Summer Skincare on a Budget

Don’t you dare tell me summer is almost over. Nope. I refuse to hear it. There is plenty of summer left and that means there is plenty of time to continue summer skincare regimens. You hear me?!

Today, I’m sharing my favorite affordable summer skincare products because ya’ll know I live life on a budget and ain’t nobody got the money to spend $50 on face cream (except millions of people that fuel the luxury beauty business).

So why trust my recommendations? I take great pride in my skin health and I’m quite peculiar about the products I use. I’ve actually developed a bit of an obsession for trying new skincare products because I’m always looking for great new go-tos. In fact, I have an entire coveted bag of beauty samples and every time I use up one product, I gleefully rummage through my sample bag to choose another to try. That being said, I have my fair share of experience with skincare products ranging from high-end to drug store brands. In many cases, I’ve found that affordable brands work just as well as the expensive brand name products. You just have to find the right ones!

Mario Badescu Facial Spray 

$7.00 at Urban Outfitters and Ulta

I probably have five different facial sprays in my bathroom cabinet right now and this one takes the cake. It not only smells amazing, but is infused with aloe vera, rose, thyme, and antioxidant-rich gardenia to sooth and re-energize the skin. I use it as a pre-moisturizer, to set makeup, and as a midday hydration refresh. I love bringing the facial spray on long flights where the air is extremely dry. When my skin or even my inner nose is feeling dehydrated, I’ll spritz the facial spray three or four times while breathing in through my nose and I feel instantly better. It’s like a mini hydration and aromatherapy session on the plane.

St. Ives Blemish Control Face Apricot Scrub

$3.64 at Target, $3.49 at Bed Bath and Beyond, $4.79 at Walgreens

This is honestly the best exfoliating face wash I’ve ever purchased and it’s surprisingly one of the most affordable too. It contains salicylic acid to help prevent new blackheads and blemishes from forming in the heat of the summer when my face is gets sweaty and oily. I wash my face everyday, but I usually only use this scrub every other day in conjunction with a cleanser to avoid over-exfoliation. Don’t forget that exfoliating makes your skin more sensitive to the sun! Avoid using this in the morning if you know you’re going to spend most of the day outside.

Another great feature of this scrub is that its exfoliants are 100% natural and made of walnut shell. Yassss to eco-friendly products! Side note – products with plastic exfoliating micro beads, like this popular grapefruit face wash I used to use, are terrible for the environment. (Read about pollution from plastic microbeads here and click here to find a list of products to avoid!)

Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil Elminating Etringent 

$4.99 at Target, $5.99 at Ulta

This stuff is especially helpful in the summer when my skin is in its oiliest and dirtiest state, but I do use it year round. Its main purpose is to prevent and treat pimples and acnes. It does so by removing breakout-causing dirt, oil, and makeup that’s trapped deep in your pores, completely cleaning the surface of your skin. I use it on clean skin after I’ve washed and toned. If I even feel the tiniest pimple start forming under my skin, I swipe the astringent over my face with a cotton pad and the next day it’s either gone or visibly smaller. I also use the astringent on my back, arms, and anywhere else where I get pimples or dead skin. I’m telling you, this stuff is golden.

If I use the astringent too much, my skin starts to feel dry, so I usually use it every other day. I also avoid using this near my eyes as it does sting. There are a lot of products out there like this one which uses salicylic acid to fight outbreaks, but I like how Neutrogena’s astringent doesn’t come in pre-soaked pads where most of the product ends up being wasted. This 8 oz bottle lasts me about six months and both Kevin and I use it regularly.

Simple Skincare Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water

$8.49 at Ulta, $8.99 at Target

Micellar water is majorly trending and I’m going to be honest, I was extremely skeptical about it at first. It seemed like beauty brands just wanted to make money off of fancy tap water in a bottle marketed for your face. “No thanks,” I said. I had even tried a sample of Avene’s miscellar water but it left a burning sensation on my face and it was $28 per bottle. After trying Simple’s micellar water though, I’m kinda hooked.

I use this micellar water for two things: removing makeup and morning cleansing. It’s effective enough to remove eye makeup, blush, and powdered foundation. However, for more oily products like lipstick, I still have to use a stronger makeup remover. What I really like about this cleansing water is that it doesn’t sting my skin or eyes – probably because it contains no artificial perfumes or colors, nor any harsh chemicals. I run a micellar-water-soaked cotton pad along my water line to remove mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow and it does an amazing job of removing those black goobers that often stay in the water line. In the morning, I like to use the cleansing micellar water as a substitute for washing my face…mostly because I’m too lazy or am running late for work.

