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7 Skincare Products for College Students On A Budget

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

Haven’t you always wanted the glowing, dewy looking skin of the celebrities on Vogue’s “Beauty Secrets” series but do not have enough dough in your pocket to buy their $200 products? Well lucky for you! There are hundreds of drugstore skincare brands that carry the same ingredients as those by the high-end brands. Her Campus Hofstra is here to save your skin and your money with our list of skincare products that works wonders but are luckily on the cheaper side. 

CeraVe Renewing Sa Cleanser ($9.87)

To start at the base layer, a very simple cleanser is great for removing dirt, makeup and other environmental impurities from the face. The CeraVe Renewing Salicylic Acid cleanser is great for a variety of different skin types. Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in facial cleansers directed toward oily and breakout-prone skin. However, this is sometimes an ingredient that people with dry, sensitive skin will want to stay away from due its harsh, stripping nature that can damage the moisture barrier. Fortunately, CeraVe’s SA cleanser also incorporates humectants like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which can keep the face moisturized and bring down redness and irritation. 

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, Image source: amazon.com
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($22.94)

If Vitamin C is not part of your skincare routine, it is now. Vitamin C helps produce collagen, one of the main proteins in the skin, which gives you the youthful, plump skin that is desired by most. Additionally, vitamin C has been proven to help protect against UVB rays when paired with a good SPF. Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum has a 20% concentration of sodium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C). Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is the most stable form of vitamin C and is unlikely to oxidize quickly, which gives it a longer shelf life. The higher concentration of vitamin C is better for oily, acne prone skin. However, for skin on the dryer side, this serum may be too high of a vitamin C concentrate. An alternative for dry skin is the Glossier Super Glow Vitamin C and Magnesium Serum due to its low 5% vitamin C derivative. It also includes moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba oil, shea butter and sunflower oil. 

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, Image source: amazon.com
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum ($16.19)

Retinol and retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, which promotes cell turnover and collagen production. Retinol is not essential in a skincare routine and is advertised mostly for people in their late twenties and early thirties. However, it can be used for severe acne in teenagers! Vogue has many helpful tips for beginners in using retinol and retinoids, as there is some information to know before use. The key ingredient is, evidently, retinol, but it also contains dipotassium glycyrrhizate which helps soothe and hydrate irritated skin.

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, Image source: amazon.com
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($16.08)

A moisturizer is the best way to seal in all of the vitamin C or retinol serums applied after a cleanser. A cheap and effective moisturizer on the market is the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. For people with dry skin, this is one of the thickest creams on the market. This cream has multiple humectants and ceramides, as well as hyaluronic acid, to restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier. Additionally, it has been accepted by the National Eczema Association as an ideal moisturizer for itchy, dry skin.  

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, Image source: amazon.com
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream ($16.30)

Although CeraVe makes a world renowned moisturizer, it can sometimes be too thick for oily, acne-prone skin. An alternative for those who cannot handle the thickness of CeraVe, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream may be a better option. This moisturizer is more versatile. It still contains the hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, but is also water-based, which means its oil-free formula will not clog your pores. This cream also applies like a gel which brings a cooling and soothing effect to the skin.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, Image source: amazon.com
Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen SPF 30 ($7.97)

If you are to take anything out of this list, it is that sunscreen is the most important part of the skincare routine! Sunscreen is an essential product for everyone. Not only can lack of UV protection cause skin cancer but sun damage to skin cells and blood vessels can promote older, wrinklier looking skin. This sunscreen is oil and oxybenzone-free, which means it will not cause breakouts and is great for acne-prone skin. The lightweight formula easily sits on the face and allows the skin to breathe. 

Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen SPF 30, Image source: amazon.com
Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief Serum ($28)

The last ingredient on this list is a little more on the pricier side, but in my personal opinion, it is absolutely worth it. The ceramides, such as niacinamide, glycerine and squalane, lock in moisture and help prevent breakouts. The powerful and nourishing tamanu, safflower and rosehip oil also prevent breakouts as well as calm and soothe redness and irritation. This product is my personal favorite and I have seen drastic results in just one day. The best time to use this product is both at night and in the morning before applying sunscreen.

When choosing skin care products that are best suited for your skin type, it is hard to know what you are looking for unless you go through a bit of trial and error. However, knowing what ingredients to look for is the first step to beautiful, glowing skin!

Elisabeth Ford is a sophomore at Hofstra University and is majoring in journalism with a minor in anthropology. She is from Hingham, Massachusetts and loves living so close to Boston. She loves fashion, the outdoors and music, especially The Beatles! After college, she aspires to travel the world and pursue international journalism.