Let’s be real: skincare can get real expensive, especially if you’re a product enthusiast who always has to try the next big thing. But it absolutely is possible to form a skincare collection that makes having an affordable routine easier than ever, and these days with some incredible new brands on the scene, you don’t have to compromise on quality.
Even top dermatologists and other skin experts tend to agree with me. While you may be bombarded with spenny option after option at the shelves, said experts often put their weight behind accessible buys that won’t cost the world but still pack a real punch, with sophisticated ingredients and clever formulations aplenty.
Some of my own favourite affordable skincare brands include The Inkey List, The Ordinary, Revolution, and Q+A, but there are countless more to choose from.
I spoke to some of the skincare experts I know and admire most for their opinions on what’s really worth it for under £20. With this lot, you can create a super affordable routine you’ll be able to pick up time and time again.
Your skin (and bank balance) can thank me later.
Byoma Moisturising Gel Cream
Recommended by: Megan Felton, co-founder of skincare consultancy Lion/Ne
“I think it’s REALLY hard to find a basic/affordable moisturiser that doesn’t 1. Make you feel like you’re trapped in your skin or 2. Cause congestion after a few days of using it. This one has a light texture so layers well with serums but also doesn’t pill if you need a moisturiser under your SPF. It’s also not fragranced and works well for even rosacea-prone skin.”
“My only qualm is the design of the bottle as the pump doesn’t always work super well, but for the price and product inside, it’s definitely still worth picking up.”
The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Recommended by: Dr Cristina Psomadakis, dermatologist
“Balm and oil cleansers can often be too rich and/or too comedogenic (pore clogging) for people with acne. I prefer a micellar water or light gel-based cleanser for the first step and then to follow with the INKEY List Salicylic cleanser. For people with acne, it is important that the cleanser with the active ingredient comes second so that it has a more lasting effect.”
Anthelios UV Mune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ Sun Cream
Recommended by: Dr Kemi Fabusiwa, doctor, skin expert & Eliza columnist
“A great example of a broad, high spectrum sun protection factor product that helps to significantly protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation without leaving behind a white cast or draining your bank account.”
CeraVe Blemish Control Gel
Recommended by: Dr Alexis Granite, dermatologist
“This targeted gel is formulated with emollients, such as ceramides and anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce the risk of irritation. In addition, MVE technology means ingredients are released slowly over time so hydration is maintained throughout the day.”
“One of the most important factors I discuss with my patients when it comes to treating acne is consistency. Unfortunately, acne is a skin condition we control, not cure, so it’s essential to continue the use of acne-targeted products even when skin is clear in order to prevent new breakouts.”
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
As recommended by: Jennifer Rock, dermal facialist & founder of Skin Nerd
“A spritz is a quick and effective way to boost hydration, which is essential when temperatures rise, increasing water loss and leaving the skin at risk of dehydration and irritation. There are many types of mists available, but Caudalie’s is a fabulous budget buy and adored by skincare experts and makeup artists, thanks to its radiance enhancing properties.”
“Containing hydrating glycerin and soothing rose flower oil, this portable spray smoothes fine lines, tightens pores and refreshes makeup back into place. Keep one in your bag and car or by your desk to revive your skin during that 3pm lull!”
Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Cleansing Oil
Recommended by: Alicia Lartley, aesthetician, biomed scientist, Simple skincare ambassador
“I love the hydrating cleansing oil at Simple. Anyone who has had a routine from me knows how much I rave about that cleansing oil; it takes makeup off with ease and leaves your skin feeling supple.”