I Have Expensive Taste in Skincare, But These 19 Affordable Picks Impress Me

It’s no secret that my skincare routine is a bit pricey. As a beauty editor, I’m tasked with testing, swatching, and reviewing beauty products from every single price point, but it just so happens that the cleansers, serums, and moisturizers that have claimed top spots in my most current routine cost big bucks. Affordable skincare brands are the saving grace keeping me from going off the deep end with my skincare spending.

You have to believe me when I tell you that I’m no price-tag snob. In fact, some of my absolute favorite and most effective products in my collection are quite inexpensive. Contrary to popular belief, shopping for skincare on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. Even our favorite celebrity facialists agree that you don’t have to drain your bank account just to get your hands on seriously amazing products.

If you need some help getting your skincare budget under control, you’re in the right place. Ahead, check out 19 affordable beauty brands I trust plus reviews of their most popular products.

Average Rating: 5/5. Avène is one of the most beloved affordable skincare brands on the planet. If you’re in the market for a dew-inducing addition to your skincare arsenal, look no further than this cult-favorite mist that contains trace minerals and silica to help soothe and condition the skin.  “So I realize that this is canned water. But there is something about it that is so cool and refreshing. I love this at the pool for a quick cool down. I’m thinking of getting one for my gym bag,” reads one review.

Average Rating: 5/5. Keep these little babies on hand for the instances when your eyes need some quick de-puffing. Packed with soothing ingredients like cornflower extract, arnica, and chamomile, they’ll help erase the evidence of that late-night Netflix session—and that extra glass of wine. “I am impressed with these,” explains one Dermstore customer. “I would not say they gave me a radiant finish, but my skin was definitely smoothed and refreshed looking.”

Average Rating: 5/5. Seasonal skin issues got you down? A trusted, no-frills moisturizer is probably something you’ll need to get over the hump. This one from CeraVe has over 200 reviews on Dermstore, and there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: This cream is highly effective at stopping dry skin in its tracks. According to reviews, the rest of the line is similarly gentle and effective. “This humble product is excellent! Fabulous hydration for the price point. Strongly recommend,” says a reviewer.

Average rating: 5/5. There are quite a few factors that go into choosing an eye cream that’s right for you, but finding one that doesn’t irritate your peepers tops the list. That’s where this one by Derma E comes in. It’s lightweight and packs a hydrating punch of hyaluronic acid but skips irritants like added fragrances. The entire line is also vegan, cruelty-free, and beloved by its devotees. “I have sensitive eyes that flare up due to allergies and dryness,” writes a Dermstore reviewer. “When I use other eye creams, my eyes sting, but the Derma E hydrating eye cream seems to be gentle and I can use it without irritation. Plus, it does a nice job hydrating too. It is a lightweight cream with no scent.”

Average rating: 4.5/5. Versed is one of those rare skincare lines that house nothing but clean, vegan, and ultra-effective skincare products at a low price. Not one of its formulas exceeds $22 in cost. Considering the quality and efficacy of the brand’s offerings, that’s practically unheard of. This dullness-banishing overnight peel contains a blend of lactic and glycolic acid to break down dead skin cells, and vitamin A to gently exfoliate. Give this one a chance, and get ready for brighter days ahead. “I noticed the first morning that my skin looked smoother. Never had tried a peel but so glad I did. Didn’t irritate my skin at all,” says a reviewer.

Average rating: 4.5/5. Weleda Skin Food has quickly ascended the ranks to holy-grail status among beauty-industry professionals and consumers alike. (Just ask the 7000 Amazon reviewers.) A scroll of your Instagram feed will surely turn up at least one rave review of this thick moisturizing cream, perfect for any spots on your face or body that need a little extra love. The rest of the line is stacked with lovely products, too. “Skin Food lives up to the hype and the fact that they sell one tube every 30 seconds,” explains one reviewer. “Goes on thick, don’t need much! I use this as a primer before makeup and it works beautifully. Apply a small amount on cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose and pat in to skin with a damp beauty blender.”

Average rating: 5/5. The 925 Dermstore reviews prove this product has made an impact with its deep-cleaning and non-pore-clogging formula. Brimming with luxurious ingredients like olive oil, vitamin E, and rosemary oil, it’s the ultimate in hydrating facial cleansers. Other beloved products from the Japanese beauty brand include luxe moisturizers, eye creams, an extensive offering of cleansing oils, and more. “Melts off all of my makeup, even waterproof mascara! I will never go back to using makeup wipes ever again,” a reviewer claims.

Average rating: 5/5. Turns out French pharmacies are breeding grounds for quality skincare products (shocker!). This makeup artist–approved cream is just one of the luxe, affordable finds from Embryolisse. Lovers of this particular product are consistent, to say the least, and always insisting it’s a repeat purchase they can’t live without. Amazon reviewers pointed out over and over how much they love to use the emollient as a primer under foundation. “The best moisturizer/primer hands down. Also used on all models at photoshoots which is how I found this,” notes a reviewer.

