Three-Step Skincare for Under £20

Here’s a post that will please your purse (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers!): three brilliant skincare products that form a very good, albeit very basic skincare routine, and the whole thing comes in at less than twenty pounds.

I did film this for IGTV (link here if you want to watch) but here’s the gist of the routine: an effective-yet-gentle cleansing balm, a hydrating serum and a soothing moisturiser that won’t leave a greasy residue. If you’re taking things back to basics then you don’t need much more than this.

(Although a sunscreen is absolutely essential if you’re going to be outside. Can’t stress that enough. I did write about my three favourites recently – here – but I’m trying to test more budget-friendly options as and when I get a chance to.)

If you’re new to skincare routines and haven’t a clue where to begin, what with all of the acids and the peptides and the antioxidants and the emollients and the pre-cleanses and post-peels and the prescription-strengths and the over-the-counter-strengths then I always try to pare things back to this: cleanse properly, moisturise properly and you’re off to a good start.

To be fair, my actual routine isn’t that much more complicated:

AM: Cleanse, Antioxidant Serum, Moisturise/Sunscreen

PM: Cleanse, Retinol Serum, Moisturise or Cleanse, Hydrating Serum, Moisturise

(You can read about my current skincare routine here)

You can see that I’ve just swapped the hydrating serum about a bit, because that’s my “treat” step of my routine and if I want to protect (under the sunscreen) then I use an antioxidant and if I want to prevent (as in lines and wrinkles and loss of tone) then I use my retinol. If I was worried about breakouts then my treatment serum would be a BHA (though the retinol works amazingly well for this too, I find) and if I was feeling dull and lacklustre and generally a bit meh in the skin department then I’d probably plump for a glycolic acid serum or toner.

I realise I’ve just massively complicated what was supposed to be a very basic post, but maybe it will suddenly all make sense! Cleanse properly – to remove dirt and sunscreen and so on – then use a serum to treat whatever concern you have and finish off by sealing it all in with a moisturiser.

Which is the premise of this very cheap and simple routine. So we have the Ordinary Squalane Cleanser which I’ve reviewed before here and you can get online for £5.50 here*. It’s just beautiful. Silky and soft but with enough gutsy hold to survive a few minutes of facial massage. Rinses off absolutely clean with no residue yet is supremely hydrating and excellent for absolutely all skin types.

Next, the Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid (find it online here* for £5.99); hyaluronic helps the skin to hold onto moisture and really gets it looking plump and fresh. There are loads of good, cheap options out there but I like the Inkey List one a lot and it’s so budget-friendly.

Finally, short and sweet, the Calming Moisturiser from Simple, which is £7.99 here*. I love the packaging! It looks like a travel-sized moisturiser but is, in fact, the same volume – 50ml – as most high-end moisturisers on the market. Those huge pots from Clinique? Same amount of stuff inside. I find this bottle very travel-friendly (when travelling was still a thing) and I like that I don’t have to stick my nails into a pot.

And there you go: three steps, basic, quality skincare, all for less than twenty quid. I do very much enjoy finding brilliant budget buys, so please do keep your own recommendations coming. Especially for good, non-chalky sunscreens at affordable prices…

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  1. July 3, 2020 / 5:38 pm

    Minimize the skincare routine! Good idea!

  2. July 3, 2020 / 5:35 pm

    HA is my favorite and can not be missed in my skincare routine! Thanks for sharing!

  3. July 3, 2020 / 10:58 am

    I’m also such a fan of The Inkey List (although I haven’t tried their HA yet but I like the sound of this one as so many can be a bit slimy). I’m current favourite of theirs is the Oat Cleansing Balm- it honestly is just as effective as any of the oil cleaners four times the price, plus it is ridiculously soothing on post-retinol/acids etc skin!

    Sally x

  4. June 24, 2020 / 5:00 am

    I don’t have much time for skin care, so I really need articles like this, hoping my skin will improve.
    Thanks for share :)

  5. June 17, 2020 / 5:16 pm

    I could really use a three step routine! Lately, I’ve been trying to pair down the skincare products that I use in the shower. I always tell my readers you don’t need to pack 10 products onto your face every day, even before makeup. At least get a good cleanse and moisturize!

    xoxo Amanda |

  6. June 15, 2020 / 8:51 am

    I am a huge fan of The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid – absolutely not sticky, something that is rare in budget formulas.

    Anne from Doctor Anne

  7. Kathleen Cannon-Davis
    June 14, 2020 / 11:36 am

    My favourite budget facial SPF 30
    is Simple triple protect mosturiser often on offer in Boots its in their protect and glow range . Orange lid

    • June 16, 2020 / 10:53 am

      Oh I shall look for this today, thank you! x

  8. Petra
    June 14, 2020 / 10:50 am

    I saw your post before going to the store this morning and thought that it would be good to have this brand Simply, here in Sweden. And than I found it in the shop! To my amazement! I bought a few things to try out in my routine, so thanx for the recommendation!

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