Is creating a new skincare routine part of your new year’s resolutions or intentions but don’t know where to start? This list of affordable skincare products for beginners covers the major skincare routine steps with several products for each step to help you get started on your skincare journey!
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If you’re looking for affordable skincare products for a specific step, use the table of contents below to skip to a specific skincare routine step!
Cleansing is an important part of any skincare routine, especially if you wear make-up. You want to make sure your skin is properly cleaned before adding any other skincare product. If any make-up, dead skin, or general pollution (air pollution is a thing) builds up, then any other skincare product will not work properly and you’re just wasting money. Double-cleansing is a highly recommended process to help make sure that dead skin, impurities, and makeup is all removed from your skin.
Bliss Makeup Melt Cleanser
This is such a great affordable skincare product for your routine because it can be used to remove makeup or as a general cleanser. It can also be used in a wet or dry application, so you don’t necessarily have to wet your face first.
I absolutely love using this to take off makeup after a full day. It’s pretty gentle but gets everything to truly glide off.
Pixi Clarity Cleanser
This skincare product is an absolute necessity if you have any acne because it has salicylic acid in its formula. It’s a super gentle cleanser and a little definitely goes a long way, making it a super affordable skincare product!
It’s also super pretty to use because the liquid is a pretty blue that matches the cleanser bottle!
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
This is another super gentle cleanser that’s perfect for an affordable skincare routine but I would suggest this one if you are simply maintaining your skin, with some hydration needed.
For a while (before all this mask-wearing), my skin had been doing really well. I had very few breakouts, acne spots, or any other issues. All I needed was a daily cleanser with some hydration. If you’re in a similar spot with your skin, then this CeraVe cleanser is perfect for simply maintaining your skin in good shape.
Reusable Cotton Pads
I bought these on a whim and I am so glad I did! They’ve helped me cut down on at least one section of my makeup spending.
Using these cotton rounds gives me a cleaner feeling than if I were just using my fingers to wash my face. In addition to using them with cleansers, they also come in handy with applying toner and removing makeup.
Toner basically helps to prep your skin for other skincare products after using a cleanser. Toner is a penetrating liquid that gives your skin just a hint of hydration and can help remove dead skin cells, and other impurities, off the surface of your skin. Toners can also have other kinds of fun additions: acids, glycerin, antioxidants, or anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some of my favorite affordable toners for skincare beginners (just a heads up that they’re mostly from Pixi #sorrynotsorry).
Pixi Glow Tonic
The Pixi Glow Tonic was my first toner that I tried and it has been a staple ever since. I literally gifted them to my sisters once Christmas because I thought it was *that* amazing.
The Pixi Glow Tonic is a great exfoliating and smoothing toner that comes with 5% glycolic acid. I really noticed that it helped reduce my breakouts while also smoothing my skin texture. It’s a great general toner to use.
Pixi Retinol Tonic
I got the Pixi Retinol as part of a sale or something like that. I didn’t know much about retinol when I did, but I’m so glad to have it now. Retinol helps to reduce fine lines and smooth your complexion but I’ve also noticed a huge improvement in the overall look of my pores, especially in areas where I had some scarring from breakouts when I was younger.
Pixi Clarity Tonic
The Pixi Clarity Tonic is my latest toner buy that was a bit impulsive. Well, more out of desperation than impulsive. I was having a lot of breakouts, mostly mask-related, and I had enjoyed the Glow Tonic so much that I decided to get the Clarity Tonic since it had salicylic acid.
I’ve been using it for about a month now and it’s been an amazing skincare product for me. It’s helped to clear out the mask acne and overall smooth out my skin.
I wish I’d started using moisturizer much, much earlier than I actually did. While using moisturizer can seem like a counterintuitive skincare product, especially if you’ve got even slightly oily skin, moisturizing is the best thing you can do for your skin. Using a good moisturizer means your skin will slow down overproducing oil since it’s being properly hydrated. Here is a list of my favorite affordable moisturizers, including some thick moisturizers that are perfect for winter and dry skin.
CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin
This CeraVe lotion is an absolutely amazing skincare product for beginners, especially if you have heavily textured skin. This lotion helps to, as the name says, smooth out those rough skin areas, like maybe the back of your arms, or any other textured areas.
Combine this lotion with the Pixi Glow Tonic for the best smooth skin!
Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Water Gel
I got my hands on a sample of this moisturizer and it was absolutely amazing for my skin. It’s got hyaluronic acid which attracts moisture and helps hydrate your skin just that little bit more. There are even mini sizes available so you can try it and make sure it works for your skin before buying a larger size.
I started using it after I moved to Maine and my skin was having a hard time adjusting to the harsh winter. I also got the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Overnight Mask and the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask and I HIGHLY recommend both. That Maine winter was harsh on my skin and these products turned my skin around in just a few days.
Jergens Ultra Healing Moisturizing Lotion
Again, the Maine winter is harsh on the skin. And when it’s your body’s first-ever winter with freezing temperatures and constant snow weather? Yeah, it has a hard time adjusting after Charlotte’s mild temperatures. The day after I flew into Maine, it snowed several inches. And just a few days after that I could tell my skin was suffering.
Thankfully, I had a Target nearby and I grabbed a travel size of this Jergen’s lotion. I put it on every morning and evening and in the middle of the day if I could. It’s got a thicker consistency that really helps when moisturizing your face. It helped reduce cracks in my skin, especially around my nose.
