I get messages from people every single day asking for budget-friendly skincare recommendations.
Got an affordable substitute for this exxy product? Is this a dupe? Will my face shrivel up if my cleanser costs less than $20? Help! I’ve just gone on maternity leave and I can’t spend $200 on my favourite serum anymore!
I hear you. Skin care can get pretty pricey, pretty quick. And although a lot of the products I write about and use on my clients as a dermal therapist are expensive (more on why that is in a bit), not everyone can justify costly serums as “essential items”.
Contrary to what people say or post about on Instagram, it is possible to build an effective skincare routine on a budget. Don't believe me? Just watch.
Read on for my tips on which skincare products to save on and invest in, plus some excellent budget skincare options to build a routine for less than $100.
Skin Care on a Budget 101.
Fact: No matter your budget or skin type, a great routine really only needs a solid foundation of three products:
Seriously, that’s it. That’s all you need.
Lock these three down, and then you can add in targeted products like chemical exfoliants and serums (or both) when your budget allows.
Best Affordable Cleansers.
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, $13.90.
One of my girlfriends asked me the other day WHY The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser sells out all the time. It’s because it’s THAT good. It's my go-to budget-friendly cleanser that can be used both AM and PM, and twice as part of a double cleanse. It's perfect for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to invest in two separate cleansers. It’s heaven for every skin type.
SOME BY MI AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Acne Clear Foam, $27.
Another good way to streamline your skincare routine is to combine two steps in one product. Exfoliating cleansers are great for that.
It can be easy to go overboard with these, so proceed slowly. If acne is a concern, a cleanser with a mix of BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) like SOME BY MI AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Acne Clear Foam 100ml would be good to try.
Best Affordable Moisturisers.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, $9.80.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is another really great budget-friendly product best suited to normal and oily skin types. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, you may find it won’t work for you as you’ll likely need extra hydration. It’s very lightweight.
Skinstitut Moisture Defence, $34.30.
I love Skinstitut moisturisers. They’re cosmeceutical, affordable and formulated for different skin types - there's one for dry skin, normal skin and oily skin. They also contain antioxidants, so are great for daytime use for free radical protection. You can’t go wrong.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+, $29.95.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ is a chemical sunscreen that delivers SPF50+ broad spectrum protection, and is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (which means it doesn't clog your pores) and dermatologically-tested for sensitive skin.
It has a light, watery fluid texture and the finish is neither matte nor dewy, but it isn’t shiny or greasy.
Avène Sunscreen Emulsion Face SPF50+, $28.99.
Avène Sunscreen Emulsion Face SPF50+ is a chemical sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum UVB-UVA protection. The formula has been designed to be hydrating with a matte finish (it contains Avene's Thermal Spring Water).
Learn more about beginner skincare in our YouTube video below.