The Best Cult Pharmacy Skincare In Australia Right Now

The best drugstore skincare in Australia

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The French have been doing pharmacy beauty for years, but Australia is just catching on. However, with so much to choose from, a trip down the aisle at Chemist Warehouse, Priceline or your local pharmacy can be overwhelming. At POPSUGAR, we discover new beauty products everyday – so we compiled a list to help you navigate the wonderful world of pharmacy skincare.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($15.90)

The Ordinary aims to give high-quality, science-backed products are affordable prices. The brand’s best-selling product is its Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($15.90), which works to hydrate and plump while smoothing texture and wrinkles. In February 2024, it launched a reformulation of it, with now five forms of hyaluronic acid, a non-tacky, more lightweight texture and the ability to be absorbed into the skin more easily.

Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Toner

Best drugstore skincare Australia: Thayers Witch Hazel Toner
Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner (currently $9.99)

Oft-forgotten, the humble toner is a step that can ramp up the effectiveness of your skincare game. There are many toners on the market, but few as reasonably priced and versatile as Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner (currently $10.70 via Amazon)

Thayers is a perfect hydrating toner for oily, acne-prone and dry skin types. The classic formula contains hydrating rose water, aloe vera and sebum regulating witch hazel for a refreshing toner that leaves skin perfectly balanced.

Available at Amazon, Chemist Warehouse and Priceline.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler 1.5 Percent Hyaluronic Acid Serum

L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler, 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler, 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum (currently $19.99)

There’s a lot to be said for (some) skincare brands at the higher end of the price bracket.

Hyaluronic acid is a very effective ingredient. It binds water to your complexion, plumping out fine lines and preventing dehydration that can lead to dullness and breakouts. That said – in this writers opinion, pure hyaluronic acid serums (that is, without additional ingredients added) should not cost the earth. On its own, hyaluronic acid is inexpensive to make, and affordable options are often just as effective.

L’Oreal has a great one. The L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler, 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum (at time of writing $21.56 via Amazon) reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by 47 per cent, while also providing all-day hydration.

If you want some tips on how to use a pure hyaluronic acid serum most effectively in your routine, check out my vaseline-free slugging routine.

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La Roche Posay, Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid, Anti-Ageing Serum

Best drugstore skincare Australia: Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum ($48.99)
Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum ($72)

La Roche Posay is a classic French pharmacy brand loved for its baumes, sunscreens and cleansers. They also have an excellent range of potent serums.

Their Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum ($72) is a perfect option for dehydrated, dry and sensitive skin types – and packs a punch with some additional anti-inflammatory ingredients.

The inclusion of vitamin B5, or panthenol, provides antioxidant protection and powerful anti-inflammatory properties for irritated, red skin. The serum also contains “madecassoside”, which is a bioactive compound found in the popular anti-inflammatory antioxidant Centella Asiatica. Isolated, madecassoside has been found to promote collagen production, stimulate blood flow for a radiant complexion and provide similar antioxidant protection to vitamin C, with less irritation.

Available at Adore Beauty, Priceline, Amazon, Chemist Warehouse and the La Roche Posay website

Avène, Xercalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm

Avène, XerCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm, (currently $36.49 via Amazon)
Avène, XerCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm, (currently $36.49 via Amazon)

This beauty writer trials moisturisers for a living — and this gorgeous French body and face baume is one of my favourites. Avène, XerCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm, (currently $36.49 via Amazon) is formulated to be eczema, dermatitis, rosacea and even nappy rash friendly.

Avène uses “sterile processing”, which extends the shelf life of the product, negating the need for alcohol and preservatives. Instead, skin-identical cer-omega lipids create a “second skin” film that acts as a shield for sensitive, or barrier-impaired complexions.

The secret weapon in this product is the patented l-modulia complex. The biotechnological compound contains Avène Thermal Spring Water and reduces itching, redness and irritation during a skin reaction or sensitivity flare-up. This moisturiser is always by my bedside for when I’m having a skin reaction, or I’m generally dry and itchy. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic and a multi-purpose winner — and at 400mLs per pack, it’s also a bargain.

Available via Adore Beauty, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, Amazon and the Avène website.

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Weleda, Skinfood

Best drugstore skincare Australia: Weleda, Skinfood ($16.98)
Weleda, Skinfood (currently $16.98)

Weleda, Skinfood ($27) is found in every beauty editor’s cupboard for a reason. The balm was created in 1926 – and the naturally based formula has remained unchanged ever since. It contains organic sunflower oil with calming pansy, camomile and calendula extracts.

This sumptuous salve is perfect for rescuing an impaired skin barrier and providing intense hydration. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to petroleum-based slugging — consider this your answer. Indeed, Skinfood gives such a gorgeous glow that makeup artists frequently use it backstage as a primer and highlighter.

The formula is now available in Skinfood Light ($27), which has the same moisturising and soothing benefits in a fast-absorbing formula for oilier skin types. While you’re at it, check out their Body Lotion, Body Butter and Lip Balm.

Available via Priceline, Adore Beauty, The Iconic, and many local pharmacies.

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Neutrogena, Oil-Free Moisturiser

Hydro-Boost, Water-Gel Moisturiser ($13.49)
Hydro-Boost, Water-Gel Moisturiser ($21)

If you’re in need of a deeply hydrating but super light moisturiser, Neutrogena’s Hydro-Boost, Water-Gel Moisturiser ($21) is the daily hydration injection for you. Loaded with hyaluronic acid, this water-weight gel soaks in straight away, leaving your skin replenished and ready for sunscreen and makeup.

Available via Woolworths, Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and Amazon.

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