How to Buy More Effective Skincare and Spend Less 

Recently, the prices of everything have gone up. So, in many ways, it's been harder to find an affordable skincare routine that makes us feel our best and nourishes the skin. More simply, we should have access to skincare that fits within our lifestyle and budget. But, in the case of inflation (overall price increase), what can we do? Here are three ways you can revolutionize your skincare.

First, start with the basics of treatment and prevention. It's easy to get overwhelmed or excited upon going into the store. But if you start with these basics, you can always add other products later rather than buying them all at once. 

It's better to focus on one product that offers treatment and one that offers prevention. These are the two main facets of skincare and buying one for each will create a great routine that gives maximum benefits for the least amount of money. So, what is treatment, and what is prevention in skincare? Treatment means addressing current issues or maintaining the well-being of the skin. On the other hand, prevention means hindering future skin concerns like lines, wrinkles, collagen degradation, acne breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and scarring from picking. 

For example, a prime example of prevention is SPF. Sunscreen helps prevent wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, and scarring. However, a lot of people don’t even realize that sunscreen is preventative of cancer as it shields our skin from damaging UV sun rays. Those UV rays penetrate into the skin, and they cause damage to our cells' DNA. So, when you put on sunscreen, you’re already doing 75% of your skincare routines. What good is your brightening vitamin C serum if the sun is causing hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles? 

Why even spend money on luxury skincare when you're not preventing those things from happening in the first place? Why spend money on anti-aging serum and elixirs if you’re not preventing the problem in the first place? From both a medical and personal care perspective, sunscreen is the most important product of a skincare routine. If you can find one that’s luxurious on the skin and works well for you, you might even want to use it every day. Some of the best sunscreens that don’t break the bank are from K-beauty brands and Target. 

This one is from Black Girl Sunscreen, and Cassandra loves it. If you’re looking for a very inexpensive but affordable sunscreen, you can get this on the shelves at Target. They have the SPF 30, and they also have a matte sunscreen which is an SPF 45. Both of these are excellent and work for any skin color. Yes, they are made particularly for richly melanated skin given as they don’t flashback, but this is great for all skin tones. Because no matter what skin tone you are, SPF is your BFF, and every single skin tone on the planet is susceptible to cancer. So, sun protection is key. 

Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte SPF 45 -$21.99

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 - $18.99

If you’re looking for a K-beauty option, the Isntree Watery Sun Gel is phenomenal, and it has different types of hyaluronic acid. This is such a silky, lightweight formula. Plus, it’s an SPF 50. This is one of the best, it’s not too expensive, and it goes on beautifully. 

Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel - 50 ml - $14.99

Both BGS and Isntree are considered organic formulas because they both have some of those chemical filters. Likewise, here are also some mineral options.

Paula's Choice Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 -$31

This is the Daily Moisturizing Lotion from Paula’s Choice. This one is $30, and sometimes you can get it for under $20 if it’s on sale. Paula’s Choice truly knocks this out of the park. This lotion even has antioxidants in it. So, if you don’t want to spend the money on a vitamin C serum or an antioxidant serum beneath a sunscreen, get a sunscreen that has both. This formula has apricot antioxidants and ceramides. So, it nourishes the skin and works so well. It’s not very greasy, and it doesn’t flashback, but it still hydrates and moisturizes the skin. There are also some sunscreens that work better for extremely oily skin. Some have more oil control like the acne one from Murad.

Minus the Murad product, all three of these preventative sunscreens can be found for or less than $20 - $30. 

Another way to get more effective skincare for less money is to focus on "actives" or "treatment." If you’re struggling with something like hyperpigmentation, acne, or scarring, why throw money at random products in hopes that they’ll work? Instead, you can turn and learn about specific active ingredients that are medically proven to work. For example, if you have acne, you may want to look at actives like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, AHAs, retinol, tea tree oil, and sulfur.

Whereas if you have rosacea, you might want to look at azelaic acid or caffeine within products. In the cases of hyperpigmentation, you can look for vitamin C, hydroquinone, and licorice. And finally, if you have fine lines, wrinkles, or dehydrated skin, it's best to prioritize ceramides, glycerin, and retinoids. 

Fortunately, there are some brands that have these ingredients at a very inexpensive price. If you can have a great cleanser at the beginning of your routine, a treatment step, a way to seal it all in, and a sunscreen, you’re actually treating skin concerns, preventing any future problems, and getting the most for your money all at the same time. 

For example, when it comes to isolation actives, The Ordinary is also a great choice. They have retinol and squalane which is fantastic.  Additionally, they have caffeine in EGCG which offers a little bit of vasoconstriction (constricts veins). “EGCG might be used for skin hydration, moisture retention, wrinkle formation, and fighting free radicals” (Kim, 2018).

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG - $7.50

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane -$8.00

If you’re looking for azelaic acid to treat hyperpigmentation, both the Ordinary and Paula’s Choice have one. 

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% -$10

Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster - $38

Another treatment for hyperpigmentation and brightening is vitamin C. Beauty Stat has the universal vitamin C serum which feels like a primer on the skin. 

Beauty Stat Universal Skin Refiner (Travel Size3 oz.) - $25

Three Ships has these dew drops which are phenomenal. If you want glowy skin, barrier protection, and a product that you can wear under sunscreen or makeup, this is fabulous. Cassandra loves this brand, and it’s inexpensive. As a brand, Three Ships' whole entire thing is about luxury at affordable prices. That’s literally what they do. Also, it’s female-founded and from Canada. This product combines hyaluronic acid, mushroom, and vitamin C. This truly offers hydration and brightening without breaking the banking or destroying the environment. 

Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C serum -$35

There are so many great options on the market, and if we don’t want to spend all our money on these big fancy brands, we don’t have to! Finding prevention treatments that actually work is going to be essential for shopping effective skincare within budget. While you're shopping, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different terms on the ingredient label. But, if you ever feel this way, here's a trick that you can use. Google Cassandra Bankson and then the ingredient name. For example search - “Cassandra Bankson salicylic acid.” With that, you'll find a quick explanation.

So, enjoy your skincare shopping without stress, and remember to apply your SPF!

Also, here is some additional information about accessing prescriptions without going into see an MD. 

You can get treatments from your dermatologist or your doctor. However, some people might not have one or the flexibility to see one. Alternatively, you can also get prescriptions online.Dermaticaoffers some, and Cassandra also loves Apostrophe. She’s recently been trying brands out such as Agency and Rory too. 

Moreover, there are brands likeCurology andMusely. Even if you don’t have a doctor, there are a lot of great prescription options where you can receive treatment monthly for 25  bucks.

Cover photo credit:

Creator: Morsa Images| Credit: Getty Images

Copyright: Abel Mitjá Verela