Make no mistake: Drugstore skincare is effective and worthwhile. Many products contain the very same buzzy ingredients that their high-end counterparts do, including hydrating hyaluronic acid, exfoliating glycolic acid, and detoxifying charcoal. You just need to know which products and brands work best for you and your specific skin type. That, our friends, is exactly why we're curating a list of the best drugstore skincare products, as determined by Team Byrdie and customer ratings and reviews (you know, to make your life a little easier and your wallet a little heavier).
So instead of spending your entire paycheck on multiple high-end items, you can plug these budget-friendly products into your existing routine. Keep scrolling to see complete drugstore skincare routines sorted by skin type.
Dry Skin Drugstore Routine
CeraVe's cleansers are recommended by many dermatologists since they're gentle and non-stripping. This one is formulated with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to restore the skin's natural moisture barrier (which is why we count on it throughout the winter season).
This is the highest-rated toner at Target. It's formulated with bedrock water from the Blue Mountains of Australia, baobab seed extract, and something called the Powerful Vitality Complex. Its lightweight liquid texture makes it extremely hydrating. Use it after cleansing and before moisturizing for an added layer of much-needed moisture.
Follow up the toner with Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. Even though it provides intense hydration, it has a lightweight texture, which makes it perfect for summer.
If your skin feels tight and dehydrated come midday, turn to this Milky Mist, which is a hydrating face mist that comforts and plumps the surface of the skin. As one reviewer puts it, "Just from one use, my dry skin was instantly hydrated. I use it in both the morning and at night and my skin is absolutely AMAZING. I really recommend this product for everyday use and it's worth the money you're spending. You also get a lot of product so don't worry about running out fast. Buy this product and watch your dry skin instantly change."
Oily/Acne-Prone Skin Drugstore Routine
Like we said before, you can get your hands on buzzy skincare ingredients at the drugstore. Take this Bioré cleanser, which uses activated charcoal to deep-clean and remove pore-clogging impurities. As a result, it reduces the appearance of pores.
This Burt's Bees toner is only $9 and contains a variety of effective anti-acne ingredients like witch hazel, lemongrass, and willow bark extract. It instantly clears pores, refreshes the complexion and prevents future breakouts, and that's according to reviews like this: "I love this toner so much! It has a nice smell and leaves my face feeling fresh. It doesn't dry out my skin like other toners have. I haven't had any breakouts and has helped with uneven pigmentation on my skin since I started using this toner and I feel confident now!"
People with oily skin know that the skin needs moisture, but not heavy moisture. This Cetaphil pick hydrates the skin so it doesn't overproduce oil and lead to an oil-slick complexion by lunchtime. It even has SPF 30 to protect against sun damage.
You can even buy light therapy products at the drugstore because apparently we're living in the future. This Neutrogena mask harnesses the power of LED light, which kills acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Learn more information about LED light therapy.
Sensitive Skin Drugstore Routine
With sensitive skin, you can't be too careful when reading the ingredient list. This Vanicream cleanser is formulated for sensitive skin, which means what it's formulated with is just as important as what it's formulated without. In the case of the latter, it doesn't contain any lanolin, fragrance, dye, parabens, or preservatives. How's that for gentle?
S.W. Basics is a Byrdie-team favorite. The brand produces clean, nontoxic skincare products that have an easy-to-read (and short) ingredient list. This oil-based serum has only four ingredients—avocado, geranium, turmeric, and coffee oils. It's cruelty-free, organic, and anti-inflammatory.
La Roche Posay is a famous French pharmacy brand that's available at Target. This daily face moisturizer is formulated for sensitive skin, which means it's preservative- and fragrance-free. It's also dermatologist-tested. "This moisturizer is light and feels good on my skin," writes one reviewer. "I have been using it daily and my skin feels soft and not greasy. I am sensitive around my eyes, and this does not irritate them at all. This is a great value too."
Normal Skin Drugstore Routine
Although there is no "normal" when it comes to skin, the term functions to cover that gray area in between sensitive, oily, and dry. If you don't fit into any of those categories, you probably fit into this one. We like simple's face wash, which is cleansing, moisturizing, and (you guessed it) simple. We think of it like the little black dress of face wash.
If you have normal skin, why not get a little glow on? This overnight serum is formulated with vitamins A, C, and E, along with glycolic acid to exfoliate and brighten. "I literally never write reviews but this stuff it amazing. My skin has never looked so glowy and evenly toned," says one customer.
Stick with the glowing skin suggestion by using Aveeno's daily moisturizer with SPF 15 to protect against superficial sun damage, while soy complex helps even and illuminate the complexion. How does that saying go? If it's good enough for Jennifer Aniston, then it's good enough for us. (PS: The all-green theme for the normal skin routine wasn't purposeful, but we'll take it.)
Remember, these aren't end-all solutions for skincare. Everyone's skin is different and what works for one person might not work for another. Nonetheless, this is a good starting point for developing a customized routine of your own.