Monday 11 August 2014

The lazy guide to skincare, on a budget

It's great to know that people who've read my posts on skincare seem to enjoy them. This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine, who like many busy people, like the idea of taking steps to better their skin or their routine, but don't have the inclination, time or budget to do so. I have found some lower budget options here that I would either recommend from experience, or from reading positive reviews from others.

Firstly, it is important to work out what products would be beneficial for your skin type. Then it's all about seeking out lower-cost options which can work for you. Cleansing is obviously an important step. Skincare specialists often claim that using facial wipes is a sin and that you shouldn't use them as your cleansing step. I think they have their place (i.e. removing make-up before cleansing), however since I stepped away from using them, I can see huge improvements in my skin: it is clearer and less dry and also more radiant. 

Equally, taking 30 seconds to apply a moisturiser or serum to address your skin issues is also worthwhile in both the short and long term. Toning with harsh astringents is not a step that any skin type needs; therefore seek out gentle toners if you feel you need it. I don't always bother.

Finally, in this post I mention AHAs and BHAs, which I personally use to exfoliate my skin (see my post here for more info), however for many people, this is a step you may not wish to take. Using a muslin cloth or a flannel can be a very effective way to exfoliate as you cleanse. 

Anyway, enough ramble: here is my lazy guide to skincare on a budget:

Oily: skin that produces excess sebum throughout the day and tends to be shiny. People with this skin type are also prone to spots, due to
clogged pores.

  • Opt for water-soluble, gel cleansers
  • Avoid 'stripping' and drying products that actually encourage the skin to produce more oil to compensate for oils lost- mild toners with no alcohol in them are best
  • Choose a light moisturiser
  • Use products that contain Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) which can unclog pores gently (Effaclar Duo is amazing!)
Suggestions pictured: click links to view retailers

Combination: skin that tends to be dry on the cheeks and oilier across the 'T zone' (the nose, forehead and sometimes the chin). This skin type can also be prone to blackheads in the T Zone.

  • Use gentle, non-stripping cleansers- you can opt for a cream cleanser like Liz Earle's
  • Apply more emollient creams to treat dry areas, but steer clear of these across oilier places
  • Don't shy away from lighter facial oils and serums; at night these can work wonders
  • Gentle toners can be beneficial, as well as BHAs 

Dry/ dehydrated: these are actually two different skin conditions: dry skin lacks oil; dehydrated skin lacks water. If your skin tends to be flaky in patches, it is most likely to be dry, whereas dehydrated skin can sometimes look oily even if it feels dry and 'tight' like dry skin. 

  • Cleanse with balm, oil or cream products
  • Repair the barrier of your skin by using richer moisturisers and serums containing anti-oxidants
  • Avoid soap and other irritating, stripping solutions
  • Use AHAs to exfoliate and improve sun damage, making sure to use SPF during the day
Suggestions pictured: click links to view retailers

Sensitive: skin that can feel itchy, hot or swollen after using certain products. People with this skin type often find out they have sensitive skin after a bad reaction to ingredients, so it is best to keep things

  • Those with skin reddening (rosacea) can use cooling products (such as those with aloe vera) to calm the skin
  • Never use harsh exfoliators. Instead patch test a mild BHA/ AHA if you wish to gently exfoliate 
  • Use cool water and a gentle cleanser 
  • Opt for skincare lines with ingredients targeted for you, such as Simple or La Roche-Posay
Suggestions pictured: click links to view retailers

Maturing: skin that is losing elasticity and may have sagging or wrinkles. This can start in the 30s and continues on through the years. Care for your skin by:

  • Using richer moisturisers with fatty acids and omega 3
  • Considering retinol and Vitamin C-based products (test your skin's sensitivity to these first by building up use slowly over time)
  • Using richer balm cleansers
  • Using SPF to continue to protect the skin

Suggestions pictured: click links to view retailers

Can you recommend any affordable skincare products?


  1. This is such a great post!! i'd love it if you'd comment back xx

    1. Thank you so much Amy- it means a lot. Your blog is great! Gemma x

  2. (I don't know whether my comment got posted or not, just delete this one if it already did)

    Nice post, like the idea of a low budget skin care, as not everybody has the money to spend a lot on that. also great that you provided options for different skin types. I personally have had great experiences with body shop and la roche-posay.

    1. Thanks Lou, that's really kind of you. I think the Body Shop have really stepped up their game with skincare in recent years and La Roche-Posay is such a straightforward and knowledgeable brand. What have you used from L-R P? Gemma x

  3. I love that you had options for the different skin types! :) Lovely post! I love Neutrogena! I'm now following you via Bloglovin'! I'd appreciate it if you followed me, too!

    Yasmine | Cloudy Dreams

    1. Thank you Yasmine. I'm really happy that you liked it x

  4. Hey :) I love your blog, some great tips and advice!
    Folllow me back? :) xo

    1. Hey Annabel. It's so lovely to hear that you like my blog! Of course I'll follow you back. x

  5. I can 100% recommend Nivea skincare - especially day and night creams as a budget skincare buy - I cannot live without the night one - it's perfect for dehydrated skin. I also really like The Body Shop cleansing oil.

    1. I will be checking those out as I'll be in the market for a new night cream soon. Thanks for commenting x

  6. Hey, thank you for posting this info - very useful. You'll be happy to know that following the reading of your blog I went out and invested in some Body Shop products... a first for me! I will be asking you for more advice later today Tx

  7. Oh hello T! I'm glad you liked the post as I had you in mind when I wrote it! x