Best Inexpensive: Skin Care Products

How shocked was I? Speechless, but somehow I gathered enough strength to respond, “There’s no way!” Even so, I did a quick search only to discover it was no typo at all. 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Cream 1.7 oz. retails for $1,095.

All I can say is at that price, it better contain a miracle. Seriously. It almost makes Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream by Chanel 1.75 oz., $152 and Lancome’s Hydra Zen Neurocalm Soothing Recharging Night Cream 1.7 oz., $70 look cheap!

Okay, back to reality: High-quality and effective skincare should not be considered a luxury available only to the wealthy. If you are diligent, you can find high quality, reasonably priced skin care products that are equal, if not superior to their department store cousins—right in your drugstore or discount department store.

Cleanser. Cetaphil makes is an excellent line of affordable skin care products. For example, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is less than $10 for 8 oz. ($19 in a 2-pack) 

Other cleansers that receive high marks with my dermatologist are Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser Moisturizing Deep Cleanser ($5 for 3.5 oz.); Basis Sensitive Skin Bar ($2 per 4 oz. bar); Lever 2000 ($.89 per 4 oz. bar) and Dove for Sensitive Skin (about $.75 per 4 oz. bar).

Moisturizer. and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is priced well (about $11 for 16 oz.) Tip: Walmart sells a generic version under their brand name Equate for about $6.50. I’ve had reports from several readers who insist it’s just like the real thing for a lot less.

Anti-Wrinkle. If you are concerned about wrinkles and avoiding skin cancer (tell me who’s not), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($12 for 1.4 oz,) is a Retinol facial treatment with multi-vitamins—an excellent product you should consider. This is more than a moisturizer. It’s a skin preservation system and much cheaper than a very expensive dermatologist’s pre-cancer procedure.

Eye-Makeup Remover. Johnson’s No-Tears Baby Shampoo (about $6) is an excellent eye-makeup remover. I have heard from several ophthalmologists that this is particularly recommended for their patients who wear contact lenses because the product also removes protein build-up that plagues many lens wearers. Can be used full strength. Rinse well.

Toner. Instead of purchasing a name-brand astringent for use in your skin-care regimen, use witch hazel, an old natural stand-by that has been recommended by skin professionals for decades. As a natural astringent, witch hazel has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and shrink down pores. A topical application can help reduce the amount of contaminants that enter skin’s pores and can potentially aggravate skin conditions like blemishes, black heads, and even acne.It’s available over the counter at any drug store and any generic brand performs equally well to any brand astringent no matter how expensive.

The foregoing is no way is an exhaustive review of all skin care products that are both high-quality and low-priced. The next time you’re in the drugstore take a look at all the brands and product lines. It can be very confusing, but perhaps some of the products mentioned above will give you a place to begin to find the products that are just right for both your skin type and income level.

In closing, no column would be complete without at least one make-it-yourself alternative, so here it is:

Exfoliant. Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the juice of one whole lemon to form a paste. While showering invigorate your skin with the paste. Rub heels and elbows with the inside of the lemon rinds. You will swear you’ve just had a spa treatment.


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  • Jodie Brewer McDonough

    Very dumb question…How do you use shampoo as an eye makeup remover?

    • Mary

      My family doctor recommended this product when I was having eye trouble. Dab it on and rinse off. Extremely gentle and does not irritate the eyes!

    • Me

      Don’t feel dumb, I wondered the same thing!

    • Mary Hunt

      I wet a washcloth and wring it out well. The pour a bit of baby shampoo straight on the cloth and use that to gently wash my eyes—lids, upper and lower and lashes. The first time is scary because you won’t believe it won’t be like pouring acid in your eyes. It’s just fine and in fact rather soothing. Then I rinse well with clear water.

  • Chem Tutor

    My dermatologist recommends CeraVe’ AM (with SPF 30) & CeraVe’ PM moisturizing cream, both of which are available at Target, etc. because they contain ceramides for healthier skin.

    • Me

      I like the CeraVe also….it was recommended by my daughter’s dermatologist.

  • Angela Russell Stein

    I use equal parts of apple cider vinegar and witch hazel as a toner. It smells horrible, so I add a few drops of essential oils; like lavender or geranium. The essential oils help cover the smell of the vinegar, plus they are great for your skin too. It works wonders. My teenagers use it and it clears their skin right up. It seems to be great for all kinds of different skin types.

  • Julie English

    Does the baby shampoo take off waterproof mascera?
    Also, do you have any recommendations for under-eye puffiness?

    • Mary Hunt

      Hi … Need to research your question as I don’t wear waterproof mascara. However it does remove waterproof eyeliner, which I use.

  • Betty Thomas

    Has anyone heard of The Make Up Eraser? It is a soft cloth that gently removes eye make up or any facial make up for that matter, without the use of any lotion or potion. Just get the cloth wet and remove your make up. It is easily cleaned with a bit of bar soap or a drop of shampoo and a good rinse. I got it on Amazon and love it. It saves me money every time I use it since I don’t need and other products with it.

    • Debbie

      I just threw mine away. It would not remove my eye makeup.

  • Kayla

    As an exfoliant for the face, once or twice a week I sprinkle a little baking soda on the washcloth with the Cetaphil, and give a gentle scrub. Works great!

  • Medicare Mama

    Any recommendations for those of us “older” ladies? Many products seem to be aimed for women with younger skin, not skin with sags, bags, and wrinkles.