I’m Silvia, 24. I’m Italian but I live in Paris now. I love cosmetics, books, food and wine. My blog is my little corner of the web, welcome to it!

How to have a skincare routine on a budget

How to have a skincare routine on a budget


Hi everyone, As you may have figured out from the title, today I’m going to write about skincare (that’s pretty much all I write about anyway!), but in particular I’m going to talk about how to have and build your own skincare regime when you’re on a budget.

Why am I writing this? Let me tell you a few reasons. The first is that I myself am on a budget being a student whose only money comes from what my parents give me. I’m now getting a small income from my internship but otherwise my parents give me what I need to live (though I definitely feel luckier than most). I also worked last summer for a month or so, but I pretty much spent all of that on flights to see my other half who lives far away. Not too far, but each one of us pays a fair bit into the coffers of airlines! I have many other expenses, though to be honest I don’t go out very often and so I never splurge on girls’ nights out and parties, which girls of my age are for some reason expected to do. I enjoy long walks with my friends and honestly I’d rather go to the cinema than to a nightclub.

Anyway…that’s just to let you know a bit more about me and my situation. Having said that, the other reason why I’m writing this is that in the beauty community, on blogs and Instagram I see a lot of products being shown that I would really like to try and test, but I cannot justify splurging on them. I know I could either go out for dinner or spend it on my flights. It’s a matter of priorities and if I had the chance to do all of these things, including buying expensive skincare and make-up products, I definitely would! But at the moment I can’t and I have to make the best with what I have.

I suppose that many other people are in the same situation as me, especially if you are very young and living like a student, which we all know means empty pockets most of the time. But if you are reading this, it probably means you like skincare and beauty so you won’t blame anyone for the money they spend on it. Neither will I.

I also want to say that I don’t think that spending a lot of money on skincare means that you’ll have better skin. I think that some expensive good products really do an amazing job, but you are probably paying a lot for a) the luxurious packaging b) the marketing behind them c) the experience you get when using them. Let’s face it, many products give you a great, unforgettable and irreplaceable spa-like experience, along with having good quality ingredients and some science behind them, you pay a lot for that! There’s nothing wrong with this, I just want to tell to everyone who’s on the same page as me that you can take care of your skin even for less. There’s no need to feel like your skin will never be good without that 80 quid serum you are craving.

Here are my tips:

1. Thou shalt not accumulate

My absolute Golden Rule. If you have a tight budget, only buy things when you actually need them. Don’t buy just so you can try something, having got bored of the products you already have in your stash. This means that I only have one product for each category and I only buy a new one when I’ve run out of the previous one. It works, you get to see which products really work, you use them until the last drop and spend more time mulling over what you’re going to get after that.

2. Take advantage of all the discounts out there

I don’t remember buying a full-price product for quite some time. That’s why I always always look for discounts codes, online sales, promo-codes for new buyers and things like that. I also have the Sephora Gold card, which my mother and I use a lot. It gives us 10% discounts or even 20% every three months or so. When we get the 20% we usually buy perfumes, which tend to be very expensive and probably not worth their price (Fancy water in a fancy bottle!). Some websites you should always look to check out are: lookfantastic, cultbeauty, spacenk, beautybay, naturisimo. If you live in the UK you may want to check Boot’s 3 for 2 offers, or Superdrug when they have products for half price. I may do a whole post on this but the general tip is to subscribe to their newsletter and look at the promo you receive; they often end up in your spam folder. Some of them even give you a welcome discount code or free shipping. Check them regularly.

3. Organise your wish list

How many products do I have on my wish list? Hundreds! There are so many products I’m desperate to get my hands on, even though I know for some of them I’ll have to wait a looong time. What I do is to divide my wish list into categories; for example, cleansers, toners, moisturizers, serums, masks, etc. For each category I make a list of the products I’m interested in buying, write the price next to them and, this is the important thing, put them in order according to which ones I want to try first. So I’ll have a #1 cleanser I want to buy, a #1 face mask etc. It’s important that you are realistic and prioritise only what you know you’ll be able to afford. You can look them up regularly online and buy, when the time is right. Pounce when there is a discount, you never know how long a promotion is going to last! But, of course, please bear in mind my Golden Rule, as you don’t want to accumulate.

4. Start with a simple routine

If you are my kind of age you probably don’t need a 15 steps skincare routine every night and day. To be honest that may even apply regardless of age! You may enjoy a lengthier routine because it’s fun, relaxing, pampering and makes your skin feel and look good, but it’s not absolutely essential, at least in my opinion. Here is what I think is instead essential.

The absolute basics:

A cleanser and a moisturizer. I would spend more on the cleanser than on the moisturizer. You’ll need to pick the cleanser and moisturizer according to your skin type and needs. For more on cleansing see here  and for some good cleansers here. The summer essential: a high SPF to use on the top of your moisturizer.

When you want to include something more I would start with:

• An exfoliant: acid or physical, though I prefer the former. They are now widely available in drugstores, they mostly come in pads and can be used either every day or a few evenings per week. Go for a BHA if you have blemish prone skin, AHA for all the rest (or both if you can afford it, but we’re on a budget right?). • A serum to use at night: this can be a normal serum or a dry oil. I love oils and nowadays you can find good options for less than 10 quid. They are good for every skin type. • A face mask: again, the right one depends on your skin type. When you can afford more you could buy different ones. I personally like to have a hydrating one and a purifying one. That’s it. • Spritz toner: not usually a very expensive product. I’ve been using thermal water for a long time, but I don’t think that it makes a huge difference to my skincare routine. So I’d recommend it leaving at the end of your “priorities”.

5. Set your budget

How much do you want to spend on a single product? Write it down. I’m sure you’ll find something that fits in every category. It may not be the best product that works for you but you can try it and see how it goes. Testing a product on yourself is the best indicator. Just because it’s got a high price tag, and if it’s highly rated, it doesn’t mean it’ll be the best product for you.

Lastly, if you’ve come this far, thanks first of all for reading , you will be looking for some good suggestions on which products to buy. I aim to open a budget skincare section, but for now I’ll leave you with a link which could provide some inspiration.

I want to hear from you: what’s your favourite super-affordable product? Let me know in the comments, I really want to hear about your experiences!

Have a lovely day, beautiful skin-care addicts!


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