Skin Treatments Worth Price Tag Feature Hero

HC Nanyang Tech: Our Affordable Beauty Favourites

Now that you’ve met our team, get to know us better through our favourite budget-friendly beauty products ranging from a DIY setting spray that works better than the cult-favourite MAC Fix+ to blemish-clearing skincare pads.

Shona (Campus Correspondent)

1. Stridex ($12 for 90 pads - Carousell)

As someone with problematic skin, physical scrubs did nothing for me except create micro-tears. However, I suffered from a lot of whiteheads and fungal acne and needed a solid solution to fix these issues. I decided to switch to chemical exfoliation and that was when I met the love of my life, Stridex. Stridex contains 2% salicylic acid in a pad form and it helps to keep pesky breakouts at bay. I’ve tried a few BHA products but Stridex contains the perfect concentration of acid to keep my sensitive skin happy! Stridex is great for those who suffer from oily, clogged skin and are in need of a deep cleanse.

stridex acne pads Original photo by Shona Menon

2. Timeless Pure Squalane ($13 - Carousell)

Having suffered from oily skin since my teenage years, never in a million years would I have thought that adding oil to my face would balance my skin. I was always afraid of slathering oil on my already oily skin as I was sure I would break out in cystic acne. But I took a leap of faith and put my trust (and my face) in the highly raved squalane oil. And it did not disappoint. I woke up every morning with supple and hydrated skin and within 6 months, my skin type switched from oily to normal! I would recommend this oil for all skin types from dry to oily because who doesn’t want hydrated skin?

squalane oil Original photo by Shona Menon

Zinc (Senior Editor)

DIY Setting Spray ($6.50 ~ $17.30)

I am both a dry skin sufferer and a sucker for making things work on a budget. I realised most of the setting sprays (not fixing sprays that have alcohol etc. to make your makeup last longer) are basically glycerin and water, so I tried to make my own version to see if I’d like it before I bought one. Long story short, it works amazingly and is way better than what’s on the market, especially at this price point. I was even gifted MAC Fix+ once but it’s practically unused because I reach for this more often. Essentially, I mix a tablespoon or so of glycerin with water (filling the rest of the spray bottle) and use that once I’m done with my makeup. Sometimes I add rose water when I’m feeling fancy (mostly for the scent), and I add more glycerin if I feel extra dry. Be sure to use a spray nozzle that makes fine mist or mist to your liking — I got mine from MUJI (50ml PET Spray Bottle, $4.30). You can also reuse spray bottles from emptied products. Glycerin and rose water can be bought cheaply in Watson’s, Guardian, or online. I got mine at around $6.50 each for 120ml bottles with the brand ICM Pharma, but it really doesn’t matter — just ensure that it’s pure glycerin and rose water. Since you use only a little of the glycerin each time, this will last you for a while. You can even mix your toners into this, but try to use it up fast in case it goes bad, though I’ve kept mine for months before. I recommend this for my fellow dry-but-sweaty friends who need powder to keep sweat and oil at bay but crack from the dryness. For an in-depth tutorial, click here (however, I advise against using essential oils as it can damage your skin).

DIY glycerin mist Original photo by Zinc Tan

Audrey (Marketing & Publicity Director)

I'm From Honey Mask ($34.20 on iHerb)

With the pandemic constantly looming over our necks (and our skin's condition), I needed something that would give my face that dose of hydration the same amount a 1-litre bottle could.

This mask was introduced to me by a friend who had bought it on iHerb, and with a sweet tooth as strong as Winnie The Pooh, how could I say no to a pot of honey? 

With the I’m From Honey Mask, a little goes a long way. The little 120g pot comes with a tiny facial mask spoon and can be used right after cleansing. I’ve found that applying the mask once I’ve finished a warm shower proves best, as I can honestly feel it rehydrating my skin. 

If the idea of a spread on face mask sounds daunting, I’ve found this product to be a lot less wasteful than having a sheet mask, and a lot more flexible. I’ve used it a couple of times over the last two months, and it hasn’t really made a dent. 

However, I’ve found the mask to be slightly on the oilier side, and a little difficult to store because of how moisturising it is. Other than that, it’s done wonders for my parched skin! 

I’d recommend it to anyone staying in halls. This product packs a punch in a very small container saving you space and an arm workout, and once a week is more than enough to keep your skin in check!

honey mask Original photo by Audrey Leong

Nicole (Writer)

1. Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara Black 01 ($13 on Shopee, $22.90 in drugstores)

This mascara has basically changed my life since I got my first tube in Taiwan. As a person with really oily eyelids and living in Singapore where we’re never not sweating, it’s the only one I trust to not flake, smudge, or transfer onto my lower eyelids. The Long and Curl version is great as well, but if you have sparse lashes like I do, this is the best one. It does require a separate eye and lip makeup remover to remove completely, but it’s 100% worth it for the longevity.

2. PeriPera Airy Ink Velvets #6 ($6-$11 on Shopee)

At less than $10 a pop, I think these Korean lip tints are one of the best budget options for students out there who want a long-lasting natural pop of colour on your lips. Smoothing and non-drying, this is definitely my go-to when I don’t want to worry about the colour fading during meals.

lipstick and mascara on gold plate Original photo by Nicole Ng

Giselle (Social Media Director)​

1. Mamonde Rosewater Toner ($25 for 250ml - Mamonde’s store on Lazada)

  • I love this moisturising toner because it smells good (the rose scent is subtle, sweet and not artificial smelling) and it is gentle on my skin. Furthermore, the packaging is really beautiful. 

  • I came across this toner through online reviews. It receives mostly positive reviews from skincare blogs and online magazines. Years ago, I was constantly researching skincare products because my skin was breaking out or reacting to the skincare products I was trying out. Ever since I found this toner, I have only used it and have repurchased it every time I ran out.

I recommend this if you’re looking for a moisturising toner to include in a simple skincare routine.

mamonde toner Original photo by Giselle Lim

2. La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water ($27.90 for a twin pack of 300ml x2 - Guardian Pharmacy)

  • I love this facial mist because it soothes my skin while keeping it hydrated! According to the instructions, it can be sprayed liberally anytime. This thermal spring water mist is light, cooling and refreshing. I use this daily; I like to spray it before and after putting on my surgical mask to reduce skin irritation, and using it to cool down my skin after being out in the sun.

  • I came across this facial mist while browsing at the pharmacy! I use La Roche Posay’s cleanser and spot treatment, so I know this skincare brand is suitable for my skin.

I recommend this if you’re looking for a fuss-free way to stay hydrated and refresh your skin throughout the day. 

la roche posay water Original photo by Giselle Lim