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3 Best Bang-for-Buck Skin Care Products

Inflation has made many of us re-think not only what we buy, but the efficacy and value of each product. On the topic of skin care, it is plausible that in more abundant times, many of us wouldn’t bat an eye at purchasing four or five products from a single skin care line, but now, given epic inflation, we might focus on a few products that offer greater bang-for-buck.

If you’re anything like me, I’ve done this in nearly every area of life including do I really want to drive to the mall to look at those shoes I’ve been eyeballing? That trip would include gas, overpriced shoes, and maybe a coffee thrown in to “treat myself,” so is it really worth it?

Given that shopping online can now suffice in nearly every area including skin care, how can you know which products save you money, and which ones don’t? I’ll start with the top three best bang-for-buck skin care products and then at the end I recommend where you can go cheap.

#1: Vitamin C Serum

Without a doubt, the number one product to spend money on is vitamin C serum. Having said that, it gets tricky. There are over eight different types of vitamin C, some more efficacious than others. For example, L-ascorbic acid is probably the most common variety, but it, like all of them, depends on the quantity.

The higher on the ingredient deck an ingredient is listed, the more in the product. Most companies who list percentages have around 15-25%. However, in higher quantities, certain forms of vitamin C, like L-ascorbic acid, can be irritating to the skin.

Besides L-ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (the most expensive form) are the most efficacious types of vitamin C for external use. This is key, as you can use these rather long and unintelligible words to research products and be clear on what you are buying.

For an inexpensive vitamin C, try The Ordinary C Serum with L-ascorbic acid for $7. For a more moderately priced product try Image MD Restoring Youth Repair Crème with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate for $84.

Finally, with 80% ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate try Truth Treatments Transdermal C Serum for $199. Bang for buck, the higher quantities bring more results with this important and transformative skin care ingredient.

#2: Retinol

Retinol or Retin-A (the prescription strength version) is an absolute game changer in skin care. Used at night, it stimulates cell turnover and collagen and elastin production thereby strengthening the connective tissue and minimizing fine lines.

Having said that, I am not a fan of the so-called anti-ageing movement and strive to love my body no matter what, including embracing my wrinkles! Whichever way you look at ageing, using ingredients like retinol will brighten and smooth your skin like nothing else.

With retinol, unlike vitamin C, you need at least 0.05% to see any improvement at all, so understanding quantities is hugely beneficial. Most retinols are toward the lower end of the spectrum, and the highest you can purchase over the counter is 5%.

That being said, the greater the percentage the more noticeable flaking and irritation you will see plus more results.

For a good low range retinol try CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum for $24.50. In the mid-range cost area, try Image MD Restoring Youth Repair Crème for $84. And lastly, for a more efficacious and well-rounded retinol, try Truth Treatments 1% or 5% retinol. Both contain vitamin C and therefore are less harsh on the skin.

#3: Sunblock

We desperately need the sun to live and thrive on this glorious planet, and the sun is also one of the greatest factors in ageing. With that in mind, finding and using a sunblock that doesn’t contain the toxic chemical oxybenzone is crucial to your health.

Oxybenzone is a hormone disrupter, and commonly used in most sun protection cremes. My encouragement here is to do your due diligence in shopping for sunblock and use it on your face when you are in the sun.

I use Image Skin Care Prevention+ with SPF 50. It contains moisturizer, but you can buy other Image Prevention SPF products with less moisturizer if you have oily skin.

For other sunblock options that don’t use oxybenzone, check out EWG.ORG’s list of oxybenzone free SPF products. In any case, use it faithfully, and be sure to match your foundation with your neck as your face will be a lighter shade after all that sunscreen! If you don’t, you’ll look like a weirdo.

Where to Go Cheap

In your daily skin care regime, save money by using inexpensive moisturizers (like Weleda), cleansers (like Cetephyl), and toners if you use one. Forego night cremes, eye creme, and so-called anti-wrinkle cremes.

Focus on putting your money into a vitamin C serum, retinol, and sunblock in order to maximize your cash and strengthen your skin. Don’t forget that 80% of skin care is internal and 20% is external. Drinking spring water, eating whole, organic foods, and consistent exercise are all more important than any product you can buy.

It’s been said that life is short buy the shoes, but in this day and age, maybe the phrase should be, life is short, buy only what you need! With that in mind, love your body no matter what, take care of your internal health first, and don’t look like a weirdo.

What are your best bang-for-buck skin care products? Why? Have you had to budget for your skin care and makeup products lately? Which products would you let go of if you had to, and which ones are a must-keep?

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The Author

Suzanne Blons, The Beauty Shaman, has been in the beauty industry for nearly 40 years. A former Revlon Charlie Girl, she is now a professional makeup artist and has worked with such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Arianna Huffington. Today, Suzanne shares her beauty secrets on her YouTube channel, The Beauty Shaman. Check out her store, blog, coaching, and beauty courses.

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