The Perfect 6-Step Nighttime Skincare Routine You Can Actually Afford

Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a thorough skincare routine for your nightly makeup breakup isn’t as expensive as you’d probably think. In fact, all you really need is consistency and a few active ingredients for beautiful skin and a thankful wallet. To help you uncomplicate things and narrow down the picks you need for healthy skin, I’ve broken down a comprehensive routine along with a list of my top products to beef up your nighttime skincare for maximum effectiveness—all under $20.

Step 1: Makeup Remover

To Remove All Traces of Makeup

Makeup remover is a vital first step in your skincare routine. By starting with a clean face, you are allowing yourself to actually cleanse, treat, and moisturize your bare skin with the following steps in your routine.

Step 2: Cleanser

To Wash Away Excess Buildup

Once the heavy stuff is removed, it’s cleansing time. A face wash should remove any excess makeup as well as oil and buildup that have accumulated throughout the day.

  • Bioré Complexion Clearing Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser ($6): This product has a unique formula that causes a cooling sensation when you start to massage it into your face, making it both fun to use as well as a great way to clear acne-prone skin.
  • Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($11): For anyone who wants a basic cleanser that won’t strip their skin after removing makeup, this is effective while still leaving skin plump and hydrated.
  • Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Oil With Coconut and Argan Oils ($16): The use of cleansing oils is a hotly debated topic, but many an esthetician has argued the benefits of this product. Use it if you want a truly thorough wash.

Step 3: Toner

To Complete Your Cleansing Routine

Toner is a great post-wash option to complete your cleansing routine. It’s best to identify your skin type first (it’s an easy three-step process) to find the toner that will work best for you.

  • Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Toner ($17): Since toner isn’t washed off the skin after use, this is a great time to use one that treats things like acne or redness.
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner($34): This toner brings moisture and suppleness to the skin with a mix of watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and cactus water.
  • The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner ($15): For those with very dry skin, especially during the winter months, a hydrating toner is a great option for added moisture.

Step 4: Serum

To Give Your Skin a Little TLC

According to Byrdie, serum is “a product that delivers the active ingredients we love deep down to the skin cells that need them in their most potent form.” To which I say sign me up. If you’re interested in solving any problems, serum is your friend.

  • Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum ($20): Though they can be a little more expensive, serums like this can be worth it because you only need a few drops to reap the many blemish-fighting benefits.
  • Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating Serum ($23): If your skin is in need of a very real boost, this serum is packed with hyaluronic acid—aka the perfect ingredient to add attract serious moisture to your skin.
  • The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% ($13): If your skin is feeling extra dull, try using a brightening serum with vitamin C to bring life back to your face.

Step 5: Oil

To Add a Layer of Natural Protection

Oils are another layer in skincare with a number of potential amazing benefits. According to Byrdie, “Oils can be all natural, are packed with skin-loving ingredients, and provide major protection against environmental aggressors.” If you’re not big on creams or want an additional layer of protection against dry skin, here are a few you can try.

  • Burt’s Bees Facial Oil ($20): If you’re not quite sure what kind of oil you would like, a simple one with rose-hip seed extract is a great option for a little boost of everything.
  • Botanics Triple Age Renewal Smoothing Facial Oil ($18): If fine lines are a concern, this oil can be effective in smoothing out the skin.
  • Biossance 100% Squalane Oil ($32): This all-natural hydrating product is safe to use on hair, body, and face.

Step 6: Night Cream

To Seal in Extra Moisture

Your nighttime skincare wouldn’t be complete without a night cream. A hydrating moisturizer is essential to waking up with soft, hydrated skin.

What are your favorite affordable skincare products? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured photo by Cassidy Clark.