When you’re on a tight budget and always looking for ways to save money, one trip down the beauty aisle can derail all of your plans—especially when you discover that the pricey face wash you recently splurged on is sucking the life out of your skin.
“With so many products on the market today, the skin care aisle can be an overwhelming—and expensive—place,” Amy J. Derick, M.D., clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern University said in a statement. Here’s how to save money on (and make the most of) your beauty routine:
1. Always wear sunscreen
If you were to only do one thing for your skin, wear a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going outdoors (even in winter). “Every good skin care routine should follow three simple steps: cleanse, treat, and prevent,” said Derick. “Sunscreen prevents wrinkles, sun spots, and even skin cancer, making it the most effective skin care product you can buy.” By protecting your skin now, you won’t need to buy pricey creams or treatments later.
2. Focus on your skin type
“Expensive skin care products are not necessarily better,” Derick said. “Instead, it’s more important to buy skin care products that are formulated for your skin type. If your skin tends to be oily, select a product made for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for the words ‘fragrance-free’ on labels.”
For a quick refresher:
- Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
- Dry skin is flaky, itchy, or rough
- Oily skin is shiny and greasy
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
3. Simplify your skin care routine
Limiting the number of skin care products you use will not only help you save money, but improve your skin. When you use too many products, especially more than one anti-aging product, you can irritate your skin and (ironically) make signs of aging more noticeable. Try paring your routine down to a cleanser, an exfoliator, a moisturizer (with SPF, natch), and if necessary, a targeted treatment (such as for acne or dark spots).
4. Use appropriate amount of product
Much like our eating habits, our beauty product portion sizes can get out of hand, causing us to waste oodles of money. For cleansers and moisturizers use a nickel-size dollop, serums a dime-size, and use a quarter-size of sunscreen (for both your face and neck).
5. Apply cleanser using your fingers
When you apply your face wash directly to a cloth, it soaks up a good portion of it and your skin misses out. For maximum results, apply using your fingertips instead.
6. Get more from your moisturizer
To get more bang for your buck, apply moisturizer to damp skin as soon as you get out of the shower, which helps to lock in moisture.
7. Use multitasking products
Start buying products that are dual-action, such as a moisturizer with sunscreen, or exfoliator that doubles as a face mask. If you can’t seem to finish off beauty products before they expire, this tactic can also help you waste less. Plus, who couldn’t use a lighter makeup bag?
8. Buy trial sizes first
We might think that certain products are magic in a bottle, but our skin might not agree. Buy a trial size first to make sure you and your skin are on the same page, to both save money and avoid waste.