Category / Tips

How to have a skincare routine on a budget

Hi everyone,
As you may have figured out from the title, today I’m going to write about skincare (that’s pretty much all I write about anyway!), but in particular I’m going to talk about how to have and build your own skincare regime when you’re on a budget.

Why am I writing this? Let me tell you a few reasons. The first is that I myself am on a budget being a student whose only money comes from what my parents give me. I’m now getting a small income from my internship but otherwise my parents give me what I need to live (though I definitely feel luckier than most). I also worked last summer for a month or so, but I pretty much spent all of that on flights to see my other half who lives far away. Not too far, but each one of us pays a fair bit into the coffers of airlines!
I have many other expenses, though to be honest I don’t go out very often and so I never splurge on girls’ nights out and parties, which girls of my age are for some reason expected to do. I enjoy long walks with my friends and honestly I’d rather go to the cinema than to a nightclub.

Anyway…that’s just to let you know a bit more about me and my situation. Having said that, the other reason why I’m writing this is that in the beauty community, on blogs and Instagram I see a lot of products being shown that I would really like to try and test, but I cannot justify splurging on them. I know I could either go out for dinner or spend it on my flights. It’s a matter of priorities and if I had the chance to do all of these things, including buying expensive skincare and make-up products, I definitely would! But at the moment I can’t and I have to make the best with what I have.

I suppose that many other people are in the same situation as me, especially if you are very young and living like a student, which we all know means empty pockets most of the time. But if you are reading this, it probably means you like skincare and beauty so you won’t blame anyone for the money they spend on it. Neither will I.

I also want to say that I don’t think that spending a lot of money on skincare means that you’ll have better skin. I think that some expensive good products really do an amazing job, but you are probably paying a lot for a) the luxurious packaging b) the marketing behind them c) the experience you get when using them. Let’s face it, many products give you a great, unforgettable and irreplaceable spa-like experience, along with having good quality ingredients and some science behind them, you pay a lot for that!
There’s nothing wrong with this, I just want to tell to everyone who’s on the same page as me that you can take care of your skin even for less. There’s no need to feel like your skin will never be good without that 80 quid serum you are craving.

Here are my tips:

1. Thou shalt not accumulate

My absolute Golden Rule. If you have a tight budget, only buy things when you actually need them. Don’t buy just so you can try something, having got bored of the products you already have in your stash. This means that I only have one product for each category and I only buy a new one when I’ve run out of the previous one. It works, you get to see which products really work, you use them until the last drop and spend more time mulling over what you’re going to get after that.

2. Take advantage of all the discounts out there

I don’t remember buying a full-price product for quite some time. That’s why I always always look for discounts codes, online sales, promo-codes for new buyers and things like that. I also have the Sephora Gold card, which my mother and I use a lot. It gives us 10% discounts or even 20% every three months or so. When we get the 20% we usually buy perfumes, which tend to be very expensive and probably not worth their price (Fancy water in a fancy bottle!). Some websites you should always look to check out are: lookfantastic, cultbeauty, spacenk, beautybay, naturisimo. If you live in the UK you may want to check Boot’s 3 for 2 offers, or Superdrug when they have products for half price. I may do a whole post on this but the general tip is to subscribe to their newsletter and look at the promo you receive; they often end up in your spam folder. Some of them even give you a welcome discount code or free shipping. Check them regularly.

3. Organise your wish list

How many products do I have on my wish list? Hundreds! There are so many products I’m desperate to get my hands on, even though I know for some of them I’ll have to wait a looong time. What I do is to divide my wish list into categories; for example, cleansers, toners, moisturizers, serums, masks, etc. For each category I make a list of the products I’m interested in buying, write the price next to them and, this is the important thing, put them in order according to which ones I want to try first. So I’ll have a #1 cleanser I want to buy, a #1 face mask etc. It’s important that you are realistic and prioritise only what you know you’ll be able to afford. You can look them up regularly online and buy, when the time is right. Pounce when there is a discount, you never know how long a promotion is going to last! But, of course, please bear in mind my Golden Rule, as you don’t want to accumulate.

