If there’s one thing makeup artists, dermatologists, and beauty enthusiasts can all agree on, it’s how gosh darn important skin care is. Skin care is the foundation of the beauty world. It’s the basic calculus to our quantum physics. Treating your skin well not only boasts a long list of makeup application benefits, it has the power to really make you feel good about yourself.
With this in mind, I looked deep inside myself and inside the beauty stashes of my closest gal pals to round up the 20 most vetted and worshipped skin care products under $20.
1Pixi Beauty Hydrating Milky Mist
This is one of my holy grail skin care products. I have very dry skin, so I always find it challenging to find an affordable product that can really hydrate my skin. This product delivers a fine mist to the skin and I use it both under my makeup and in my nighttime skin care routine after I cleanse. I’ve gone through at least three bottles of the stuff. It’s a game changer.
Find it here for $15.00.
2No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream For Dry/Very Dry Skin
This was my number one night cream for years. It’s very thick — they have versions for both normal and dry/very dry skin, and it’s one of the only products that ever quenched the insatiable thirst of my face. It’s affordable, effective, and it smells super good.
Find it here for $14.99.
I dare you to find a list of affordable skin care products that doesn’t mention Aquaphor. If I was on a deserted island and could only bring two things, they would both be Aquaphor. It’s an all-purpose ointment (like Vaseline, but without the weird smell), and it works EVERYWHERE.
In the winter, I slather this stuff all over my face and wake up with perfectly hydrated skin. It’s non-comedogenic, and it works great for lips, cuticles, elbows, and anywhere else that needs some deep hydration. You can use it to create a natural highlight on your cheekbones, or even mix it with makeup to give your products a glossy effect!
Find it here for $12.10.
4Ultrabland by Lush
“I was on Accutane (the most intense acne medication notorious for drying skin) for 8 months and didn’t experience a single flake because I relied on Ultrabland. It’s my most-used beauty product. I can count on it to completely balance my skin, whether that involves evening out skin oil or moisturizing dry spots. It’s my skin’s reset button!
I use it morning and night with a warm washcloth, and I will even use it before I apply makeup. I recommend actually going with the smaller size because it is good for traveling (under 3 oz) and you can do a lot with the small stackable tubs afterward. Ultrabland is life!” — Maggie D., NYC
Lush describes Ultrabland as a “thick, rich emulsion of essential oils, honey and beeswax that removes makeup and daily grime with a quick swipe.”
Find it here for $18.95.
5Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
“Cetaphil is the first product I was introduced to by my mom. Every dermatologist raves about it and I’ve been using their cleanser for years. It’s super gentle and gets my makeup off and leaves my skin feeling fresh. It’s the one product I never switch up.” — Gabriela H., Los Angeles
This is a great facial cleanser for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s a foaming, scentless cleanser that won’t clog your pores, and it’s great for anyone with combination or oily skin.
Find it here for $7.99.
6SheaMoisture SuperFruit Complex Hand & Body Scrub
I’d been on the hunt for a good all-purpose scrub for years when I stumbled upon this product. It is no joke the greatest scrub to ever exist on planet earth. It’s a sugar-based scrub infused with mango butter and coffee extract, and it has a serious grit to it which makes it SO SATISFYING to use. This stuff will get rid of all of your dead skin, and it leaves your skin feeling super moisturized.
Find it here for $11.99.
7Boscia Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask
In case I haven’t gotten the point across by now, I have the world’s driest skin. I discovered this mask while watching an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which in my opinion is one of the greatest places to get beauty advice. After watching Alyssa Edwards and Miss Fame use this before their makeup application, I knew I had to try it.
It’s a super jelly and wet sheet mask that you just unwrap and let sit on your skin for 15-20 minutes. I rub in the excess serum when I’m done and my skin feels plump and hydrated for DAYS. Thank you, Ru!
Find it here for $8.00.