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.
- Avène Micellar Cleanser and Makeup Remover ($18): If you hate washing your face, simply pour a few drops of this product onto a cotton pad for easy makeup removal.
- Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips ($19): A cult favorite for many makeup-wearing beauties, this is known for being very gentle on sensitive skin.
- Almay Longwear Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($4): If you like to go heavy on the eye shadow, these wipes are great for making sure you get every last bit of mascara and eyeliner off (without rubbing it all over your face).
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 ($8): 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 ($15): 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
- SheaMoisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Toner ($11): 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.
- Michael Todd Beauty Organic Lemon AHA + DMAE Toner ($20): To replenish the skin after cleansing, use a toner like this to add nutrients from fruits, AHAs, and botanical extracts.
- 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 ($20): 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 Complete Nourishment 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 ($19): If fine lines are a concern, this oil can be effective in smoothing out the skin.
- L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Facial Oil SPF 30 ($14): What’s great about this product is that absorbs into the skin very quickly—so it never leaves you with that awful oily residue.
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.
- SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Face Lotion ($11): Coconut oil is great, natural moisturizer that won’t irritate your face.
- Garnier Skin Active Miracle Anti-Fatigue Sleeping Cream ($17): For intense hydration after a long night, use this cream to wake up with plump, flawless skin.
- Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer ($17): If you’re looking for something that won’t be too heavy on your oily skin, try out this lightweight and gentle moisturizer from Cetaphil to keep your skin hydrated (but never shiny).
What are your favorite affordable skincare products? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured photo by Cassidy Clark.