We forced 3 skincare experts to share the cheapo products they'd recommend. If they had to.

Is it just us, or are we all really into our skin this year?

Priming, plumping, exfoliating, cleansing, double cleansing, moisturising, hydrating, refining, peeling, protecting…

We’re doing it all. Which also means we’re buying all of the products.

Skincare is kind of like a puppy. Bare with us.

No, you can’t pat your moisturiser or cuddle your serum (well, technically you can…), but the thing about looking into your skin is, like a baby Labrador, it starts small with one or two lotions and potions, and then before you know it BAM. That small interest has grown into a large habit that no longer fits in your bathroom cupboard.

In an effort to pave a clear path between you and the skin you want, we forced asked three skincare experts to wade through your mountain of half-used bottles and tubes, and share the cheapo products they’d recommend. If they had to.

After a bit of arm twisting – because any skincare expert or dermatologist worth their weight in extractions knows nothing can replace quality, professional products – they gave us a handful of affordable, accessible options you can grab off the shelf at your local supermarket or pharmacy, and put straight onto your lovely face.

LISTEN: Have you noticed that everyone is obsessed with skincare at the moment? Mia Freedman thinks she knows why (post continues after audio…)

Dr Michael Freeman, Lead Dermatologist at The Skin Centre and The Skin Centre Medi Spa has over 30 years’ experience in the skincare industry. His picks are surprisingly (and pleasantly) simple:

Cetaphil Sun SPF50+ Ultra-Light Lotion Body & Face, $17.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

Ah, good ole Cetaphil. Thankfully for us, you can nab this trusty brand off the supermarket shelf on your way to the chocolate aisle.

"Liposomal variety based sunscreens like this one lock to the outer layers of the skin giving you optimal protection when in the sun," he told Mamamia.

"Sunscreen should play a vital role in your anti-ageing skin regime."

Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion, $7.30.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

"Again, the Cetaphil range is great for basic skin care such as hydration and moisturising," he said.

"Whilst this is a good alternative that you can find in supermarkets and chemists, the Cetaphil product range doesn't contain any active ingredients, and therefore won't benefit your skin to the best ability compared to other higher end moisturisers and serums."

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly Original, $4.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Woolworths.

We've all seen a tub of Vaseline in our mum's medicine cabinet. And with good reason.

"This product is great for wound care, and can help to prevent the likelihood of scarring longer term," Dr Freeman said.

Pro tip - you can also use it on your cracked lips for sweet, sweet relief.

Priceline Pharmacist, Amy Sabatini also knows a bit about finding good, affordable skincare options you can go back to again and again. So much so, she couldn't stop at three favourite products. Here are her top five:

La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Eye Care, $40.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

"I’m bordering on the age of wrinkles appearing and am keen to keep them at bay, so I love using the Redermic R Anti-Aging Eye Care by La Roche-Posay a few times a week before bed," Sabatini told Mamamia.


"This product contains retinol which may not be suitable for all skin types, so please speak with your Priceline Pharmacist before using."

It also explains why it's on the pricier end of the cheapo product price spectrum, but in comparison to high end alternatives, it's still a bargain.

Priceline Sun Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+, $4.80.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

Sunscreen was something all of our experts agreed on. And this one from Priceline is an absolute steal.

"Using an SPF50+ sunscreen is extremely important in protecting us against sun exposure and preventing the harmful effects of UV rays on our skin. I use this sunscreen as part of my daily skincare routine," she said.

Glow Lab Body Lotion, $15.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

Yes, the price on this body lotion is pretty sweet. But how luxe is the packaging?

"This Body Lotion by Glow Lab is dermatologically tested and pH balanced which helps to maintain ideal moisture levels in the skin," Sabatini  explained.

"It’s also rich in vitamins, cruelty free and smells amazing! I use this all over the body every morning and night."

Luma Brighten Up Beauty Serum, $40.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

OK sorry. We jumped the gun on the whole how luxe is the packaging thing. because... how luxe is THIS packaging?!

Sabatini is loving facial serums at the moment, especially ones that don't require a personal loan to purchase.

"I am loving facial serums to help my skin look supple and radiant, and my favourite is this Brighten Up Beauty Serum by Luma. It’s formulated with natural ingredients including crushed pearl, vitamin C and vitamin E to illuminate the complexion and the jojoba and rose hip oils nourish and moisturise the skin."

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP Plus Lipid-Replenishing Body Balm, $25.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Priceline.

"This product comes in handy if I miss a spot with my sunscreen and get a little burnt or when I’m clumsy in the kitchen and have a minor burn," she said of the second La Roche-Posay product in her top picks.

"I use this after running the burn under cold water for 20 minutes. My tip is to pop this product in the fridge before applying for immediate soothing relief. Be sure to check with your Priceline Pharmacist if you have a severe burn."

Finally, Specialist Dermatologist, Dr Jacqueline Matulich from Platinum Dermatology gave us three products you've most likely seen before on your stroll among the supermarket aisles. Again, sun protection seems to be the place you can most afford to scrimp:

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Lotion Spf 50+ Sunscreen, $10.

Image: Neutrogena.

"This is an excellent, affordable sunscreen which provides a good broad spectrum protection for the face from the strong Australian sun. I like it because it is SPF 50+ which affords the highest level of protection, but also because it is a water-based formulation which translates into a very light lotion which you can wear under your makeup without a layering effect," she told Mamamia.

"On its own, it has only a subtle fragrance and has a ‘barely there’ feeling, and does not leave a thick white residue. I recommend it to my patients who are prone to breakouts as it is non-comedogenic and oil-free and will not clog the pores."

Ego Sunsense Lip Balm SPF 50+, $4.15.

best cheap skincare products
Image: Terry White.

If you're like us and tend to hoard dozens of half-melted lip balms in your purse/glove box, give this one a try.

"The lips are an area that are susceptible to skin cancer, especially as we tend to forget to protect them from the harmful effects of the sun. This Sunsense lip balm is an excellent all-purpose gentle lip balm which will moisturise dry lips with antioxidant Vitamin E and cocoa butter while also offering the highest broad spectrum protection from the UVA and UVA rays with SPF 50+. Other lip balms tend to be SPF 30+," she explained.

"I love the fact that it is preservative-free, PABA-free and fragrance-free which makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin. It is an inexpensive summer beauty essential as it can be applied under lipstick to keep the lips hydrated and protected, and can be reapplied throughout the day."


QV Intensive Cream, $19.50.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Remember QV? Turns out, yes, the fuss-free brand is still a winner.

"One of my favourite moisturisers to recommend for very dry skin. It has a lovely creamy feel but absorbs rapidly so that it doesn’t leave a greasy residue. This makes it pleasant to use throughout the year, including the warmer summer months. It can be applied anywhere on the body, particularly as it is non-comedogenic – ie. unlikely to block pores," Dr Matulich said.

"Unlike many other products, it is preservative-free which makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema. It is fragrance free, lanolin free and free of propylene glycol, so it is far less likely to sting on application. It is also reasonably priced and readily available at pharmacies."

To recap, our experts stressed sun protection products are the most important, and cost-effective, to spend your hard earned dosh on. Which will leave your with some extra cash to splash out on the far more expensive, but also more fun high end products, without the guilt.

*She says as she adds the $90 tinted moisteriser to her online shopping cart*

For everything women are talking about this week, listen to Mamamia Out Loud below...