September 25, 2022


Youth trendy style

Here’s How To Cheaply Change Up Your Skincare Routine

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.


First and foremost, it’s time to give your medicine cabinet a thorough scouring — and by that we mean tossing any and all products that may have (*ahem* definitely have) expired. It’s absolutely possible you’re slathering your complexion with a vitamin C serum that should have met its maker last year.


Consider using a retinoid formula, a fancy ingredient that promotes cell turnover to reveal a new layer of skin and swoop deep into your pores. This Differin Adapalene Gel acne treatment is *the* strongest thing you can purchase without a prescription and helps penetrate that painful zit at its root!

An FYI that this product is super strong, so it may take your complexion a while to adjust! Reviewers recommend moisturizing immediately after use because it tends to dry out your skin and make it a bit sensitive.

Promising review: “This is by far the best acne product I’ve ever used. Hands down. This is coming from someone who had tried over 20 different products to get rid of my acne (I use to spend over $100 for other acne lines). I have been using this product for about three weeks and have gotten a TOTAL of three tiny zits since I started. I started this product when I got five cystic zits in one day. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing! It’s even helping me remove my acne scars. I cannot rave enough about this product, it changed everything for me. Only side effect is it makes your skin super dry and flaky so moisturize well. Invest in a good moisturizer and you are golden.” —Kassi

Get it from Amazon for $12.31+ (available in two sizes).


Before shopping for any new products, take a quick skin-identity quiz to determine whether your skin is actually dry or just dehydrated (there’s a difference). Questions regarding everything from stress levels to daily routine will allow you to more accurately pin down your skin type and, as a result, the most beneficial routine.


Sheet masks are an affordable luxury that your complexion deserves. There’s only one problem = they never remain in place, which means your skin isn’t properly reaping in alllll those hydrating benefits. Try a reusable silicone holder so that nothing slips off at the slightest hint of movement.


Simply slide this over said sheet mask and you’ll be able to hydrate your complexion while roaming your abode freely — no more having to remain still as a statue for 15 minutes.

Promising review: “Excellent at holding other masks that slide off or dry out into your face. I can vacuum, email, cook, do other things while tending to my skincare needs. Easy to rinse and hang dry over and over again (I’ve used it almost daily since receiving them). Comfortable to wear (I’ve gotten side tracked cleaning and wearing for a couple of hours and the cream+gel mask under was STILL MOIST)!” —KV

Get a set of two from Amazon for $11.99.


Small changes often have the *biggest* impact when it comes to managing breakouts. Acne-causing bacteria loves to rest on your pillowcase, cell phone, and towel — so while I know that laundry day is a dreaded occasion, prioritize cleaning and swapping surfaces that your face comes in contact with every day.


Enlist the help of benzoyl peroxide for giving acne the boot! Reviewers and TikTokers swear that this PanOxyl acne foaming wash, which contains a whopping 10% of said trusty ingredient, is truly worth the hype despite it’s affordable price tag.


Promising review: “This product is amazing with amazing results. I have adult hormonal acne problems and this wash clears it up. It does dry out the skin so monitoring the dryness is necessary. I use this with a light moisturizer to help balance my skin. I definitely recommend this wash for people struggling to clear up stubborn acne.” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $9.48.


Learning when to apply what is the 🔑 to skincare success because it effects the performance of each product. For example, applying eye cream *after* your moisturizer will decrease the effectiveness of the eye cream. So in conclusion: Study the below order. Memorize the below order. Live by the below order.


Prevent picking and ~drain~ those zits at maximum speed by slapping on a Hero Cosmetics Hydrocolloid mighty patch. In addition to the fact that they just truly work, these transparent stickers also won’t leave behind any residue on your pillow (unlike traditional goopy spot treatments).,

Promising review: “This sucks up the pus from those deep painful whiteheads and brings it to the surface. I’m totally fascinated. Where have you been my whole life? I suffer from hormonal adult acne and this really helped to reduce the inflammation and my pimples heals so much faster. The patch holds up well and it’s a reminder to stop touching that pimple. I’m very tempted to pop it, but popping it leaves to scarring. It’s also quite invisible, so you can get away with wearing it outside. Good stuff!” —Karin Chang

Get a pack of 36 patches from Amazon for $12.50.


