Skincare On a Budget

Hello everyone!

Hope you’re all having a lovely March so far! I was watching this Youtube video a while back which talked about doing skincare when you’re broke, which inspired me to do this blog post. I know when I was younger and starting out with skincare, I didn’t have a lot of money (no job), but I still wanted to take care of my skin. I wasn’t that knowledgeable back then about skincare either, so really I just bought stuff from the supermarket without doing much research on it and to be honest, a lot of that stuff didn’t work for me. Might’ve been because of my skin type back then, or because it just wasn’t a good product.

Anyways, I’m here today to talk about creating a little skincare routine whilst on a budget. Every product featured will be $20 and under, and I will only cover the very basics (I will not touch on diet/exercise/other aspects that may affect your skin etc.). Please note, all opinions are my own and I am in no way a professional, if you require professional advice please seek a licensed professional.

The very basic aspects of a skincare routine:

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturiser
  • Sunscreen
  • Exfoliator


The purpose is in its name – to clean! Cleanser helps get rid of everything you’ve come across throughout the day. Some people cleanse in the morning, others just splash their face with water. Personally I used to cleanse in the morning, but nowadays I just wash my face with some water, to cut down on using so many products.

For the night time, it’s most important to cleanse all the makeup, sunscreen, dirt, pollution, etc. that you may face throughout your daily activities. The type of cleanser you choose may depend on your skin type and personal preference.

Some of my favourite ones are:

  • Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser/Sukin Cream Cleanser ($10.99) – Sukin often goes on sale for half price, so it’s a really affordable cleanser. I’ve used the foaming one and it was alright, it’s a basic cleanser formulated without all the nasties like SLS, fragrance and parabens etc.
  • Innisfree Green Tea Foam Cleanser ($15) – If you’re able to get a hold of Innisfree products, please do check them out. They are all relatively affordable, and they have pretty good ingredients. What I like about their cleansers is that they don’t strip my skin, which some cleansers do. They have a whole range of different cleansers depending on skin type as well.
  • The Face Shop Herb Day 365 Master Blending Foaming Cleanser ($13) – There’s about 6 or so different cleansers in the series, the one linked is the aloe and green tea one. I’ve personally tried a few of their cleansers and I can’t fault them. They are at such a good price point and come in a large size. One of my favourite cleansers seriously.

Now… if you wear makeup throughout the day, then you’ll need a cleanser for that as well. Forget micellar water, because cleansing oil and cleansing balm will be your best friend. The thing I don’t like about micellar water is that it leaves a…weird feeling on the skin once you remove your makeup. I’ve read that you’re meant to wash it off, or go through with a rinse afterwards to prevent this, but I might as well invest in a cleansing oil for a more effective cleanse. This concept of double cleansing will really give your face a deep clean. Essentially the oil will break down any makeup or sunscreen on your face, then you wash that off and go through with your normal cleanser afterwards.

Some of my favourites are:

  • Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Oil Hydrating ($9.99) – One of my repurchases that is at a great price point and doesn’t let me down! The main ingredient is grapeseed oil, and the product isn’t formulated with any harsh ingredients either! Many people from IG have reached out to me saying they love this oil as well 🙂
  • The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil ($16.50) – Another great affordable cleansing oil! It’s available in Light and Rich, and to be honest, I didn’t notice a great deal of a difference between the two. This comes in a pump with a stopper, so it’s perfect for travelling because you can prevent spills – I took it travelling once and it didn’t leak at all.
  • Face Halo ($13) – This is really good and effective at removing a full face without using an external cleansing liquid. It’s double sided, so use one side, then use the other side the next day then either wash it with a bar of antibacterial soap (only between washes), then pop into the washing machine for a proper clean, each week. These last hundreds of uses and are more environmentally friendly.


A moisturiser helps hydrate and protect your skin. You may have seen day and night moisturisers on the market. Day moisturisers have SPF in them, though some moisturisers don’t label themselves that way and can be used day and night.

Night moisturisers tend to have more actives, and are thicker in texture. Night moisturisers help to penetrate your skin when you sleep and ensures your skin stays hydrated when you’re sleeping. Personally, I don’t use night creams, unless they happen to be gifted to me by friends or co-workers, then I just try to use them up.

As long as you have a decent moisturiser that works for your skin, you can just use that day and night. Also I would like to note that moisturisers with SPF may not always be a sufficient SPF, e.g. they don’t protect you as much as a sunscreen does, so keep that in mind. Also if you choose to purchase a moisturiser with SPF, make sure it’s at least SPF 30 – SPF 8, SPF 15 and SPF 20, will not protect your skin at all.

My recommendations:

  • Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream ($19) – Small size, but I love this so much! Gel creams have such an amazing texture, and I prefer them over creams. They absorb so much better IMO and leave my skin feeling so hydrated. This one contains 80% Snail Filtrate, which helps improve moisture levels and skin complexion.
  • Natio Rosewater Hydration Moisture Boost Day Cream-Gel ($19.95) – Another gel cream, this has a great texture and hydrates my skin so well. It’s available in a night gel cream as well! It has rosewater, sesame oil and sweet almond oil, which helps hydrate the skin!
  • Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream ($17~) – Loved using this one, hydrated my skin well. There are different ones for different skin types I believe, but when I purchased this I only saw the Combination one. The only thing I’m not a fan of, is that it comes in a tub. for hygienic reasons, I prefer tubes or pumps, just makes things a little bit easier!


