Budget Beauty: Skincare

I’ve always been somewhat aware that I should be following a skincare routine, but I can’t say I was ever concerned enough to seek out products and structure one.  I did things like, routinely go to the dermatologist for annual skin checks, wash my face in the shower, use a cleansing wipe over my face before bed (sometimes), and moisturize with an SPF in the morning and at night.  That was the extent of my “skincare routine” (if you can even call it that).

Then 29 hit.  The last year before 30 (how is that possible!).  I have not fully come to terms with my 20’s being on their way out.  I know age is just a number, but I swear I started seeing more fine lines on my face than I had ever noticed previously.  This caused me to start seeking out anything I could do to hold on to my youth.

These are circa 2010 & 2008 – when I had baby skin and barely knew to moisturize.  Oh to be young 😉

At my last dermatologist appointment I asked if she could give me some tips on what exactly I should be using and when.  She recommended doing the following as the bare minimum:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Serum during the day
  3. Moisturizer with SPF (I bought a really good one from her that I swear by)
  4. Retinol at night

She offered to give me some samples so I could try a few at home to figure out what worked for me.

Side note: I went ahead and purchased this daily moisturizer with SPF from her office.  This is the only item you cannot find in a drugstore/Target, but you can buy it on Amazon sooooo… I’m still including it as a Budget Beauty Item!

Elta MD

After having used it for 2 months and subsequently running out, I can honestly say I love it.  It was light enough to wear all day and under makeup.


I also asked her about a retinol and the medical assistant who was helping me with the samples and the daily SPF kindly told me it was $72 for their smallest bottle (!!!!).  The smallest bottle was 1 ounce… I quickly left with my SPF and samples and knew there had to be a better way.

I am here to say it is possible to buy quality, effective products on a budget!  Everything I am currently using I got at everyone’s favorite place, Target!  (And everything is $20 or less)

Everything pictured below I am currently using daily (with the exception of the sheet mask, which I use biweekly – or really whenever I need a good excuse for quiet time):

Morning Routine

In the morning I do the following:

I cleanse with Cetaphil Skin Cleanser.

Next I use  Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum (this stuff really, truly works).  I use just about 1-2 pumps of this serum.  A little bit, of all of this, goes a long way.  I rub this all over my face and my neck.

Then I use No7 Protect & Perfect Eye Cream.  A pin sized amount is all you need.  I rub this under my eyes and around the corners to under my brows.  I have noticed a difference in my skin color and tone under my eyes.  I have not had dark spots under my eyes since I’ve started using this.  So really, this is the perfect secret weapon for mom’s to help battle the effects of sleepless nights.

Finally I use the Elta MD Daily SPF.

Evening Routine

At night I cleanse again with Cetaphil.

Next I use a pea sized amount of ROC Retinol Correxion.  Retinol should be used at night and can make your skin sensitive to the sun, because of that I would recommend using every few days at first and then working up to every night.  Again, a small pea-sized amount goes a long way.  I have been using the same ROC tube for 2 months and counting now.

I use the No7 Eye Cream again, at night.

Finally, I use Pond’s Dry Skin Cream.  There is a funny story behind this.  I randomly grabbed this at a grocery store when my nighttime moisturizer ran out.  When I got it home I opened it and the smell immediately reminded me of my Grandma.  Then it hit me, Pond’s was part of her nighttime skincare ritual!!  She had GREAT skin!  My Grandma knew what was up when it came to taking care of your skin.  This has now become my go to for night-time moisturizing.  Thanks Grandma!!


Every other week or so I use these Miss Spa $3 sheet masks.  I may or may not use this as a relaxing “mommy time out” on nights during the week when I really need an excuse to take 20.  My kids and my husband freak out everytime I have one on, so they have asked me to stay in my room when I use them (hello quiet time!).

Regardless of when or why I choose to use them, I really love how they make my skin feel !  I love sheet masks because you don’t have to wipe a bunch of gunk off your face, you literally just pull the sheet off and throw it away.

This is me with the creepy face mask on.  Snapchat filter to the rescue!

Since starting this regime I have noticed drastic changes in my skin tone and overall appearance.  I have actually enjoyed taking care of my skin, using this simple to follow routine.  It’s worth noting that all of the products I have been using have lasted at least 2 months.  If nothing else, I hope this post helps you take a little more time to enjoy taking care of your skin!

(I hope it also helps you knowing that it can be done on a budget, which makes it that much more enjoyable!)


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