Maintain your quality skincare routine on a reduced budget

An Advertising Feature

The prospect of skincare on a budget can seem particularly disheartening. Whether it’s down to insecurity or chemical sensitivity, many of us spend £100s each year on products, & that’s not even counting makeup. Don’t worry, though – you needn’t resort to soap, water & some old-fashioned moisturiser so oily that it leaves a cheerful 1940s sheen across your rosy, weather-beaten cheeks. Get the balance right & it’s possible to reduce your annual skincare spend from hundreds to tens of pounds, without sacrificing your skin.

The first step is to examine any stash of half-used products you have in your cupboard. Did you stop using it because you were simply tempted by yet another advert, & flitted to something shiny & new? Or did you stop using it because it didn’t work, or irritated your skin? Before you buy anything else, use up anything that worked.

Chuck out anything that didn’t, or even better, swap with friends or sell it on eBay. There’s no point forcing yourself to use something that’s wrong for your skin, especially if it’ll make you a few pounds. Famous brands can fetch surprisingly high bids online. Just make sure you describe everything honestly & include a good photo.

While you’re using up your stash, think carefully about what you honestly need. Once it’s time to buy something new, stay focused & don’t let yourself get distracted by adverts, trends or promotions. The cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best, either; it may contain rough chemicals, or require much more product to be effective.

A cleanser that dries your skin as little as possible reduces the need for moisturiser or special treatments to soothe red, scaly patches. This is especially important if you have sensitized skin. It’s also crucial for oily skin – this might seem counter-intuitive, but anything that sucks the oil from your face just encourages your skin to pump out more oil, so is best avoided.

“Hot cloth” style cleansers, which are applied to dry skin & then sponged off with a hot damp cloth, are particularly good investments. They last for ages & are great at lifting out every last bit of grime without using the chemicals that typically dry or irritate skin. Look for products that use natural ingredients, with as little alcohol, perfume & laureth sulfate as possible. After cleansing, splash a little cool water on your skin; it’s surprising how effectively this shrinks your pores over a few weeks, without toner or special pore-reducing treatments.

With your skin drying out much less than it used to, a decent (unperfumed) moisturiser should now last much longer. Apply a small amount, after cleansing & before makeup, but not at night – your skin rebalances itself overnight & does this better if left untreated.

For problem areas

Swap intensive vitamin E products for a small bottle of vitamin E oil from the health-food shop. It’s thick, sticky stuff; either warm a tiny blob on your fingertip & dab onto target areas (like those vertical lines above your lip), or mix a little with almond oil & massage gently onto your face during a bath. The same goes for vitamin A – you can even buy a blend of both. The oils last longer than the branded “solutions”, & contain fewer chemicals.