraid to experiment, says her make-up artist Kenneth Soh. For the premiere of the second series, he used Pat McGrath Labs’s Mothership V Eyeshadow Palette (£115,, Mattetrance Lipstick in Peep Show (£35) and Divine Blush in Nymphette (£30) to create a soft, luscious look. 


Posh, lush and plantbased, this is a hydrating cleanser and mask.

One of the original cold creams. Mineral oils, water and panthenol seal in moisture, remove make-up and soothe the skin. 

Plant butters and oils, algae, glycerin, and prebiotics are blended together in this next-gen cold cream.

The brand’s cold cream has been updated with prebiotic and antibacterial healing agents to help repair and calm dry skin. 

This rich formula is packed with soothing alpine plants.


As you know, I’m all about a hard-working beauty bargain, but occasionally formulas do justify eye-watering price tags. One such example is the Cellderma GF5 Serum (£180, 

The cutting-edge technology in this range is worth it. The serum to speed up post-procedure skin healing is based on growth factors and peptides that boost the regeneration of cells and collagen. Lines plump out, dark blotches fade and wounds heal faster.

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