So, if you need some major hydration ASAP, I highly recommend this affordable lotion plus the Neutrogena overnight mask mentioned above.
Flamingo Daily Moisturizing Lotion
This is my current obsession. An absolute hidden gem. I don’t even want to share about it here because it’s too good.
I no longer deal with harsh Maine winters, just occasional snow days in Maryland so I no longer require constant thick lotions. Instead, I’d been looking for a good daily moisturizer, and this more than fits the bill since it’s such a great affordable skincare product!
The Flamingo Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a genius combination of ingredients. It’s a fantastic daily lotion, not only for your face but also for your body. The best part? Squalene, shea butter, and white willow bark are some of the ingredients. This means that not only are you hydrating your skin but your skin texture also smooths over time!
It’s a perfect after-shower lotion, and then you can wake up with smooth AF skin!
4. Targeted Skincare Treatments
This section is all about products that provide targeted treatments for your skin. Whether it’s a serum, a mask, specific creams, or other skincare products, this list has a few targeting skincare treatments that have really worked!
Bliss Mighty Marshmallow Whipped Mask
This Bliss mask is the perfect partner to a good bath or relaxing self-care day. It provides a great refreshing feeling after you take it off. It’s also a super cute pink color that you can see in the picture!
The marshmallow mask provides some really great hydration to your skin, as well as a bit of microdermabrasion scrub.
For a spa night or a refreshing bath, this mask is the perfect choice as an affordable skincare product!
Bliss Pore Patrol Warming Oil Free Face Scrub
I’ve used this face scrub for a few years and it’s such a great basic scrub to have around. It’s gentle enough to use daily but it definitely helps to smooth out your skin and get a deeper clean.
The warming aspect of it is super nice and spa-like when you’re using the scrub, another perfect affordable skincare product for a relaxing bath!
Whenever I see this product on sale at Target, I always grab at least two to stay stocked!
Pixi pHenomenal Gel
This was a lifesaver when I first started using a mask when I went back to work. I began experiencing some maskne and it was so hard to have to deal with strong acne for the first time since puberty! Using this gel every morning before wearing a mask and every evening after cleansing really helped in decreasing my overall maskne.
Make sure you allow the gel to dry before wearing a mask so extra moisture isn’t building up underneath the mask or the gel isn’t being rubbed off.
Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum
With all the maskne I’ve been having, I’ve developed a few dark spots. While the Pixi toners were working really well, there was one spot that was being really stubborn and wasn’t going away as easily as others. I stopped by Sephora and picked up the mini version of this Murad dark spot serum. It’s only been a few days of using this serum in the evening and that stubborn dark spot has already faded to almost nothing. I had a few other dark spots that were lightening up with the Pixi toners but faded more quickly with this Murad serum.
A little bit of this serum goes a long way so I would highly recommend starting with the mini size, especially if you’ve only got a few dark spot areas. Though a bit more expensive than some of the other skincare products on this page, it’s definitely worth the money.
Laneige Good Night Kit
Laneige Good Night Kit includes a Water Sleeping Mask Mini and a Lip Sleeping Mask Mini in Berry.
I got this kit as a free birthday gift from Sephora and it was worth it! I’ve previously gotten a larger size of the lip sleeping mask and it’s kinda intimidating to have to use it within two years in order to finish it before the expiration date!
Instead, I would suggest that you get this skincare product kit and use this mini lip sleeping mask. This lip mask is perfect if you have dry lips or very textured lips. After using it a few times in a row to get rid of any texture, you can then space it out and use it more as maintenance for soft lips.
The mini water sleeping mask is a great way to test if this works for your skin. It’s also a really good way to strongly hydrate your skin overnight, especially during a dry winter season.
An important skincare product to start using right away is sunscreen. Sunscreen helps to protect your skin from the elements, especially if you’re using certain skincare products that might make your skin more sensitive to sunlight (like the Murad Dark Spot Serum). Here are a few of the sunscreens that I’ve tried and loved!
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion
This Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen is one of my favorites because it dries so nicely! It’s not super greasy and the shine is very light. The Ultra Sheer sunscreen line is a go-to choice as an everyday facial sunscreen.
I used the SPF 30 but I still noticed a change in color so I would really try the 45 or even 55 at a minimum.
Aveeno Protect & Hydrate Sunscreen Face Lotion
I received a sample of the Aveeno Protect & Hydrate sunscreen line and it was a really great combo of moisturizer and sunscreen.
If you’re looking to simplify your morning routine, this Aveeno Protect & Hydrate sunscreen could be a great way to both moisturize and protect your skin all in one step.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
I have not yet tried this sunscreen but after trying other Hydro Boost Gel products, this is definitely now on my to-try list! If you’ve also enjoyed other Hydro Boost Gel products and are looking for a moisturizing sunscreen, this could be a great option!
Skincare is such an important area where you should be working towards creating an affordable skincare routine that works for you and that you can follow consistently. Morning and evening skincare routines will look different for everyone but it’s important to keep in mind that these routines should be customized for you and your skin.
When creating these custom skincare routines for yourself, feel free to test products as often as you need and you can always read reviews from other people to see how it worked for them. One of my favorite tips is to use samplers or mini sizes before buying regular sizes! This can help keep costs affordable while trying new skincare products that work for you.
Whether you were looking for a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, a targeted skincare treatment, or SPF options, I hope this list connected you to some helpful and affordable skincare products for beginners! Many of these products I have used myself and I loved the change they brought to my skin.
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15+ Budget-Friendly Beginner Skincare Products.