Are you tired of complicated skincare routines that require a ton of products and leave your wallet feeling empty?
When taking care of our skin, we often mistakenly think we need to splurge on expensive products or follow a 10-step routine. But the truth is, sometimes less is more.
A simple skincare routine using affordable drugstore products can be just as effective in keeping your skin healthy and glowing.
Not only are drugstore skincare products budget-friendly, but they’re also easily accessible. You can find them at your local supermarket or pharmacy without having to break the bank.
Plus, these products are designed with everyday use in mind, making them convenient for a fuss-free routine.
So whether you’re too busy for a 12-step routine or prefer simplicity in your skincare regimen, a simple drugstore skincare routine has got you covered. So here’s a super simple drugstore skincare routine perfect for everyday use.
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Table of Contents
The first step in any good skincare routine is to cleanse your skin. A good cleanser will remove dirt, oil, and makeup from your face, leaving it feeling fresh and clean.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, you need a gentle and hydrating cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. A good option is La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, which is a light and creamy cleanser that also contains glycerin, panthenol, niacinamide, and ceramides to hydrate, soothe, and restore your skin barrier.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you need a cleanser that can help control oil and breakouts. A good option is CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, which is a gel-based cleanser that contains salicylic acid to exfoliate and unclog your pores. It also has ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to moisturize, calm, and protect your skin barrier.
If you have combination skin, use a cleanser that can balance your skin’s oiliness and dryness. A good option is Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, which is a foam cleanser that does the job without irritating your skin. It’s free of fragrances, dyes, and other common allergens. It also has a gentle pH-balanced formula.
It would help if you washed your face at least once a day, definitely before bed and again in the morning. This will help to wash away any gunk that accumulated on your skin throughout the day and a quick rinse with water works in the morning.
If you wear makeup, it’s also a good idea to use a separate makeup remover before cleansing to ensure that all traces of makeup are removed. A good option is Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, which is a gentle and effective solution that can remove even waterproof makeup without rubbing or rinsing.
Exfoliating once or twice a week can also help to remove dead skin cells and leave your skin looking brighter. If you’re using a physical scrub then use a gentle option that won’t be too harsh on your skin like Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub which is a light and creamy scrub that uses micro-fine bamboo particles to buff and soften your skin, enriched with vitamins B5 and E to hydrate and protect your skin barrier.
After cleansing, toning is the next step in your skincare routine. A toner helps to balance your skin’s pH level and prepares your skin for the next steps in your routine.
When it comes to choosing a toner, you’ll find a wide range of options available at the drugstore. But as a general rule of thumb, choose one that’s gentle and alcohol-free to avoid drying out your skin.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, look for toners with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin. Like the classic Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner or Simple Kind to Skin Facial Toner.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you can’t go wrong with a salicylic acid toner. Salicylic acid (BHA) helps exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. It also helps reduce inflammation and redness. You can try Bioré Witch Hazel Toner or La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner With Salicylic Acid.
Another type of acid that you see in toners is alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) (chemical exfoliants that can help to improve the texture and tone of your skin). Glycolic acid is a common AHA often used in toners.
It can help to brighten your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can check out Pixi Glow Tonic or Mederma AG Advanced Dry Skin Therapy Facial Toner.
When you introduce acids like salicylic acid or glycolic acid into your routine, start slowly and gradually build up your tolerance. You can start by using the toner once or twice a week and gradually increase the frequency as your skin adjusts.
Serums are a great addition to any skincare routine, and luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to find a good one. Look for serums that contain antioxidants like vitamin C to brighten and protect your skin from environmental stressors. Niacinamide is another great ingredient to look for, as it can help improve the texture of your skin.
One affordable option is the L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Pure Vitamin C Serum, which contains a highly potent 10% pure vitamin C. This serum can help boost your skin’s antioxidants and protect against free radical damage.
