Getting Nerdie With The Skin Nerd: How to Create an Affordable Skincare Regime

The Skin NerdI work with primarily expensive skincare. After years in the business, it’s possible that I have become a bit desensitised to the actual price of the products that I use and love.

Price doesn’t always define the efficacy of a product – I have used affordable skincare products that have come out on top of some remortgage-the-house products.

When I recommend a product with a higher price point, it is because I believe it to be near the best a product could be.

I’ve become more aware of the demand for products that are perhaps not as active in terms of ingredients (ie. smaller levels of or no acids) but are much cheaper.

Not everyone can dedicate money to their skincare budget and this does not mean that their skin should not be clean, hydrated and protected.

Stick to the basics if you’re looking for a skincare regime on a budget. The core things you will need, the bare minimum, would be a cleanser, a serum and an SPF.

Price doesn’t always define the efficacy of a product – I have used affordable skincare products that have come out on top of some remortgage-the-house products.

These products should last you between 6 to 8 weeks dependent on size and usage so your spend will be once every two months.


When it comes to affordable cleansers, you do have to go by concern but you’re furthermore looking to see if it has whopping amounts of drying alcohols or not.

Denatured alcohol, alcohol denat. or SD alcohol are the forms of alcohol that can dehydrate the skin and strip it of its barrier.

Affordable skincare Shelfie Image by Design By Aikonik
Image by Design By Aikonik

Many budget skincare products are nearly just emulsifiers and preservatives – there is nothing inherently wrong with this but there are few benefits to the skin.

For those prone to spots and blackheads, Avéne Cleanance Cleansing Gel (€12.25) is a product that has long been beloved on the continent and in the world of skincare forums.

Its main ingredients are Avéne thermal spring water and water. Avéne’s thermal spring water contains a microflora that is specific only to the St. Odil Spring.

Avene Cleanser affordable skincare

From this, they extract a complex called I-modulia which aids in the regulation and normalisation of the skin’s own microbiome. This can help greatly when it comes to congestion, redness and general dryness.

Remember that you need to remove your makeup before cleansing and using wipes is a big no-no in my books.

Cleanse Off Mitt affordable skincare

I’m biased but the Cleanse Off Mitt is nothing but affordable at €5.95, as well as being reusable. It also lasts three months – wehoo!


It’s difficult to find a serum within an affordable price range but MooGoo Super Vitamin C serum comes in at €22.90 which is probably the best you’re going to get for a serum.

It contains a form of vitamin C called ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate – an utter mouthful but also a wonder.

This form of vitamin C is oil-soluble, meaning that it can easily penetrate the skin (as the skin is covered in oil) and does not cause irritation as some forms of vitamin C can.

Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is both an incredibly potent antioxidant so it will protect your skin from environmental damage and a faboosh lightening agent for all of those looking to sort pigmentation out.

Word of warning: this serum contains tonnes of vitamin E, so it is ideal for those dry/dehydrated types but it could be a nightmare for those with congestion.

When I was at Cosmoprof, a massive global beauty expo, last month, I came across a brand called Dermastir that have a product called Dermastir Twisters.

These small, single-use capsules are filled with serum and they are incredibly user-friendly because you never have to think about how much you need or waste product by pumping out too much.

Another bonus was that at €29 for a 30 day supply, they are an amazing deal. Of course, I just had to stock them on The Skin Nerd client-exclusive store.

My specific pick would be the retinol serum twister, as retinol is a form of vitamin A and vitamin A is a building block of skin health and essential for tackling lines and wrinkles and pigmentation.


Thankfully, there are tonnes of options for cheap facial SPFs. A frequently asked question is whether the SPF in your makeup is enough.

Unfortunately, I would say no. We simply don’t apply enough foundation for it to be effective as an SPF – the usual guideline is a teaspoon and a half of an SPF to cover just your face. However, the SPF in foundation is great as a sun protection booster.

I hate to go back to Avéne again but they really do have such a phenomenal line of affordable SPFs with something for literally everyone.

If you’re looking for a matte finish, ideal for prior to makeup application, I’d recommend the Avéne Cleanance SPF 30 or 50+ (€20) which contains a potent antioxidant complex too.

If you want a fluid mineral SPF with a tint to it or if you have dry, sensitive skin that reacts to chemical sunscreens, then the Avène Tinted Mineral Fluid is the one for you.

It won’t give you coverage but it does have a universal tint that will help to even your skin tone. 2 in 1? Don’t mind if I do! They have plenty of options so I suggest reading about the range on their website to get a feel for which may be best for your skin.

This is all you truly need for a basic skincare routine and as you can see, it comes in at around €60.

That is not so bad and having better skin will mean spending less on makeup!

A note on face masks…

Now, some people cannot live without their masks. I don’t see masks as an essential skincare item but I like them for relaxation and to give my skin an instant boost before an event.

My current favourite are the Seoulista Instant Facial sheet masks especially the Super Hydration one as it is full of hyaluronic acid to plump up the volume of the skin.

At €9 each, you could just do one per month for a big, big night out… and you can use the serum that pools in the bottom of the packet the next day if you seal it up properly!

Jennifer Rock is the founder of The Skin Nerd online skin consultancy and online cosmeceutical skincare store. If you’re interested in having a consultation with one of her expert Nerdettes, click here for more information.

You can follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@theskinnerd).