My best budget skincare
I was at a dinner recently and this question came up:
'What type of emergency would your friends call you in?'
Now, I am pretty much a total dud friend for most things. I can't lend you any money, unless the currency you deal in is bits of lint from my pockets or just general good vibes. I can't drive, so I can't rush to pick you up in an emergency, unless the situation is non-life threatening enough to withstand the inevitable delays on the Northern line. I can't really even cook or sew or put IKEA furniture together without needing to do a three hour meditation halfway through, so I'm pretty much no use in any emergency. Bar one, that is.
I do have one tiny little nugget of knowledge at my disposal: skincare, specifically the budget friendly kind. When I was 20 I had quite a bad bout of acne. Sure, I'd had the unavoidable angst-ridden years of teenage acne (the kind that no amount of the purple Clean and Clear blackhead toner or just, y'know, toothpaste would banish) but I'd pretty much grown out of it by the time I was 16. This time, however, it as different. It covered my whole face and down my neck. They were painful, huge, red and raw cysts bubbling under the surface of my skin. No amount of concealer would cover it, no skincare I tried would improve it and it was really, really painful. Added to the fact that I was living in Brazil and in 40c heat pretty much all day every day, it made for quite the uncomfortable experience.
I feel that I need to go out on a lil tangent here and say that, if your skin is causing you stress: solidarity, chica. I know how it can knock your confidence only too well. And maybe, even though you religiously apply the creams and the cleansers and the topical treatments, your skin will never be as glowy as a Kardashians' and that's fine. Who's even is, anyway? This post is meant to just be for info for peeps who are looking to shake up their skincare routine in a budget friendly way, it isn't a promise that your skin will clear up if you use xyz or a lament that having acne is the worst thing ever. If you're uncomfortable with your skin, you are still totally gorge and worthy and probably a top notch pal and that is what people care about, not how blemish-free your forehead is. Even when my face was effectively covered in boils, my friends still laughed at my jokes, my boyfriend was still into me and I still drank caipirinhas and danced all day long at Brazilian carnival. Your skin does not change you.
So now we've got that cleared up, let's get back to the story. When I got back to London a year later, I assumed that my skin would clear up instantly now I was back in a climate I was used to and wasn't subject to 95% humidity every day. How wrong I was: it stayed exactly the same. And so I started looking into skincare blogs, discovered the patron saint of cleansers that is Caroline Hirons (cannot recommend her content enough if you're interested in skincare) and started a little journey of trying out a mix of spendy and splurgey skincare. And pretty quickly, my skin changed and it's stayed that way ever since.
If you read my blog, you'll know that at the mo I'm trying to stick to a weekly budget, so my routine at the moment is pretty easy on the pursestrings. I don't know if my skincare routine is the sole cause of clearing up my acne or whether it would've cleared itself up at some point anyway, but what I do know is that what with living in London and sweating it out on runs and having a period for the first time in two years, if I slack on my skincare routine, I can tell. I also find it to be a nice little self-care activity that I do for myself, everyday. It wakes my skin up in the morning and it helps me wind down at night. So if you're thinking it might be a good edition to your self-care routine, here are a few budget bits I'd recommend:
I cleanse once in the morning with a balm/cream cleanser and twice in the evening with an oil (to take off my make up) and then again with a balm/cream. Some good'uns I've tried are:
- Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Cleanser -this is often on offer in Boots n smells gorge)
- Camomile Cleansing Butter from The Body Shop- The Body Shop often have 3 for 2 on skincare, too.
- Angels on Bare Skin from Lush- I use this in the morning or when I haven't got any make up to take off.
- Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser from Superdrug- This is the one I bought in my recent spending diary. Very similar to the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, I think, just much cheaper!
