The other day I was thinking about it and I realized – I finally had figured out a (somewhat!) affordable but fancy bedtime skincare routine.
It’s mostly clean, too. Retinol is not clean and I don’t think the Pixi Glow Tonic is clean either, but everything else is! I always say that I try to be 80/20 in my own skincare routine with a focus on clean ingredients BUT I also want high-tech and need my retinol! (If you want a clean alternative I would definitely recommend trying Bakuchiol, which I wrote about in this post!)
I have more affordable skincare recs here in this post… but I’ve never outlined a full skincare routine at solely affordable/drugstore prices. If you buy everything (8 products) featured, that’s $153. Not cheap (the two retinol products drive up the cost!) BUT you’re getting a full routine that is in my opinion, pretty comparable to a MUCH more expensive skincare routine.
Before we dive in, a few quick things!
- THIS is my current skincare routine. I’ve updated a few things and will do a winter skincare post but that will give you the general idea.
- THIS is the correct order to apply your products! (I’ve listed out this routine in proper order but I always get asked questions about product order so I wanted to link to that post again.
- This post is a bedtime routine! I find that if you are diligent at night you don’t have to do a ton in the morning. I usually splash my face with water (or use this toner/cleanser), and pat on a light moisturizer, my fav daytime eye cream and tinted moisturizer w/ SPF.
Lastly, this is just what works for me! Everything mentioned in this post has been tested, vetted, and is fully Grace-approved! BUT if we have different skin types, this might not work for you. I’m 38 with dry skin. My biggest concerns are dehydration, fine lines, and texture.
I love love love a good double cleanse. A balm to remove all my makeup, dirt and grime… and then a gel cleanser to get my skin really clean and prepped for skincare. Besides being super effective, it’s also just a really nice, luxurious ritual. I don’t double cleanse every night but I do it if I wore makeup, my skin feels dirty, I’ve been traveling, or I just want the ritual. If not, I’ll just pick one!
Start by using the Cocokind Oil to Milk Cleanser ($18). Massage this on dry skin and then add a little bit of water to emulsify. Overall, I’m pretty medium on Cocokind but I really love this cleanser and it’s a great price.
THEN, use this Weleda Clarifying Gel Cleanser ($20). I love this cleanser. It smells amazing and really deep cleans. Even though I have dry skin I really like this cleanser as it deep cleans, prepping my skin for moisture!
Exfoliate (2-3x a week)
For a manual exfoliation, I love the Seaweed Bath Company’s face scrub. Budgets aside, it is my favorite face scrub but I do really love that it is $17. I got a tip to (gently) exfoliate for two full minutes in the shower and this has been a game changer… your skin will be buttery soft and SO SMOOTH afterward!
Retinol / Acid
A few times a week (I do it every other night, recommend starting with 1-2x a week) use the Olay Retinol Serum. At $29 this is the most expensive of the products, but it’s also really effective and most retinol serums cost $100+. Definitely read my full review of the Olay retinol products. I find them to be very good and comparable to the more expensive retinol products I’ve tried.
Pixi Glow Tonic ($14) is the real deal and my favorite affordable acid/toner. It’s similar to P50 in that it exfoliates and makes you GLOW!
Everything really depends on YOUR skin (test things out! Pay attention to how your skin feels) but I would recommend doing each of these things SEPARATELY a few times a week. Don’t do them both, I think retinol + glow tonic would probably be a little too much. I’d probably start with retinol 1-2x a week and Glow Tonic 3x a week with a couple off nights where you do a hydrating serum (don’t have a drugstore/affordable rec for that yet) or just go straight to moisturizer after you cleanse).
I am still loving the Olay Retinol Eye Cream ($29) and use it every night. It’s gentle, it doesn’t irritate, and I have definitely noticed a big improvement in the texture around my under eye area.
Skin Food and Skin Food Light ($12 each) are my two favs here. Both are so hydrating. I would liken the Skin Food to La Mer’s original cream (it’s extremely rich – a little goes a long way and you have to warm it up between your fingers first) and the Skin Food Light to the Dr. Bader Rich Cream (in consistency, not active ingredients, obviously). I use both creams a lot… usually Skin Food at night or when my face is just extra dry, and Skin Food Light for day. I have a post about Skin Food, with all of its many uses!!
Lock it all in with Oil
Everyday Oil ($14 for one ounce) is one of my favorite oils, and it’s an amazing price! I like to tap on oil over my moisturizer as a final step before bed to lock everything in. It feels amazing. The Everyday Oil Mainstay Blend smells like Palo Santo which I love.