If you’re looking to improve the texture of your skin, then add a retinoid serum to your routine. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is a great option that won’t break the bank. Retinoids help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improve skin texture and tone.
Another affordable serum is the CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum, which contains encapsulated retinol to help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.
To brighten your skin, try the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Treatment. This serum contains niacinamide to help improve the texture of your skin, as well as a blend of antioxidants to brighten and even out your skin tone.
After cleansing, toning, and applying your serums, the next step in your skincare routine is moisturizer. Moisturizer helps to hydrate your skin and keep it plump and healthy.
No matter your skin type choose a moisturizer that’s hydrating and nourishing, with ingredients like ceramides that help to strengthen the skin barrier and lock in moisture. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or SheaMoisture Papaya and Vitamin C Brighter Days Ahead Night Cream are two great options.
If you have dry skin, consider a moisturizer with a soy complex, which can help to improve the skin’s moisture levels and provide long-lasting hydration. Try Aveeno Positively Radiant Gel Moisturizer or The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.
If your skin is oily or a combination, then a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that won’t clog pores is your best bet. You can check out Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel or Olay Regenerist Whip Facial Moisturizer SPF 25.
You can also use a separate night cream before bed, to give your skin extra hydration and nourishment while you sleep. Sometimes night creams have more potent ingredients that help repair and rejuvenate the skin overnight. Like Aveeno Anti Aging Night Cream or Farmacy Honey Halo Ceramide Face Moisturizer Cream.
But without those ingredients, it’s perfectly fine to just use your regular moisturizer.
When putting on moisturizer be gentle with your skin! Use gentle, upward strokes to avoid pulling or tugging, and pay extra attention to any dry or flaky areas, around your nose or mouth.
Sunscreen should be the very last step in your morning routine, just before makeup. Sunscreen is crucial for preventing premature aging and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Using sunscreen daily is a super simple and effective way to protect your skin.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a facial sunscreen:
Look for an SPF of at least 30, which provides adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Like the Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Face Serum SPF 60+ or Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion.
If you prefer physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, that sit on top of the skin then try Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 or Blue Lizard Sensitive Face Mineral Sunscreen.
If you have sensitive skin, choose something fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. You can check out CeraVe’s Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Face Lotion or La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner With Salicylic Acid.
If you have darker skin then unfortunately most physical sunscreens will leave that dreadful white mask (the worst!) so you’ll want to avoid those. You can give MELĒ No Shade Sunscreen Oil, Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Fluid Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, or Hero Cosmetics Force Shield Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30 a try.
And though it’s easier said than done, reapply every two hours if you spend lots of time outdoors or sweat a lot. You can use a spray or a powder sunscreen for easy touch-ups, like Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+ or Colorescience Brush-On Sunscreen Mineral Powder.
And yes, you should wear sunscreen even if you’re inside unless you don’t have windows!
Other Skin Concerns
Besides dryness and oiliness, you may also have other skin concerns that you want to address in your drugstore skincare routine. Here are some common skin concerns and how to address them:
If you’re trying to treat acne look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide or adapalene, which are both effective at treating acne.
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication that kills the bacteria that causes acne, while adapalene is a topical retinoid that unclogs pores and reduces inflammation.
You can find benzoyl peroxide in products like Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser, and adapalene in products like Differin Adapalene Gel.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
To address fine lines and wrinkles, look for products that boost collagen production and protect against free radicals. Products with retinol or vitamin C can help boost collagen production.
You can find retinol in products like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, and vitamin C in products like L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum.
Signs of Aging
In addition to fine lines and wrinkles, you may also notice other signs of aging like dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin tone.
Products with niacinamide, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid help brighten skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can find niacinamide in The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, glycolic acid in Pixi Glow Tonic, and hyaluronic acid in Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream.
Be patient. It can take several weeks or even months to see results, so stick with your routine and be consistent.