I use two different types of toner in the morning and in the evening: one acid and one more calming. My skin reacts SO well to acids and these days it shows when I've been slacking. The acid gets rid of bacteria on the skin as well as exfoliating dry skin. My faves are anything with hyaluronic, salicylic or glycolic acid. Some ones I like are:
- Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Facial Pads
- Nip+Fab Teen Skin Fix Cleansing Pads- currently in use- contain salicylic acid which my skins loves.
- B. Hyaluronic Acid Spritz from Superdrug- used this throughout the summer when my skin was a bit oilier and loved it.
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution- currently in use- I LOVE this. I only use it at night as the acid is quite a high percentage. It's swiftly replaced my Pixi Glow Tonic, which used to be a staple in my skincare routine, as I find this does the same job and costs less than half the price.
I'm sure I'll 3000% regret this once I'm old and 75% human eye bag, but I'm not actually too fussy when it comes to eye creams, especially as they can be so expensive. I prefer a cream to a gel, as I find it absorbs more easily into my skin and then my make up goes on smoother around the area afterwards. I use the same product morning and night, and just dab in around and above my eye with my ring finger. Some good, affordable ones I'm into are:
Depending on how my skin's behaving, the factor I'll change up is the serum. I apply it after toners and eye cream and tend to use a more acid-based/heavy duty one in the evening. The best budget-friendly ones I've tried so far are:
- The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA- currently in use- really great nighttime exfoliant.
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5- currently in use- super hydrating, can be used day or night.
- The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%- currently in use in the day time. Good primer for make up.
- Botanics All Bright Radiance Concentrate Serum
- Hydraluron- well-deserved cult status- super hydrating, so something I use in the winter when my skin is dryer. It's also a little pricey but worth it and also quite often on offer at Boots.
All I look for in a moisturiser is that it isn't too greasy for the day and that it's pretty rich for night. I use a different one in the morning and evening, as I like an SPF incorporated into my daytime one. To be honest, I kind of bargain on serums and toners doing the bulk of the legwork to keep my skin in check, so a moisturiser is just to tie it all in a bow at night and act as a good base for my make up in the day. Some good but less spendy ones are:
- Waitrose Pure Day Cream with SPF 15- currently in use- v good, basic moisturiser- hydrating and sinks into skin quickly.
- The Formula 10.0.06 Perfect Day Moisturiser- smells amazing.
- Naturally Radiant Brightening Day Cream from Superdrug- currently in use- I keep this one in my gym bag.
- Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Day Cream
The road to hell is paved with both good intentions and also the number of times I promise myself I'll do a face mask twice a week. At a push, I do a mask once a week, but I'm much more likely to if my skin is flaring up. As my skin is dry, I tend to use acid-based ones to exfoliate the skin. This also has the benefit of sorting out any blemishes that might be chilling out on my face. Ones that I've had on rotation recently are:
- The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution- super exfoliating, leaves your face pretty red afterwards so best for a Sunday night. Also great for calming down any blemishes.
- Superfacialist Salicylic Acid Pore Purifying Clay Mask- great when your skin feels a bit congested.
- Nip and Fab Glycolic Instant Fix Mask- really great for when spots strike.
- After all my skincare is applied, I moisturise my lips with Glossier's Balm Dotcom. To be honest, it's probably the most spendy thing I currently have in my routine, but it's so worth it!
- When I have any blemishes to see to, I use something topical on top of everything else, this Formula 10.0.6 Rescue Me spot treatment is good at calming down any spots and reminds me a lot of this Origins one, but much cheaper.
- If I get home knackered/pissed/pressed for time, then all I'll do is take my make up off (and yes, no matter what state I'm in, I always take my make up off) and whack an oil on to sleep in. This The Ordinary 100% Plant-Based Squalene one is what I currently have to fulfil this role, and it's so hydrating I actually ended up using it a lot in the winter for when my skin was particularly dry.
I hope this post gave you some inspo for some new, budget-friendly, skincare to add to your routine.
I'd love to hear recommendations for stuff of this ilk too! (Literally who uses the word ilk?).