Known for its affordable beauty dupes, we put Aldi under the microscope to see which items can stand up to Pixi, Elizabeth Arden and Smashbox products
It’s also made a name for itself as an affordable beauty hotspot, with skincare and make-up products regularly being released in its Specialbuys section, most on limited-edition deals, that look very similar to some of our cult-favourite creams, lotions and beauty staples.
As you would expect, the prices are very modest, but is it all gimmick? Or is there a bargain to be found that actually deserves a spot in your regime?
In a bid to find out, we’ve spent weeks testing products to find Aldi’s greatest hits, ranging from hot cloth cleansers, eye creams and exfoliating acid toners to moisturisers and even mascara.
Some are available to shop now, while others have made an appearance in the past, but with Aldi’s Specialbuys section, it’s not uncommon to see products return to shelves, so keep your eyes peeled online and in-store.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best Aldi beauty dupes for 2021 are:
- Best for dry skin – Lacura moisture boost gel moisturiser: £4.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best for removing make-up – Lacura cleansing balm: £6.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best cleanser – Lacura original hot cloth cleanser: £3.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best hair mask – Lacura hair mask: £4.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best eye cream – Lacura moisture boost eye cream: £3.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best micellar water pads – Lacura micellar and hyaluronic cleansing pads: £2.49, Aldi.co.uk
- Best for eczema – Lacura miracle cream: £3.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best for brighter skin – Lacura healthy glow exfoliating tonic: £3.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best for dry lips – Lacura dewy lip balm: £1.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best eyeshadow palette – Lacura naturals intense palette: £5.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best primer for combination skin – Snapshot ready foundation primer: £5.99, Aldi.co.uk
- Best lengthening mascara – Lacura iconic too legit mascara: £5.99, Aldi.co.uk
Lacura moisture boost gel moisturiser
Best: For dry skin
Dupe for: Clinique moisture surge 100H auto-replenishing hydrator (£34.20, Boots.com)
This gel moisturiser that dupes Clinique’s moisture surge is the star of the show and we’re desperate to see it make a comeback. It’s instantly soothing, with a cooling effect too, and it’s very fast to absorb, which means it’s great if you’re short of time or want to apply make-up soon after. It’s also perfect for a short-term hydration boost. Leaving skin soft and plump, the gel formula is lightweight and infused with aloe vera and green tea extract. A product we’ll re-purchase over and over again, if you have dry skin and need something to soothe flaky areas, or have oily skin and are looking for a weightless moisturiser that won’t leave skin feeling greasy, this is our best budget beauty find yet.
Lacura cleansing balm
Best: For removing make-up
Dupe for: Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm (£47, Cultbeauty.co.uk)
This luxurious balm is brilliant at breaking down make-up and SPF in seconds. The moringa oil, shea butter and cocoa butter rich formula makes quick work of waterproof mascara, bright red, matte lipstick and even full coverage foundation. It’s a lovely soft balm that melts into a lightweight oil once massaged into dry skin. It’s easy to remove with the accompanying flannel too – which is also impressively good quality for such a bargain product. It’s a generous 90g pot which means it’ll last for ages and once rinsed off, our skin felt soft, silky smooth and refreshed. This is another winner from Aldi worth adding to your basket.
Lacura hair mask
Best: Hair mask
Dupe for: Coco & Eve super nourishing coconut & fig hair masque: £32.90, Cultbeauty.co.uk
This coconut and fig hair mask from Aldi is designed to revive, restore, repair, tame and deeply condition hair. It’s a formula that’s rich in coconut oil, shea butter and fig water which gives it a refreshing summery scent. We applied to damp hair after shampooing and left for five minutes. The results? Super soft locks that were much easier and pain-free to detangle once we’d rinsed it out. If you’re looking for a speedy way to reduce frizz, this is a great budget-friendly option and the 230ml tub means it’ll last you ages too.
Lacura original hot cloth cleanser
Dupe for: Liz Earle cleanse and polish hot cloth cleanser (£15.50, Lookfantastic.com)
Eagle-eyed beauty fans will know that this cleanser from Lacura, Aldi’s in-house range, is similar to the popular hot cloth cleanser from Liz Earle. It has a creamy formula, rich in rosemary, camomile, white tea, cocoa butter and eucalyptus oil, that’s designed to be applied onto a dry face, massaged in and removed with the muslin cloth that comes in the box. While we’d recommend using a flannel instead for a more thorough job, it works well to break down a full face of products in seconds, with a gentle but not overpowering scent.
If you prefer wearing waterproof mascara, you’ll be best using an eye-make-up remover beforehand, but besides that, it does a stellar job at leaving skin feeling refreshed, soft, smooth, and most importantly, clean. The 200ml tube feels generous too, with only a 10p-piece-sized blob needed for each application.
Lacura moisture boost eye cream
Best: Eye cream
Dupe for: Clinique all about eyes (£22.80, Clinique.co.uk)
This little gem is ideal if you want a simple eye cream to hydrate and soothe dry without breaking the bank. Creamy but not thick, the formula contains caffeine and green tea and is perfect for applying before make-up for a smooth base and it quickly blends into skin when using sweeping motions to massage it in. While it’s technically a gel texture, it feels more akin to a lightweight cream, so dry and dehydrated skin types will get on well with this. Taking up hardly any room on our skincare shelf, it’s small but mighty and definitely worth giving a go if you can find one in store, as it’s currently sold out online.