My skin definitely feels refreshed and clean after using Simple’s micellar water. I only started using this product a month ago, but it’s definitely going to become a regular in my bathroom cabinet!


Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Daily Moisturizer

$14.99 at Ulta, $15.49 at Walgreens

I’ve found it quite difficult to find a good day cream or moisturizer that has enough SPF to sub as facial sunscreen without feeling greasy on my skin. Cue the angels singing. I’ve used this moisturizer religiously for years and it’s the best for the summer. With SPF 30, this moisturizer is great at preventing sun damage. You can also find it in SPF 15 if a higher SPF isn’t your thing, but I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want the extra coverage! It also contains Vitamin C & E, and Lipo-Hydroxyl Acid to brighten and tone the skin.

Bonus: this moisturizer smells amazing without a trace of that classic sunscreen smell.

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream

$6.69 at Target, $8.99 at Ulta

In the winter, I like to use a thick night cream before bed, but if I do so in the summer I end up waking up with pimples. I use this gel cream as a night cream in the summer because it’s oil free and extremely light. It keeps my skin moisturized at night without adding excess oil to my skin. The one I’ve linked here is for normal/combination skin, but Garnier also makes a version for dry skin which is also oil free.

I like to apply it while my face is still slightly damp after cleansing to really lock in moisture. Otherwise, sometimes I’ll use a facial spray first before applying the cream.

Personal Microderm Device

$159 at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s 

Okay, before you freak out about the price, I assure you that $159 for a lifetime of microdermabrasion treatments is a steal. I’d heard amazing things about microdermabrasion facials, but wasn’t enticed enough to spend the time and money to schedule a professional treatment for $80-$150 a session. Using the PMD is a great at-home alternative and I figured it only takes two or three weeks of use before you break even.

I don’t have any profound before/after photos like the ones you can find on the PMD site because to be completely honest, my skin doesn’t look that different after using it. Many people use the PMD for acne scars, wrinkles, or large pores – none of which are problems for me (at least not yet). The catch is, I can definitely feel a difference in the smoothness of my skin after my at-home treatments and I can see the dead skin coming off as I’m using the PMD.

My favorite use for the PMD is actually using it on my back. The set comes with multiple caps for both the face and body at different exfoliation levels. I have Kevin use the larger caps across my back to get rid of the dead skin I can’t reach when showering. (Kevin = boyfriend of the year.) My back is where I breakout the most and after using the PMD regularly, I’ve found that I rarely get back pimples anymore.

Bottom Line: if you have acne scars, dark spots, fine lines, acne, or large pores the PMD may be a great solution for you. Even if you don’t have any of those concerns, the PMD is an excellent device to take your skincare regimen to the next level and help prevent skin problems from developing. If you’re all like, “Jenn, $159 is too much and microdermabrasion is not for me,” then skip it. If you have more questions about the product, you can find loads of info here.

Let me know if you have any of your own coveted affordable skincare products! Thanks for following along!

I received the PMD and Simple Skincare Miscellar Water as complimentary gifts in exchange for my review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

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12 Replies to “Summer Skincare on a Budget”

  1. I have been really tempted to try that pmd device. Thanks for sharing !

    1. Definitely go for it! I love using my PMD.

  2. I definitely need to try out that facial spray! This sounds like a great summer regimen 🙂

  3. great round of products! i love facial sprays for summer, they are so effortless and easy!

  4. The Garnier Refreshing Gel-Cream is my absolute fave!! I’ve been using it for years and years now and it never fails me! Great picks! x

    1. Same here! So affordable too! Definitely refusing to pay for expensive creams when this one works so well.

  5. Great, thank you for your advice! I need to try that face scrub, sounds perfect for my skin.

    Ingrid |

  6. I want to try all of this out! My favorite is the PMD beauty tool! It works!!!

    1. Yes! Absolutely! Makes me feel like I’m getting a nice spa treatment right at home. 🙂

  7. You are sharing some great products here. Thanks for taking the time to review each one. I need to try these out for myself.


  8. Your skin is flawless! I can’t wait to try your recommended products.

    1. Aw thanks, Suz! You’ll have to share your faves with me and how they worked for you. 🙂

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