I am frequently asked by readers  ‘If I am being careful with my money, where should I spend the most in my routine?’
The answer is always, always serums.
The rise of serums has definitely, in my opinion, bumped moisturisers off of the top spot – although they were never my No.1 – more the prevailing thought of the industry.
This could be a typical ‘runny’ serum like the Estee Lauder, a more cream-like texture, such as Kate Somerville’s Deep Tissue Repair, or Good Genes by Sunday Riley, technically a treatment used at the ‘serum’ stage.
If I was listing my priorities in terms of dollars it would look like this:
Over 35/40:
  1. Serum/Treatments. Needs better technology, uses high performing ingredients that aren’t always cheap. You expect the most of your serum. And within this, I would include all overnight retinol treatments, hydrating boosters, anti-ageing peptide serums – anything runny that you use underneath a moisturiser or oil.
  2. Exfoliating acids. The best ones are more money and at our age we need them. Think P50, Dennis Gross, LeMer, Kate Somerville,LePrairie etc.
  3. Dedicated Night cream/product. As above. Over 40 skins need more peptides, retinols etc – they aren’t cheap.
  4. Cleanser. Good balm cleansers can be found for under $20, but the ones I like are typically more than that. So sue me.
  5. Facial Oil. Yes you can get base oils cheaply but there is a world of difference in my mind between a basic ‘face oil’ and a sophisticated one made by the likes of doctors, facialists and the Queens of all things face oil, french dedicated salon brands.
  6. SPF. A good, dedicated SPF is not extortionate.
  7. Moisturiser – normal/day. Just a good coat. Think hydration and protection, some contain SPF- but never enough, so still use SPF.
  8. Eye Creams. I can get by with a cheaper eye cream because I use my serum around the eye area (all of them, pretty much). And frankly, have you seen my lids? I suffer genetically from droopy eyelids and dark circles because I’m anaemic. I’d be throwing money away paying my loot for an eye cream that I know in my heart won’t work. I need one for hydration to plump up fine lines. That’ll do so long as I use my serums.
  9. Face masks. If they’re hydrating, they’re predominantly glycerin and hyaluronic acid, not expensive to make.
  10. Scrubs. Not expensive to make. Not sophisticated technology. But don’t get one with beads; get a good one such sa 2% Scrub from Skin Scripts. A daily scrub and face mask in one with retinol- happy days!
  11. Clay masks. I could pop to a beauty supply store, buy a bag of clay and some magnesium, mix it with the water below and it would cost around $25  per portion. My favorite of all time is Borghese. Still,  there is nothing better.
  12. Toner. It’s not water.  Cucumber Hydrating Toner by Skin Script can’t be beat! $20 for a toner that will improve your skin daily. cucumber close up
Ages 20-35/40:
  1. Serum. Exactly as per above.
  2. Dedicated Night Cream. Emulsions/moisturisers are still fundamentally more expensive to make than cleansers/toners – and if you’re under 40 you can still prevent and repair damage before it’s too late. 🙂
  3. Facial oils. Again, there is a world of difference between cheap and mid-range.
  4. Cleansers. Under $30 – even under $25 and you are sorted.
  5. Exfoliating acids. Glycolic pads, Pixi Glow Tonic – both around or under $25. However, if you are closer to 40 I would bump you into the section above.
  6. SPF. Not extortionate. Think Anthelios.

    Everything else is the same as above……

  7. Moisturiser. See and esthetician to get one that’s right for you.
  8. Eye Creams. I can get by with a cheaper eye cream because I use my serum around the eye area (all of them, pretty much). If you don’t use a serum, then for sure get a good eye cream to help prevent lines around your eyes.
  9. Face masks. If they’re hydrating, they’re predominantly glycerin and hyaluronic acid, get one to use weekly.
  10. Scrubs. Get a good quality one and not one that will cause tears to your face (i.e. apricot scrub)hat.
  11. Floral water/Spritz. It’s water.
Under 20 – teens:
  1. Moisturiser. Younger people tend to rage more havoc on their skin through their lifestyle – because they can. They need more protection. You’re also lazier with your routine (no hate, just an observation and experience!) because unless you have a particular concern, you can be. If you’re only going to wash your face and slap one thing on, it should be a moisturiser. I would still recommend a separate SPF though.
  2. Serum. When I did my FAQs on teenage skin, a few of you mentioned that you either want to use a serum or have a skin condition that would benefit from it such as acne/dehydration. If you do want to use a serum they still need to be good quality, just not extortionate!
  3. Exfoliating acids. First Aid Pads, Skin Script Glycolic pads or acne pads – both around or under $25. (Tip, cut them in half and use once a day. They have enough product on them to use only 1/2- they’ll last twice as long.)
  4. SPF. You have youthful, bouncy skin, keep it that way.
  5. Cleanser. Get into good cleansing habits at this age and you’ll be set for life skincare-wise. I promise.
  6. Night cream. Using a dedicated moisturiser for the evening is beneficial if you have particular skin conditions. If you have budget concerns, use a non-spf moisturiser and you can just buy one and use it day and night. (Just don’t forget your separate SPF.)
  7. Facial oil. Really cheap ones just aren’t as good.
  8. Eye Creams. Not essential and use your serum if budget is an issue.
  9. Face masks. If they’re hydrating, they’re predominantly glycerin and hyaluronic acid, not expensive to make.
  10. Scrubs. Again 2 % scrub/mask from Skin Script is great.
  11. Clay masks. see above.
  12. Toner- see Cucumber Toner above by #skinscript
  13. Added bonus to the men out there- you can get products that do double duty. Shave with Green Tea Cleanser and use Cucumber Toner for your after shave. The benefits besides saving money are the toner will hydrate your skin, eliminate ingrown hairs, help your other products penetrate better and you’ll smell good.

Did I forget anything?

If you have any questions or need to know where to buy something, visit my website at http://www.aboutfacesa.com or leave a comment below. I’ll get back to you with an answer. To purchase anything I’ve mentioned then check out my online store at http://www.aboutfacesa.com.

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