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Does frugal skincare actually exist? When it comes to skincare, the lotions, creams, and seemingly magic elixirs can add up QUICK. Surely, there’s a way to save money and still have glowing skin, right?


Be it a simple moisturizer or an exfoliating face scrub – beauty and skincare products today can be extremely expensive. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way – a lot of what makes your skin healthy doesn’t even come in a bottle. Your sleep, diet, and even your bad habits can affect your skin’s natural radiance.

Believe it or not, you can actually treat your skin in the best way- just like it deserves without burning a hole in your wallet. These tips and not-so-expensive products, most of which you might already have in your kitchen, can turn out to be your ultimate budget-friendly skincare essentials!

Frugal Skin Care Ideas

Beauty from the inside out

Firstly, the health of your skin is highly dependent on your overall well-being.  Your diet, sleep hygiene, and bad habits all affect your skin.

Break up with some bad habits

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your body, but it’s especially harmful to your skin. Smoking reduces the amount of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the skin around your mouth. This causes wrinkles, discoloration, and increased damage from the sun. The reduced hydration also accelerates aging.

Drinking alcohol in excess can cause fluid retention in your skin, causing puffiness and increasing the risk of wrinkles. Alcohol also decreases the quality of your sleep and promotes inflammation which also harms your skin.

Junk food is full of omega-6 fatty acids, which when eaten in excess cause inflammation. This hurts your skin along with the rest of your body. Cut out processed foods and start eating more vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese, and fruit.

Improve your diet

One thing that the average person lacks in adequate amounts if omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are fats that are anti-inflammatory and extremely important to your overall health, and your skin benefits from them, too.

Sources of omega-3s include:

  • Fatty, cold-water fish like cod, salmon, and sardines
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seed
  • Flaxseed
  • Borage, fish, and krill oil
  • Oysters
  • Soybeans

Omega-3 is especially important if you tend to eat a lot of seed or vegetable oils, which are high in omega-6, which is inflammatory.

Adding in more vegetables and healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, and olive oil will also improve your skin’s look and feel.

Stay hydrated

Simply drinking enough water is critical for all of your bodily processes, including the health of your skin. Proper hydration makes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles less apparent and makes your skin more resilient to damage. Ensuring you’re properly hydrated will also make it so your skin retains less extra fluid, which is usually a response to dehydration. Less fluid retention = less puffiness.

Up your collagen intake

Collagen is an essential protein – it makes up most of your connective tissue including your skin. Your body produces it on its own but as we age, our body produces less of it. This causes wrinkles and makes your skin lose elasticity, making it sag.

Boosting your collagen intake can help offset what your body doesn’t produce. You can get collagen from foods like gelatin, bell peppers, almost all seafood, egg whites, and bone broth. You can also get a powdered collagen supplement at most health food stores which mixes well into protein shakes and smoothies. Aim for between 10 and 20g of additional collagen per day if you’re supplementing but more won’t hurt you – it’s simply a protein.

Improve your sleep routine

Improving your sleep is probably the most important thing you can do for your overall health. People who sleep 7+ hours a night feel better, have more powerful immune systems, look younger, and perform better mentally. There isn’t any aspect of your biological self that doesn’t benefit from good sleep hygiene, and that includes your skin.

Getting adequate sleep reduces fluid retention which prevents puffy eyes and wrinkles. It also helps your skin stay supple and retain that youthful glow. Speaking of better sleep…

Go Organic

Many of the skincare products in drug stores and marketplaces today are full of synthetic components that can harm your skin. Yes, they can be effective, but they can be bad for your skin in the long term. It’s especially true if you have sensitive skin. To prevent further damage, you can go organic.

You do not have to change your entire skincare routine from the get-go. Instead, you can begin by changing products one by one. Start with a gentle organic facial cleansing oil to remove makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. When choosing organic products, look for key ingredients that are certified organic and all-natural. If you want to start with any organic skincare product, make sure to read the product labels thoroughly to ensure that they are truly organic.

Upgrade your pillowcase

You might not think that your pillowcase can have an effect on your skin but a single night on a silk pillowcase will change your mind. Silk glides across your skin, leaving it feeling refreshed and vibrant in the morning. A silk pillowcase won’t draw moisture from your skin the way cotton will, which helps reduce the formation of wrinkles.

It’s also important to not only upgrade your pillowcase but to wash it often. Every two days is recommended to keep it clean, fresh, and free from the oils of your face. Since silk isn’t as absorbent as cotton, oils and dirt from your skin tend to just hang out on top. Keep your silk pillowcase clean and fresh and your skin will feel that way, too.

