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The 2018 Broke Bitch Guide to Skincare

It’s hard to talk personal care without talking about money. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we can afford to take care of our bodies because of the associated cost. Plus when you have millions of posts and thousands of influencers telling you that you’re not taking care of you if you’re not willing to splurge, it just causes more stress.

So when you’re trying to get your life, but at a budget you can actually afford, you have a few options: spend, don’t spend, follow Le CultureClub’s broke b*tch guide.

The Guide

There are phases to facing the realities of cash flow; it’s a lot like post-puberty grief, also known as adulting. First comes the the realization that the only money you have is the money you make and sometimes that’s not enough. Phase 2 is when you’ve handled your system for steady cash flow but your spending is outpacing that and you’re trying to make that work. Or maybe you’re saving for something big in Phase 3. That last phase is when you’ve got your wallet on lock, you know how to spend, save, and splurge, and you f*cking deserve it.

Trader Joe’s / Whole Foods / Amazon

If you happen to be doing your weekly grocery shopping, you can stock up on a few skincare products as well. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have personal care sections that include moisturizers, cleansers, the basics. Bake it in to your grocery budget, and you can even find store brand products.Skincare Grocery list:

Coconut Oil: $4.99

Glycerin: $5.30

Bentonite Clay: $8.95

Apple Cider Vinegar (also this guide to vinegar is pretty dope): $4.29

Oily Skin Mask / Spot Treatment

Combine your bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar to create a drying mask. The summer heat and humidity can lead to extra oil on the skin. Also a great spot treatment! If you get hungry while you’re waiting for your mask to set, reuse the vinegar on crunchy a mid-mask salad. Then use that bentonite powder as a teeth whitener, and a natural deodorant.

Why DIY?

Save money by making your products at home. This is a great way to get creative, and make your skincare routine a fun activity. You can tailor the routine to your skin’s needs on that day, keep track of exactly what goes on your face so you avoid all those preservatives, fillers, and unnecessary ingredients that some companies put in their products. The best part is that you control the pricing.Try this: Priyanka Chopra Turmeric Mask

The Ordinary

Great for purchasing one-off ingredients and serums to add to the basics

It’s hard to ignore the attractive pricing from this cult brand. $5 serums are the cost of a matcha latte and I think you can guess which will last you a little longer. While we’re all for affordable skincare, we want to know that they do have a secret sauce to their pricing. They only use single ingredients instead of full-blown formulations. So they keep that cost down to keep price down. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to work or that they’re sacrificing quality.

When you’re still waiting on that check, but your pores need that good goodAt this price point, you really do get the quality of a mid- to high-end brand but at a cost that non-ultra glamorous-shi-shi-influencers can actually sustain over time. Here are a few lists with dozens of products you can purchase on a budget:

Sephora / Ulta Beauty

The membership point system is a way to get value as you go, so each dollar goes towards your next product purchase. Sephora and Ulta are also the perfect place to find samples to try out products before you totally commit. You can return something if it is more than 50% full! We love skincare but we also know that trying something new to see if it works is directly correlated with stabbing your wallet repeatedly. The pain is real. Join the rewards programs for all kinds of perks including exclusive shopping sprees and discounts like this one.

Routines $/Day

Routines should reflect our priorities. If you’re experiencing a breakout month, focus on a solution for that and save the 24k mask for next month. A 2-in-1 solution will get you bang for your buck. Cleansing pads that also exfoliate help you nail down exactly how long you can stretch a product and budget yourself on a monthly a weekly basis.

Besides saving money, keeping a light to minimal skincare routine can help you improve consistency and it travels well. For some people with sensitive skin, less is more.

One way to stick to a budget is to estimate how long a product might last you and break it down to a daily expense. Can you get your routine down to $1-2/day? A lot of beauty products are meant to last you between 30 and 60 days. This should help you when doing longer-term budgeting when saving for something big.

You’re reading this guide and seeing the dollar signs fall right back into your wallet, so it’s time you treated yourself (on a budget). 


Staying in is a great way to save money, but sometimes you just need to get out the house. So where do you go when finding a facial under $100 is like finding an affordable unicorn latte?

Aveda: Free 20-minute facials, just book ahead online

Skin Laundry: Get your first free 15-minute Laser & Light facial

Bergdorf Goodman: Periodically the NYC location offers free facials, you’ll have to be on the lookout.

Kiehl’s: Some locations provide free massages, facials and hand treatments. Ask in store.MaxxinistaIf you’re looking for a great place to find more expensive brands at a discounted price head to the strip mall where you’ll find high end brands on discount at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.

Korean Skincare

Sometimes you need to take your dollars across an ocean to get what you need. Korean skincare products are not only full of hype, they’re affordable and boast quality. Get a bulk supply of Korean sheet masks to make every day feel like a #SelfCareSunday. You might even be able to double mask. It’s customary to get free products with every purchase a Korean beauty stores -- we call this next level BOGO.

Live Your Best Life

You can take care of your skin at any price point, don’t let anyone, instagram or your wallet convince you otherwise. We firmly believe that self care should be accessible to all, so we hope that this guide brings us all closer to meeting that goal. Send us your favorite budget products, or share them on social media. Let’s make sure no one feels left out of the wellness movement.

Photo: Lambert/Getty Images

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