12+ Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Your Skin Care Products!

stop wasting your money

Are you wasting money in your beauty budget on skin care?

The average woman spends $15,000 on beauty products including skin care in her lifetime according to In Style. Some sources peg that number at $2000 per year.

Maybe those big numbers aren’t in your budget, but chances are, you have put a few dollars here and there toward your looks.

Lets start with the basic universal guidelines to help you stop wasting that hard earned cash in your beauty budget.:

1- “move the product, not your face!”

As a licensed Esthetician, this is my  mantra to clients.

In other words, you should be applying enough product, whether its cleanser, serum, moisturizer or sunscreen, so that it can be spread across the desired surface without pulling or tugging on the skin.

How much product exactly? Well that depends on the product, your skin, and the purpose if the product.

2- Prep your skin properly!

Have you tried applying moisturizer to skin with leftover makeup on it? Nope, that just won’t cut it. (I’m looking at you, party girl) 

Makeup is designed to sit on the surface, by nature it is a little bit occlusive. Think BB cream. Cleanse your skin well! Moisturizer, no matter how much you apply, won’t fully penetrate dirty skin. Waste of money!

3- Use a gentle cleanser instead of soap.

Healthy skin is mildly acidic. Soap, when mixed with water is usually quite alkaline, and alkalinity disrupts the barrier function of skin. Over cleansing and over exfoliating will do that too.

Your skins’ job is to keep bad stuff (think bacteria and environmental toxins) out, and moisture in.

An alkaline barrier compromised skin will desperately absorb more product to repair that skin barrier and is easily irritated. That is a huge waste of your beauty budget!

Cleanse no more than 2x day, and reach for a gentle scrub no more than 2-3x per week. Using a scrub 1x per week in the winter months is plenty.

Look for ingredients like decyl glucoside and betaine which are gentler than traditional cleansers.

Your esthetician can help you choose the perfect cleanser or exfoliant for your skin type.

plain soap isn't helping your beauty budget
Photo by Sid Ramirez on Unsplash

4- When applying product to your face, include the face, front and back of the neck, ears and décolleté all the way to the bra line.

These areas will age!  Most women (and men) forget to address these spots, and wind up wearing high cut shirts and scarves as they get older.

Why spend money on good skin care, and not put it on all of your skin? Now that’s a waste of money.

5- HOW you apply product can make or break your beauty budget.

Just pumping a dollop of moisturizer on your fingertips trying to spread that all over your face will result in a lot of unnecessary pulling, tugging, and uneven application, not to mention more product.

Skin care should be applied directly to clean damp hands, spread briefly over the palms, and press, press, press!  Press on the forehead, cheeks, chin, neck, décolleté, THEN spread.

This ensures even distribution, and less waste. Start with damp hands please, or your hands will absorb it before your face. Stop wasting money!

6- Spend time actually cleansing your skin.

Give the product time to work,  aim for 1-2 minutes just for cleansing. The milder the cleanser, the longer it takes to work.

Depending on how concentrated your cleanser is, usually a quarter sized amount will do.

Read your directions, some cleansers work best applied to dry skin vs wet skin.

FYI, your skin shouldn’t feel “squeaky clean” after cleansing. If it does, your cleanser is too harsh.

7- Using a good quality toner means you can use less of your expensive serums and moisturizers; they will spread more easily.

Skin is like a sponge: when wet it picks up moisture faster than a dry sponge. Likewise your skin will absorb those expensive serums better if its already damp.

Today’s “toners” are not the alcohol laden dry-bombs of the 1980s and 90s. Check your product labels! Lots of popular brands are use way too much drying alcohol.

Its a cheap ingredient.

Not all alcohol is bad, its used to keep ingredients dissolved (ex- salicylic acid) and sometimes preserved. Cetearyl alcohol is actually moisturizing, but SD or “denatured” alcohol, especially if its the first ingredient on the list, not so much…

 Many excellent product lines today have taken advantage of the “toning” step to incorporate serious hydrating ingredients like sodium lactate and hyaluronic acid to pre-saturate the skin. Look for those plus bamboo, water lily, and niacinamide.

In other words, use your hydrating mist / toner, and you use less product! You won’t waste money!

8- Invest in a serum. Serums are little concentrated powerhouses of age defying goodness and a little goes a long way.

Consider devoting a good chunk of your beauty budget to a couple of serums.

If your serum is gel based, a dime sized amount should do the trick.

A lipid or oil based serum only requires a few drops.

Spread serums briefly over the palms and press gently onto the skin. Lipid serums are not intended to be “massaged” so you use much less.

Look for serums with concentrations of active ingredients like growth factors, vitamins, precious oils, peptides and antioxidants.

Remember to apply serums right after your hydrating toner.

make room for serums in your beauty budget
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

9- Make room in your beauty budget for eye cream.

Eye cream is your friend. Eye creams are also spendy, so don’t waste it!

You do need to use enough to see the benefits. (Pun intended) Don’t skimp.

Aim for a pin head sized amount of eye cream, applied only to the middle fingertips. First press between the fingertips , then press around the eye area following the bone, then gently spread.

Look for eye creams with ingredients like Matrixyl, brighteners, peptides and Vitamins. Trust me, a good eye cream is not a waste of money 🙂

10- Use a quality moisturizer designed for your skin type and condition.

Don’t settle for just any old giant bottle of lotion, select one that harmonizes with your skin.

It sounds so obvious, but I see clients using expensive creams designed for much older or younger skin. It’s an approach that rarely gives good results, and can be a huge waste of money.

Cheap drug store products are unlikely to give you good long term results, they simply don’t have enough active ingredients in them.

Look for moisturizers with skin loving ceramides, cholesterols and fatty acids.

Apply a nickel sized amount to freshly cleansed, pre-hydrated skin, and press press press! Follow up with gently spreading all over the face, front and back of neck, and décolleté. See tip #1 and #4.

wasting money on beauty
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

11- Practice safe sun! Protecting your skin is BY FAR the best beauty investment you can make.

Look, if you are spending cold hard cash on good skincare, don’t waste money by not wearing sunscreen.  Sun is good, but too much sun is very, very bad.

Apply sunscreen the same way as moisturizer, and re-apply to all the same areas. Don’t forget your ears!

Look for sunscreens with zinc and titanium dioxide.

12- Be Consistent with your skin care.

Commit to taking your makeup off every night, cleansing your face every day, and using your precious serums and creams EVERY DAY.

Good skin doesn’t happen overnight. Give your skin the time and attention it deserves.

BONUS TIP- What ever product you may have left on your palms, apply to the back of your hands!

This area (along with eyes and neck) is one of the first to show age. It only takes a few moments, and you don’t want to waste the opportunity to protect your skin…

The easiest thing you can do to avoid wasting your money on skin care, is to see your friendly neighborhood esthetician, who is a licensed skin care professional.

S/he can analyze your skin and condition, and make product recommendations that are best suited to your skin.

There is no need to waste good money on bad or unsuitable skin care products. 

Now what are you going to do with all that $$$$ you’ll save in your beauty budget?

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Move the product, not your face #smartskinrules to stop wasting your skincare


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