7 Simple Ways to Save on Skincare

Skincare is like health and fitness. To stay lean and flexible, you need cardio and yoga while eating lots of greens and protein to keep the energy flowing. Since skin is your biggest organ, you need to keep it clean. There is value in pure, good-for-you ingredients designed to keep things moving. The goal is to increase cellular turnover, strengthen and tone. Here’s the skinny:

  1. Water. Hydration is key. Drink tons of it. Drinking water helps circulation and aids digestion which helps keep your skin looking clearer. It’s all connected.
  2. Cleanser. Step one should be micellar water. It’s a face wash, makeup remover and moisturizer all in one. Once a little known French woman’s secret, it’s become trendy and a lot of beauty companies are making them. It’s basically droplets of oil suspended in water that draw out dirt. You swipe it on with cotton, no rinsing required, and your face is clean. I lean towards Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, around $7.
  3. Moisturizer. I invite you to discover Weleda Skin Food, $13. Backstage at the fashion shows, it’s in every make-up artist’s bag as a foundation to that ubiquitous runway glow. It has a tried-and-true, affordable formula with pansy extract, sweet almond oil, calendula extract and hydrolyzed beeswax. It’s designed as a balm for your body’s rough patches but a little goes a long way on your face.  
  4. Eyes. Eyes show the wear-and-tear of age the most so investing in a special eye cream is worth it. BioElements Quick Refiner For Eyes, $28, contains everything you need — exfoliators like fruit enzymes and lactic acid to smooth, along with soothing ingredients like aloe vera and green tea to counteract inflammation. It goes on like a serum, feels good and absorbs easily without being greasy.  
  5. Serum. Face oils are deeply hydrating and supremely soothing. Dr. Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist I’ve interviewed and trust, recommends Aura Cacia Nighttime Facial Oil Serum, $12.  
  6. Exfoliate. Exfoliating is essential to achieve glowing skin. You have to remove all of the rough, dull tired cells that aren’t turning over as quickly as they used to. This unveils newer, smoother fresh cells to appear so they can reflect light, enabling skin to literally shine brighter. An essential indulgence is Advanced 10% Exfoliating Peel Pads from Beauty RX by Dr. Schultz. At $70 for fifty, it’s a little more than a dollar a swipe, but they are are so efficient they are like a free visit to his real life Park Avenue office. You can use them every day or just a few times a week for more vibrant skin.
  7. Treatments. Since pampering facials and trips to the cosmetic dermatologist aren’t in the budget, I’m giving myself a little extra TLC with DIY facial massage techniques and at-home treatments. Your face has 43 muscles, and unlike other skeletal muscles which attach to your bones, these attach to your skin, giving our faces their expressions. So yes, using upward strokes to apply moisturizer can only help with the inevitable downward pull of gravity. I think of it like a barre method for my face. Hold it up, up, up.

Elaine Farley is the former Beauty Director of Self Magazine, and prior to that the Beauty and Fashion Director of Cosmopolitan. This is the third in a series on budget-friendly tips from the front lines. Read about hair and makeup. Prices quoted may fluctuate.