Aldi’s beauty offer is not to be sniffed at. There’s the Bonded haircare line (some products rival Olaplex), not to mention Bobbi Brown and IT Cosmetics dupes, which TikTokers say are hard to tell from the real deal. If you’re a regular R29er, though, you’ll know that we’re often most impressed with supermarket skincare.
Not long ago I tried (and loved) the brand’s £4.99 Lacura Vitamin C Serum. The smoothing, brightening results blew me away – so much so that I used every last drop of it. Prone to hyperpigmentation and dullness, I certainly reaped the radiance-enhancing benefits. Then came the £3.49 Lacura Salicylic Acid Facial Toner, which helped keep my pesky breakouts under control.
Fast forward to September, but Aldi has lifted the lid on yet another Lacura skincare collection. It’s safe, so say the brand is leaning into its strengths, again focusing on vitamin C. It makes sense. Lookfantastic recently reported that the skincare ingredient is one of the most searched for and sought after in 2022 so far, while the hashtag #VitaminC has amassed a whopping 2.2 billion views on TikTok. An antioxidant, it protects the skin from the environment (we’re talking harmful UV rays and pollution), but it also kick-starts collagen production, keeping the skin plump and supple.
Aldi has served up a full skincare routine with cleanser, serum, moisturizer and eye cream. Some have pointed out the similarities between Aldi’s vitamin C range and Ole Henriksen’s Truth collection. At a quick glance, the only noticeable difference is the price. Aldis’ Lacura Vitamin C Brightening Daily Cleanser is a humble £3.99, as is the Lacura Vitamin C Brightening Eye Cream, while the Lacura Vitamin C Brightening Gel Cream and Lacura Vitamin C Brightening Serum come in at a purse-friendly £4.99 each.
Interestingly, I got hold of the cleanser, which combines vitamin C and PHA, also known as polyhydroxy acids. PHAs are very gentle chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid. The difference is that they are much less harsh, which is why they are much better for those with sensitive or easily aggravated skin. I expected this to be a non-foaming cream based cleanser, and while it felt luxuriously cushiony and soft against my skin, it also lathered up a treat on contact with water. This surprised me and I realized that I had been a little overzealous with the application. A pea-sized amount is all it took to cut through my heavy foundation, mascara and matte lipstick all at once. In fact, it’s so effective that I didn’t need to go in with another cleanser, which I usually do at the end of the day.
Even though it’s sudsing, this cleanser is incredibly gentle, so I’ve been using it in the morning as well. The sherbet-like scent wakes me up without being too overpowering, and I love the soft, luxurious texture. My face often feels like it might crack after cleansing after using foaming cleansers, but this doesn’t strip, nor does it tingle like a lot of vitamin C and acid based face washes. I got off to a good start with this product. It has actually replaced my Trinny London Better Off AHA/PHA Cleanser (which is seven times the price at £28). I can’t fault it.
Next up, the vitamin C serum. This combines 15% vitamin C with PHAs and moisturizing hyaluronic acid. I have sensitive skin, and high strength vitamin C often makes my face sting. Somehow this doesn’t do that at all. Since I’ve been using it every morning for the past week, the blemishes left behind by acne have been minimized and my skin looks a little smoother.
I do have one major criticism though: the bottle. Vitamin C is notoriously unstable, and when exposed to air, it becomes less effective. Unlike many other vitamin C serums, the screw top and pump cap are not airtight, so I wonder how long this will stay potent. When vitamin C oxidizes, it turns a questionable shade of copper, but since this product has a faint orange color anyway, it would be hard to tell that air had reached the inside. That said, it’s a relatively small bottle at 30ml, and when used extensively as part of a daily routine, you’re likely to get through it pretty quickly. If you give it a chance, just make sure to tighten the cap. If not, I’d recommend The INKEY List’s 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum, £14.99, or Murad’s Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum, £74, which come in airtight bottles.
This is where I usually apply my sunscreen, but Aldi’s vitamin C range also includes a Brightening Gel Cream. If you have oily or acne-prone skin like me, you’ll appreciate the light gel texture, which absorbs quickly without any stickiness. It leaves my skin feeling satisfyingly smooth every time (infused with moisturizing ingredients squalane and glycerin) and as a result is an excellent makeup primer. If you’re looking for an affordable daytime moisturizer to wear indoors, this is a great shout. But on top of serum and followed by sunscreen (the latter of which I always use when I go out) it’s not particularly necessary – unless your skin is very dry and you need an extra moisture boost. This moisturizer is gorgeous, but honestly, I could take it or leave it.
Last but not least, the brightening eye cream. Skin experts suggest that regular use of an eye cream with vitamin C can regulate pigmentation and act as a brightening agent for dark circles – to a limited extent. Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed any lasting difference since using this product. The inclusion of vitamin C is quite low on the ingredients list, which means that there is not that much in the product. That said, the color correcting pigments did work to blur the bluish cast under my eyes, but only temporarily. I was most impressed by its ability to smooth out my fine lines (again temporary), and I think that’s due to the high inclusion of dimethicone, a silicone that forms a film on the skin.
One thing I will say is that you don’t have to use all of these products at once. The first time I tried everything, I realized the eye cream step was too long. On top of the serum and moisturiser, the product started to pill and roll off, so I ended up having to pick chunks of skincare out of my brows and lashes! Like dermatologists, I believe you don’t need to use eye cream if you bring the moisturizer up to the eye area. Just make sure it’s ocular tested (safe for use around the eyes). It must be on the label or in the product description online.
When it comes to vitamin C, choosing a product like the serum and pairing it with SPF is what most skin care experts will recommend in the morning if you’re serious about skin protection. While the cleanser is a top choice, vitamin C products are arguably more effective at fighting the environmental damage you’ll encounter throughout the day. Vitamin C can be used at night, but it is much better suited for daytime use for the above reason. In the evening you may want to use something like retinol to boost the collagen that vitamin C creates in the morning.
At just under £5 you can’t go wrong with this range. It’s available in Aldi stores right now while stocks last – and you know it’s going to sell out.
Refinery29’s selection is purely editorial and independently selected – we only have items we love! As part of our business model, we work with affiliates; if you buy something directly from a link in this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please contact us.
Do you like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
I tried the Aldis Olaplex Dupes and here are the results
The one ingredient you need for glowing skin
Laminated skin is LFW’s natural, simple makeup trend