They say the best investment you can make is on your skin. After all, it is your largest organ. When you have healthy skin, you gain a radiance and confidence that money can’t buy (not to mention all the $$ you save on not buying makeup). The secret is to find a routine that works with your skin type and to stick to it. Contrary to popular belief, curating a skincare routine doesn’t have to cost an arm and limb. Here’s a list of my top 5 must-have skincare products under $20.
1. Cetaphil Cleanser – $17.99
In my early teens, I was plagued by frequent breakouts, forehead acne, and uncontrollable oily skin. I spent hundreds on acne solving fads and ‘miracle’ face washes that ultimately left me with more irritated skin than I began with. That was until I discovered this gem as a junior in high school. With a relationship three years and counting, I haven’t used another cleanser since finding this product. Cetaphil’s Oily Skin Cleanser manages to find the perfect balance between being an effective deep cleanser without making your skin feel tight and dried out. One 500mL bottle lasts me an entire year and I use it for everything (day/night cleanser, makeup remover, etc). Cetaphil also has other cleansers for dry, normal, and sensitive skin types.
2. Vitamin C Serum – $14.95
For some reason, a lot of people don’t consider incorporating serums into their skincare routines because of the misconception that serums are for mature skin types. As they say, prevention is key. It’s easier to start protecting your skin than it is to repair already damaged skin. Serums are highly concentrated with anti-aging and plumping properties that will make a noticeable difference in your skin’s texture, tone, and elasticity. I’m cheating a little bit with this since the exact Vitamin C Serum I use is over $20 but there are alternative brands that offer the same product/ingredients at a lower price point. Vitamin C is a super ingredient that boosts collagen production, reduces discolouration, speeds up skin cell regeneration, and more. Click here for more information on the benefits of Vitamin C.
3. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution – $8.70
Similar to how one would use friction and scrubs to get rid of dead skin, The Ordinary Glycolic Acid uses alpha hydroxy acid to do the same thing. Although it sounds scary, this product is surprisingly mild and can be diluted further with water for those with super sensitive skin. It’s important to note that this product shouldn’t be used in the morning or more than once a day (I only use it 2-3 times a week) to prevent irritation. Since you are getting rid of a layer of skin, it’s also important to wear facial sunscreen as your face will be susceptible to sun damage. I didn’t find out about acid exfoliation until recently but I’ve noticed incredible results in the one month that I’ve used this product. My skin’s gotten smoother, my acne scars are gone, and the dark areas around my mouth and nose are lighter.
4. Garnier All-In-1 Cleansing Micellar Water – $8.47
This is hands down the most affordable, and in my opinion, most effective makeup remover there is on the market right now. I’m not sure if it’s a placebo effect, but Micellar Water feels a lot lighter and gentler than using makeup wipes. It’s crazy how something that’s water based can remove layers of highlighter, contour, eyeshadow, foundation, etc. The best part is, you don’t need to rinse your face after using this. I’m not going to lie, when I’m really tired after a long day or night out, I slap some of this on a cotton pad and skip my skincare routine all together. But hey, if the French swear by it, it’s good enough for me.
5. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask – $16.05
This is probably the beauty community’s worst kept secret but all hail the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask. This is quite literally the holy grail of all face masks. When mixed with apple cider vinegar, the mask’s calcium bentonite clay turns into a goopy deep cleanser that’ll pull out things from your skin that you didn’t know you were harbouring. After just one use, I had a friend tell me my skin looked ‘cleaner’ (we’re talking about someone who didn’t even notice when I dyed my hair black!). A little goes a long way and this tub is huge so there’s more than enough to go around for both you and your friends!