Lacura micellar and hyaluronic cleansing pads
Best: Micellar water pads
Dupe for: This Works in transit no traces (£18, Lookfantastic.com)
These pre-soaked pads come in a treat if you’re feeling too lazy to take your make-up off or don’t have access to water to rinse off a traditional cleanser, such as a balm or a milk. Simply swipe over skin to swiftly remove cream contour, colourful eyeshadow and foundation. They aren’t quite enough on their own to remove mascara, however, so you will need to use something stronger, such as a dedicated eye make-up remover.
You can lie in bed while scrolling through Instagram with one hand and removing your make-up with the other, making it the perfect solution for sleepovers, flights or bringing on holiday. Each pot comes with 60 pads that are all biodegradable and enriched with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and aloe vera for a quick hydrating boost.
Lacura miracle cream
Best: For eczema
Dupe for: Elizabeth Arden eight-hour cream (£23.79, Johnlewis.com)
Another Aldi beauty buy that isn’t skirting around its similarities to a higher-end product, our reviewer swears that this is a dead ringer for Elizabeth Arden’s award-winning eight-hour cream. Designed to be the ultimate salve for everything from sunburn to chapped elbows, the £28 original has been lauded as a go-to all-rounder for years. But our tester, who suffers with eczema on her hands, found Aldi’s alternative to be just as effective. With the same emollient, gel-style formula and warm amber scent as Elizabeth Arden’s, Aldi’s also boasts ingredients similar to the higher-end bestseller, as both feature lanolin, salicylic acid and petroleum. It soothed our skin, healing cracks and softening rough, dry hands.
Lacura healthy glow exfoliating tonic
Best: For brighter skin
Dupe for: Pixi glow tonic (£18, Cultbeauty.co.uk)
Glycolic acid has long been regarded as one of the best ingredients for giving skin a healthy-looking glow, by sloughing away dead skin cells to leave your complexion radiant and smooth. While Pixi is well known for its glow tonic featuring the ingredient, this Aldi one gives it a run for its money. It helps to keep blackheads at bay and excess oil under control, giving just a slight tingle on first application. If you have combination skin, this is a great top-up of the glow-giving ingredient if you’re running low on the cult favourite original.
Do note, however, that this wouldn’t be as kind to more sensitive skin types, as it has less aloe vera in it, which is a soothing bonus in the Pixi version.
Lacura dewy lip balm
Best: For dry lips
Dupe for: Laneige lip glowy berry balm (£16, Selfridges.com)
Dry, chapped lips are no more with this moisturising lip balm that leaves a glossy finish and conditioned skin. It’s great on its own if you want to keep things simple, but we also found it worked well over lipsticks, especially matte finishes, to give a hydration boost. It’s not sticky or greasy and we love the high-shine finish. The blend of shea butter, coffee seed oil and aloe leaf extract comes in three fruity flavours – grapefruit, berry or pear. Simply pick your favourite and add to your handbag ASAP.
Lacura naturals intense palette
Best: Eyeshadow palette
Dupe for: Urban Decay naked heat eyeshadow palette (£45, Urbandecay.co.uk)
Practically identical to Urban Decay’s heat palette, the 12 shades here are warm toned, ranging from vanilla to terracotta to a glittery brown. With a mix of matte and shimmer finishes, they’re not quite as seamless to blend as the high-end option, but are great for a quick one-lid look, whether you want something more dramatic with a brown smokey eye or a simple, neutral look for every day. They stay in place impressively well, considering the price tag, and are versatile enough to be used as an eyeliner when applied with an angled brush.
Snapshot ready foundation primer
Best: Primer for combination skin
Dupe for: Smashbox Cosmetics the original photo finish foundation primer (£29, Feelunique.com)
You’ll probably recognise the similarities between this and the Smashbox photo finish primer, and the texture and consistency is not too different either. It’s quite silicone-rich, so it absorbs fast and leaves a velvety finish that we found worked best on combination skin. We say that because while it leaves skin matte immediately after application, throughout the day it does give a dewy-looking glow that oilier skin types may be keen to avoid. There’s a blurring effect on pores too, particularly on the nose, so it will give you a temporary flawless finish.
Lacura iconic too legit mascara
Best: Lengthening mascara
Dupe for: Benefit they’re real! mascara (£21.50, Boots.com)
You’d be hard-pressed not to see the similarities between this budget wand and Benefit’s they’re real! lengthening mascara. While we do love the original, if you’re looking for the next best thing for a lot less, this is ideal. It fans out lashes, gripping each hair thanks to the evenly spaced bristles along the main body of the wand, while the ball shape on the end is designed for catching those illusive inner and outer hairs on the lower lash line. Adding slight volume but lots and lots of length, it’s perfect if you’re in need of a new mascara while picking up your groceries and is a fine effort from the supermarket.
The verdict: Aldi beauty dupes
The Lacura moisture boost gel moisturiser stole the show thanks to its lovely lightweight gel texture that sinks into the skin in seconds and leaves it super soft – the perfect canvas to apply make-up. We loved using it in our routine every day and we’re waiting with anticipation in hopes of a restock. If you can’t wait, you can find it (heavily marked up) on Amazon.
For the latest discounts on beauty and make-up buys, try the links below:
For more budget beauty buys, read our guide to the best perfume dupes
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.