Sunscreen. The easily accessible product to prevent premature aging, skin cancer and any sun damage. When choosing sunscreens, it can be pretty overwhelming because there are so many on the market. Always follow the directions on the back and apply liberally – it’s better to apply more, than apply less. Reapply every 2 hours if swimming, sweating, etc. or even if you’re not being that active, you should still reapply!

There are two kinds of sunscreens, let me break it down:

Chemical – contains organic filters which absorb UV rays, before they penetrate the skin.

Ingredients/actives to look for in chemical sunscreens – oxybenzone, octocrylene and homosalate.

Positives – great under makeup, easily absorbed into skin and don’t leave a white cast.

Negatives – may not be suitable for sensitive skin, so always patch test.

Physical – they sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays. Also known as mineral sunscreens or natural sunscreens.

Ingredients to keep an eye on – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Positives – Zinc oxide is a great product for the skin.

Negatives – Possibility of leaving a white cast, due to thicker and whiter appearance (compared to chemical sunscreens).

To read more, click here.

My recommendations are:

  • Ego Sunsense Sunsense Sport Lotion SPF 50+ ($17.50) – I love this one under my makeup, I used to use their moisturising one for the face and neck, but I found that pilled up after sometime of using it. I use this all over my body actually and I’ve never been burnt, it works every time!
  • Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen ($18) – This is available in a larger size, though it is $40. I love this for under makeup because it sits really well and doesn’t pill up. Doesn’t make me super oily either which is amazing. High protection and is also available in a SPF 30+!


Exfoliators help get rid of the dead skin cells on our face, and this can be done through chemical exfoliation or physical exfoliation – like the sunscreen!

Chemical exfoliation uses active ingredients to help exfoliate the top layer of the skin (exfoliates interally by getting into the skin) and doesn’t need to be washed off – except in the case of chemical peels such as The Ordinary AHA/BHA Peel, but I’m not going to speak more about that. With chemical exfoliants, I recommend reading up on them more thoroughly, because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will severely damage your skin. Chemical exfoliants require you to wear sunscreen the following day (which you should be doing anyway!), and take more precaution when in the sun – try to stay in the shade and wear a hat (which you should be doing anyways). There may be stages of purging when trying out chemical exfoliants for the first time – check out Lab Muffin’s blog post for more info.

My recommendations are:

  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% HA 2% ($12.40) – this is also available in a 10% which is a little stronger, but if you’re new to acids then try the 5% first. Make sure you read the packaging before using and follow the instructions clearly to avoid any damage to your skin.
  • Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid ($18.70) – This uses natural AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and Glycolic Acid to gently exfoliate the skin. The formula is gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin, but patch test as always.
  • The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution ($14.50) – Such a popular product in the beauty community! If you’re in Australia, your best bet to getting your hands on this product is by getting shipped from overseas. It cannot be sold in Australia due to regulations, and if you see if it in Australia, chances are it’s fake so don’t risk the purchase. This is similar to a chemical peel you would get in a salon (the effects of the peel that is), and requires washing off. I would not recommend this for those who are new to acids as your skin is not used to acids yet, I would recommend starting off with either of the two above – but not at the same time of course. I would recommend this for those who have used actives on their skin before, as they are more likely to be able to tolerate it.

Physical exfoliation like scrubs, or things with granules in them, exfoliate externally and need to be washed off. The infamous St Ives scrubs are an example of a physical exfoliant. If you choose to use a physical exfoliant, try to use a gentle exfoliator, like rice powder, those are great gentle physical exfoliators.

My recommendations:

  • Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off ($16~) – This is a 2 in 1 product, you can use it as a wash off mask and an exfoliator. It’s recommended for those with sensitive skin to add some water onto the mask before using it. This mask can be diluted to suit your needs and does a great job at gently exfoliating the skin. It’s also available in other variations such as strawberry and honey.
  • Skinfood Rice Mask Wash Off ($16~) – Loved this one and it works similar to the Black Sugar Mask too! The rice in this is really fine and helps to brighten the skin as you’re exfoliating. The texture is similar to a cream, because of how fine the rice is!
  • Simple Kind To Skin Facial Scrub Smoothing ($9.99) – Simple does some pretty decent products sometimes and this happens to be one of them. It has Vitamin E and rice granules to exfoliate and moisturise the skin simultaneous. This is more suited for those with sensitive skin, though I’m sure if you don’t have sensitive skin, you can still benefit from this affordable scrub.

As you get more into skincare, you may think about adding in a serum, essence, toner or more! A good place to start would be Korean Beauty, I love a lot of their products and they’re quite gentle on the skin and formulated well – but of course, do your own research to find what’s best for you! I also like The Ordinary, great affordable products that yield great results! An alternative would be The Inkey List, which I can’t comment on because I personally haven’t tried their products, but I’ve heard good things from bloggers and other Instagrammers.

That’s all I have for this week! Stay tuned for next weeks post where I look at makeup on a budget!

What’s one of your favourite skincare products on a budget?

With love,

2 Replies to “Skincare On a Budget”

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