Skincare Hacks on a College Budget

I’ve always struggled with my skin. From my first breakouts around my hairline in middle school to the hyper-pigmentation and sensitive-combination-acne-prone skin I have today, getting my skin to clear up has been an uphill battle. I’ve tried every product under the sun: Proactiv, Rx topical treatments, natural remedies, toners, acids, sheet masks, serums, creams, chemical peels, lotions, oils, clays, mists, gels, spot treatments… you name it, I’ve tried it. (Glossier’s quiz even deemed me a Skincare Veteran. #flex) I know from experience that good skincare can be expensive. Trying product after product can become frustrating and exhausting, plus most college students can’t afford luxury skincare products. Here’s how I get clear skin on the cheap.

As a typical skincare buff, when coming across Curology, a personalized acne treatment, I gave their 1 month free trial a shot. I answered a detailed questionnaire about my skincare history, and sent in photos of my problem areas. About a week later, an adorable personalized bottle was sent straight to my door.

This stuff is amazing. The treatment was super low maintenance; apply the cream once a day after washing. I saw a huge improvement in my skin. What isn’t great about it is the price tag. One bottle (a one month supply,) costs about $20, with $5 for shipping. As a college student, $25 for only one month of acne treatment seemed a little steep.

That’s when I discovered my greatest skincare hack. I bought cheaper products with the same active ingredients as my Curology prescription. Granted, the products I’m using now aren’t the same percentage of strength as my Curology cream, but my skin is clear, and the products I’m using have lasted me months, for a fraction of what three rounds of Curology would cost.

I got two of my products from The Ordinary. The other I was lucky to already have on hand from an Rx my dermatologist prescribed.

The Ordinary has a large selection of products, named after their active ingredients. Their products are low cost, last awhile, and make skincare totally affordable.

Curology was a great way to know what products my skin needed, and I think they’re a great company. The packaging is both discrete and cute, and it’s a huge conveniency factor to have all of the ingredients your skin needs in one product. But, as long as I’m in college, I’ll stick to my under $10 products (And still have clear skin, too!).

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