Back To College: We've Built You a Complete Five-Step Skincare Routine on a Budget!

It's back to college time, but that's no reason to let your routine go down the loo. Money is tight, but with a little bit of savvy, you can still look after your skin the way it deserves. The same is true of your makeup bag - check out Aisling's recommendations from earlier in the week.

We're known for our honesty here at, so I'll be honest. Finding really good skincare under a tenner is pretty much impossible. I consider €20 and under to constitute a budget product, and I'd rather save for a cleanser that costs thirteen euro than use wipes that cost €1.50. There's making savings, and then there's battering the crap out of your skin. I've been developing my skin routine since I was about fifteen, and it's come a long way! Whether you're fifteen or fifty, a really effective affordable product is always a welcome addition to your skincare arsenal.

The skincare regime I've put together consists of products which cost under €20 (there's one exception, and with good reason; I'll explain that later). So it's a full skincare routine, consisting of five products, for well under €100. That might sound like a lot, particularly on a budget, but if you consider all the stuff you pick up here and there throughout the year in the hope that it will give your skin what it needs, it really isn't. Also, consider the fact that many products will last between three to six months with daily use! Every time you pick up something that doesn't work for you, you're wasting money. Buying fewer, slightly more expensive (but still under twenty quid!) products which you actually finish will save you money.

You can use this guide to fill in the gaps in your skincare routine. If you already have a great budget cleanser, maybe you need a good budget serum or moisturiser. Remember, this is a no-frills routine designed to suit a student budget, so fancy extras like eye cream aren't included! This covers the cleansing, toning, serum, moisturiser and oil steps, which should certainly be enough to keep you going till you can save up for the eye cream you covet!

budget skin regime

  • Cleanser

I've chosen Lush's Ultrabland cleanser. At €8.70, it's a major bargain. It's a rich gooey concoction of essential oils, antibacterial honey and beeswax. If you have oily skin, this oily balm is still perfect for your skin. If you're more mature or your skin is drier, ditto.

The only thing that I dislike about this is the fact that it doesn't emulsify i.e. turn milky and leave no trace. You really have to work with your flannel to remove all traces of it. It's great for skin, non-stripping, and costs under nine euro - so we can forgive it for being a touch awkward. A tiny bit goes a very long way, so don't forget to double cleanse, no matter what age you are!

  • Toner

If you think you don't need to be using a toner, you do. Have a gander at this article to read why. If you have young skin, you don't need to worry about using an aggressive acid toner, but a little bit won't hurt. The new Dermatoclean range from Eucerin includes a nice little toner for €12.29. It contains hyaluronic acid for hydration as well as citric acid to keep your skin cell turnover rate at the optimal level.

It's suitable for even very sensitive skin, and isn't drying. I think it's a winner!



  • Serum

You can always rely on the body shop for affordable and effective products. This Vitamin E Moisture Serum (€17.95) is a lovely injection of hydration. Serums aren't essential for younger skins, and the serum step is generally used for problem-solving. This will tackle dehydration admirably in either dry or oily skins,and given that a nice serum can cost in the hundreds, this one is a bargain!

  • Moisturiser

I like to apply moisturiser before oil. Some people get huffy when I say this, but I do what works for my skin. I always choose a hydrating moisturiser which is generally non-oily, so I can get away with doing this. If you're applying a rich, oily moisturiser, then apply your oil first as the moisturiser will act like a layer of cling film and the oil won't permeate it.

This Hydreane Moisturiser from La Roche Posay (€14.75) comes in both a rich (above)and a light formulation, depending on whether your skin is dry or oilier. If you're really skin aware, there are loads of affordable options from La Roche Posay which include SPF - their Hydraphase moisturiser is my favourite hydrating day cream. Again it comes in both rich and lighter formulations, and will cost you around €22.

skin regime 3

  • Oil

I use The Body Shop's Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil (€22)  in my own skincare routine. I know that it costs over the twenty euro mark, but I'm not cheating, and here's why! This is a serum/oil hybrid product. If your student budget doesn't stretch to a serum and an oil, go for this two-in-one product instead. It's brilliant. Again, a little goes a very long way!

So that's your whole student skincare routine for €75.69, and if you're extra budget conscious, you can skip the serum, go for the serum-in-oil instead, and get the whole lot for €57.74. I'd call that pretty damn good going! I know that something  over fifty spondoolicks doesn't exactly sound Beaut.ienomical, but it is I tell you. I have absolutely mad friends and acquaintances whose skincare regimes cost in the thousands!


What do you think? Are you budget-strapped but skin conscious? What are your recommendations?


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