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Sleep on your back

Sleeping on your back is great for posture, but it’s also fantastic for your skin. Back-sleeping avoids the wrinkles that might come from your face being pressed into the pillow overnight. Additionally, using an extra pillow helps keep fluid from accumulating in your skin, which reduces eye puffiness.

Now that you’re on the path to healthier habits and better sleep, let’s look at some skincare essentials.

Start with the right tools

The path to healthy skin starts when you first wake up. Gentle washing will help exfoliate dead skin cells and excess oil, both of which contribute to acne and wrinkles. Daily washing and massaging will boost the effects of any moisturizers or other items you use on your skin.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

In general, there are SO many benefits and ways to use vinegar, especially the apple cider variety. While ACV is great for detoxification and heartburn relief, it turns out it could be a great tonic for your skin too. A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in equal parts to wash the face can help reduce breakouts and skin irritations. It can also calm down existing inflammation and balance the pH of the skin, acting as one of the best natural face toners.

Buy a better washcloth

Washing your face daily before applying a moisturizer is another way to keep dirt and oil at bay while nourishing your skin. With that said, not all washcloths are created equally. Silk and microfiber are your best friends in the fight against acne, wrinkles, and oil.

You should have multiple high-quality silk or microfiber washcloths because it’s best to have a clean one every day. Luckily, you can pick up both silk and microfiber face washcloths in multipacks on Amazon.

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Massage your skin

Routine facial massages are a great tool for decreasing fluid buildup, increasing blood flow, and relaxing the muscles in your face. When your muscles are tense, they can increase the likelihood of wrinkles. Laughing is fun – laugh lines are not!

There are many facial massage techniques and training videos online, but one of my favorite tools is a gua sha stone. These stones are usually heart-shaped, made of smooth quartz or jade, and contoured to fit each part of your face. Using the tool helps release tension and fluid retention, and improves blood flow. Plus using a gua sha stone feels wonderful – it’s an inexpensive and effective way to relax while taking care of your skin every day.

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The best topical treatments for your skin

Skincare masks, lotions, oils, and other treatments are just part of our daily practice to keep our skin looking radiant. Topical treatments can go a long way to making your skin glow.

Aloe Vera Gel

Cost effective, soothing and completely natural- there are tons of reasons why aloe vera gel is literally the best skincare essential to get your hands on! You can buy a container of aloe gel or go the “greener” route and grow your own. Aloe vera gel can be applied directly to your face to help soothe and nourish it, reduce inflammation redness, and hydrate it too. Goodness knows it’s also great to help heal a sunburn faster!

Essential oils

If you’ve ever looked into the world of essential oils, you’ll see that the mixtures come in two parts: the essential oils themselves, and carrier oils.

Carrier oils are nothing but light, neutral oils that are used in combination with essential oils, mainly to dilute them for topical application. Olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil make for the most popular ones, but using sesame oil for skin is another story altogether. From moisturizing the skin to repairing damaged cells and slowing down the signs of aging, sesame oil does a lot, so don’t forget to get your hands on it on your next trip to the supermarket.

I’m also a HUGE fan of jojoba oil. Not only is it great for your skin, but it’ll boost your hair and nail health, too. It also closely mimics your own natural face oils, which keeps it from feeling greasy or clogging pores. I love to use it to take off makeup, especially around my eyes.

When it comes to using essential oils for skin, tea tree oil, lavender oil, and basil oil are the most popular. Most of these oils pack in antibacterial and antimicrobial action which fight skin infections and acne, and also gently nourish and hydrate the skin. Make sure you use these oils in combination with a carrier oil and dilute it before applying them to your skin. Only do this once a week or so and always test on your inner wrist first.

Try turmeric for skin

This Indian spice does a lot more than just adding color to your dishes – it packs in powerful antibacterial action which fights acne-causing bacteria and stops it in its tracks. Plus, it tends to brighten the skin, which makes it the perfect choice for a weekly DIY face mask:

1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp yogurt
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (opt for local if you can!)

Mix all of it together, and apply a thin layer over a freshly-washed face. You might have to mess with the amount of yogurt to get the right consistency – you want something that will stick to your face but that isn’t overly paste-like. Be mindful to avoid your eyes and wear something you won’t mind staining, as turmeric will stain everything it touches.

Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, and then wash it off. This formula helps with acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions due to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, which is a chemical that gives turmeric its bright, eye-catching color.

What do you use to help keep your skin looking and feeling great?