If you were to believe all the targeted ads, beauty does not come cheap. We beg to differ. The humble supermarket is a fluorescent lit treasure trove of accessible everyday products that’ll detangle your hair, nourish your skin, wipe off your makeup and ... clean your toilet?
So whether you balance your La Mer addiction by using a cheap and cheerful cleanser, or like to keep things simple yet effective without the price tag, pop a few of these products into your trolley next time you are cruising the aisles of your local supermarché.
Nominated by Megan May, owner of Little Bird Organics
“My favourite supermarket beauty product is Chantal Organics cold pressed organic hemp oil - it’s rich in omega 3 and makes for an incredibly nourishing and hydrating body oil. I also infuse it with herbs from the garden like rosemary which helps with circulation. I’d also recommend brands like The Hemp Farm and Brothers Green, available at other food stores.
“The profit margin in food is so much less than the beauty industry (around half on a good day…) so across the board, you tend to get really good quality organic oils (as they also need to be food grade, therefore ingestible) for a much better price.”
Nominated by Bai Buliruarua, producer of E Lele Le Toloa
“I discovered this mask through my sister. She bought a tub home and I ended up using half of it that same day, so now it's constant arguing about who uses it all up. I usually get a new tub every three weeks.
“The product is thick, which is great for big Fijian hair like mine! I use it on wash days for detangling; I just smear it on and use my fingers to detangle. It makes it so much easier and it smells great which is a massive plus. Who doesn't want their hair to smell great? Its versatility means you can use it as a conditioner, a hair mask, and for detangling. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who's trying to look after their natural hair and trying to embrace their hair, in its most natural state.”
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, $16
Nominated by Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder
“I always have a bottle of apple cider vinegar in the pantry and love using it both externally and internally. Internally, I love a dash in warm water before my morning coffee, which becomes a stronger dash with the addition of honey and no coffee chaser when I’m feeling under the weather. I also always have a jar of salad dressing in the fridge made by blitzing ACV with flaxseed oil, garlic, mustard and honey; it’s really creamy and incredibly delicious.
“Externally I use it for homemade face masks and as a spray for my hair when it gets a bit dull and whiffy (I famously never wash my hair). I have a book in the pantry dedicated to ACV and its myriad uses which include washing the toilet… but I haven’t gone that far yet.”
Nominated by Doris de Pont, founder of the NZ Fashion Museum
“There was a sample of this in my goodie bag at NZ Fashion Week two years ago - I loved it, and it has now become my go-to not just for makeup removal but anytime I want a soothing refresh for my face or eyes. And bonus points, it is made in NZ.”
Nominated by Georgia Smith, co-founder of Nature Baby
“Being the urban hippies we are, we generally shop whole food stores and love to experiment with all the great new brands that pop up in this space. But when going for an essential item at the supermarket it has to be EcoStore’s normal hydrating shampoo. We love how it looks after the whole family, is plant and mineral based, and includes botanical ingredients like harakeke with no synthetic fragrances.”
Nominated by Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder & Stuff style editor
“With its cringe, slightly clinical packaging, this is what Into the Gloss would call a “bottom shelf” ugly beauty product. I pick it up whenever I need to deal with intensely dry skin, or the mild eczema that magically appears on my face when I'm stressed AF. I've tried various things to combat the itchiness and/or flakiness, but this colloidal oatmeal cream for babies and very sensitive adults is the only thing that regularly works.
“It has no fragrance, cortisone, lanolin or dyes, and looks like the most boring product in the world. I was originally sent one a few years ago in my role as a beauty editor, and have to be honest... I totally dismissed it. But then I had an eczema breakout, on one of my eyelids of all places, that would not go away and for some reason I picked up this - and it worked. Now, I always have one in my bathroom.”
Nominated by Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant
“We’ve all read about the importance of SPF in our daily skincare routine. Most traditional sunscreens are either too oily, thick or sticky, and as someone who doesn’t tint my skin, BB creams with added SPF just don’t float my boat. This here product, however, is super light and easily absorbed, doing exactly what it says on the box (for a change). The addition of Vitamin C helps brighten the complexion, adding a subtle glow to my morning skin. With the powerful antioxidants of Vit-C working in tandem with SPF to protect your skin from the damaging effects of those pesky UV rays, this product has got you covered, quite literally."