When it comes to the world of drugstore beauty, you need to do your research! There are so many products on the shelves, and even at a low price point, it’s a waste of money buying a formula that doesn’t come through. Especially when it comes to skincare – the last thing you want to do is end up irritating your skin. Luckily for you, we’ve tried hundreds of products and spoken to tons of dermatologists to get their top recommendations. Here are five truly effective drugstore skincare products that we love.
1. For Mature Skin: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Face Moisturizer, $23
This drugstore moisturizer has gained a cult following for a reason. The formula’s packed with some of the most effective anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which is designed to penetrate and hydrate the skin 10-layers deep. It also boasts vitamin B3 and amino peptides that help rebuild the skin and thereby smooth the skin by speeding up surface skin cell turnover leaving you with a brighter complexion. The addition of niacinamide helps protect the skin from aging free radicals that destroy collagen. In short, this rich and creamy formula will smooth the appearance of fine lines while providing intense hydration.
Use this as the final step in your skincare routine or layer an oil on afterward to lock in moisture. If you have normal to dry skin, you can use this morning and night. However, if you have oily skin, limit this to your nighttime routine.
2. For Radiant Skin: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum, $30
Recommended by celeb dermatologist, Dr. Doris Day, she says, “This serum contains 10% pure vitamin C to help restore radiance, improve skin tone, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles in the skin. I layer this with hyaluronic acid and always use it under my sunscreen in the morning to get more sun protection than just from sunscreen alone.” We love how effective this formula is!
3. For Everyone: EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41, $23
Any dermatologist will tell you that wearing sunscreen is the best thing you do for your skin, and this tinted drugstore option is one of our faves. This mineral sunscreen is made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which reflects the sun’s rays, all without penetrating your skin, making it ideal for acne-prone or sensitive skin. Zinc also helps control oil production and calm and soothe the skin, so it’s great for those with acne-prone or oily skin. The lightweight formula also has a sheer tint to even out your complexion with a radiant finish, making it ideal for no-makeup makeup days. Check out more bomb mineral sunscreens here.
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4. For Even Tone and Texture: The Inkey List Retinol, $10
The benefits of retinol are pretty major; it’s an anti-aging active ingredient that also helps reduce dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and control oily skin. However, if the prospect of using retinol is intimidating, firstly read our retinol guide, then head to the drugstore for The Inkey List Retinol. The affordable formula features 1% stable retinol and 0.5% granactive retinoid (retinol’s more potent sibling), which is combined with one of our all-time favorite oils, squalane, to hydrate and soothe the skin. The slow-release formula reduces irritation while providing effective delivery, leaving your skin looking brighter and more even.
Use it after you’ve double cleansed and toned and before you apply any serums or night creams. Start using the formula two times a week for the first two weeks and then gradually increase usage over the next few months. Also, don’t forget to wear SPF during the day to protect your skin.
5. For Soft, Smooth Skin: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $18
Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Lancer, whose clientele includes Ellen and Kim Kardashian, confirms “CeraVe products are good for everyday use. They’re simple, not targeted therapy, reliable, and inexpensive.” We couldn’t agree more! It contains MVE technology, a patented system that releases moisturizing ingredients for up to 24 hours. The creamy formula is also infused with ceramides and hydrating hyaluronic acid to help strengthen the skin’s epidermis so it can retain moisture more efficiently. The CeraVe products are also suitable for all skin types, this cream, in particular, is non-comedogenic, oil-free, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.
For more drugstore recommendations, check out our fave five drugstore mascaras.