There's no denying it—skincare is at the core of any great beauty routine. But what's at the core of a great skincare routine? Of course, your wellness practices are important: drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and finding time to take part in daily exercise. But in terms of products, serum and moisturizer are the two that form the foundation of an effective skincare regimen. After all, the powerfully concentrated active ingredients of a serum paired with the hydrating qualities of a moisturizer can seriously transform the skin.
Serums and moisturizers have a reputation for being expensive, but rest assured, great skincare isn't always synonymous with a hefty price tag. Want proof? Below, we assembled nine amazing serum and moisturizer combinations that will effectively tackle any skin concern for under $50. Keep reading to learn how to put together the perfect skincare combination at an affordable price.
Roc's Retinol Serum ($18) is the best drugstore wrinkle treatment on our radar, and it has been for years. The powerful formula smooths crinkled skin to diminish even the most stubborn of expression lines. Pair it with Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer ($27), which has a lightweight, silky texture that won't settle into fine lines. It strengthens the skin's natural moisture barrier by 54% for a plump, youthful look.
Combined Price: $47
It just so happens that this skincare combo is as natural as it is effective. Andalou Naturals Turmeric Serum ($20) uses fruit stem cells and vitamin C to target overexposed surface cells, diminishing dark spots and dullness. Follow it up with Burt's Bees Brightening Even Skin Tone Cream ($21) which will gently unveil your skin's inner radiance.
Combined Price: $49
Dry skin making your life hard? Reach for Botanics's Hydrating Burst Serum ($12), which promises to hydrate skin (and repair its natural moisture barrier) for up to 24 hours. Maximize its effects with Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel ($20), which is the top-selling drugstore moisturizer in America, by the way. Its lightweight texture will hydrate without making your skin feel heavy or greasy. Plus, it has a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid, a skincare ingredient that holds up to 1000 times its weight in water.
Combined Price: $34
Seal in that acne-fighting prowess with Kiehl's Blue Herbal Moisturizer ($25), which has balancing herbs and cinnamon bark extract to calm, heal, and prevent breakouts.
Combined Price: $30
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum ($29) targets a number of skin woes but promises significantly firmer skin within just five days of use. A serum that costs less than your electric bill? Yes, please.
Next, use Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse ($29). Its star ingredient, sweet almond oil, protects against environmental aggressors while plumping and reviving skin.
Combined Price: $47
The key to a fresh face is, say it with me, exfoliation. If you need extra help sloughing away dead skin and product buildup, look to The Ordinary's Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Serum ($7). (Their products work so well, we had to include them on this list twice.) This pick instantly renews the complexion, dissolving old debris in its wake. Because it's so effective at cell turnover, be sure to follow with an ultra-moisturizing product. belif's True Cream Moisturizing Bomb ($38) is a decadent cream that will calm and protect your brand new skin.
Combined Price: $45
Natural skincare brand Apoterra is responsible for this soothing Balancing Serum ($35). Ingredients like blue chamomile, green tea, and grape-seed oil nourish irritable skin. Plus, it's vegan, cruelty-free, and organic.
Keep moisturizer in the same soothing vein with Mario Badescu's Aloe Lotion ($15). Its mild astringent formula actually cleans the skin while fighting inflammation and redness.
Combined Price: $50
Redness is an entirely different beast to conquer—irritability underneath the skin reveals itself in blotchy, hard-to-cover patches. Try Korean brand It's Skin's Power 10 Redness Reducing Serum ($20), which utilizes licorice root, an ingredient proven to soothe and alleviate facial redness.
Then, reach for Ren's ClearCalm 3 Replenishing Gel Cream ($30), which includes chamomile, lavender, and sage. Not only will it nourish skin without disrupting it, but it will also work magic by banishing acne scars and free radicals.
Combined Price: $50
Shiseido's Smart Filtering Smoothing Serum ($23) was developed to mimic the effect of a camera filter. It blurs skin while minimizing pores and smoothing texture. Plus, it dries to a matte finish, something extra special for oily skin types.
After applying the serum, moisturize with Aveeno's Positively Radiant Daily Moisture ($14), which promises to smooth skin texture and even tone with soy complex and light-diffusing ingredients.
Combined Price: $39
Next up, read about the difference between Eastern and Western skincare and how one editor had two opposing experts evaluate her routine!