Skin Care on the Cheap: 5 Tips (and a Giveaway!)

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Just For Fun, Skin Care

Update: The contest is closed! I’ll be contacting the winner shortly. Thanks for entering. 🙂


Ballin’ on a budget? Yup, I hear ya. If you’re trying to think of ways to save money on your beauty and skin care routine, skin experts like Erin Welch, dermatologist at Denver Dermatology Consultants in Denver, Colorado, suggest hitting up the local drugstore.

“There is definitely a misconception that drugstore products can’t get the job done,” says Dr. Welch, “but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are you saving lots of money by avoiding the department store for similar products, but you’ll find that some of the items are actually very impressive.”

Here are five drugstore skin care tips (and a giveaway) to keep that purty face lookin’ great!

1. Look for a gentle cleanser and avoid harsh soaps.

Skin produces a layer of natural protectant called the acid mantle, which contains a mixture of oils and other secretions that help it retain moisture and prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria.

“If you wash your skin with a very harsh soap and strip off the mantle, it takes over 24 hours for the skin to regenerate it,” says Dr. Welch. And if you’re stripping off the acid mantle faster than your body can repair it, you’re leaving your skin vulnerable to drying and more prone to infection.

For sensitive skin, Dr. Welch recommends gentle pH balanced cleansers like pHisoderm Cream Cleanser ($5), pHisoderm Deep Cleaning Cream Cleanser ($5) and pHisoderm Unscented Facial Bar ($5). “All these cleansers will help maintain the skin’s protective acid mantle in order to retain the skin’s natural moisture and healthy balance.”

2. Opt for salicylic acid treatments if you have adult acne.

“Adult women’s skin is very different than teenage skin,” says Dr. Welch. “With time and with age our skin becomes drier, so if you’re experiencing acne, you want to be sure you’re using products that aren’t going to dry your adult skin.

“I tend to steer my adult patients to products that contain salicylic acid only and to use benzoyl peroxide in moderation (or to skip it altogether).” She likes Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash ($6), the Clean & Clear cleansers ($6) and pHisoderm Anti-Blemish Cleansing Pads ($5).

3. Incorporate an effective anti-aging product into your skin care routine.

With so many overpriced and overhyped anti-aging products on the market, how do you choose one that actually works? “I recommend Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum ($20) to my patients,” explains Dr. Welch. “Ranked number one in effectiveness for mass market anti-aging serums by Consumer Reports, this anti-aging serum contains pentapeptides shown to boost colagen prodution and stimulate cell row, helping to smooth out lines.”

4. Remember to apply sunscreen on your lips!

Yes, your face and neck need protection from the skin’s rays, but don’t forget to also protect your lips with a lip balm containing SPF. Dr. Welch recommends Softlips lip balm ($4). It contains SPF 20 and feels smooth upon application — perfect for layering beneath your favorite lipstick or lipgloss.

5. Find a nightime anti-aging treatment.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream ($22) is an intensive anti-wrinkle treatment that works while you sleep to reduce expression lines and deep wrinkles. “This exclusive combination of pure Retinol and an essential mineral complex is a great alternative for people who find prescription strength Retin-A too irritating,” she says.

New Year, New Skin: The pHisoderm and Softlips Giveaway!

I think it’s time for a giveaway. 🙂 Win $60 in skin care products from pHisoderm and Softlips!

Enter today’s Phisoderm and Softlips giveaway by signing up to receive my updates by email or by leaving a comment on this post (or both!). If you’re already signed up for the updates, you don’t have to do anything else to be entered to win — you’re already entered — but you can double your chances by also leaving a comment on this post (a comment about anything at all). 🙂

The Prize

One lucky winner will receive 13 items from the pHisoderm skin care and Softlips lip care lines ($60 value).

