Before I was a freelance writer, I worked as a legal secretary for five years. While not the most stimulating job in the world, it paid well. For beauty product junkies, more disposable money often equals expensive beauty habits. I went to spas to get facials, used only high-end brands like Dermalogica and was a total drugstore snob.
But in my late 20s I started breaking out like crazy, and nothing, not even Retin A or Differin, seemed stop the zits. I bought ProActiv out of desperation and lucky for me, it actually worked.
When I quit my job last year to write full time, I had to find ways to save money. Spending $50 on ProActiv was no longer an option, so I looked for similar, cheaper products with the active ingredients in ProActivâ€™s cleanser, toner and repairing lotion.
After experimenting with different products for a few months, I found what worked best for me: washing with a gentle cleanser, using a toner with glycolic acid, waiting for 10-15 minutes and then following up with a benzoyl peroxide pad. I like to call this process â€œPoor Womanâ€™s ProActiv.â€ Using drugstore products can deliver similar ProActiv results and save you up to 30 dollars!
The products I use are:
1. Clean and Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin. I never liked the harshness of ProActivâ€™s benzoyl peroxide cleanser, so I use this gentle wash. It removes makeup and cleans without leaving my skin feeling tight.
2. Neutrogenaâ€™s Pore Refining Toner. The first ingredient is alcohol, so it may not be suitable for really sensitive faces. My skin is pretty oily so I can tolerate it. After I apply the toner with a cotton ball I wait for 10-15 minutes to let my skin dry.
3. Stridex Power Pads. These 2.5% benzoyl peroxide pads are big, so I cut them in half and use one half in the morning and the other at night. This saves you even more money!
I canâ€™t guarantee that what worked for me will work for you, so you may have to try different combinations to find your skinâ€™s own version of Poor Womanâ€™s Proactiv. Purchase your products from stores with a good return policy and keep your receipts in case they donâ€™t work for you. And lastly, be patient. It may take a while before you find the right combination.