To say that we love skincare around here is almost a grossly negligent understatement. A good portion of our group texts are devoted to extolling the virtues of a new product we’ve purchased or hypothesizing exactly which combination of lasers and clinical strength facials have gone onto the faces of our favorite celebrities. Our bathrooms counters, bedside tables, handbags, and random drawers throughout our homes are filled with various potions and tinctures that we layer on in a daily ritualistic reverence to ourselves.
As much as we obsess over skincare, we don’t always like parting with a significant portion of our paychecks in order to have it. Thankfully there have been plenty of times within our ongoing love affair with this type of self-care where a product reveals itself to be on the level of our favorite luxury products — for way less cash than we expected. Here are our ride-or-die skincare products all under $25:
Neogen reformulated their wildly popular Green Tea Foaming Cleanser into the most travel friendly cleanser on the market. One part oil cleanser and the rest a collection of powerful antioxidants, this cleansing stick keeps your skin clean, hydrated, and protected while on the road.
They’re are a lot of places to save money in your skincare routine, and Lo-Roche Posay proves that a quality cleanser definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s gentle and hydrating enough to be used morning and night and at a price point you don’t have to stress about replacing often.
Toners + Essences
Think of the Hado Labo Hyaluronic Solution like a tall glass of frosty cold lemonade - the perfect way to satiate a thirsty complexion. This super simple hyaluronic acid based essence is the perfect hydrating layer after cleansing and before serums.
There are several products on this list that can be classified as “cult favorites” - and this one is definitely a notable contender. Toner is a super important step in your morning and nighttime routine, this one is at the perfect pH and packed with amino acids to help prep your skin for all the products that follow.
If you’re struggling with a particularly bad breakout, having a salicylic acid product on hand can help with the swelling, pain, and redness associated with inflamed acne. This emulsion from Avene helps regulate oil production and addresses the side effects of a breakout while also preparing your skin for makeup application.
Rosehip is an essential ingredient in youth preserving skincare, if you’re looking to incorporate some preventative measures into your routine this serum is an excellent place to start. Rosehip helps with collagen and elastin production while argan oil helps your skin retain hydration.
If you have considered incorporating Vitamin C into your routine but have been deterred from their often hefty price tags, this is a great product to get you started before moving on to higher concentrations of Vitamin C derivatives.
Daily chemical exfoliation can be a serious game changer for those with acne prone and oily skin, Krave Beauty combines glycolic acid with a group of skin loving phytonutrients for an ideal introduction into once-a-day acid treatments.
Don’t be confused by the word “toner” in its title - Mizon Daily Clean is a powerful daily acid treatment specifically geared toward those dealing with acne. Alpha Hydroxy Lactic and Glycolic acids coupled with Beta Hydroxy Salicylic acid go to work busting up dead skin cells to smooth, brighten, and over time lessen the severity of breakouts.
One of the best selling drugstore skincare products in recent years, Pixi Glow Tonic has become a staple in many of the medicine cabinet “shelfies” on social media. Glycolic acid paired with soothing aloe and nourishing Vitamin E is what puts the “glow” into Pixi Glow Tonic, encouraging dead skin cells to turn over at an accelerated rate while ensuring that skin stays optimally hydrated.
The gel like consistency of Peach Slices Aqua Glow is light enough to layer on under makeup while still delivering plenty of thirst quenching ingredients deep into your skin, we keep our in the refrigerator to maximize its cooling and soothing effect in the summer months.
The product with the most accolades and awards on our list is not one we see often in American skincare - the sleeping mask. This impossibly hydrating overnight treatment from Laneige brought the Korean skincare staple to our attention and the 800+ reviews on Sephora all agree - your skin is begging for better beauty sleep. (Sleeping masks are not intended to be rinsed off, they are worn overnight!)
Pacifica offers up their version of the sleeping mask with a few more bells and whistles. The Wake Up Beautiful Sleepover Mask is full of protective lipids that seal in your other skincare products overnight and plenty of antioxidants to go to work reversing the effects of environmental irritants you encounter throughout your day.
Put down the pore strips, they haven’t been useful since middle school. If you really want to clean out the backed up pores on your nose and chin then try a K-beauty steam balm instead. Steam balms warm up when massaged into the skin, gently loosening gunk and grime out from your pores to be easily wiped away.
If you need to heal an emerging blemish ASAP please forgo the drying and potentially super irritating spot treatments of the past, they can actually create a barrier of dead skin than traps the infection in your pores. Acne dots help bring infection to the surface while also calming redness and swelling.
Sheet masks, despite being the most ridiculous looking at home skincare products, are the easiest way to deliver major doses of specialized ingredients into your skin to address various issues. Peach Slices’ entire line of sheet masks are available at your local CVS and are cheaper than your regular Starbucks order, so you can slap one on every few days.
If you’re big on multi-tasking, or just really bad about snoozing your alarm 8 times in the morning and really need to consolidate steps in your AM routine, P:rem Wonderful Me In-shower Face Pack is loaded with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and nourishing shea butter to ensure that you look fresh faced all day long.
The mental image I associate with a proper spa day will always be white robes, a bright green frosting face mask, with cucumber slices laid over eyelids - which is probably why I keep the Glossier Mega Greens always on hand. Aside from allowing you to pretend that you’ve slipped away for some real pampering, this kaolin clay based mask draws out all the muck from your pores without being overly drying.
Hyaluronic acid, collagen, and caffeine - the Dream Team of daytime eye cream ingredients. If you need a little help looking bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning, Hado Labo has got you covered. Keep it in your refrigerator or apply it with a jade roller for extra eye puff-busting power.
There is a reason that Peach & Lily sells out of the Lagom Cellus Sun Gel within hours of restocking it on their website, it is simply the best facial sunscreen on the market. The Cellus Sun Gel formula disappears into skin, leaves behind zero white cast, is undetectable under makeup, and is the highest level of UVA/UVB protection an SPF can give you. Get your name on the email list before the next restock!