4. Start with a simple routine

If you are my kind of age you probably don’t need a 15 steps skincare routine every night and day. To be honest that may even apply regardless of age! You may enjoy a lengthier routine because it’s fun, relaxing, pampering and makes your skin feel and look good, but it’s not absolutely essential, at least in my opinion. Here is what I think is instead essential.

The absolute basics:

A cleanser and a moisturizer. I would spend more on the cleanser than on the moisturizer. You’ll need to pick the cleanser and moisturizer according to your skin type and needs. For more on cleansing see here  and for some good cleansers here.
The summer essential: a high SPF to use on the top of your moisturizer.

When you want to include something more I would start with:

• An exfoliant: acid or physical, though I prefer the former. They are now widely available in drugstores, they mostly come in pads and can be used either every day or a few evenings per week. Go for a BHA if you have blemish prone skin, AHA for all the rest (or both if you can afford it, but we’re on a budget right?).
• A serum to use at night: this can be a normal serum or a dry oil. I love oils and nowadays you can find good options for less than 10 quid. They are good for every skin type.
• A face mask: again, the right one depends on your skin type. When you can afford more you could buy different ones. I personally like to have a hydrating one and a purifying one. That’s it.
Spritz toner: not usually a very expensive product. I’ve been using thermal water for a long time, but I don’t think that it makes a huge difference to my skincare routine. So I’d recommend it leaving at the end of your “priorities”.

5. Set your budget

How much do you want to spend on a single product? Write it down. I’m sure you’ll find something that fits in every category. It may not be the best product that works for you but you can try it and see how it goes. Testing a product on yourself is the best indicator. Just because it’s got a high price tag, and if it’s highly rated, it doesn’t mean it’ll be the best product for you.

Lastly, if you’ve come this far, thanks first of all for reading , you will be looking for some good suggestions on which products to buy. I aim to open a budget skincare section, but for now I’ll leave you with a link which could provide some inspiration.

I want to hear from you: what’s your favourite super-affordable product? Let me know in the comments, I really want to hear about your experiences!

Have a lovely day, beautiful skin-care addicts!


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Why cleansing your face is important

Through my not-so-long life (21 years on this planet so far)  I’ve used tons of different cleansers and visited at least three dermatologists, have been through different medications and tried several chemical peelings that did nothing to my face. Though cleansing might not seem so important and not worth investing in, I hope I will help you change your mind and share with you my views on it.

Of course, I’m no dermatologist, I speak for myself and for my experience and research on the topic.

First of all, cleansing has to be the first step of any skincare routine, morning and night. Don’t even think about going to bed without having properly cleansed your skin (from make-up and from all the dirt that is on your face). The same goes for the morning. During the night your skin produces sebum and absorbs all the things you have put on the night before, so in the morning you want to make sure you get rid of all the residue before putting on your make-up. Hence, cleanse your skin twice a day.

No, the shower doesn’t count. The simple fact of having water running on your face, doesn’t make it clean! You need to use a product that has ingredients inside capable of bonding with the dirt and removing it. No excuses 😉

If you do have a shower, cleanse your skin after you come out. After.

This probably goes without saying: don’t go to bed with your make up on. No, face wipes do not count. You need water, a cleanser and a flannel to wash your face (flannel is optimal but optional). Anything else is not a cleanse.

Now…onto what cleanser you ought to use. I can only name some cleansers that have worked well for me (see more here and here).  You have to find out which one works well for you, and keep trying new products and experiment with texture. In general my recommendation is: no foaming. Stay away from it. I personally look at the label on the cleanser, if it contains the word “foaming” I leave it on the shelf.

A brief note on this. During the years my acne was most acute, I always used foaming cleansers, recommended by dermatologists and unprepared shopping assistants. Did they improve my skin in any way? No they did not. They give you the feeling of a deep cleanse and non-oily skin, but you’ll see this effect lasts no time at all and it actually stimulates your skin to produce even more sebum than before. Why? Because of the ingredients they contain. What makes the foam? The same one that makes washing-up liquid foam, strong and aggressive ingredients (many of which are in shampoos, too) called surfactants.

I would recommend a milk cleanser, a gel cleanser, a non-foaming or oil cleanser. Balms are great too. Try to see what your skin reacts better to. You are the person who knows your skin best.