Ingredients to avoid
When it comes to creating a simple drugstore skincare routine, it’s good to know which ingredients to avoid especially if you’re skin is sensitive or you have a weakened skin barrier. Here are some ingredients you should watch out for:
Fragrance is a common ingredient in skincare products, but it can also be a source of irritation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid products that contain fragrance. Look for products that are labeled “fragrance-free” or “unscented.”
Some active ingredients
Active ingredients like retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), and salicylic acid can be great for your skin, but they can also cause irritation if you have sensitive skin or you have a weakened skin barrier.
If you’re using acids etc. follow the instructions on the label and start with a low concentration before working your way up.
Comedogenic ingredients are ingredients that can clog your pores and cause acne. If you’re prone to breakouts, it’s best to avoid products with ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, and algae extract. Look for products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free.”
Healthy habits, healthy skin
Sleep and hydration are important yes, but just as important is your daily face routine. Are you consistent with your skincare routine? Are you washing your face? Moisturizing? Wearing sunscreen?
How often are you touching your face throughout the day? These things are important and doing or avoiding them daily and consistently will have a positive or negative effect on your skin.
Tips for a successful drugstore skincare routine
When browsing the drugstore aisles, keep an eye out for products that offer multiple benefits. Like a moisturizer that also has SPF protection built in. This way, you can hydrate your skin and shield it from harmful UV rays in one simple step. Try Olay Regenerist Whip Facial Moisturizer SPF 25 or Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15.
Another great money saver is a cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover. This will help you effectively cleanse your face while effortlessly removing any traces of makeup at the end of the day. You can try Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water or Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water.
Another tip is to look for products that have active ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, or hyaluronic acid, which can help to improve your skin’s appearance and health. You can check out L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum or Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil.
So next time you’re shopping for skincare goodies at the drugstore, remember to keep things simple by choosing products that offer multiple benefits.
At the end of the day, opting for multi-purpose products can streamline your skincare routine and make it easier to stick with. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly approach that won’t break the bank.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some drugstore products for a basic skincare routine?
If you’re looking for a simple skincare routine, there are a few drugstore products you can use to get started.
A gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen are the basics. Some popular drugstore options include Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen.
How can I create a simple skincare routine for my skin type?
For oily skin, look for oil-free products that won’t clog your pores. For dry skin, look for products that are hydrating and moisturizing.
For sensitive skin, look for products that are fragrance-free and gentle. A dermatologist can also help you determine your skin type and recommend products.
What are some affordable skincare options for acne-prone skin?
Acne-prone skin can benefit from products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Some affordable options include Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10, and The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque.
What is the recommended order for a basic skincare routine?
The recommended order for a basic skincare routine is a cleanser, toner (optional), serum (optional), moisturizer, and sunscreen.
The cleanser removes dirt and oil, the toner balances your skin’s pH and prepares your skin for the following steps, the serum provides targeted treatment, the moisturizer hydrates your skin, and the sunscreen protects your skin from UV damage.
What are some easy and quick daily skincare routines?
If you’re short on time, a quick daily skincare routine can be completed in just a few steps. Cleanse, apply a moisturizer, and finish with sunscreen.
What are some tips for building a skincare routine on a budget?
Building a skincare routine on a budget is possible with a little creativity. Look for multi-purpose products, like a moisturizer with SPF, to save money.
Consider using drugstore brands, which can be just as effective as high-end brands. You can also try DIY skincare, such as making your own face masks using natural ingredients like honey and avocado.
A simple drugstore skincare routine can be just as effective as a more expensive one. By focusing on affordable yet high-quality products, you can create a routine that works for you without breaking the bank.
And for those on-the-go moments, keep a pack of makeup wipes like Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes handy to quickly remove makeup and cleanse your skin. These wipes are gentle yet effective, making them a must-have!
Overall, it’s important to find a routine that works for you and your skin type. With a little experimentation and some affordable drugstore products, you can achieve healthy and glowing skin without breaking the bank.