The secret is out: the modern drugstore skincare routine can give you the same glowing skin as La Mer without the fussiness and mortgage payment. College students have access to that confidence-boosting, clear complexion like never before, as OTC quality skyrockets and prices stay low. With a wide array of product types gracing the shelves, how do we know if we’re making the right choices? Here is the perfect college skincare routine that will accommodate almost any skin type:
Don’t overthink your cleanser.
If there’s any place to save in your drugstore skincare routine, it’s the cleanser. Cleansers spend a grand total of about 20 seconds on your skin before they are rinsed off, meaning they serve only one purpose: to buff away dirt and grime like any other soap. Use simple, non-irritating formulas that are free of fragrances and harsh chemicals, but don’t try to get too fancy with your cleanser’s ingredients. If you have acne prone skin, it may be a good idea to invest in a wash containing benzoyl peroxide in order to oxygenate your skin before applying product, but beware of BP’s drying effects.
Get squeaky clean with witch hazel.
You read that correctly. Head over to the first aid aisle to get the world’s most versatile toner. A natural astringent, witch hazel is known to shrink your pores while reducing inflammation. Particularly effective for acne sufferers, witch hazel has soothing properties that zaps redness on the spot, and it will never sting or burn. As with all skincare, look for pure formulas without added fragrances and extra ingredients. With most bottles ringing up for less than $5, you can’t beat this perfect skincare essential.
Moisturizer is your friend.
This is where you can get most creative, as you deliver tailored potent ingredients to your skin. For oily-skin girls, opt for a gel formula that won’t leave a filmy residue. Look for water-based products that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. For the drier skinned ladies, find a creamier formula with soothing ingredients like aloe. Remember, simpler is better, so don’t fall for extravagant claims and catch-all products. Look for short formula lists with your desired active ingredient. Oh, and don’t forget a simple daily sunscreen!
You’re young; we get it, but it’s never too early to preserve that natural radiance. Drugstores are coming out with increasingly popular retinol formulas that are less potent than prescription products, which is perfect for younger skin. Retinol’s main ingredient, Vitamin A, penetrates deep in the skin and assists in promoting a healthy dermis and epidermis. Encouraging cell turnover, retinols reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation while keeping acne at bay. Shake the stigma and introduce your young skin to a light, drugstore formula to up your skincare game!
Should you choose to forgo a retinol treatment, find a serum that caters to your specific needs. Salicylic acid works best for whiteheads, while benzoyl peroxide attacks inflamed bumps. If your skin is ultra sensitive, look for products containing niacinamide to reduce redness. Vitamin C and lactic acid can take care of uneven skintone.
Sometimes, it’s ok to wear a mask.
Drugstores are buying into the sheet mask frenzy, which is good news for college beauty junkies on a budget. Look for the same potent ingredients listed above, but take advantage of the concentrated formulas offered in sheet masks. Save any extra serum at the bottom of the pouch, and apply after you have removed the mask for an extra punch of nutrients!