If you’ve made the leap from drugstore products or department store products into the realm of high performance, professional grade skincare, you’ve already noticed you’re paying more for your products. The good news is – you’re actually getting more for your money.
But where to start? Which products to buy first? When building your ground-up skincare routine, start with establishing a budget and then choose the most bang for the buck product for each budget category. Let’d dive in.
Remember when you’re creating that budget, that we’re talking about an investment in your face, with benefits that will last a lifetime. High quality skincare products are concentrated, which means you use very little of them for each application, which means they should last you at least three months.
For example, a $50 skincare buy, averaged over a three month period is roughly $16.50 per month – about the same as three Starbucks runs per month for three months.
If you make a $100 investment, over three months that comes to about $33.30 per month. What else do you spend about $30 bucks a month on? Is it more important than your face?
Got all that? Let’s move on to shopping!
Let’s go over three scenarios for skin care budgeting that will give you options for everything from an intro level, super minimalist budget to full-blown skin care maximalism (in case you just won the lottery).
You have $50 to invest in your skincare
$50 Budget = Cleanser
In this scenario, hands down, you are going to buy a high quality cleanser.
The right cleanser can change your life
This cleanser should be a non-foaming cleanser, specific to your skin type, used once a day at night.
Most quality cleansers fall into the $30 to $40 range which leaves you $10 to $20 to spend on something else. Opt for one of these two things – a non-alcohol based facial wipe or a micellar water. Either of these products will help complete the cleansing process by removing any residual makeup, and ensure that when you go to sleep at night, your skin is clean AF. Why is this so important?
Do you really want to spend the night rubbing your face back and forth over your pillowcase all night, unless your skin is absolutely clean? We think not.
You have $100 to invest in your skincare
$100 Budget = Cleanser and Sunscreen
With $100 we’re going to get maximum bang for the buck by choosing a cleanser and a skincare grade sunscreen.
An SPF product with skincare grade ingredients is going to run between $40 and $50, and it’s going to be entirely worth it because it will protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays and also function as a beautiful primer for your makeup. Plus, a skincare grade facial product with SPF is unlikely to break you out in the way a drugstore product might.
You have $100 to $200 to spend
$100 to $200 Budget – Cleanser, serum and sunscreen
In this scenario, you really can get a complete skincare program going and check off some skin goals.
We know you’re getting a cleanser and
we know you’re getting an SPF product – (because – you only get one face)
Now we’re going to add in a targeted serum that addresses your main skin concern.
When you have the right serum (layered under a skincare grade facial sunscreen), you can often get away without using a moisturizer, particularly if your skin is not excessively dry or excessively oily.
Serums are concentrated actives with no fluff and retarget a wide variety of skin care solutions. They also tend to be “expensive” no matter what your budget may be – but the reason they have a higher price tag is because they are highly concentrated actives, which is why they come in those tiny little bottles.
A drop or two once or twice a day should be sufficient for most, apply it only to your fingertips (never the plan of your hand), tap it on quickly all over your face. Never wipe excess serum onto a towel, are you mad? That sh*t is expensive! If you have any left, press the remaining product into your neck or the back of your hands.
Build a Collection
Now let’s say you win the lottery, and you can spend whatever you want on your skin care. Welcome to the maximalist zone!
You are now going to build your ideal skincare program and here’s what is in it –
cleanser, serum, SPF, mask, eye cream, moisturizer.
You need an eye cream, either as a preventative measure or to correct the wild shenanigans of your youth, like laying out with tin foil around your face or going to tanning beds.
We’re also going to add in a mask (or two, or three). Masks are great to have on hand because they target immediate, pop-up skin concerns in one or two treatments.
For example, if you’re having a breakout – go to a clay mask.
Skin feeling dry? Reach for a hydrating mask.
Let’s say you’re someone who’s over 35, and you have a day when you wake up and you just feel like your skin looks effing tired, you’re going to want a lifting mask. Such a thing exists, and these masks actually work .
This next bit may sound counterintuitive – consider adding a moisturizer into your skin care routine last
especially if you are not excessively dry or you’re not excessively oily.
Moisturizers seal your skin’s moisture barrier and they can help to control excess oil production. This is helpful if your skin falls on one end of the spectrum or the other. But bang for the buck if you’re already using a serum specific to your skin concerns , you could probably wait on the moisturizer. But if moisturizer is your ride die and you are not going anywhere without it, buy that first and then add your mask(s) later.
There are other lovely products you can add to your fantasy maximalist skin skincare routine – beautiful facial oils (use with your gua sha!), toners and micellar water. All of these products can be built in over time. Since these non-core products are used less frequently or in small amounts, they last a while.
For example a mask can last a very long time indeed, so when you see that price tag of $50 or $60, don’t freeze up – do the math. If that mask lasts you six months, you’re paying $10 a month to have a product in your emergency kit that can help ease your skin through a break-out or a freak-out.
Do you feel like you’ve your brain wrapped around different ways that you can approach budgeting for your skincare? Even with the smallest budget, you can still get good results as long as you choose the right products and purchase them in the right order.
If you have questions about anything that we’ve talked about today, please leave them in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!