In today’s beauty marketplace, you can find skincare products that range in price from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. Lucky for us as consumers, spending more money on a product doesn’t necessarily mean that you will see better results. When it comes to skincare, the drugstore has some fantastic options that rival high-end and bespoke skincare brands and some are even under $10!
Today I’d like to discuss some of the best skincare products that you can buy under $10. You can even create a complete skincare routine with these products and not sacrifice quality and performance.
Please note that the price of some of these items may be over $10 depending on when and where you purchase. I purchased all of these items on Amazon, Sephora and Ulta.
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A Note on The Inkey List, The Ordinary & e.l.f.
In this list, you will see multiple products from The Inkey List and The Ordinary. I return to both of these brands time and again when I am looking for effective and inexpensive skincare products that work. You’ll see that they are the treatment/serums in this list. The treatment/serum step of my skincare routine really provides the results that I am looking for (mostly anti-aging related). Luckily, with these two brands, you can address the signs of aging at a very affordable price.
The Inkey List and The Ordinary products are less expensive than most big-name drugstore brands and you’ll find that both lines offer a much more expansive line of products than most drugstore brands.
The more skincare products from e.l.f. that I try, the more I am impressed. There are two products from e.l.f. in the post, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. Their formulas and textures feel much more expensive than their prices.
Let’s start at the beginning with the first step of our skincare routine, cleansing:
e.l.f. Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser is infused with coconut fruit juice, sugar maple extract, soothing aloe vera, cucumber fruit extract and vitamin B5. It is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and made without sulfates, parabens and phthalates.
I’m not a huge fan of gel cleansers because the non-foaming action sometimes makes me feel like they don’t work as well as a cream or foam cleanser. But e.l.f. Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser does a good job of removing makeup. I like to use this cleanser as a second cleanse after most of my makeup has already been removed since this cleanser is soothing and non-stripping on the skin. While this is a no-frills product, it performs exactly as desired: it rinses cleanly and is non-irritating.
Here are a few additional under $10 cleanser options:
UNDER $10 CLEAN RINSING CLEANSING BALM: Pond’s Cold Cream Cleansing Balm & Makeup Remover
UNDER $10 pH BALANCED FOAM CLEANSER: Missha Super Aqua Oxygen Micro Visible Deep Cleanser
Related: Drugstore Skincare: Cleansing Balms
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum contains 2% multiple molecular weight hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. Multiple molecular weight hyaluronic acid contains different weights of hyaluronic acid in order to reach multiple layers of your skin for better and longer-lasting hydration.
What I love about this serum is that it not only contains hyaluronic acid, but it also contains Matrixyl 3000 peptide, which helps support your skin’s collagen production, providing an additional plumping effect.
This serum is very light, sinks in quickly and does not dry to a sticky finish like some other drugstore hyaluronic acids that I’ve tried. It does the job of hydrating and plumping and does not interfere with other skincare or makeup products. All this for $7.99!
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA is formulated with 10% lactic acid for mild exfoliation and a smoother complexion. Also included in its formula is purified Tasmanian pepperberry to reduce sensitivity that often comes along with chemical exfoliation and acids.
Lactic acid is my favorite alpha-hydroxy acid as it sweeps away dead skin cells to reveal brighter and smoother skin but doesn’t irritate as much as stronger acids, such as glycolic acid. If you are looking for a glycolic acid treatment that will reach deeper into your pores, The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is another effective under $10 acid treatment.
As with other acids, lactic acid may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun so be sure to wear a sunscreen while using this and for a week afterward.
The Inkey List Retinol Serum is formulated with RetiStar Stabilised Retinol 1% (a vitamin A derivative) and Granactive Retinoid 0.5% to treat the signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. The retinoid and retinol in this formula are slow-release in order to reduce irritation, redness, and flakiness all while improving delivery. The formula also includes squalane to counteract some of the drying effects of retinoids and to hydrate and soothe the skin.
