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The 2019 Guide to Skincare on a Budget

Let’s face it: skincare is mad expensive! There are new products dropping every other day, claiming to solve every concern, make you revert to childhood baby skin, pay your rent for a year, improve your credit (jk on those last two, but there are some wild claims out there). We can all get sucked in by the marketing and the “New At Sephora” tab, and then suddenly, we’ve spent all our grocery money for the month. But not to worry, you’ve come to the right place, we are a group of individuals that love to ball on a budget (with the occasional #treatyoself moment).

Phase 1: Know Thy Skin

skin care lol GIF by The Groundlings

SO much money is wasted on products that do nothing for you. On average, skincare junkies throw away $300 worth of products a year because they weren’t useful or a good fit. Get to know your skin type and identify your concerns so you can purchase effective products that will give you a bang for your buck. You can head to RateYourRoutine.com to check on your current products, and sign up for our waitlist and we’ll recommend products that actually work!

Go to the dermatologist! If you are blessed with insurance, pay a cute copay and learn about your skin so you can spend time being a knowledgeable heaux about your skin and stop wasting time buying things by the seat of your pants (guiltyyyy). A copay is a small price to pay for a lifetime of skincare knowledge! Shout out to Dr. Ahluwalia from Spring Street Dermatology. ILYSM.


Phase 2: Know The Tricks To Saving Your Coin

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Sure, the drugstore may not be as ~glam~ as a SpaceNK or Follain, but more and more mass brands are getting wise to the skincare game. Many drugstores carry French pharmacy lines like Avene and La Roche Posay, which are affordable and effective. They also carry natural lines for those who prefer clean skincare options like Alba Botanica, Burt’s Bees, Badger, and the Yes To range. Since you didn’t ask, here are some of our fave products:

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume because you don’t have to go all the way to France to cure your dry skin. This $15 cream heals any visibly dry areas and won’t clog pores!

Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil because coconut and argan oils that’s why. JK, it’s rich in antioxidants, and double-cleansing ensures your face is super clean and free from debris.

Badger Damascus Rose Face Oil because $13.99 for a non-comedogenic blend of face oils is truly too good to be true. It’s packed with antioxidants and combats dehydration.

Yes To Cucumbers Gentle Cleansing Milk because $9 for a super-gentle cleanser is a rarity. It has green tea, which is a natural astringent, cucumber extract with vitamins A and C, and soy protein for moisture.

Drugstores also have specials on skincare quite often, and if you have a rewards card (freeee) you can redeem points for cash back on purchases. I once racked up enough points to get $30 back! Also, we all know how annoying those long CVS receipts can be but there’s actually money off coupons in there, so don’t be so quick to trash them.

Get those Ulta points! Ulta has a great mix of high and low price point products. They also have an amazing rewards program and their sales are off the charts. Before you buy something, check Ulta’s website for any special sales and clip those money off coupons. You can also sign up to be a rewards member for free.99 and you’ll get points for money off your next purchase.

Glambot is a reselling platform that sells gently used skincare. They have really strict sanitary rules so you know you’re never buying something that’s unsafe to use. You can get luxury products for anywhere from 10-50% off! You can also make some of your won casheesh by selling any of your gently used skincare as well. Check out their guidelines here to start building your empire.

Use Rakuten or the Honey Chrome extension. Rakuten gets a commission for sending customers to stores, which they then give as a percentage to you as cash back. Honey automatically searches the web for any discount codes, so you can be sure you’re getting the best price on your products!

Hunt down local esthetics schools. There are so many estheticians in training who need willing faces on which to practice their craft for a quarter of the price. For New Yorkers, check out the Institute of Esthetics, Christine Valmy or the Aveda Institute–this will be our little secret. Shhhh.


Phase 3: Start A Cult

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Not really, but there are so many people out there who love skincare ask much as you do and would happily join a community swap or Facebook group. The LeCC Facebook group is always going off with suggestions and recommendations for affordable products and dupes.

Oftentimes, influencers will have a beauty sale, selling the copious amounts of free products they get for a small price and donating the money to charity. Be sure to follow your faves and watch their stories so you can snag a spot!

Organize a skincare night! Have any products laying around that just aren’t doing it for you? Gather up all your skincare-loving friends and do a swap. Make sure you have Rate Your Routine handy so you can all check that your new products match your skin goals.

Check Eventbrite to see if any of your favorite brands have a panel or event coming up. Most panels and/or events have some great goody bags with samples galore!


Phase 4: Count Your Excess Money

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Congrats on being rich! Now you can spend that dough on whatever your heart desires whether it be rent, groceries, something cute you’ve been saving up for, or even restocking your holy grail product that’s just a bit too pricey to get on the reg (looking at you Biologique Recherche P50!). It’s always A-OK to treat yourself, but if you’re looking to do an overhaul on your beauty budget or just tweak a couple of spending habits, we offer up these saucy hacks. Do you have any more? Share them in the comments!

Need more hot tips and tricks? Check out our 2018 guide for DIY goodness, Korean skincare, and living your best life.

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