My *Budget-Friendly* Skincare Routine

I have legitimately become a Sep-WHORE-a during this pandemic. (Bad joke. Not sorry.)

Quarantine has given me the gift of leisure time. I’ve never before had the luxury of time to devote to reading about skincare products and trying them out. But after suffering a months-long bout of cystic adult acne with seemingly no relief, I really took the time to dive right into the world of skincare.

The result has been such that my acne is now super under control (no thanks to the two rounds of antibiotics my dermatologist put me on!!), but truly because of the shift in products I’ve used. I simply can no longer imagine a world without all 56489 products in my routine!!!

I’ve now even adulted to the point of including my skincare products in my yearly budget breakdown. The prioritization of skincare in my budget helps to ensure that I’ll be able to maintain my routine forever. Or something like that.

Basically it’s become important enough to me to prioritize it above other items like shoes and clothes and Starbucks. So without further ado:

Here’s my *budget-friendly* quarantine skincare routine!

Morning cleanser: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($9.99 at
Starting my day with a gentle wash is important. I don’t want to dry out my face, but definitely want to get rid of the oils produced overnight. I actually used to use this cleanser morning and night but switched when that adult acne hit hard. Definitely has made a difference!

Morning moisturizer: CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen ($13.49 at
The SPF 30 in this is one of the reasons why I love this moisturizer so much. One easy application in the morning and I’m good to go for the day! From floating in the pool to a mid-afternoon bike ride, I know I’m covered and don’t have to worry about sunburn. This has a creamy texture but really melts into the skin for an even application.

Morning serum: Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum: Glow + Strengthen Vitamin C Serum ($20 at
I don’t use this serum every day, but wanted to include it because I’ve seen great results! It has significantly reduced acne scarring I’ve had on my chin and upper chest. I don’t apply every day because I found that doing so irritated my skin just the slightest bit. But I’ve still seen results by applying just a few times a week. And at this price point, I definitely recommend adding this to your routine! I’ve also started applying just a drop under my eyes to brighten and de-puff.

Evening cleanser: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash ($8.49 at
I love using this cleanser at night, and also after workouts! I think having a go-to wash like this to curb breakouts and excess oil is so important to maintaining healthy skin. I have 100% noticed a decrease in acne on my forehead and around my hairline since incorporating this wash into my daily routine. The main ingredient to note here is salicylic acid, which I prefer over benzoyl peroxide because I found it to be too harsh on my face.

Alternate evening cleanser: Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask ($8.49 at
You’ll catch me using this cleanser as a 5-minute mask in the shower 1-2 times per week. If I’m feeling *extra* I’ll coincide this with my body exfoliation wash days. I love the deep clean feel from this mask. The cooling effect upon application can be intense, but if you stick it out you will definitely feel and see the results!

Evening moisturizer: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($13.89 at
This was the first product I began using when I was dealing with that pesky adult acne. My skin was so dry from spending time in the harsh Canada cold on top of having to apply heavy show makeup onto my face every single night. I knew CeraVe had a great reputation from dermatologists (my own derm has recommended CeraVe products!) so I knew it was a good starting point. What I didn’t anticipate was falling in love with the hydration properties in this formula that leave my skin looking and feeling soft and cared for!

*Splurge-worthy* evening moisturizer: Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer ($68 at
Okay so here’s the tea on this: I received a free sample of this polypeptide cream with a Sephora order months ago. I had heard absolutely rave reviews about all things Drunk Elephant so naturally I was stoked! After using the sample, I was hooked. I can honestly say that I am OBSESSED with this moisturizer and how rich and supple it makes my skin look. I can feel it working when I apply it; there’s a cooling and tingling sensation that makes me feel like the money I spent was worth it. I only use this at night and usually 3-4 times a week. When I wake up the next morning, no joke, there is a visible difference in the firmness and shine of my skin. It is *incredible.* I purposefully alternate this with the CeraVe because of the price point, and also because I genuinely enjoy the effects of both products. It is the absolute definition of a splurge but 100% worth it!

Acne spot treatment #1: Clinique Acne Solutions™ Clinical Clearing Gel ($27 at
This has become my go-to spot treatment for all sorts of pesky pimples. I apply at night after I moisturize and let it soak into my skin all night long. 10/10 times I wake up with the size & redness visibly reduced. Truly a miracle working spot treatment.

Acne spot treatment #2: Epielle Acne Clear Patch, 36-Count ($1.20 at
These are so popular they’re currently sold out on Amazon. SOLD OUT! *That’s* how good they are. Pimple patches have risen in popularity recently, especially among teens. After hopping on the trend thanks to my younger sister, I can totally understand why. These definitely work better on whiteheads than blackheads or cystic acne. BUT they do reduce size and redness of deeper pimples and zits, so definitely good to have on hand at all times!

Under eye cream: Kiehl’s Since 1851 Mini Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($32 at
I just reordered this cream literally three days ago. I apply it every single night and have definitely seen a reduction in darkness in my under-eye circles! It is definitely thick and creamy so I recommend only applying at night for best results. It is also one of the pricier items in my daily routine and can be skipped if you don’t have dark circles & puffy eyes! (But let’s be real, it’s a pandemic we’re all exhausted).

BONUS: 100% Natural Jade Face Roller/Anti Aging Jade Stone Massager for Face & Eye Massage ($6.99 on
I honestly forget about this handy dandy tool I purchased at the urging of my best gal pals. Likely because I keep it in the freezer and it’s not with the rest of my products! However, I love the way the ice cold jade feels when I do remember. It is the best face massage ever! Feels amazing, and I can definitely see how using it regularly would reduce puffiness.

Let me know if you try any of these, or if there’s something you’re using and loving!


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