how to save money on skincare

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7 Ways To Save On Skincare (And Still Get Glowing Skin)

When it comes to skincare, many of us don’t mind splurging: A moisturiser-gone-viral on TikTok? Add to basket. A serum with pretty packaging while you’re in the queue? Oh go on then. A three-figure face cream that all the A-listers swear by? Well if it works for them…

This year, we’re all about spending smarter when it comes to skincare. Proven ingredients, unfiltered progress photos, trying before you buy and most importantly, staying consistent. As many of us go into the New Year with a mind to ease-up on spending, we’re sharing our top tips to save on skincare. 

1. Use up what you have first

Hands up if you’ve got a back-log of sunscreens or cleansers that doesn’t seem to end? Most skincare products expire after about two years from opening (be sure to check your packaging!) so take stock of what needs to be used up before you decide to restock.

If it doesn’t look or smell right, empty it out and reuse or recycle the packaging. Pass on what you don’t like or doesn’t work for you to a friend or family member. Before you know it, your shelf will be clear.

2. Get to know your skin type 

Deciphering your skin type is the best way to narrow down your skincare options, and point you in the right direction. If you have oily skin, avoid oil-based or overly occlusive products. If you have dry skin, look out for ceramide and humectant-rich products. 

Knowing the differences and doing research makes an informed consumer, ensuring you make the right choices and that you’re getting bang for your buck. 

3. Practice skinimalism and optimise your skincare 

For maximum results and minimal fuss, scale back your skincare routine. Once you’ve used up your existing products, reassess your skin goals and plan accordingly. Don’t replace what you don’t need such as eye creams, toners or serums. You also don’t need separate AM and PM moisturisers, the same one will work for both. 

Lose the extras and stick to the basics – cleanser, moisturiser, targeted treatment (such as your Daily Doser) and a good sunscreen. Not only will you still see great results, you’ll save money doing it – win-win!

4. Make multi-taskers your go-tos

We love an all-in-one product – they save time, money and packaging, and they usually target more than one skin goal at a time. A targeted treatment that combines active ingredients is a sure-fire way to save money AND see results. 

Dr Malvina Cunningham, Consultant Dermatologist explains: “If you want the benefits of a number of different ingredients, I would always recommend a well-formulated product that contains all the required actives in one. This way, you can ensure the ingredients work well together and are formulated for optimal function and absorption.”

That said, you might be tempted to reach for a foundation or moisturiser that contains SPF – as much as we’d love them to, these usually don’t offer adequate protection against UV damage. It’s always better to use sunscreen on its own, instead of relying on the SPF in your tinted moisturiser.

5. Choose the right ingredients for your skin

Using the right ingredients is key. Targeted treatments with proven results are a smart investment so go for ingredients that work for your specific skin goals. 

Vitamin A (e.g. tretinoin, retinoic acid and retinol) is a catch-all ingredient, treating acne, skin-ageing and pigmentation. Azelaic acid and niacinamide are a dynamite duo for rosacea, acne, skin texture and pores.

If you have extras like hyaluronic acid, apply it to damp skin to amplify its hydrating properties. The same goes for your moisturiser – if it contains humectants like allantoin or betaine, dampening your skin with water post-cleanse can really help it go further.

6. Try before you buy (where possible)

Lots of brands offer samples or trials of their products so that you can try before you buy. The bigger the sample the better, as it means you have more time to get to know the product and how it works on your skin.

Travel sizes or minis are also a great way to gauge if a product is right for you before you commit to the full size.

7. Leave the tools on your wishlist

Though they look good and claim to save time and money, you definitely don’t need a motorised cleansing brush, a gua sha or a jade roller. Motorised cleansers and tools may do more harm than good, as their harsh bristles can disrupt your skin barrier. Instead use a good quality, gentle chemical exfoliator once or twice a week, or stick to your trusty flannel. 

We’ve already discussed the effects of gua sha and even asked our Dermatology Team to weigh in. They offer a cooling massage and have short-term visible effects, but they’re definitely not a skincare staple. 

You might have heard of using a spoon as an alternative to gua sha, but if you don’t fancy taking cutlery to your face each night, try a cool splash of water, or simply using your knuckles to massage your jawline instead.

The bottom line

Above all, do what’s right for you, your skin and your budget. If you want to splurge on skincare for whatever reason, go for it! If you’d prefer to stick to more affordable options, there’s more than enough choice out there, but don’t overthink it. If in doubt, ask friends and family for their favourites – there’s nothing like a bit of community wisdom. You can also drop the Skin + Me Dermatology Support Team an email, and they’ll be happy to help.

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