Or! Use Hero Cosmetics might patch surface strips to treat cluster breakouts (cc: that special time of the month in which your jawline is shown no mercy) with the same medical-grade hydrocolloid formula featured above. All you’ll have to do is peel and stick.

Promising review: “As embarrassing as this is to admit, I have had issues with body and butt acne like no other. I had tried everything to clear them up, but nothing helped. I’m horrible at picking at blemishes as well, so I decided to give these a try. I LOVE these patches!! Even better that they come in large patches, which was a lifesaver for cluster bumps! WHOA! I would leave these on for eight to 10 hours and it would draw so much of the pus out. After just one use of a patch, I noticed a dramatic difference and sometimes it completely cleared them up.” —Ashley

Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $17.99.


Exfoliate sensitive skin two to three times a week cc: gentle ingredients like papaya and pineapple enzymes, which can be found in this Bliss jelly peel exfoliator. This gently sloughs away dead skin cells to reveal a canvas smoother than any baby’s bottom, so talk about leaving only the good stuff ~behind~, eh?

@bliss / Via

Promising review: “One of my favorite Youtubers recommended this face wash so I got it to try…and it’s AMAZING! I wasn’t sure what to expect because it looks like gel but when you rub it on your face — your gross, old dead skin peels away and makes your skin feel like butter. I was shocked!! I did it three times in a row and my face feels brand-new. It’s shockingly effective with no rough abrasive feel (super sensitive skin here). Highly recommend this face wash!” —Brittany Johnston

Get it from Amazon for $9.97.

Want more recs? Here are seven amazing beauty products we can’t live without.


Use Vaseline if you’re tired of waking up to yesterday’s makeup smeared all over your pillowcase. This tub of tried-and-true petroleum jelly is here to get rid of all the mascara (even the waterproof kind) that your cleanser left behind.


Address chapped lips once and for all by slathering on an overnight mask pre-slumber. This I Dew Care balm is particularly lovely because it contains shea butter, cocoa butter, hibiscus flower extract, and vitamin C, that way you’ll be hitting snoozed with a truly nourished pout. No flakes. Ever again.


It comes with a lil’ spatula so you don’t have to use your fingers.

Promising review: “My lips have never been softer or more moisturized during the day!! This is my holy grail product. It’s worth it.” —Ash

Get it from Amazon for $16.


Combat scarring and cystic acne indentations by incorporating a micro needle roller into the mix. This specific model is more affordable than other rollers on the market (we’re talking an $80 difference) but equally as effective. #bless

As Is / BuzzFeed,

Plus, this can improve the effectiveness of all the products in your skincare regiment. Just roll this back and forth about four to five times on each problem area, and be sure to apply just a tiny touch of pressure to avoid hurting your skin.

Also! Sterilize before and after use. When you’re done with it, be sure to store it in the provided case to keep it nice and protected.

Promising review: “The older I get, the longer my skin takes to heal and it’s brutal. I bought this on a whim and goodness, it’s awesome. It has noticeably sped up my healing process. Indentations are filling in, raised patches are flattening out, and dark spots are lightening up. It is crazy effective.” —Brittany Lynn Wolff

Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

Check out this video of BuzzFeeders trying micro-needling for acne scars.


Add ~essence~ to your nighttime routine; it’s a simple way to take dull, tired skin and lead it greener pastures (*insert idyllic farm image here*). Patting on this Cosrx Galactomyces 95 tone balancing essence pre-moisturizer gives your complexion a combo of hyaluronic acid and panthenol, both of which provide ultimate hydration but manage to absorbs quickly! No grease. No stick.


