Best Hydrating Skincare Products Under $25! | Winter Essentials, Skin Resetting and Detox 101

There's a confession I need to make... I have a terrible habit of needing to try out the latest product on the market (ahem, the reason why this blog exists) and sometimes my curiosity ends up ruining my skin, unfortunately. Recently, I had purchased Tarte's Knockout Tingle Treatment Toner to help exfoliate the dead skin on my face. I don't ever use scrubs or any type of chemical exfoliants and after visiting an esthetician for the first time in August, I was suggested to try out the latter. Fast forward to the end of September and here we are. I'm planning on writing a more in-depth post on my experience with this product in the next few weeks, but to sum it up, things were going really well until I mistakenly started taking advice from other "experts" and over did it.

Trust me when I say that my skin has genuinely never looked or felt worse. In fact, my skin was so damaged that I had felt internal cuts on my face, which had stung and temporarily created thin red lines around my nose and lips. Thankfully, I was able to recover from the horror and now after three weeks on this new facial routine, I can confidentially say that these products together significantly changed my skin for the better. Honestly, maybe even better than it was before. Throughout this process, I learned that having a proper moisture barrier not only creates that natural "glow," but it is really the answer to all skin problems, such as blemishes and oily skin.

Face Wash: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($14)

I have always been a tried and true fan of Fresh's Soy Face Cleanser ($38) for many years, but a key part of bringing back moisture to the skin is to use a cleanser that is specifically meant for that purpose! CeraVe prides itself as a skincare company that produces products that help restore skin's protective barriers and their Hydrating Facial Cleanser is no exception! This cleanser efficiently removes dirt and makeup from the skin while not stripping the skin of its natural moisture and instead locks it in. It hasn't irritated my sensitive skin and has significantly helped clear out blemishes in the process. Win-win-win!

  • If you wear contact lenses — beware! I would recommend going contacts free when washing your face as the product tends to find it's way into my eyeballs during every wash (trust me, I've tried everything). Thankfully, it doesn't sting my eyes like other washes do.
  • Gently pat your face down with a towel afterwords while still leaving some dampness behind. This will add an extra dose of moisture when going through the rest of your of your skincare routine!

Toner: Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($21)

Everyone's opinion on adding a toner to a skincare regimen is always hit or miss. For me, I feel like a toner greatly effects how my skin looks and how the products perform together as the base. Paula's Choice Calming Toner does a great job of calming my skin down after washing my face and adding moisture back into my skin, as well as wiping away any remaining dirt/makeup on the face. I've been a fan of Origin's Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion ($35) for a while now and recently ran out, so PC's toner is a great substitute at an affordable price.

Tips: Although this product is $21 online, PC always has a sale on the site so be on the lookout via email or text for a code! I was able to purchase this last week for $17 with free shipping.

Hydrator (Water-based): The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($7)

One of the first few products I purchased when I realized that I had a moisture imbalance on my skin was TG's Hyaluronic Acid serum and it did not disappoint! This is a tried and true for everyone in the beauty community and my opinions are no exception!

Tips: If you're not a fan of the goopy, serum texture, The Ordinary's Marine Hyaluronic Acid is a great alternative since it's strictly water-based. Another bonus? It's $7 as well.

Hydrator (Oil-based): The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil ($10)

There is no such thing as too much moisture on your skin. In fact, the more the better in my opinion! Therefore, I've added The Ordinary's Rose Hip Seed Oil to my hydrating skincare regimen. This is an optional product, but I highly recommend it to add an extra boost of moisture to your skin with the added bonus of anti-aging properties! I genuinely believe this oil has helped my skin really pop and glow these past few weeks and it shows.

Tips: This product should only be used once a day and at nighttime.

Eye Cream: Nourish Organic Renewing & Cooling Eye Treatment ($11)

I've only recently gotten into Nourish Organic products, but so far I'm a fan! This eye treatment not only moisturizes the skin around my eyes, but I've noticed my dark circles and puffy bags slowly diminishing, which is a first for me! It's a vegan and cruelty-free product that does what it's supposed to do without all the BS ingredients and is affordable — that's a winner for me!

Tips: Since this has a metal applicator, keep this product in your fridge prior to application to really depuff after a long night!

Moisturizer: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($11)

There isn't much to say about this moisturizer as it's once of CeraVe's most raved about product from their skincare line. That's due to the fact that all of their products is formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which are both essentials for healthy skin. Ceramides help restore and maintin the skin's natural barrier and hyaluronic acid attracts hydration to the skin's surface and helps the skin retain moisture.

Moisture Lock: CeraVe Healing Ointment ($14)

I strongly believe that the key player in changing my skin was including CeraVe's Healing Ointment to my nightly routine. Some people may be skeptical of this product due to its ingredients, but as someone with highly sensitive skin, I can attest that this ointment has not clogged my pores or caused any breakouts.

  • A little definitely goes a long way with this ointment! To put it to perspective, I only use a small dime size amount for my face AND neck. If I need more product, I know I can always add more. 
  • This product should only be applied as the last step of your routine and used during nighttime since it doesn't actually "set" on your face, but rather, acts as a barrier to all the products that have been applied to your face. 
  • A cheaper, alternative product is to use is Vaseline's Petrolum Jelly ($4 for 13oz). I personally like to keep these items separate and instead apply Vaseline on my lips at the end of the night, but to each its own!

Bonus: Sunscreen

So now that we know that hydration is VERY important to healthy skin, next up is sunscreen. It's anti-aging, prevents sun damage, lightens dark spots, and the list goes on. I'll admit, I had gone YEARS not applying sunscreen on my face unless I knew I was being exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. Being from the PNW, I didn't think I need to worry about damaging my skin on overcast days, but boy was I wrong. Thankfully, it's not too late to get this product added to your morning routine and I'm here to help! My favorite sunscreen is Neogen Dermalogy's Day-Light Protection Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++ ($30). In fact, I love this product so much that I'm already on bottle number three! However, for those looking for a drugstore alternative, I would recommend Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 ($10).

Tips: Sunscreen is made up of oils and can only be dissolved with another oil. Therefore, it's crucial to do an oil cleanse prior to washing your face (otherwise known as "double cleansing"). I like to use Palmer's Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil ($9) after removing my makeup with a wipe or micellar water and massaging this product onto my face and proceed with a face wash.

Do you switch up your products when the weather gets colder? What are your must have products for the fall and winter time? Sound off in the comments below!


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