Broke Girl’s Guide: 3 Budget Skincare Brands That Give REAL Results

Broke Girl's Guide

Dry skin routine

What do we want? Effective skincare. How do we want it? In our budget! For us, there’s nothing better than finding a product that works wonders for our skin without destroying our bank account. Nothing is more satisfying than telling your friends your glowy skin is the result of a $10 serum – nothing!

Honestly, we’ve tried some VERY expensive skincare in our time, and sure, it smells great, looks stunning, and promises all the right things, but dramatic changes in our skin don’t come easy, and a high price tag definitely doesn’t promise that. So, of all the drugstore brands we love, we’re breaking down our absolute faves, and these three beauty brands prove that you don’t have to spend a fortune on skincare to get real results.

The Inkey List

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Price: Under $20
Motto: Hero-ingredient skincare made simple.

What they do: Launching last year, The Inkey List is the hottest new beauty brand on the block. Their ingredient-focused skincare collection makes breaking down what your skin needs extra simple. Need to brighten your skin and get rid of dull spots? Choose their Vitamin C Serum, $10. Need to detox your pores? Hit up their Kaolin Clay Mask, $7.

the inkey list

From a strong but gentle 1% Retinol that tightens pores and smooths out skin tone, and a hydrating hyaluronic acid, to Collagen, Turmeric moisturizer, Zinc SPF, and a Glycolic Acid toner, there’s everything you need to put together an enviable beauty routine that actually makes a difference.

Shop The Inkey List here.


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Price: Under $40
Motto: #1 Dermatologist-recommended skincare brand.

What they do: If you’re not familiar with the beauty powerhouse that is Neutrogena, then let’s break it down. From affordable haircare and makeup to skincare and beauty tech, beauty giant Neutrogena boasts some of our fave beauty solutions from a drugstore brand. Not only can you get your hands on their products in nearly every drugstore around the world, but we’re yet to try a product we’re disappointed with.

Here’s a breakdown of some of our fave products:

For dandruff: Neutrogena T-Sal Shampoo, $11. Containing 3% salicylic acid, this therapeutic shampoo helps decongest hair follicles by preventing sebum and dead skin build up.

For body acne: Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, $7.50. Even when this cleared up our body acne and booty spots, we continued to use this because it makes our skin so damn soft and smooth. Check out our full review here.


For every day: Neutrogena Hydraboost Hydrating Cleansing Gel, $10. Okay, we know this is just face wash, but there’s something about this formula that just does it for us. It’s deep cleaning while also being super hydrating (you won’t get that tight feeling some cleansers leave you with), and it always makes our skin feel smooth af.

For acne: Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask, $35. Light therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat acne, and considering it’s also one of the more expensive ways to treat it, this light mask is the most affordable option on the market.

For anti-aging: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Retinol Oil, $28.50. This potent retinol is hot competition for some of the most expensively formulated retinols on the market. Let’s just say, this is proof price doesn’t mean everything.

Shop Neutrogena here.

P.s. We know this is a skincare post, but this Neutrogena foundation is our secret to glass skin!

The Ordinary 

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Price: Under $25
Motto: Clinical formulations with integrity.

What they do: The Ordinary create advanced, functional beauty products without fancy packaging (although we love the simplicity of it) to deliver you skincare treatments without the price tag. If you’re a skincare pro and you know what your skin needs to live it’s best, most glowing life, then The Ordinary is your dream. You want peptides? They got it. Need acids? The Ordinary is your oyster!

the ordinary

All the names of ingredients may seem a little intimidating at first glance, but a quick scan of the product page tells you everything you need to know. We also love that they have a regimen guide on their website, which tells you exactly when you should use the product (morning or night) and where in your routine. They even recommend which other skincare products it works well with – so you can basically find a complete routine for your skin type. Check out our fave products from The Ordinary here. We’re also big fans of their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% formula, $10, which is an antioxidant that’s great for oily and acne-prone skin.

Shop The Ordinary here.

Have you guys tried these amazing budget skincare brands? Let us know your fave in the comments below.