Young woman putting on moisturizer.

Maintaining a consistent skincare routine is essential if you want a bright, clear complexion — but those elaborate routines you’ve likely seen on social media with dozens of steps and products look confusing and expensive. It’s far easier to slap on some moisturizer and go to bed, right?

Technically, yes. But it’s also entirely possible to find affordable skincare products that meet all kinds of needs (not just moisturizing!) so you can get the skin you want. You can have several goodies in your bathroom cabinet to help your skin shine and glow without emptying your wallet or making your head spin.

Let’s check out how.

Get to know your skin

The first step is to learn your skin type, so you can accurately select which products you need. You can ask your dermatologist for this info (if you have one), or you can just be mindful of your skin for a week or two.

Do you often look glossy, or do your powder-based cosmetics get clumpy as the day goes on? You likely have oily skin. Is your skin a little itchy, with fine feathery crack lines? You might have a dry complexion. Got acne or reddened areas on your skin? You may have other skin issues, such as rosacea, that a dermatologist should probably take a peek at.

Oily skin needs different products than dry skin, which needs different products than complex skin. Luckily, most skincare products tell you which skin type it caters to on the bottle.

Pick your products

Now that you’re familiar with your skin, it’s time to look into products that will help your skin shine. Consider a trip to a pharmacy or big-box store to see all the options (spoiler: There are a lot), or maybe research your favorite celeb’s recommendations.

Cleansers, toners, exfoliators, anti-aging serums, moisturizers, skin brighteners, sun protection, eyelid care and so much more — it can all seem overwhelming. But here’s a secret: You don’t need all of them!

Dig into product descriptions and reviews to see what each product does (and if it even works). You might find that, depending on your skin type or age, some offerings simply don’t apply to you. We suggest starting with a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. Then, build your collection from there as you discover additional needs.

Buy at a discount

Eventually, all this stuff goes on sale. Sometimes discounts look like slashed prices. Other times, it’ll be free shipping, buy-one-get-one-free offers or bundle deals. When shopping for skincare products, keep your eyes open for these options so you won’t throw your budget for a loop.

Comparison shop between department stores, online retailers, specialty beauty retailers and pharmacies. Some stores even put up displays of top-selling beauty and skincare gift kits during the holidays to boost their bottom lines. You just never know where you might find affordable skincare and your new favorite product.

Wait! You should definitely check out the personal care category on our website before setting off for the store, plus use the cash back offers you find on our app, which often include beauty and skin care items.

Test before you buy

If you’re not ready to commit to a full bottle of something, you might be able to dip your toe in at little to no cost. When shopping, ask for free samples that you can then use to help you decide which formula you want in the full-size bottle. Some online retailers will even offer a skincare kit in sample sizes to help win over new customers. You may have to send an email through their contact page, but it’s worth the savings to find out if it’s the right regimen for your skin.

It’s also a good idea to chat with your family and friends about their skincare routines and products. Most besties would love to have a spa day with you and let you test out their favorite products. Also, as a tip, skin types tend to run in families. So, if your parents have dry skin, you likely do too! That means they’ve been down this road of searching for ideal skincare products and can probably give you helpful tips on what works for them.

Kick start that skincare routine

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have an Instagram-famous 12-step routine to achieve fabulous skin. Not to mention, keeping your skincare products narrowed down to only those you need will make it much easier to keep to your beauty budget.

Happy shopping — and shining!