  • pHisoderm Cream Cleanser for Sensitive Skin ($5)
  • pHisoderm Anti-Blemish Cleansing Pads ($5)
  • pHisoderm Unscented Facial Cleansing Bar ($5)
  • pHisoderm Deep Cleansing Cream Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin ($5)
  • pHisoderm Foaming Facial Wash ($7)
  • pHisoderm Anti-Blemish Gel Facial Wash ($5)
  • pHisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash ($6)
  • Softlips Raspberry with Green Tea Extract ($4)
  • Softlips Cherry ($4)
  • Softlips Strawberry ($4)
  • Softlips Vanilla ($4)
  • Softlips Tint in Rose ($3)
  • Softlips Tint in Bronze ($3)

How to Enter

Again, there are two ways to enter, and you can do both of them to double your chances.

  1. If you haven’t already signed up to receive Makeup and Beauty Blog daily email updates, then enter your email in the pink box below (or click this link).
  2. If you have already subscribed to the email updates but want to double your chances, add a brief comment at the bottom of this post (be sure to use a valid email address).

Enter your email address:

I’ll choose the winners at random from among the people who enter by 11:59 PM PST on Thursday, January 8. The contest is open to all US and international readers. Good luck, my budget-loving beauties!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 136 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. sarahPUFFY! says:

    awesome contest. I’m in dire need of skincare products…all I have is a shitty face wash that dries out my skin. :\

    sarahPUFFY!´s last blog post..A Neat Eyeshadow Trick And Vagina Inspired Beverages (FOR REAL)

  2. ParisB says:

    Oh yay! International readers too! I’d love to try Phisoderm – we don’t get it here and I love drugstore stuff – sometimes you find hidden (cheap) gems!

  3. Maggie says:

    i love softlips! i have really bad acne :[

  4. jen says:

    awesome giveaway! Hope I win. =)

  5. Arina says:

    Oh, I just love the pHisoderm skin care line!
    I really hope luck will be with me this time and I win the goodies!
    Yay! Awesome giveaway

  6. Kim says:

    Yey…I wanna join =)

    Kim´s last blog post..Banana Diet

  7. LIz says:

    I wanna win so I can have an overflowing supply of softlips, one of my favorite lip products ever.

  8. Kelly Hensley says:

    Me please! I’m already subscribed to your feed! Thanks!

  9. Chas says:

    Wow that is a great load to win! Wonderful products!

  10. Tahn says:

    whoa, i didn’t know softlips made tints too! i’ll have to look into that : ) thanks for sharing!

  11. Arianne says:

    Looks like a fantastic giveaway! I love me some drugstore products!

    Arianne´s last blog post..Scrub-a-dub-dub.

  12. Leah says:

    What an awesome giveaway! My skin’s a mess, so I could use the help…

  13. kathemc says:

    OMG, would love this!!!!

  14. Daya says:

    Yay for a new giveaway!! 🙂 Thanks Karen!!

  15. Jenn says:

    ooooh another giveaway! so awesome

  16. Toma says:

    I’d love to win! Thank you!

    Toma´s last blog post..Shrinkle Love

  17. Rachel says:

    ugh, i’d wanna win this if only it was for the softlips! gimme gimme! 😛

  18. Carol says:

    ive always wanted to try this brand!

  19. Jinnzor says:

    That looks great! Count me in 🙂

    Jinnzor´s last blog post..The Lemming Has Landed: Nfu-Oh Cuticle Oils

  20. Brittni says:

    Awesome!!! Goodluck everyone!! 😀

  21. lily says:

    cool! I want to try this 😀

  22. jojoba says:

    fantastic post!!! Thanks for the tips.

    jojoba´s last blog post..Review/Swatch: Chanel Spring Collection 2009

  23. Dao says:

    awesome! I love Softlips!

    Dao´s last blog post..Gifts from the Aloha State!

  24. YL says:

    great article 🙂 love that the budget items are highlighted for us.

  25. Michelle says:

    ooh, I’ve always wished Softlips would be available in Malaysia.

  26. emilyN says:

    yay, new contest
    I love it thanks 🙂

  27. vic says:

    i want some soft lips.. 🙂

  28. odelle says:

    Whee, another giveaway!

    Hopefully I win this time, thanks again!

  29. judy says:

    oooh! c’mon baby! mama needs new skincare!

