Skin care products can be very expensive, but there are some great options out there that won’t break the bank. Though I’m willing to spend the extra money on skin care — I’d much rather have great skin than an expensive handbag — I know it can be incredibly daunting and sometimes not possible to do so. Especially when you don’t know if the expensive product you’re buying is worth the hefty price tag (and there are some that are, some that are not). “Affordable” will obviously vary from person to person and I’m by no means saying these are bargain bin options, but I will only recommend products I actually stand by and have in my own collection. That doesn’t mean that some of the well known drugstore brands aren’t any good; it just means that I either don’t use or have never used them. If they work for you, keep on keeping on! But if you’re looking for some new skin care options at a more approachable price than that $200 serum you’ve been hearing so much about, check out some of my affordable skin care recommendations:
Avène Skin Recovery Cream $35: A little bit goes a long way with this moisturizer (with no residue), and it’s great for sensitive skin. Heads up for those averse to mineral oil, because it is one of the ingredients. Personally, this is one of my favorite moisturizers and the one I go back to the most.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream $12: The price listed is actually for the travel friendly tube size, not the tub — but I actually prefer the tube for hygienic reasons (the tub is just a screw on top). This came as a reader recommendation (actually, a lot of you recommended it) when I was having a rash-like dermatitis flare up. The colloidal oatmeal soothes irritated skin, and it brought me great relief when my skin felt dry and patchy.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer $19.50: Speaking of hydration, this has been a longtime go-to for when I need extra hydration. I keep lots of moisturizers in rotation, and I usually save this one for nighttime. For what it’s worth, my little sister actually prefers this one over the Avene creme — she recently made the switch. I think this one is a little heavier, so it’s best suited for dry skin.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum $36: Most of my serums and oils are a little on the pricey side, and I know $36 isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re going to spend money anywhere in your skin care routine, serums and oils are the place I would invest. You can get away with a cheaper cleanser and moisturizer, and even the acid toners have good bargain options. But serums and oils are where you’re going to get a lot of great benefits. That being said, for a less expensive serum, I find First Aid Beauty’s Hydrating Serum to be great. I’ve gone through several bottles of it.
Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion $24: I wash my face every morning and night, and while I double cleanse at night, I use a very gentle cleanser in the morning. Though it says you don’t need water, I definitely use water — I just don’t feel clean without it. I wash it off with a washcloth or muslin.
The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil $18: The Body Shop has some great skin care options, but there are a few that are repeat purchases for me. This is one of them! Cleansing oil is great for dissolving makeup and SPF; I use it for my first cleanse at night. I have a few in rotation, but this is a longtime staple that I stand by.
Pixi Double Cleanse $24: Pixi’s collaboration with skin guru Caroline Hirons is a great double cleansing option that has both steps in one convenient package. While I generally prefer liquid when I’m at home, a solid oil is a perfect travel option (and that’s exactly when I use this)!
Pixi Glow Tonic $24: When I say “exfoliators” I’m talking about a chemical exfoliant – in this case, a mild AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) – though there are also mechanical exfoliants. I generally prefer the chemical variant for at home use, and would advise against the admittedly satisfying (but ultimately damaging) feeling of an apricot scrub. If you’re new to acids, this is a great option with 5% glycolic acid. I am not new to acids, but I often find myself reaching for this one when using a retinol or something else with acid like Good Genes (lactic acid treatment), when something like Biologique P50 would be too strong (you have to be careful not to over-exfoliate), or when I’ve recently had microdermabrasion.
Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go $18: A container full of soaked pads for a travel friendly, convenient version of the above. When they’re available in store, these are my first choice!
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads $30 (smaller size available for $15): Another mild combination, this time of both glycolic and lactic acid.
Kracie Hadabisei Facial Mask 3d Aging Moisturizer Pink (Anti-Aging) – Pack of 2 $22 + Blue (Brightening) + Orange (Suppleness/Hydrating): Sheet masks are a great little pick me up, and since these are sold as two packs with four in each, you’ll have a good amount to hold you over. I love these when I’m traveling or when I am working on the computer and watching tv at the same time — it makes me feel like I’m multitasking;) The reason I choose these over their other options? They’re “3d” with a seam to make them fit a little more snugly on the face.
Pixi Glow Mud Mask $22: I’m certain I sound like a Pixi fan girl, but I truly believe they have a lot of great products! I even had to leave out the mud cleanser (also love) just because it was getting to be a little ridiculous how many of their products I featured. They call this purifying mud mask their 15 minute facial. I love a mud mask when my skin feels a little congested — it’s great for between facials.
Yes To Cucumbers Mask (Soothing) $2.50 – If you want a single, inexpensive sheet mask option, check out Yes to Cucumbers or any of their other targeted options!
The Body Shop Drops of Youth Youth Eye Concentrate $31: I’m pretty sure Bobby’s version of skin care is whatever cleanser he can find and water, no moisturizer or anything else — but yet, he loves this eye serum so much that he got his own. It cracks me up! It has a metal roller ball applicator that is so soothing, and the serum leaves my eyes feeling soft, hydrated, and smooth. Tip: pop it in the refrigerator to soothe puffy eyes!
Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist with SPF $28 (travel size available for $12): Applying SPF should be a part of your daily skin care ritual, but just once isn’t enough. You have to reapply throughout the day! Of course, if you’re wearing makeup, it’s not that easy. That’s why I love this setting mist with SPF that you can spritz over your makeup throughout the day to make sure your skin is always protected.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen $30: My number one choice for face sunscreen — I have a few that I switch between, but this is my favorite! A tiny bit goes such a long way, and it’s so lightweight.