The Ultimate Skincare Routine Using ALL Drugstore Products



As much as we LOVE makeup – no, obsess over makeup – one thing we’ve learned is that skincare is everything! The better care you take of your skin, the better you’ll look for longer, and the less hard your makeup needs to work. Plus, if you’re anything like us, your skincare ritual is your daily indulgence – ten minutes of self-care that no one can take away from you. But good skincare doesn’t need to be expensive, so we’re sharing a skincare routine made up of some of our fave drugstore products. Here’s everything you need for a great skincare regime:

Step 1: Hydrating Cleanser


Source: Neutrogena

Cleansing is ultimately one of the most important steps in your routine, but above all, you don’t want a cleanser that will strip or dry out your skin. We love the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel, $10 – it’s soap, oil, and paraben-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and packed with hydrating and soothing ingredients that effectively remove dirt, makeup, and oil without stripping the skin.

Step 2: Gently Exfoliating Toner

drugstore toner

Source: Pixi

We’re sure you’ve all heard of the Pixi Glow Tonic, $15, a gently exfoliating formula made with 5% glycolic acid that gently resurfaces the skin; brightening and smoothing the complexion. The addition of aloe, ginseng, and botanical extracts soothe and hydrate the skin. We recommend using in the evening after double cleansing.

Step 3 (daytime): Brightening Vitamin C
drugstore vitamin C

Vitamin C basically has skincare superpowers – it neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals, brightens the skin, and helps to create a glowing complexion – it’s what most derms say every routine should include. We like to use vitamin C in our morning routine to protect our skin throughout the day. And thank the skincare gods for giving us The Inkey List’s Vitamin C Serum, $10, which gives us an affordable formula our skin loves. Read more about it here.

Step 3 (nighttime): Skin-Renewing Retinol

drugstore retinol

During your sleep, your skin recovers and repairs, so this is when you need to pay extra attention to your skincare routine and feed it all the goodness you can. Retinol is one of the most potent skincare formulas around, and gives arguably the most impressive results for your skin – we’re talking softening fine lines and improving the appearance of pigmentation, acne scarring, and large pores. The Inkey List came through for us again, with an extremely comfortable and effective retinol formula that does all of the above and costs just $13. Check out this amazing drugstore retinol.

Step 4: Effective Serums

One thing we love to indulge in is a lightweight yet potent serum, and you better believe we know the best drugstore serums to get your skin looking healthy and glowy. In comes K-beauty brand Sweet Chef (by cult favorite brand Glow Recipe) with three divine serums that target different skin concerns:


Ginger + Vitamin C Serum Shot, $20: Good for all skin types, this hydrating and protecting formula will help smooth and brighten the skin.

Beet + Vitamin A Serum Shot, $20: Packed with vitamin-rich beetroot and antioxidant vitamin A (aka retinol), this pretty pink pore-refining serum helps smooth away texture and firm the skin.

Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot, $20: Everyone is obsessed with kale, and for good reason. This milky formula boasts all of kale’s best properties: it’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. The addition of vitamin B soothes, hydrates, and strengthens the skin barrier.

Step 5: Nourish and Hydrate

drugstore moisturizer

Source: Clinique

Moisturizers are not only there to hydrate and nourish your skin, but they’re designed to lock in moisture by creating a barrier on your skin. If you have normal, oily or acne-prone skin, you might prefer to use a gel-like moisturizing formula, like the Clinique Moisture surge 72-hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, $20. It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and features antioxidant-rich aloe vera, as well as hyaluronic acid, and is not too heavy on the skin.

drugstore moisturizer

Source: CeraVe

For dry to normal skin, check out derm-favorite, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $13. This intensely hydrating formula is packed with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and keep moisture locked in all day long, all without clogging pores or a greasy feeling.

Weekly Extras:

Hydrating Sheet Maskssheet mask

In Korea, women use sheet masks as part of their daily routine to deliver intense hydration and a hit of skin-perfecting ingredients. When your skin is dehydrated or you’ve had a tough day at the office, throw on a sheet mask and kick back. The Sweet Chef serum-infused sheet masks cost just $3.50, so you won’t need to feel guilty. Check them out here.

Blackhead-Busting Pore Stripsblackhead pore strips

You know what a blackhead strip does: plucks out all those cheeky little blackheads in a quick 10-minute session. Using one once every other week is plenty, and these Miniso Pore Strips, $4, are our fave at getting the task done without breaking the bank (or our skin)!

Oil-Fighting Clay Masks

drugstore clay masks

Once or twice a week we like to detox our skin with a clay mask that extracts toxins and oil, and helps refine the texture of our skin and our pores. We love the L’Oreal Pure Clay Mask collection, $13 each, which has five variations of clay mask to ensure that you can find the perfect formula for your skin type. Check out our full review here.

Skin-Smoothing Scrub

Exfoliation is a key step in a good skincare routine, but remember, there’s such a thing as too much! If you have sensitive skin, once a week is plenty, otherwise, you can opt for two or three times a week. Our fave exfoliating hack costs $2, and all you need to do is mix a little baking soda with your face wash.

The slightly abrasive texture of baking soda makes it excellent for removing surface dead skin cells, while the alkaline pH has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Find out our top tips for doing this mask at home here.

Have you guys tried any of these products? Let us know your fave drugstore products in the comments below.