Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

How To Be A Skincare Recessionista January 18, 2010

I love a bargain.  Long before almost everyone in this country tried to find ways to save a few bucks on everything I was shopping sales and clearances – in stores and online.  The sight of a sign that reads “half off”, “clearance”, or “sale” immediately attracts my attention.  I clip coupons, and I look for deals.

Anyone who wants to take good care of their skin has faced the dilemma more than once of seeing a product they have wanted to try but then not bought because of the price.  Truthfully, I can’t say that I cut corners when it comes to the products I use on my skin, but I have found both a number of products and a few ways to save on skincare while still being able to try new products and watch my bank account balance.

Low Cost Skincare Products that Work

  • Save money on your cleanser.  Try Cetaphil cleanser.  If you have children at home use this on them too.  There is no need to buy a separate cleanser marketed for children – Cetaphil will do a great job.
  • I use Trader Joe’s Moisturizing Cream – Extra Dry Formula on my body (not my face) after showering.  It is a wonderful, unscented moisturizer that costs about $5 for 16 fluid ounces.  Highly recommended!
  • You already know that you have to use sunscreen each and everyday, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to find a good one.  Try Neutrogena Ultra Sheer or Neutrogena Age Shield.
  • Make your own body scrub so that you can exfoliate your legs, arms, and stomach.  Take household sugar and mix with olive oil.  Add fragrance if you want.  It’s that easy.  You can also use coffee grinds as a body scrub.  I know it might sound a bit weird, but it works.  One warning – the coffee grinds scrub can be messy in the shower.
  • Try using Aquaphor Healing Ointment as your lip balm.  It is very moisturizing, and since you can buy it in a small tube it is easily portable.
  • e.l.f. Cosmetics are incredibly cheap; most cost just a $1!  The brand has a very wide range of products and color options.  You can order online through their website, and Target now sells a few e.l.f. products as well.  I bought the e.l.f. beauty encyclopedia eye at Target for $5.  It includes 14 eyeshadows.  If you love to experiment with your make-up but don’t want to break the bank to do it you should definitely check out this make-up.  By the way, sign-up for their email updates and coupons.  I get at least one email coupon a day from them.
  • I don’t use skincare or make-up products that have been tested on animals.  That also means that I only use make-up brushes with synthetic bristles.  I found Eco Tools brushes, which are cheap and widely available, to be great.

Deals, Deals, Deals – In stores and Online

Most stores and websites offer free membership programs that are a shame to pass up.  Once you sign up you’ll get coupons both online and in the mail, free products or samples, and discount offers.  Here is a sampling of some of the deals that are out there.

  • and Sephora stores.  It is free to sign-up to be part of their “beauty insider” program.  Once you accumulate 100 points you get free products.  Even if you don’t spend a dime but are just a member of the program you will get a birthday gift.  Last year I received three mini lip glosses that I love.  Sephora constantly has sales and deals that are definitely worth checking out.  Sephora also has their own line of make-up that is lower priced than the premium brands sold in the stores and online.  I use the Sephora brand waterproof eyeliner and really like it.  Sephora always has special kits and packages of premium cosmetics that could save you money.
  • and Ulta stores.  Ulta has the same sort of deal as Sephora – their own Ulta card that is free to sign-up for, their own line of in-house, lower priced make-up, and special deals and kits of premium cosmetics.  I get a coupon in the mail at least once a month from Ulta.  I also find lots of interesting products on clearance in Ulta stores.  Last week I almost bought a Smashbox make-up kit with about four products for all of $6.50 until I talked myself out of it.  And remember to save your receipt.  If you take a brief online survey after making a purchase at Ulta you are entered into a drawing to win a $500 gift card.
  • And speaking of Smashbox their website offers deals that are not found in stores.  For instance their “let’s do lunch” special where on Tuesday and Thursday between 9 am and 2 pm you’ll get a free gift with purchase.
  • I’ve already mentioned New Beauty magazine in this blog but be sure to sign-up for their daily product giveaways online.
  • Both Allure and Lucky magazines are constantly giving away free products.  It is always worth it to see what they are giving away.  You never know – you may be the winner!
  • I’ve signed up for email updates and newsletters and now receive all sorts of discount offers via email.  I’ve tried a few new products because of these deals.  For instance, I received an email from saying that if you bought any Perricone MD product you would receive a free full size of that brand’s firming neck cream.  I had always wanted to try a Perricone MD product, but I never could afford it.  So I bought the cheapest Perricone MD product at, an eye serum for $20, and received a full size neck firming cream as well for free.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I thought either product was anything special, but hey I satisfied my curiosity.  Recently I also bought some Peter Thomas Roth products at 75% off through once I received an email notification about the sale.
  • Sign-up for in your city.  You’ll get daily emails about deals in your area.  The Chicago groupon always seems to have deals on spas and salons.  Plus if you recommend that friends check out you’ll get a $10 credit the first time one of your friends buys a coupon.  I have a $40 groupon credit currently because of that deal.
  • If you like the make-up brands DuWop, Too Faced, and Stila check out the website which sells those brands and a few others at discounted prices.  The cosmetics are the real thing; they are just discontinued products or overstocks.

One last word – if you are on Facebook become a fan of any the above mentioned sites in order to see deals.

And have fun shopping!  There are always deals out there!


2 Responses to “How To Be A Skincare Recessionista”

  1. marga Says:

    So true. Also…there’s another giveaway (in Chicago only as far as I know)

    Great deals.

  2. […] Ask An Esthetician – Hannah Tetro of Ask An Esthetician dishes honest (and free!) advice from an esthetician’s point of view about wrinkles, pimples, skincare for newborns and everything in between. Our favorite posts include this one on how to read a skincare ingredient label and this one on how to save money on skincare. […]

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