Luxury brands have their allure, but sometimes there's even more of a thrill about discovering a great product that really delivers - at a shockingly low price. Here are some of my favourite recent finds.
Collection is a popular UK makeup brand now available at Countdown (yes, that's right, Countdown). A range of 70 different colour cosmetics has just landed, with prices from $6.40 to $25.60.
Now you can try trendy colours without shelling out too much - check out the metallic liquid eyeliner for just $12.80.
Previously I'd only seen this type of product made by the likes of YSL and Stila, so this is a real treat.
BOOTS No7 AND BOOTS BOTANICS
The unlikely new hotspot to buy coveted beauty brands? It's Postie, now that the mass clothing retailer has scored the rights to Boots No7 and Boots Botanics (the former is the UK's top-selling anti-ageing skincare brand).
Some so-called budget brands seem to lift prices when they hit New Zealand, but this is happily not the case here.
The cult No7 Protect & Perfect Serum with retinol tops the price list at just $20. Makeup is $10 to $14, and the entire Botanics range is $12 a pop.
You can also pick up Ulta3 at Postie - this range has 80 nail polish shades, all $4 each.
Decent skincare for under $10? It's possible with Garnier's new Moisture Match range.
The collection is a mix of cleansers, wipes, scrubs and moisturisers for four skin types (dry/sensitive, dull, oily and normal).
Good news for lazy facial wipe addicts like me - these are all $7.99, while the other products are all $9.99.
The Illuminating Light Lotion is my top pick - this daily moisturiser has SPF20 and light-reflecting pigments for an instant glow.
MAKE UP DESIGN (MUD)
It's all happening at Countdown right now. More than a hundred of its nationwide stores have just welcomed Make Up Design (aka MUD) to their shelves.
This colour cosmetics range was developed exclusively for the supermarket chain (it came from Woolworths in Australia).
What can you expect from this cheap and cheerful home-brand? A bevy of colourful lipsticks, nail polishes and eye makeup products ranging from $5 to $11. Pop that in your trolley and dare your wallet to be any the wiser.
Hooked on high-end brands?
The only good news for your credit card statement is that several of them have dropped prices, mainly to keep levels more in line with overseas and internet pricing.
Dermalogica is the latest brand to lower its prices (a decrease of about 30 per cent across the entire range). Kiehl's, Lancome and Estee Lauder also dropped their prices over the past year or two.
How much makeup do you wear?Related story: (See story)