How to wash your face

Good cleansers work best if applied to dry skin, so they can better bond with the dirt on the surface. You may need to add a bit of water to emulsify them later, but that depends on the cleanser. I started using flannels a year ago and I think this is the best way of removing the product from your face. You take the piece of cloth, dampen it in warm water and then use it to take off everything that is on your face. It is a great feeling and I find it to be more efficient that just splashing water on my face. If you use this method, please do not use the same flannel more than twice. Buy at least 5 and then you can wash all of them once a week with your laundry.

What to do if you are wearing make-up or SPF

Here comes the explanation of the difference between the first cleanse and second cleanse/AM cleanse. If you follow the beauty community, you might have heard of it.

It all comes from the idea that when you are wearing make-up (or Spf) you need to wash your face twice.

First cleanse

This is when you take off the makeup. You can use your micellar water with cotton pads, face-wipes (if you really have to) or, and this is the best option, a good cleansing balm or oil designed for this purpose. Some examples: Clinique ‘Take the Day Off’ Balm, TheBodyShop Camomile Cleansing Butter.

And no, after this you are not ready to put moisturizer on, nor are you ready for bed.

Second cleanse

This is when you really cleanse your skin of all the dirt, going beyond the surface. Here I recommend you use a good cleanser, so that after this step your skin is in the perfect shape to receive all the good stuff you apply afterward (serums, toner, creams, depending on your routine).

So the kind of cleanser that you use for your second cleanse will be the same one you use in the morning. That means a good quality cleanser that probably isn’t designed just to take off make-up, but rather to cleanse skin, make it comfortable and go further than a simple make-up remover would go.

That’s why people often refer to cleansers either as AM cleanse/second cleanse or first cleanse (AKA make-up removal cleanse).

I hope I mentioned everything!

Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below

Have a lovely day!



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5 tips to make your skin look better in 4 weeks

Hello my dear reader,

today I want to share with you my top 5 tips for a healthy skin that can make a great difference starting from 4 weeks. These are the things I’d recommend to my best friend and are the basis of any skincare regimen.

They might seem very obvious for all the skincare-junkies out there, but I have imagined some readers might have never really bothered about having a skincare.

1. Never ever go to bed with your make-up anymore

Just don’t do it please! Those 5 extra minutes in the middle of the night will make a difference on how your skin. She will be grateful. Also avoid sweating with your make-up on. I know it’s tempting to go to the gym with your best cat-eye look. But the sweat along with the powder on your skin and the pollution from the outside are a lethal mix for your skin. Nobody expects you to look perfect while your working out!

2. Invest time and money in cleansing

It doesn’t have to be very expensive, you don’t have to spend 50 euros on it, but a 3 £ one will certainly not be as good as a 30 £ one (not all the times, see some very good ones here). Once you have a cleanser, use it properly to wash your face/remove your make-up twice a day. Remember: cleansing is the first and most important step of every routine.

3. Drink more water

Easy as a glass water 🙂 It doesn’t take a big effort and in the long-term makes a whole difference to your body and face skin. At least you’ll not be dehydrated, a condition that often affects our skin and I promise you will feel better, less tired and your body skin will glow.

4. Stop all the foam and super matte products

I don’t have much to say about it. They just aren’t good for your skin, even if this it oily. Trust me, I have been there too and even if they promise to do it, infact they only make your skin feel dried out for a couple of hours and then it goes back to the usual greasyness.

beautiful skin cleansing

5. Declutter your skincare routine and leave it time to work. 

Most products take weeks, if not months, to give results and that’s why I never review products I have only used for little time. It’s very important, if you are starting to experiement with skincare, that you only select a few products and stick to them for some time to really see if they work or not and how your skin reacts.

6. Extra tip

If you have an important concern with your skin, try to go to a dermatologist. I’m talking about skin issues like acne/rosacea/dermatitis. He’s the one who can give the best and most effective advice. This can be very expensive, but consider all the money you are otherwise wasting in wrong products. A doctor, if you a have a specific problem that has to be cured, is the only one who can help you save it.

Let me know if you have any other effective tips!

Have a lovely day!



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