This is one of the first retinoids that I tried that did not irritate my skin. It was a revelation to me. It really clarifies the skin over time and brightens without irritation. I love the creamy formula too. With this and other retinoids, be sure to wear sunscreen while using this product and for a week afterward.
UNDER $10 RETINOL ALTERNATIVE: If you’d rather try a plant-based retinol alternative, don’t miss The Inkey List Bakuchiol Moisturizer!
Ideal for oily skin, The Inkey List Niacinamide Serum is an oil-controlling serum that contains 10% niacinamide and 1% multi-molecular hyaluronic acid. Niacinamide is one of my favorite skincare ingredients. It helps with oily skin, blemishes, and acne by regulating oil production. Even better, it treats many of the signs of aging by minimizing fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, brightening the skin, and calming inflammation. Plus it minimizes redness and appearance of pores. It even protects against sun damage.
Multi-molecular hyaluronic acid, formulated at multiple molecular weights to hydrate the different layers of your skin, acts as a moisture-binding ingredient for maximum hydration of the different layers of your skin.
To be able to find a niacinamide treatment under $10 is very impressive. This serum is non-irritating works well under makeup, and I reach for it all the time. It seems to help calm my skin when I use retinoids. For more information on this all-star ingredient and additional niacinamide treatments from The Ordinary (also under $10) and Paula’s Choice, check out this post on the benefits of adding niacinamide to your skincare routine.
Looking for an effective but affordable moisturizer? e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer is it. Loaded with a slew of good for your skin ingredients such as hydrating and nourishing jojoba seed oil, glycerin, and shea butter plus soothing aloe, this moisturizer also contains antioxidants grape, bilberry, and vitamin E and additional fruit extracts.
This is another impressive e.l.f. skincare product. This moisturizer is lightweight and non-greasy. The one drawback is that it is lightly fragranced, although it is paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free and cruelty-free. I honestly can’t believe this moisturizer is under $10. It even has a convenient pump to dispense the moisturizer. Simple and effective.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane hydrates the skin and protects the skin’s barrier. This is the ideal product to use as last step of your skincare routine to seal in actives and moisturize your skin. Only a few drops are needed as the formula is highly emollient but surprisingly light.
I think this is the lightest feeling oil I’ve ever used and it is not greasy at all. You can benefit from squalane even if you have oily skin since it regulates oil production. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits and helps with redness, so it may benefit those with sensitive skin as well. You can even use a few drops periodically on dry ends of your hair. I keep this on hand especially for use during the colder winter months.
It’s rather difficult to find a sunscreen that I would recommend under $10 and this is an area of your skincare routine where you don’t want to be cheap since protecting your skin from the sun is one of the most important parts of your skincare routine. This mineral sunscreen even made it to my best drugstore mineral sunscreen list this year. Etude House Sunprise Light and Airy Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ / PA+++ provides SPF50 sun protection, dries to a matte finish, and really is weightless on the skin. For more details on sunscreen protection levels, check out my post on the best drugstore mineral sunscreens.
This is an ideal sunscreen for those with oily skin. The only drawback is that the formula contains alcohol which can be drying to skin if you use this product every day. There is a light scent that dissipates after application. UPDATE: This sunscreen may be priced at slightly over $10, but still a very affordable and effective mineral sunscreen.
Physicians Formula Organic Wear Lip Treatment is a clear lip balm that contains organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, antioxidant Vitamin E. It’s gentle and nourishing to your lips and non-sticky. This reminds me of my favorite lip balms from Fresh, but at less than half the price.
Final Thoughts on The Best Skincare Products Under $10
Over the last few years, affordable effective skincare has made its way to the drugstore, Amazon, and online beauty stores thanks to brands like The Inkey List, The Ordinary, and e.l.f. If you are interested in supplementing your current skincare routine with these skincare products or building a routine from scratch, you can’t go wrong with these skincare picks under $10.
What are your favorite skincare products under $10? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading and until next time…