Promising review: “Yes yes YES. Lightweight and effective. I heard about this product through a YouTuber and wasn’t sure if the product would live up to the hype. Now, it’s a staple in my morning facial routine.” —JSB

Get it from Amazon for $14.20.


If you have a dry-to-normal complexion, opt for face washes that won’t strip your skin of moisture. The
La Roche-Posay Toleriane hydrating cleanser
is a wonderful recco because it manages to pick up makeup and impurities while maintaining your natural pH balance, aka you won’t be scooping out pounds of cream due to your complexion feeling parched., / Via @larocheposayusa

This daily cleanser contains prebiotic thermal water, ceramide-3, niacinamide, and glycerin.

Promising review: “This is very gentle on my sensitive skin. My face feels very clean after I use it without being overly tight or dry. This one is working out really well so far after several months of daily use.” —P.

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.


Lull yourself to sleep with Diva Stuff anti-bacterial pillow mist — it’s got a divine lavender scent and, get this, a few spritzes will obliterate the acne-causing bacteria that’s built up on your bedding. Because while we know we should switch our pillow cases more often… come on, who has the time? Certainly not I.*


*I very much have the time.

Diva Stuff is a family-run and woman-owned business based in Florida.

Promising review: “I have really acne-prone skin and breakouts still happening in my thirties. I spray this each night on my silk pillow and my zits have minimized drastically!” —Alina Hepfler

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.


I know, I know, you’ve already heard it a million times: drink eight glasses of water a day. But let’s make it a million and one: HYDRATE. Making sure you consume enough H20 will brighten up your complexion and increase your skin’s elasticity.


…and here are four delicious fruit-infused water recipes if guzzling down H20 feels like an annoying chore. I’m pretty sure that adding grapefruit and mint to a mason jar has a 100% chance of making you feel like the fanciest person in the entire Milky Way.


If you’ve read up on the benefits of ACV but detest the taste, I get it. Add a bottle of The Inkey List apple cider vinegar peel to your skincare routine instead: it’s got10% glycolic acid and fruit enzymes, which gently reduce redness and dark spots to reveal a glowing complexion.


Promising review: “I have a very serious skin care regimen, and use a retinol daily which tends to cause some dryness. When I use this, it keeps the flakes at bay from my retinol. My skin looks bright and fresh without being overly tight or sensitive. This is a fabulous product for the price point on their line. It’s not a peel that you’re going to see a massive difference with — that takes an esthetician. For just keeping freshened up, this will do the trick at a way lower price than some high-end competition!” —Lacey84

Get it from Sephora for $14.99.


Vacuum up stubborn gunk that has so rudely decided to take residence on your nose with Lift Off pore strips. These remove built-up dirt and oil with one satisfying pull, plus a soothing aloe vera extract means it’s *especially* gentle on your skin and not nearly as abrasive as [insert competitor strips here].


Promising review: “Pore strips that actually work for me! I’ve tried tons and they never seem to pull up the gunk from my nose. Was thrilled with the results. There’s also a decent amount of strips per box for the price. Would buy again.” —Erin C.

Get a set of eight from Starface for $5.99.


Provide your peepers with peptides and hyaluronic acid, two ingredients that banish dark circles and fine lines to the pits of heck. Luxe eye creams usually cost around a trillion dollars, but this e.l.f. Cosmetics hydrating eye cream is considered a holy grail and will run you ~$10. Yes, you have just struck gold.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Promising review: “I had been looking for a new daytime eye cream to wear with or without makeup, and I’m so glad I bought this! It moisturizes my under eye area so my skin looks tighter and brighter without makeup, and when I do wear makeup, it looks nice! Not dry or greasy. I can’t wait to see results as time goes on!” —ohmygodshelly

Get it from e.l.f. Cosmetics for $10.


