How To Get The Most Out Of Your Skin-Care Budget

As a licensed aesthetician, I want to help my clients achieve the healthiest skin possible. Sure, there are services and treatments that should only be performed by a licensed aesthetician, but there are others that, with proper instruction and under the care of a licensed professional, consumers can do on themselves. Sometimes, knowing what's best for my clients means knowing what their budget is: This helps me give the right advice that actually fits their lifestyle, and makes my job less remedial and more focused on overall improvement.

With the technological advancements in skin today, you're given the option to use gadgets at home that are highly effective and very safe — they serve to help you prolong your time between appointments and can boost the efficacy of your products. Along with high-tech gadgets for home use, there are also other ways to save money.

For full disclosure: It’s very important to keep up with your regular professional treatments, since this is where you get the deep cleansing and exfoliation that you can’t — and shouldn’t — do at home. (It also keeps my lights on!) But, my suggestions below are to help anyone maintain their skin and maybe even help stretch out the time between appointments a little longer for those who don’t have the spare cash laying around for recommended monthly appointments.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

Go, Go Gadget!
I recommend my acneic clients buy a high frequency device to help keep their breakouts under control in between treatments. High frequency devices use argon gas to emit oxygen, killing the bacteria below the skin. Technology is now very safe and effective for home use with proper instruction. And they are also very inexpensive — you can purchase one for as little at $35 on Amazon.

For my clients concerned with anti-aging, I recommend a red LED gadget, microcurrent, or microneedling. You get maximum benefits if you're doing these treatments more frequently at home and they also increase the effectiveness of your professional treatments. You’re not going to get results unless you use these devices on a regular and frequent basis, so if you purchase one, commit to it! Use them three to five times per week for noticeable results. Sure, they're a large initial purchase, but their value becomes apparent over time.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

Wash Smarter
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive cleansers and scrubs — save it for home care treatments and devices. Instead, purchase a cleanser that is pH balanced and has the right ingredients for your skin type. Avalon Organics Facial Cleansing Gel, Lavender Luminosity is a good, inexpensive plant-based cleanser option for all skin types. For those with more oily/acne prone skin, a cleanser with salicylic acid will help combat your oil production as well as kill bacteria. My favorite is ClarityMD — it’s super effective, results are seen in days, and it doesn’t dry out your skin. (Plus, it comes with a little treatment gel when you purchase it!)

As far as exfoliating, I know it sounds crazy, but shaving your face is great for exfoliation, brightening, collagen stimulation, deeper product penetration, and smoother makeup application. It instantly smoothes and brightens your complexion. It’s a quick, safe and easy to do at home with Tinkle women’s face shavers. After shaving, be sure to apply your serum of choice — I recommend StackedSkincare EGF Activating Serum to boost collagen production post-shave. Don’t forget to moisturize and apply SPF if you’re headed out for the day.

In case you think I'm truly insane, consider this how-to: After cleansing, your face should be completely dry for optimal results. Take the Tinkle razor and use small strokes to remove the dead skin and baby hair. I start at the bottom of my face and work in an upward direction. Note: Be careful around your eyebrows! Again, don’t forget SPF if you’re headed out! You should instantly notice a brighter complexion...and the results only get better with time. 

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

Hydration Nation
Moisturizers are intended to occlude and protect your skin — they don’t really penetrate the epidermis. Save your money on expensive moisturizers. Instead, buy serums that have active ingredients for change you can really see and feel. Allow your face cream to focus on generous moisture instead of purchasing options with active ingredients that have higher price tags. Alba Botanica's Hawaiian Moisture Cream contains jojoba and other oils for intense moisture and jasmine and vitamin E for free radical, it's only $11!

Acne-prone skin needs moisture, too! If you skip this essential step, it will make your acne worse. If you dry your skin out too much, your skin will produce more oil, only compounding your acne issues. Stick with a light, water-based moisturizer and your skin will thank you. My recommendation is PCASkin Clearskin. This lotion, paired with the ClarityMD system mentioned above is the perfect combination for acne and oily skin types — it kills the bacteria and reduces inflammation while still properly hydrating the skin.

Only part of balancing your beauty budget has to do with finding the right products at the right price. The rest is about thinking differently about your skin-care routine — sometimes, the technique can make a whole world of difference. 

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