For the majority of the last 10 years, I religiously used a face cream that is $130 an ounce, not per jar, per OUNCE! I was convinced it was the only thing that worked on my skin. In the beauty industry, we’re spoon fed marketing that we’re supposed to swallow as fact. “Anti-aging, anti-wrinkle peptides, instant results…and on and on” My very favorite, “94% of women who used this product saw an increase in moisture in their skin.” Well hmmm… it’s a moisturizer. Shouldn’t 100% of women see an increase? What do these claims even mean and what benefit do these products have on my skin?
The question I have for today is…how much does one need to spend for an effective moisturizer that nourishes, protects, and improves skin? As a skincare addict, continuously searching for the best of the best, here are 5 moisturizers under $50 that I think are pretty worth the price.
- Wild Carrot Herbals Saffron Seed Cream. $23.99. 2 oz. Glass Jar. Cruelty-Free//You can find it at Whole Foods, Natural Medicine Stores, and WildCarrotHerbals.com. Best for dry to very dry skin. Also beneficial for sun damaged, Rosacea, and Sensitive Skin.
A little backstory: This gem has been on my radar for years but it always seemed on the expensive side for me. As backwards as it sounds, walking into a Nordstrom I think any cream under $200 is pretty average in pricing. When I was in college, I worked at a beauty counter selling face creams that were $400 no problem. But, for some reason outside of that environment anything over $20 makes me question the price. Recently, there was a 25% off skincare sale at Whole Foods so I finally bought it. Honestly- I’m HOOKED! I’ve been searching for a cream like this for so long. My skin is so dry, I swear it could soak up a tub of Crisco so most moisturizers never seem like “enough.” However this one has a whipped creamy texture that leaves my skin soft,hydrated, and plump in the morning. I like to exfoliate my face at night before I put on this cream so that the nutrient rich oils can absorb as much as possible. If you have extremely dry skin like me, you’ll love it. I use it day and night. If you are on the more oily side, it may be too rich for you.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer. $27.50. 4.2 oz Plastic Bottle. //Can be found at Nordstrom and Kiehl’s stores. Lightweight daily lotion. Best for all skin types.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer is a great under-the-radar basic face lotion. It’s unassuming plastic squeeze bottle and understated label makes it easy to overlook it when you’re out shopping, but if you’re looking for bang for your buck- you can’t go wrong with this face lotion. It’s lightweight yet very hydrating, making it ideal for all skin types. If your skin feels dry but you suffer from mid day surface oiliness, this would be a great moisturizer for you. It will give you the quick absorbing moisture you need, without making your skin feel like an oil slick.
- Acure Sensitive Facial Cream. $17.99 1.75 oz. Cruelty Free// Available at Whole Foods and AcureOrganics.com. Rich Cream. Best for normal to dry skin types, particularly those with sensitive skin.
Acure is a skincare line that I am falling more and more in love with. I will preface this review by saying, if you want the “luxury” type feel, I do not get that impression from this brand. However, if you value healthier, cleaner formulations of products that actually work, Acure is a great brand. I tried the two creams from this line, the Sensitive Facial Cream and the Night Cream. While they were both effective, I preferred the feel and the significantly more mild scent of the Sensitive Cream.
Bonus recommendation: Acure Brightening Facial Scrub $17.99 4 oz. If you’ve ever tried the Kate Sommerville ExfoliKate, and you like the intense, aggressive, physical exfoliation you will love this product. For days when you feel like your skin care products aren’t working, your make up isn’t sitting on your skin right- it’s time for a good scrub. The Brightening Facial Scrub uses sea kelp, lemon to buff away dry dead skin, while French green clay removes impurities from your pores.
- Lancome Bienfait Multi Vital SPF 30. $49. 1.7 oz// Lightweight lotion, also available in cream form. Can be purchased at department store Lancome Counters. Best for all skin types with the added benefit of SPF 30.
If you’re looking for a solid dual purpose moisturizer + sunscreen in one product, this is a great option. As you apply this lotion, there is something very luxurious about how it smells and feels. A single pump is all you need for your entire face and it hydrates for up to 24 hours. For me this is a vacation staple.
–Disclaimer- unless circumstances restrict you from washing your face for 24 hours I would not recommend leaving this product over night for a couple of reasons. If you’re wearing make-up, you should always wash that off before going to bed. Secondly, I do not recommend wearing sunscreen at night. While you are sleeping, your body restores and heals from the day’s stresses and elements so it’s important to eliminate as many unnecessary chemicals as possible. There is a night cream version of this lotion that is richer and does not contain SPF. Or, any of the moisturizers mentioned above are great options.
- Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentre. $28 2.54 oz. Cruelty Free// Can be found on Sephora.com and Professional Beauty Stores. Best for all my fellow make-up lovers.
This is a primer and lotion in one. A pea sized amount of this lotion on your face will make make-up go on like a dream. It is a cult-favorite weapon of many make-up artists because it consistently perfectly preps the skin for make-up. When doing make-up on myself or clients, I prefer this type of primer to the skin over silicone-ey type primers. It plumps up the skin and smooths texture, without making skin so slick that make-up won’t adhere. For me, this product makes make-up application easier, more blendable, and longer lasting.
I do not mean to offend people who love expensive moisturizers. I have always said, whether you spend $10 or $1000 on something, if you love it and it works for you, keep using it. Now, there are plenty of mid to high priced moisturizers that I also love. However, my goal in writing this is to encourage people to want to know more information about what they are putting on their faces, and not be sold on buzz words. But to actually, read the ingredients, read the labels, and have a better understanding of what the cream will do for them.
If you have dry, dehydrated skin, and you apply an emollient cream, your skin will naturally soak it up and will become slightly more plump thus looking smoother…that is a realistic claim from a product. However, if a product claims it will take away your wrinkles and will instantly make you look 25 years younger, you should take it with a grain of salt. They’re trying to sell you on false promises and “skincare technology” that aren’t even backed by the Food and Drug Administration.
Happy skincare shopping all! If you have any questions, let me know. I forgot how passionate and nerdy I get with the skincare talk. Sheesh!