That delightfully fruity body lotion smells divine, but the harsh ingredients *may* be contributing to the pesky devil known as bacne. Try out the hyped CeraVe moisturizing lotion instead — it’s free of irritating fragrances and oils *and* suitable for face and body, so you can feel confident knowing your skin won’t react with every slather. More than 20,000 (!!!!) reviewers swear by this formula for moisturizing their sensitive skin…no redness, no breakouts.

Promising review: “I LOVE this product!!! I have combination, sensitive, acne-prone skin that is now aging. I’ve searched for a facial moisturizer all my life and never found one that I actually liked. High-end, low-end; it either caused breakouts, was too greasy, not enough moisture, etc. I’ve also always tried to go with natural products, but they either didn’t work or had coconut oil that caused breakouts. For me, this is a HOLY GRAIL product! I’ve never said that about any product I’ve ever tried (which is a lot!!!). I use this on my face, neck and chest daily. Gives me the perfect amount of moisture without being greasy. Plays well with all my makeup, too.” —Erin

Get it from Amazon for $11.62.


If you want subtle coverage but don’t want to aggravate breakouts with heavy foundation, apply a pea-sized amount of Glossier Skin Tint. This bb effectively blurs pores and covers redness yet remains ultra breathable — and yet it’s super lightweight, giving your pores a chance to breathe and recover.


Promising review: “I’ve been using Glossier products for a few years now, but I wasn’t interested in trying the skin tint for a long time. I thought it would be too sheer, too oily feeling, and too messy. I have blemishes, scarring and redness. I eventually got it because heck, it was one of the couple Glossier products I haven’t tried yet. I DONT KNOW WHY I WAITED SO LONG. This is THE skin tint. It smoothes, seriously evens everything out, brightens and makes you look awake and healthy. It’s not messy at all, nor is it greasy whatsoever. It blends amazingly well, so much that it’s undetectable. I just wish this came in more shades because I seem to be between light and medium… but I like it so much that I’ll buy medium to mix with light. And isn’t the packaging just adorable?! Five stars.” —Sara

Get it from Glossier for $26 (available in 12 shades).


Do a little digging (or simply reference the below chart) to figure out which oil is best suited for your skincare concerns: For example, chamomile oil reduces puffiness, tea tree oil curbs acne, and marula oil is a great moisturizing agent. Knowledge = power.

Loryn Brantz for BuzzFeed


On an extra tight budget? Make like a high school sleepover and DIY your own face mask using stuff that’s already in your kitchen. Be sure to focus on formulas that tackle your specific skin concerns: For example, canned pumpkin + brown sugar + vitamin E oil = great for soothing red, blotchy skin.


Warding off body breakouts can be difficult, especially when said areas are hard to reach (cc: that patch of skin in the middle of my back). This Paula’s Choice CLEAR acne spray contains an innovative formula that enlists 2% salicylic acid to tackle the pimples that have so rudely taken residence on your back, chest, and butt — plus the spray applicator means you don’t have to be a contortionist to use it.


Promising review: “MAGIC. Pure magic!!! This is a dream product — it’s clear, it dries, it doesn’t stain clothing, doesn’t really have a scent!!! Where have you been all my adult backne ridden life?!? Read about this on a blog and it is so worth it. Price point is high for the amount you get, but I’ll still accept it because there’s nothing else as good out there!! Plus, the dispenser?! It works so well, never irritates my sensitive skin, and works wonders on treating pre-existing acne as well as prevention of future zits!” —sophia

Get it from Amazon for $25.


Combine 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of walnut oil, 5 drops of vanilla essential oil, and one-half cup of dried rose petals. Mix it all up! Store it in a jar with a seal-tight lid! And voila! You’ve got yourself a fancy body scrub. *contemplates opening an Etsy shop*


If you’re looking to add gently exfoliation to your daily, add this cleanser via a Grace & Stella spin brush to cart. This waterproof, rechargeable brush ~spins~ away dead skin cells and removes all the built-up gunk trapped in your pores — the kind you wouldn’t be able to get rid of with just your hands.


