There’s something therapeutic about perusing the drugstore aisles for the latest skincare products. I can remember myself as a seventh grader, begging my parents to take me to Eckerd Pharmacy so I can 1. pick up the latest issue of Tiger Beat and discover what Leonardo DiCaprio does in his spare time/secretly hope the magazine contained a new folded up poster so I could update my very worn one, and 2. browse the skincare and makeup aisles for the latest product launches. There is nothing that could excite me more than getting a brand new Neutrogena Acne Wash and immediately applying it at home. Normal? Maybe not. But I did eventually become a Pharmacist so it may or may not be related.
Cut to present day, the feeling of finding an effective and reasonably priced skincare product at my local drugstore is just as satisfying. Keep reading for a list of drugstore beauty products under $20 you don’t want to miss! Hint, years later, Neutrogena continues to make an appearance.
Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen SPF70, $14.99
Ask any dermatologist what the most important skincare product you should be using and hands down, it will be SPF. I started using Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen in the summer during a family vacation and it has become a favorite of mine ever since. This SPF is now my go-to everyday sunscreen, which I apply in the morning before makeup. I love this formula because it feels light with a sheer finish. It protects my skin AND the process of applying it feels luxurious. With broad spectrum SPF70 UVA and UVB protection, this facial sunscreen is oil-free and has shea butter to help keep skin soft. Ingredients like grape, raspberry and carrot seed extracts add antioxidant properties as well. Comparable sunscreens can cost as much as $36 so consider this one a steal at $14.99.
Honest Beauty Lip Crayon, $11.99
At first glance, the fact that this product comes as a crayon had me sold immediately. The Honest Beauty Lip Crayon is a great everyday lip product if you’re going for a no-makeup make up look that isn’t too flashy. I use the color, Marsala, and recently ordered Strawberry, a lovely red shade in anticipation of the holidays. This lip product is creamy with a velvet-matte finish and colors that are highly pigmented with lasting power. A combination of ingredients like Jojoba Seed Oil, Murumuru and Shea Butter have a moisturizing effect.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, $12.19
I have been eyeing the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay for years now. With over 21,000 reviews on Amazon, I was intrigued. Cut to 2021 as I’m strolling through the grocery store, I see the one pound jar sitting on the shelf and immediately add it to my cart. The mask consists of natural calcium bentonite clay that cleanses pores and helps with acne and blemishes. For quite some time, I had tiny bumps on my forehead taking up permanent residence. After using this mask a few times, they are visibly smaller. Mix the clay with equal parts of apple cider vinegar until it’s evenly distributed and then apply a thin layer to the face. Queue your favorite Spotify playlist and relaxation has commenced.
Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced Healing, $2.49
Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is $2.49 for a two-pack of Vaseline lip therapy. You may find yourself answering questions as you’re walking down the street – what do you use on your lips? Hands? Face? You may even receive skeptical looks in return when you tell them it’s simply Vaseline, i.e. white petrolatum, a skin protectant. Technically, it’s used to help protect and relieve chapped lips but I use it as a lip gloss too, not to mention as diaper cream, and it does the job. I keep one in my coat pocket, car change tray, nightstand and down deep in the bottom of my purse where I find myself constantly searching for it. A tip – put it on right before you go to sleep as an overnight lip mask. Come morning, you will notice the difference.
Versed Wash It Out Gel Cleanser, $9.99
One of the greatest joys in life is taking off your makeup and watching all the dirt slowly slide down to the sink. Unlike many gel cleansers that can be harsh on the skin, the Versed Wash It Out Gel Cleanser is gentle, made for all skin types, effective and is safe for your eyes so you can apply it all over your face. The product is infused with rosewater and mint, so nice to smell first thing in the morning. This gel cleanser helps my skin feel clean without an overly drying effect. There’s just something therapeutic about using a great cleanser after a long day to wash everything away and reveal a clean, fresh start.
Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm, $9.79
Do you double cleanse? On days I wear makeup, I double cleanse with this cleansing balm followed by my regular cleanser right after. I started double cleaning when I realized that after one cleanse, I still had residual foundation and mascara on my face. Although I thought I was taking off all my makeup before bed, I was leaving a ton of grime on my face every night. Versed has a broad range of products that are affordable and all available at Target. This drugstore-specific line is known for clean ingredients and efficacious formulas that are easily accessible. I started with a travel-sized version of the cleansing balm and quickly upgraded to the full size version.
Olive & June Mini Cuticle Serum, $9.99
If you’re a nail biter, keep this non-greasy cuticle serum with you at all times – by your computer, in your car, whatever it takes to keep your cuticles soft and hydrated. I keep one on my desk and when I need a break from the computer screen, I pop the click pen open, apply the soft foam tip to my cuticles and continue typing away. One downside is that there doesn’t appear to be enough product in the tube to last so it’s not as cost-effective as I would like. Although, if it keeps me from biting my nails, I’ll keep buying it.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Face Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid, $18.99
As a little girl, I remember rummaging through my mom’s bathroom counter and always seeing a jar of Neutrogena. As a teenager, I turned to Neutrogena products to combat my acne and frequent teenage-anxiety induced breakouts. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid is a multi-tasking skincare product that eliminates steps in my routine. The gel consistency creates a cooling effect and the hyaluronic acid component attracts moisture by absorbing and holding water to the skin. One con – the jar is small but a little goes a long way with this moisturizer.
Versed Look Alive Hydrating Plumping Face Mask, $9.99
The Versed Hydrating Plumping Face Mask is a cooling gel mask that helps with dryness and uneven skin. Ingredients like rosehip seed oil helps smooth skin and decrease the appearance of wrinkles while aloe leaf juice hydrates the skin. The most intriguing ingredient is a plant-based collagen alternative that increases elasticity and prevents moisture loss. Squeezing out this product from the slim pouch is a sensorial experience. Just beware of your kids seeing the container and thinking it’s an afterschool snack. Just saying.
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment, $13.29
Differin Adapalene Gel is an over the counter acne treatment that contains 0.1% adapalene (a retinoid). Adapalene retinoid treats acne and stops new acne from forming by regulating skin cell turnover to keep pores from clogging. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce redness and swelling from acne and restores skin tone and texture. Apply Differin at night and use it with a moisturizer to keep your skin from drying out.
Olive & June Nail Strengthener, $16.99
As a recovering nail biter, the only way I can keep myself from turning to my old ways is to keep my nails manicured and looking healthy. The Olive & June Nail Strengthener keeps my nails strong with less breakage so I’m less likely to try to “fix something” myself.. Go ahead and click add to stock, you won’t regret it.