It's perfectly justifiable if a tub of your favourite face cream is the same price as your monthly grocery bill, but we also totally get it if you've been skimming the shelves for a less costly alternative which doesn't compromise on quality. This is where you turn to drugstores for their myriad offerings, and before you cry 'mass market', it should be acknowledged that they've upped their game in the last handful of years by bringing in a bevy of imported labels. While some of these names are new to the scene and have yet to resonate with the local crowd, they've certainly seen their fair share of fans far and wide back home. And if you're not one to pigeonhole yourself when it comes to your skincare routine, why not give the drugstores a whirl?

In fact, we've filtered five noteworthy products you ought to pick up on your next drugstore run that might just surprise you and, who knows... make it onto your Holy Grail list.

Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cream, $35.90
For a moisturiser that doesn't sit like a veil on the skin, Hada Labo's new cream is the perfect formulation that combines lightweight texture with a multitude of benefits. Infused with deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid and anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E encapsulated in micro-beads that melts into skin upon application, this complexion quencher also fights airborne environmental pollutants to prevent harmful radicals from damaging skin.

Under the radar drugstore skincare buys

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, $78
Don't be fooled into thinking this brand is just a trumped up, overpriced drugstore product because Murad is carried in select Sephoras abroad, which implies what's inside is actually worth your penny. Great at ridding dullness and dead skin, this intensive polishing cleanser is chock-full of exfoliating ingredients such as salicylic acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid, as well as jojoba beads that work in tandem to banish impurities and improve skin cell turnover rate for a smoother, glowing complexion.

 Under the radar drugstore skincare buys

Sunplay Skin Aqua Sarafit Fragrance Free UV Mist SPF 50+ PA++++, $9.90
Been nagged at countless times to slather on the sunscreen before you leave the house? It's all for good reason as our weather constantly exposes us to intense UVA and UVB rays that hasten skin ageing, among other things. But if you're always complaining about that sticky feeling, then you'll be pleased with the new Skin Aqua Sarafit that revolutionises sunscreen application with a spray system that delivers a fine mist without leaving any residue. Water and sweat proof, it can be used anywhere you like and dries down to a comfortable, velvety matte finish.

 Under the radar drugstore skincare buys

A'kin Lemongrass Shampoo, $38.50
This Aussie import may look unassuming in its functional packaging but A'kin is a cult favourite from Down Under that's famed for its shampoos and facial oils. Boasting a wide range that tackles almost every hair type, the Lemongrass shampoo has our vote (along with Australia publication Beautyhaven's winning seal) as it targets normal to oily hair — a mane issue the heat and humidity here tend to cause — and helps to regulate oil production with a synergistic cleansing action that doesn't dry out the scalp or tresses.

 Under the radar drugstore skincare buys

Eucerin pH5 Skin-Protection Shower Oil, $23.90
Clinically proven to be compatible with skin's own enzymatic processes, this shower oil is a cut above the market's regular body washes that include harsh ingredients such as sodium laureth sulphate. Specially formulated for sensitive skin with a neutral pH-balance, the product's lush texture leaves skin feeling so pampered and silky after shower; regular users have even forgone the usual follow-up body lotion. How is it so intensively moisturising and protecting? You can credit the soya oil base Eucerin uses instead of the usual water — talk about luxuriant at a fraction of the price.

Under the radar drugstore skincare buys

Products available at select Guardian stores and Guardian Plus

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