This brush set comes with a silicone head for sensitive skin, two soft bristle replacement brush heads, one massage head, a power stand, and two spin speed settings. All of that for less than $20 = wow.

Promising review: “Okay this brush is SUCH a game changer!! It’s completely elevated my skincare routine. Adds such awesome exfoliation and so easy to use!” —D’Anna C.

Get it from Amazon for $18.99.


Combat dryness, redness, and irritation with Thayer’s alcohol-free witch hazel toner, a cult-favorite that I *personally* swear by. This post-cleanser option is particularly fantastic because it won’t strip your complexion of moisture.

AnaMaria Glavan/BuzzFeed

Here’s what BuzzFeed Editor AnaMaria Glavan had to say about it: “I have combination skin that’s prone to redness (especially around my cheeks and nose, with the latter being really annoying), plus the occasional pimple. After two weeks of regularly using this toner in my evening routine, I barely need concealer to cover the Crayola redness under my nostrils. PLUS! It’s super effective as spot treatment. This stuff attacks your pimples with the same vendetta that Buffy used to destroy vampires: It works that well.”

Get it from Amazon for $10.50.

And check out our full review of Thayer’s alcohol-free original witch hazel toner here. Also, if you’ve got peeling or flaking skin that you can’t rid of, check out these underrated products for dry skin that actually work.


Retinol is a whiz at softening fine lines but can sometimes be too irritating for sensitive complexions. Luckily, Press Restart gentle retinol serum tackles dullness and fine lines with a vengeance, but ingredients like bakuchiol and chlorophyll make it gentle enough as to not leave behind redness or irritation.


Promising review: “I’ve used other retinols and retinoids over the years, but was always turned off by the chemical smell and feeling that they were harsh on my skin. Not this one! It actually smells nice and feels like it soaks into my skin instead of sitting on top of it. Very smooth, not tacky or sticky at all.” —Moxmoxmox

Get it from Versed for $21.99.


Let me present you with some simple math: Working out in the morning —> not showering right away —> trapped sweat —> clogged pores —> pimples. Use these lavender-scented hypoallergenic wipes (made with tea tree oil, peppermint, aloe, and ginseng) to quickly cleanse your skin post-run and prevent any body acne apocalypses from occurring. / Via @goodwipes

Promising review: “I LOVE these things! I like to workout over my lunch hour to break up the day, but don’t have time to get lost in my thoughts in a post-shower. I just use one of these! The scent is not too overpowering, but it’s strong enough so that no one knows I got my sweat on at the gym.” —Amazon Customer

Get a set of 10 from Amazon for $9.99.


If you’re prone to body breakouts, add
Vanicream body wash
to your shower caddy! It’s a gentle wash loved by customers with sensitive complexions — because the heavily perfumed suds you’ve been using are irritating and drying, ergo, the time has come to *finally* swap in this dye-, fragrance-, and sulfate-free bottle (it’s super moisturizing, to boot).


Promising review: “I was diagnosed with sensitive skin and perfume allergy and this is the only product that does not make me itch. All other fragrance-free advertised products still contain fragrance right in the ingredients. I was also impressed with the silky smoothness of this body wash and the fact that it didn’t completely dry out my skin. This has been a total game-changer for me.” —Carrie

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.


Moisturized hands = less hangnails, better cuticles, and a better at-home manicure. Give your hands some TLC with these moisturizing gloves, which are infused with collagen and shea butter and are a cheaper alternative to the bougie manicure you almost splurged on.,

Promising review: “I get extremely dry, flaky skin seems like all times of the year but I love nail polish and having my nails done. These gloves are amazing. A sticky tab for all size hands, an outer cover that allows me to use my phone, and just the right amount of product make for a perfectly convenient use with divine results.” —Rescue Dog Mom

Get a set from Amazon for $12.99.

Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!


The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.

Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, cheap skincare products that are even better than luxury brands, products for an even skin tone or to deal with acne scars, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.

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