Good skincare doesn't have to be expensive skincare—and while so many products on the market suggest otherwise, it's the truth. In fact, some of our favourite products are drugstore finds. The thing is, there are drugstore products with effectiveness on par with prestige, and all you need is an expert to suggest the right one.
So we did just that. Over email, dozens of dermatologists listed their favourite inexpensive products and offered explanations as to why they work. To say the least, it's shocking the calibre of skincare offered at such affordable prices. Let's get started, shall we? Below, find the best drugstore skincare products for your cleansing, moisturising, and wrinkle-reducing needs. Each one comes complete with explanation from a dermatologist as to why it works and why it's helpful for your specific skin type. The shocking part, though, is they don't cost much. These offerings boast serious results without the price tag (and you can pick them up at your local drugstore, or right here online).
Though it's on the pricier side of the drugstore spectrum, La Roche-Posay products are one of the most recommended brands tenfold. They just work really well. This one contains sebulyse technology to neutralise shine and visibly tighten your pores. "Usually, those with oily skin deal with blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples," says Nazarian. "This pick is a great daily moisturiser that's mattifying and works well under makeup—almost like a primer. It’s non-comedogenic and safe for those who are acne-prone."
Packaged in handy wipe form, Dickinson's towelettes will tone your pores, remove excess oil and shine, balance the production of oil in your skin, protect against breakouts, and soothe your skin throughout the day. They're an all-in-one skin saviour when you just can't anymore (see: trying to commute in the humid weather or cleansing your face when you're running late). "These contain witch hazel, which is a natural astringent," says Dendy Engelman, MD. "They help refine pores, remove excess oil, soothe irritation, and maintain your skin's natural balance."
This lightweight water gel quenches and continuously your hydrates skin from the moment you pat it on. It contains hyaluronic acid and olive extract to plump up your skin, and it even works like a sponge to lock moisture in, so your skin stays smooth and supple with an oily or greasy feel. "Typically, this is someone with tight, sometimes dull-looking skin," notes Nazarian. "Hyaluronic acid products draw in moisture like a magnet, and improves your skin's ability to stay hydrated with continued use. It will also minimise fine lines and wrinkles (which can be enhanced in dry skin)."
You can use this multipurpose cream for just about any skin ailment. It's great for eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, winter itch, and dry skin. In fact, it can be used as a night cream, for massages, and as a daily moisturising cream for your face, hands, and body as well. "It's a super-inexpensive product and comes in an easy-to-use pump," says Nazarian, "It's one of the best things for dry skin. It has ceramides, moisturising emollients, and doesn't have perfumes, masking fragrances, or parabens. It's absolutely wonderful. I usually recommend people apply it after the shower daily." Dr. Ted Lain adds, "It's great to use products with humectants such as glycerin and lactic acid to increase hydration in your skin and fatty acids to seal in the hydration."
In skincare, especially if your skin is sensitive, the more essential fatty acids a formula has, the better. This four-ingredient serum nourishes your skin with avocado, geranium, turmeric, and coffee oils. Each ingredient works to support your skin's natural healing, providing hydration, comfort, and moisture.
"If your skin is often red, irritated, and sensitive to many products—use Dove's Sensitive Skin Beauty Bars (£4)," suggests Nazarian. "It has no perfumes and a moisturiser that helps to rebuild your delicate skin barrier while gently cleansing your skin. This brand has been around forever (well, since the '50s) and this is (in my humble opinion) their star product."
"This product soothes skin and restores skin barriers via Cer-Omega, which is derived from evening primrose and rich in omega-6 and ceramides," says Engelman. It's non-greasy, calms itching and inflammation, and even makes use of Avène's cult-favourite Thermal Spring Water to soothe your skin and ensure it stays soft. It feels good to apply and even better when you realise it lessens the intensity of skin flare-ups."
Over time, you skin can start to lose that ever-elusive glow, the type of pink-y radiance that keeps skin looking young and hydrated. This rosy moisturizer offers an instant boost, as it's infused with schizandra red berry extract to even the complexion and linseed extract for firmness. "Long-term free-radical damage is at the top of the list of skin concerns for aging skin," says Nazarian. Lancôme's Rénergie Multi-Glow Rosy Tone Moisturizer Cream (£52) has an ingredient list full of antioxidants—and it improves skin texture and colour with continued use."