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

Skin-care routines and products have really taken the spotlight, especially thanks to TikTok. I personally do not have a crazy extensive skincare routine, I just like to stick with the basics. Some popular products are costly, and as college students, this isn’t typically ideal. I’m going to share with you products that are worth investing in but also dupes that you should save your money on.

Face Washes

The first thing I always do in my personal skincare routine is wash my face. CeraVe is affordable and it gets the job done. They have different types of face washes that focus on different skin types. The brand is very inclusive and has washes for oily skin, dry skin, and combination skin. I use the foaming cleanser which is for combination skin, and it works wonders.


I think we can all agree that The Ordinary is one of the best brands out there. It has some of the lowest prices I’ve seen for great quality. After I wash my face, I hydrate my face. The specific product I use is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid. While my face is still damp, I slather it all around. It’s important that your face is still wet while applying a hydrator because it absorbs the water and is more effective.


The next thing I do is moisturize my face. In my opinion, moisturizers are probably the most expensive on the market. Paula’s Choice moisturizers, while a little pricier, are for sure worth the money. There are a large variety of moisturizers depending on your skin type. On the more affordable side, I like the CeraVe moisturizing cream. It’s a little more general, but it is very creamy and makes your skin feel so smooth. 

Bronzing Drops

This step is not really essential, but I personally like to include it. If you want your face to have more of a tan and glowy look, this step is important for you. The Drunk Elephant bronzing drops are worth the investment. I know there are several dupes out there, like the L’Oreal Lumi Glotion, but I just don’t think they’re as good at getting the job done. Plus, the Drunk Elephant drops have Vitamin D and other beneficial ingredients, so these drops are just all-around healthier and more beneficial for your skin. 


The last step of my routine (I, however, do not do this at night) is putting on some form of SPF. Whether it’s a tinted moisturizer or sunscreen, SPF is one of the most dire steps in the long run. I think the ELF Suntouchable Facial Sunscreen is the best for its affordable price. It’s easy to pick up a bottle from Target at any time. Not only does it protect your face from sun damage, it gives you a nice glow that makes your skin look nice and shiny. It’s a good dupe for the SuperGoop Glowscreen, which I’ve heard is worth the money, even though I’ve personally never tried it!

Jo Gomez

Illinois '26

Hey!! I'm Jo and I'm a freshman speech and hearing sciences major! I like to read fiction novels and write creatively for fun. I also really like binge-watching shows as well as shopping!