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It’s 2021, and these days, we know enough to say that skincare is essential. With the sun, cold weather and a variety of makeup products hitting our skin daily, it’s vital to keep up some routine — but the problem? It can be costly.
To help, we have a round-up of the most affordable skincare products on the market (that actually work).
As some of you can surely relate, my skin went through some significant changes after leaving university. My once oily skin became dry, my under eyes looked “cakey” with my usual full coverage concealer, and my reflection now showed fine lines in places that weren’t there before. It was honestly overwhelming and not talked about enough to take care of our skin once we leave teenage and young adulthood.
In a panic, I turned to skincare and trying every product under the sun. At first, I had no idea what I was doing – having only ever used face wash and moisturizer my whole life and now seeing fancy words like serums, acids, exfoliators, spot treatments, etc. I also had decided to go “clean” with my skincare and beauty products due to some health issues. I’m glad I made a transition, but it was all the more confusing at the time.
My journey involved:
Dabbling in “natural” skincare.
Creating concoctions out of shea butter and coconut oil
Scooping up whatever was in the health aisle of the grocery store
Buying what I saw celebrities use on YouTube
I’m prepared to say that I dropped a lot of money trialling new things before I found what worked throughout my journey. During my Youtube’ Beauty Secret’ phase, I felt that I might have to drop $500 on a routine like these celebrities to have great skin. Luckily, through watching other skincare influencers like Hyram, Doctorly, and Dr. Dray, I learned that cheaper is often better, and you don’t need to turn anywhere other than the drugstore for the skin of your dreams.
Finally, I feel confident in taking care of my skin and looking for a good product or brand overall. Here are some of my top skincare brands that don’t break the budget and avoid the use of fragrance or other harsh chemicals (although each product may vary, so always do your research).
Price range: $5 – $20
Where to find: sephora.com, theordinary.deciem.com
About the brand: The Ordinary is a Canadian skincare company under the Deciem umbrella of companies. Many people from Toronto will remember visiting their store in the Distillery District when they first started as a local business, before ultimately taking off in only a few years. The brand was founded with a mission to provide more transparency and pricing fairness in the beauty industry. Through their clinical, the increased transparency is no BS product names that tell consumers exactly what they’re putting on their skin. They have disrupted the luxury skincare industry by offering the same formulations at a fraction of the cost. They are most well known for their various serums to target your specific skin concerns.
My favourite products: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
Price range: $10 – $25
Where to find: shopperdrugmart.ca, cerave.ca
About the brand: CeraVe has been a household name for a while but has made significant waves with younger users on Tiktok recently. It was even sold out at drugstores across the country at one point. It’s known for being a simple and effective brand backed by dermatologists and great for sensitive skin. They’re most famous for their moisturizers with their patented ceramide technology to help restore the skin’s moisture barrier. They are only starting to upgrade their product range but are a great go-to for your favourite cleanser and moisturizer for dry skin.
My favourite products: Hydrating Cleanser, Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Moisturizing Cream
Price range: $5 – $20
Where to find: sephora.com, theinkeylist.com
About the brand: The Inkey List is a UK company that’s only stepped onto the scene recently as a competitor for The Ordinary. They also preach transparency and creating affordable skincare for everyone. The Inkey List is highly innovative with its extensive product list, using buzzy new ingredients like Bakuchiol or Q10. They also just launched a new sunscreen! You’re sure to find something right for your skin and your wallet.
My favourite products: Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum, Retinol Anti-Aging Serum, Oat Cleansing Balm
Price range: $15 – $25
Where to find: shopperdrugmart.ca, indeedlabs.com
About the brand: Indeed Laboratories is another newer Canadian company hopping on the “get luxe for less” trend, and I love it! They originally started with the mission to help people feel comfortable in their skin on camera and real-life and have continued to provide clinically proven skincare without the use of parabens or fragrance. They also have products that merge skincare and makeup so that instead of compromising your skin, your makeup is helping! These include their tinted lip treatments and bronzing drops. They have a wide range of products and packages to work for you.
My favourite products: Bakuchiol Resurface Pads, Nonobronze Bronzing Drops, Vitamin C24
Price range: $15 – $30
Where to find: shopperdrugmart.ca, versedskin.com
About the brand: Versed titles themselves as “The cleanest drugstore brand. Period.” I’m not sure if that’s true, but they certainly have many Environmental Working Group (EWG) certified products – meaning that a third party has verified their use of clean ingredients. They also preach sustainability and achieving net neutral carbon admissions – something that I hope will guide all companies to do the same. Versed has some of the most excellent packagings, in my opinion, and the product doesn’t disappoint either. Be sure to check out some of their products the next time you find yourself at the drug store for your new favourite retinol or cleansing balm.
My favourite products: Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum, Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum, Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream
As a self-proclaimed skincare guru, I certainly enjoyed sharing some of my favourite brands and products with you and would love to know if you tried any of them. I’m always interested in sharing secrets and great finds for less. If you have a favourite low-cost skincare product that I didn’t mention, be sure to comment down below!
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Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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