In theory, the world is full of great cheap skin care products, but in practice, what's cheap to you might be really expensive to us, and vice versa. With this in mind, we've made a list of our favorite cheap -- really cheap, like under-ten-bucks cheap -- products. All of them work, and would have a home in our medicine cabinets even if we won the lottery.
Please note that the list isn't in any particular order. We could never choose between some of these products. They're pretty much all desert island picks.
We know we said this list wasn't in order, but really, St. Ives Apricot Scrub is always the winner of the Awesome Cheap Product Derby. Some users (our own Jen Adkins, Guide to Skin Care, for example) find it a bit rough for daily use on the face, but we've never had a problem, so readers who have elephant hides like ours will be just fine. And you can't beat the price: Under $10
for the 6 oz. size or around $12 for 10 oz.
Often imitated, never matched, Biore Pore Strips are still the only strips that really seem to work on our tough pores. They also get high marks for combining girly primping with that satisfying science-class eeeewww of seeing your blackheads staring up at you from a recently ripped-off strip. Under $6.
Let us all bow down before Burt's Bees, the company that proved you can offer natural, pretty skin care products at reasonable prices. Unlike other tinted balms, Burt's Bees won't dry out your lips, or leave crusty build-up at the corners of your mouth. Plus, it actually seems to deposit, you know, a tint, which is nice in a tinted lip balm. Under $6.
This is our favorite cheapo night cream. Lighter than many creams, it's probably not the best bet for someone with super dry or mature skin. But for women in their 20s and 30s with oily or combination skin, it'll do the trick, and for under $8.
Kiss My Face
Remember foundation? Neither do we. Since the tinted moisturizer revolution of the early aughts, we've been hooked. The only caveat for this or any other tinted moisturizer product is that you need to wear sunscreen in addition to the SPF provided in the product. SPF 8 definitely isn't high enough to protect your face, and even higher SPF products might not provide full coverage. After all, you probably don't slather on your tint like you do sunscreen at the beach. Double up and be safe. Under $6.
A confession: If we had a million dollars, we would spend every penny of it on As-Seen-on-TV products. Now that you know where we're coming from, we'll just say that we love the Ped Egg. It's basically the same product as that cheese grater-y foot file you've been using for years, glued onto a plastic egg shape that fits in your hand and collects all the grody skin shreds you just filed off. Since we're a big fan both of more ergonomically shaped beauty tools and getting to look at gross things we've removed from our body, we're obviously huge fans of the Ped Egg. Under $10.
After you use your Ped Egg, you can use this, the world's cheapest beauty product. There's lidocaine in it, which is feels good on sore feet, but can smell a bit medicinal. But it's a great little foot cream that lasts a long time and really works. The most we've seen it sell for is five bucks, and you can definitely find it for under $2.
If Palmer's Cocoa Butter can't cure your dry skin, you don't need a lotion, you need a prescription. This is our favorite super-dry skin relief product. Also, it makes you smell like fresh baked cookies, and there's nothing bad about that. Under $6.
Second mention for a Burt's Bees product on this list, and no surprise: They're a great company that somehow manages to make cheap, fantastic products while being relatively good global citizens. And you can't ask for much more than that. The cuticle cream in particular feels really nice, has a pleasant scent, and does all the cuticle-softening work it's supposed to do. Under $4.
Here are a few things for which we have used Smith's Rosebud Salve: moisturizing dry hands, moisturizing dry lips, taming fly-away hairs, waving under our noses when the subway smells horrible. There are probably an infinite number of other uses, as well. Under $6.