13 Affordable Skin-Care Essentials To Pick Up For Back-To-School Season

Whether you're heading off to experience dorm life for the first time, spending a semester abroad in a villa in Florence, or still kicking it in your childhood bedroom, the back-to-school to-do list always includes stocking up on new toiletries to get you through the next nine months. Clearly we're not mad about it, because loading up on moisturizer, lip balm, and a fresh pack of face wipes is a hell of a lot more fun than shopping for loose-leaf paper and three-ring binders.

From the $2 jelly eye mask that will make you look rested and refreshed on your first day to the zingy $7 cleansing stick that will make you want to wash your face in the morning, we have all the best — and cheapest — skin-care buys you should grab before September rolls around. Read on to shop your affordable back-to-school guide to great skin.


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Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy

A bland white tube of petrolatum ointment is probably the least sexy back-to-school buy — but when your lips are chapped and your cuticles start cracking (which can happen as the weather turns breezy), you'll be happy you stashed a tube of Aquaphor in the very back of your bathroom cabinet.
Aquaphor Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy$11.99 $9.96 Buy

Garnier Micellar Waterproof Makeup Removing Towelettes

A word to the wise: Never, ever go to sleep without taking off your makeup, no matter how late you stayed up playing beer pong — er, studying.
Garnier Micellar Waterproof Makeup Removing Towelettes$5.99 $5.97 Buy

Clean & Clear Night Relaxing Jelly Eye Mask

To look bright-eyed on your first day of class, kick back with a relaxing mask before bed the night before. This eye sheet mask will help soothe both your puffiness and your pre-back-to-school jitters.
Clean & Clear Clean & Clear Night Relaxing Jelly Eye Mask$2.50 Buy

Freeman Charcoal & Sugar Facial Polishing Mask

This charcoal peel-off mask is ideal when your skin is in need of some serious pampering. It targets dull skin, dry skin, and acne with ingredients like activated charcoal and black sugar.
Freeman Freeman Charcoal & Sugar Facial Polishing Mask$4.20 Buy

Sun Bum Original Lip Balm SPF 30 Pomegranate

Stock all your bags with lip balm to avoid ever being stuck with uncomfortably chapped lips during a three-hour lecture.
Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm - Pomegranate$3.99 Buy

St. Ives Cleansing Stick Apricot & Manuka Honey

If you need an incentive to wash your face in the morning, try this on-the-go cleansing stick. Infused with revitalizing apricot and honey extracts, it makes your wake-up cleanse easy and refreshing.
St. Ives St. Ives Glow Apricot & Manuka Honey Cleansing Stick $6.99 Buy

Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Bubble Foam Cleanser

If you like to see your cleanser working, try this acne-fighting face wash, which has a bubbly foam texture that doesn't strip your face of its natural moisture.
Clean & Clear Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Facial Cleanser Salicyl$6.69 Buy

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Pack more sunscreen than you think you'll ever need — you won't regret it as the early-September sun is beating down on the quad.
Neutrogena Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Sunscreen Lotion $10.99 Buy

Simple Water Boost Skin Quench Sleeping Cream

Whether you're living in a cramped dorm room or a less-than-luxurious apartment with friends, stale air can suck the moisture out of your skin — especially if you're still cranking the A/C this time of year. Hydrate your skin while you sleep with this lightweight sleeping cream.
Simple Water Boost Skin Quench Sleeping Cream$9.96 Buy

Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner

When your skin is feeling a little blah, swipe on a little exfoliating toner before bed. You don't need to use it every day; just when you're looking for a glowy boost of brightness.
Pixi Pixi skintreats Glow Tonic $15.00 Buy

Differin Adapalene Prescription Strength Retinoid Gel

Even if you're not particularly prone to breakouts, it's always a good idea to keep a treatment on hand for those dire moments. This highly effective gel clears away all signs of acne, without causing any irritation or dryness.
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment (Pack of 2)$21.72 $17.38 Buy

CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patch

These small stickers are a game changer for anyone who's constantly battling little bumps and breakouts. Made of hydrocolloid material, they magically absorb the gunk from whiteheads and popped zits and actually work to speed up the healing process of the skin. And unlike many other spot treatments, they can go mostly undetected.
CosRx CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patch$5.05 Buy

Dove Dry Spray Go Fresh Antiperspirant Deodorant Cool Essentials

You favorite antiperspirant now comes in a travel-friendly size. Keep these mini cans close by in your bag to refresh between power walks to class.
Dove Go Fresh Antiperspirant Deodorant Cool Essentials $1.99 Buy
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