13 Drugstore Skin Care Products That Really Work

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.27.52I don’t always wear makeup, but I am obsessed with skin care. I’ll happily undergo a 12-step cleansing, toning, moisturizing procedure every day so that on the off chance I feel like putting on makeup, everything will look as good as possible. Honestly, that stuff can get really expensive. If anyone wants to send me piles of top-shelf beauty products, I will happily play with them all day, but until that happens I have to make judgment calls on when to splurge and when to use the cheaper products. Luckily there are quite a few drugstore products that actually work really well to protect one’s skin and keep it healthy. These are some of my favorites.

As always, if you have go-to products that you adore, let us know in the comments. I always want to try more.

1. Yes to Tomatoes Skin Clearing Facial Mask

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 17.57.20This anti-oxidant-rich face mask is free of petroleum and parabens, and its moisturizing properties are excellent for dry skin.

2. Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.00.30My dermatologist recommended this to me. I was surprised, because I was ready to pay out the nose for whatever designer creams she told me to use, but she said to use this at night, and a different, wildly expensive cream during the day. I do love the way this makes my skin feel.

3. Cetaphil Skin Cleanser

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.02.10I don’t even need to talk about this one, do I? Everyone knows Cetaphil. For people with dry skin, this stuff is a life-saver.

4. Masque Bar Brightening Sheet Mask

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.03.46Cate Blanchett uses sheet masks to make herself look super gorgeous before big events. Hers are by SK-II and cost $125 for a pack of 10. These brightening sheet masks will make you feel as luxurious and red carpet ready as she does, but they’re only $1 apiece.

5. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.07.37If your drug store stocks Dr. Bronner’s, just buy all of it. This stuff is the best. Even Gwyneth Paltrow uses it. I like the peppermint best, but be careful applying it to sensitive areas because it tingles. Also, as a bonus, very low-maintenance types tend to adore this soap’s all-in-one properties. I only use it as a body soap, but my partner uses it as shampoo, face wash, body wash, and more. I’m pretty sure he’d use it as toothpaste if we ever ran out. (I try not to run out, because he will improvise for days rather than go buy more.)

6. Burt’s Bees Cranberry & Pomegranate Sugar Scrub

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.27.52I love a good sugar scrub, especially for preventing ingrown hairs after waxing.

7. Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 18.31.15This stuff is on the expensive side, but I completely adore it. Pregnant lady friends swear by it, and it seems impossible, but I swear it actually improves the appearance of the stretch marks I’ve had on my hips since high school. (Their rose oil is also excellent. I like to use it on my face during the winter.)

8. Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage Lotion

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 19.13.16This is a good all-in-one morning product with a broad-spectrum sunblock. It’s a good moisturizer, and is designed to help fade dark spots. (I worry about dark spots constantly.)

9. Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 19.15.25This natural product feels really good if you need a hardcore moisturizer in the winter.

10. Amlactin Ultra

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 19.17.23This super hardcore moisturizer is good for really dry skin. It moisturizes and exfoliates, and it’s also one of the few things around that can do something about keratosis pilaris—the little red bumps some people get on their upper arms.

11. Ambi Fade Cream

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 19.20.27This has the highest concentration of the spot-lightening ingredient hydroquinone that you can get without a prescription.

12. St. Ives AHA Exfoliating Pads

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 19.39.33These all natural toner pads exfoliate with alpha-hydroxy acids and lactic acid. Also they feel super retro, like Stridex.

13. Boots Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 19.42.28Rose water is an excellent, gentle toner. Honestly, any rose water is going to be fine. It doesn’t have to be this brand.

(Photos: Target)

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    • Samantha Escobar

      Hmmm, I need to try #7. Also, whenever I’m sleeping over at a friend or partner’s house and it turns out they have Cetaphil, I get SO happy.

    • SugarlipsB

      I haven’t used it (it’s not so prevalent in the UK) but Cetaphil is apparently great with a hot cloth. In fact any cleanser can be made 100% better by using it with a clean, hot, damp cotton facecloth. I bloody love a hot flannel at the end of the day.

      I’d also add Queen Helene Mint Julep mask to this list. Brilliant for sucking crap out of pores and clearing skin, but without drying at all.

      • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

        Ooh, good one! I’ve heard a lot of good things about that mint julep mask.

    • estypro

      Almost every single product there, including cetaphil, has harsh and toxic chemicals, parabens, and sulfates. All no bueno for the skin and body. I’ll pass!