Average rating: 4.7/5. Liquid exfoliators aren’t for the faint of heart, but they’re a life-changing addition for any skincare lover seeking smoother skin. Reviewers have dubbed it a must-have, a staple, and many other variations of all-around favorite. The rest of the offerings from PC equally advanced and equally adored. “This little black bottle has changed my entire outlook on skincare products,” one Nordstrom customer retorted. “Within days, I was being showered with compliments on the health of my skin and, as somebody who felt plagued by patchy dry skin and enlarged pores, this was totally new to me. This and Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Serum have my skin glowing, and easily looking ten years younger.”

Average rating: 4.6/5. Here we have yet another French pharmacy find that’s become an international treasure. The micelle formula works overtime to remove makeup and impurities without irritating the skin. To rinse or not to rinse? That is really up to you. After using this, feel free to follow up with any of Bioderma’s other gentle products. “I just found out about this brand and have tried couple of products so far but this cleanser is hands down the best cleaner there is. I also like that I just need a little bit of it for the entire face, since a little bit of it goes a long way,” one user notes.

Average rating: 5/5This potent serum helps to fight signs of aging by delivering a dose of glycerin and soft focus spheres to blur the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It basically sits on top of all your other skincare and makeup like a shield against imperfections. The kicker? It’s cheap! “This stuff works! I see a [noticeable] change after using. I put on my powder foundation and bronzer THEN use this. Then I add some blush and highlighter. My forehead wrinkles and lines between my eyebrows almost disappear!” a customer attests. 

Average rating: 5/5. If you’re into K-beauty, chances are you’ve heard of (and already love!) CosRx. Reviewers of this essence agree that a little of this snail secretion filtrate formula goes a long way. Yes, that particular ingredient sounds straight-up gross, but get into it—it’ll give your skin some serious glow. “This product has a great texture. Only 1-2 pumps is needed.. bottle lasts a long time. Does a great job of rehydrating my skin after cleansing & leaves me with a dewy glow!” claims one user.

Average rating: 4.4 When it comes to cool-girl beauty brands, Glossier is consistently at the front of the pack. Aside from its innovative selection of skincare and makeup products, it’s also built a dedicated community of beauty lovers who tell it like it is about all of its products. Perhaps the best part is that all the products are incredibly affordable. “I love this balm. I use cherry and it is so silky and gives my lips a healthy, natural pout,” writes one reviewer. “A new favorite for sure! I plan to buy at least 2 more!”

Average rating: 4.1/5. If you haven’t yet heard about The Ordinary, you might need to check your WiFi connection. This buzzy brand has quickly ascended to skincare royalty with its scientific-grade, mega-cheap products that skincare lovers can’t stop raving about. Its hyaluronic acid serum, for instance, rings in at just around $12 (for the larger of the two size options!) and garners rave reviews. “My skin has some issues with keeping in moisture and staying hydrated, so I needed a serum to help lock that needed moisture in,” a Sephora reviewer writes. “My esthetician recommended this product a few months back during my facial, so I thought I should give it a shot. Needless to say, I am so happy with the results. My skin is dewy and plump!”

Average rating: 4.8/5. If you love The Ordinary, there’s another smart skincare system you need to know about. Meet The Inkey List, the UK-based skincare company known for formulating ultra-effective products made with the most sought-after ingredients in the game. It doesn’t have flashy packaging or use marketing buzzwords to gain notoriety, and that’s because the products truly speak for themselves. Oh, and did we mention they’re all under $15? Unreal. “I love this toner! My skin feels smooth, clean and younger after using it. I really love how it minimizes my pores, too,” a happy customer writes.

Average rating: 4.5/5. We’ve learned about tons of under-the-radar skincare power players via Amazon, and TruSkin is one of them. Each of its potent serums has thousands upon thousands of positive reviews—and low price tags. “I am truly happy with TruSkin. I use my toner, serum and moisturizers in the morning and at night and my skin is so clear,” an Amazon reviewer writes.

Average rating: 4.4/5. InstaNaturals is another Amazon-famous skincare brand that’s surpassed our expectations. This soothing niacinamide serum is just one of the offerings with thousands of positive reviews. It also contains hyaluronic acid, avocado oil, and rosemary extract to plump the skin while calming inflammation and evening the skin tone. “The result was IMMEDIATE,” one enthusiastic reviewer exclaims. “IMMEDIATELY the redness calmed. That alone would have made me a buyer for life, but the next day, no flakes, no redness and the softest skin I have had in as long as I can remember.”

Average rating: 5/5. The French-pharmacy-brand trend continues with La Roche-Posay, a purveyor of gentle skincare suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. Among other affordable favorites, it’s known for its expert suncare. You won’t find a sunscreen roundup that doesn’t mention this holy-grail SPF. “I have used this for years,” a Dermstore reviewer writes. “First bought it in Paris when it wasn’t available here. You can tell that the European sunscreen ingredients are superior to those here—used for years without a sunburn!”

Average rating: 4.4/5. Aside from its makeup offerings, UK-based beauty brand Pixi also has a solid selection of low-cost skincare products. Among the most famous is its Glow Tonic, a lauded glycolic acid exfoliator that deeply cleans and refines the look of pores while energizing and hydrating the skin with ginseng and aloe vera. “I had seen this product all over pinterest and thought to give it a try. I will never use another toner,” says one Amazon reviewer. “This has helped even out my skin, get rid of my redness and leaves my skin glowing.” Up next, read honest reviews of 16 more cheap skincare products.

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