Pure Clay Cleanser Purify & Mattify, $6.99 at Ulta
This isn’t a clay mask, it’s an innovative clay-to-mousse cleanser. It offers the deep-cleaning benefits of a clay treatment but in a formula that can be used daily. The product contains three types of clay that effectively unclog pores and reduce shine. And, unlike many clay products, it washes away easily.
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, $4.90 at The Ordinary
The Ordinary is changing the skin care world by showing that quality science-backed skin care products can be affordable. This pimple fighter costs under $5 and only a dot is needed to cover breakouts, so it’s an incredible value. Keep the treatment handy to treat eruptions.
Water Pocket Sheet Mask Sleeping Mask (Replenishing), $6 at Sephora
Laneige’s Water Bank Moisture Cream is a hero product for moisturizing skin, but at $35, it’s over our budget. This replenishing sheet mask is just as effective at hydrating skin. The nonslip mask is crafted with Moisture Wrap technology. It features tiny diamond-shaped water pockets that slowly release the essence for the most effective treatment. Make it part of a weekly masking regimen.
Acne Fighting Gel Acne Treatment, $2 at Walmart
That price isn’t a typo. For just $2, you get all the pimple-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil, witch hazel, salicylic acid and green tea. What it doesn’t have is parabens, phthalates and sulfates. And it couldn’t be easier to apply: Simply roll it on and it will take care of redness, swelling and breakouts.
Daily Face Cleanser, $8.99 at Ulta
There is actually a smaller version of this cleanser for under $5, but it’s worth upgrading to the big one because it’s that good. Cetaphil is a favorite brand of dermatologists and skin care enthusiasts thanks to its inexpensive formulas that work. The noncomedogenic foaming cleanser takes away dirt, oil and grime without irritating skin or making it feel tight.
Complete All Day UV Moisturizer SPF 15 Sensitive Skin, $8.99 at Ulta
Those with sensitive skin don’t always have to pay a premium price to get a nonirritating product. Case in point: Olay’s Complete All Day UV Moisturizer. It’s dermatologist tested, noncomedogenic and free of oils, fragrance and PABA. The formula is lightweight and nongreasy. Plus, it contains SPF 15 for those times when we forget to apply (and reapply) sunscreen.
Beauty Infusion Purifying Sea Kelp + Probiotics In-Shower Mask, $7.99 at CVS
Get better skin while showering with an in-shower mask. This one has probiotics and mermaid-approved sea kelp to purify and improve the texture of skin. Apply the mask before popping in the shower. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off.
Fresh Foaming Cleanser, $6.99 at Ulta
Don’t let the minimalist blue bottle fool you; this inexpensive cleanser delivers results. The foaming formula takes off built up dirt, oil and makeup, including waterproof formulas. It’s effective, but doesn’t sting eyes or leave faces feeling uncomfortably tight.
Designer Zebra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $7.59 at Ulta
These pore strips aren’t just satisfying to rip off. They also help dislodge deep-down dirt, oil and impurities. Apply the strip to a wet, freshly cleansed nose. After 10 to 15 minutes, rip off the dry strip to see all the impurities it has released. This limited-edition zebra design has plenty of Insta appeal, but the same effectiveness as the classic strips.
Cleansing Micellar Water, $7.99 at Ulta
Those who have tried micellar waters swear by them. This budget-friendly product condenses skin care routines because it cleanses, hydrates and removes makeup. What it doesn’t do is irritate skin or leave behind a sticky residue. Best of all, it can be dabbed on with a cotton pad and doesn’t need to be rinsed off.
Vitamin C Brightening Clay Mask, $4 at Derma E
Vitamin C is a transformative skin care ingredient, but it’s notoriously unstable. That means that once the product is opened, it starts degrading. The solution? One-time-use options like this brightening mask. It’s enriched with superfoods like turmeric and kale to increase brightness.
Avocado & Grapefruit Masque, $5.49 at Sally Beauty
Avocados aren’t the most affordable fruits but this grapefruit and avocado mask comes in way under budget. The unique clay-gel formula is suitable for those with normal to dry skin in need of a pick-me-up. It nourishes, tones and removes impurities.
Cupcake Fresh Face Mask, $9.95 at Lush
Whoever said chocolate was bad for your skin never met this mask. It contains cocoa powder and fresh mint, so it smells like a mint chocolate bar. But the ingredients aren’t just there for the sweet scent, they also help mattify and calm redness.
Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub, $3.59 at Target
There’s a reason people try this scrub and never bother looking for any other products. The cheap skin care pick is dermatologist tested and natural. It uses apricot fruit powder (of course) and walnut shell powder to gently buff away dead skin, leaving skin glowing. It’s effective, but gentle enough that it can be used three to four times a week.
It’s been drilled into our heads that the more money we spend on something, the better it will be. Rather than buying OK things at bargain prices, we should be saving our hard-earned dollars for quality, splurge-worthy options. It is true in certain situations (see: designer handbags and organic, in-season fruit from the farmers market) but it’s doing a disservice to all the amazing, affordable beauty products out there. There are inexpensive makeup dupes that are loved more than their luxury counterparts, drugstore products that are cult favorites and cheap skin care products that deliver visible results.
Celebrities may be able to spend thousands on their skin care routines but the rest of us just don’t have that luxury. We want products that do what they promise and won’t have us seeing red. Thankfully, we don’t have to go searching too hard for affordable products with effective ingredients that deliver noticeable results. Need proof? Here are 14 cheap skin care products that improve skin and cost less than $10.[ Next: Skin Care on the Cheap: 11 Products That Really Work for Under $20 ]
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