  30. Monica says:

    I wanna win!!!!! we dont have that kind of products here in Spain so I hope I get lucky!!!

  31. Pquanda says:

    Cheers to new skin!

  32. Pquanda says:

    Cheers to new skin!

  33. Rachel L says:

    I’d love to try some of these products, thanks for the giveaway!

  34. Crystal says:

    I’ve been wanting to try out pHisoderm for a while now 🙂

  35. Candace C says:


    I would be greatful if I won these great goodies. This is an awesome line of skincare that I have’nt tried yet. Thanks.

    Candace C´s last blog post..Sale: 25% Off Mac Online

  36. Carlie says:

    Nice giveaway.. although, some should be wary of salicylic acid, because some people are sensitive to it.

  37. Carolina Morais says:

    I would love to try all those wonderfull things!

  38. Melia says:

    Thanks so much for the advice and the giveaway!

  39. Steph K says:

    whoo! I would love to win! 🙂

  40. Joanne says:

    I love softlips!

    I haven’t used phisoderm since my high school days, but I would like to see how they work now.

  41. Luciana says:

    I need those softlips!

  42. Danielle says:

    Karen, thanks for the giveaway!

    I love your website!!

  43. Kat C. says:

    This is awesome!

    Happy New Year!

  44. Andrea says:

    Been watching your blog for quite long, when ever I read it I feel refreshed and crazy to try something new. I which I werent so lazy to buy stuff and find them in Iceland. ANYWAYS cheers, and I hope I win too.

    Happy New Year

  45. Debbie says:

    Karen as always great tips and finds. Happy New Year!

  46. Julia says:

    Sounds fantastic! I’ve never tried Phisoderm but would love to!

  47. YadiQ says:

    cool contest

    i am always game to try new drugstore stuff

  48. Lindsay says:

    Wow, what a way to start the year off!!!

  49. Vanessa H says:

    Good Morning Karen!
    Good tips, I didn’t even think about sunscreen for my lips, I’ll have to get some new chapstick 🙂
    Happy Wednesday, closer to the weekend!

  50. Susan says:

    I used to use Phisoderm in high school and college, but switched to Clinique after getting my first “real” job. Our drugstores don’t seem to carry it anymore, and I was wondering if it was even still around! Good to know it’s available–it was great back in the day! Hope to win and try it again 🙂

  51. Jaime says:

    Ohh! I used to use pHisoderm a long time ago – I had forgotten about them! Thanks for doing the giveaway! 🙂

  52. Bethany says:

    Love this idea – so true! Drugstore products aren’t what they used to be!

  53. Iliana says:

    Ohhh I hope I get randomly picked! 😛

  54. pepper says:

    Thanks for the contest!

  55. Charan says:

    pick me… pick me… lol

    i have never seen this brand in this side of the world.. but i love soft lips.. best ever..

    Charan´s last blog post..French Manicure

  56. jessica says:

    My skin is so dull right now, I definitely need a change in my skincare routine. =)

  57. Meghan O. says:

    Yay Karen! Thank for the awesome giveaway!

  58. mustardsauce says:

    awwww we don’t have phisoderm in my part of canada. my face feels like an aligator at the moment 🙁 sooo dry

  59. maryjoyce says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  60. Jen says:

    Oh Oh Oh! Me likey!

  61. Anina says:

    It’s strange that in a tropical country, it’s cold enough to be dry. and moisturizers definitely have to be extra creamy!

  62. fauxflush says:

    Keep up the kudos for Regenerist serum!

  63. Pat says:

    Thanks for another opportunity to throw our names in! I’ve just discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and am really enjoying it – catching up w/your old posts at lunch!

  64. Brittany says:

    Awesome giveaway, Karen 😀

  65. KyaLyn says:

    yay! Thanks for the giveaway!

  66. Karen K says:

    I never trusted drugstore skincare until I worked at a drugstore and realized there are actually great products available. Love your blog!

  67. Christina says:

    Awesome giveaway but I do have to say that I’ve heard that Softlips are some of the worst lipbalms you can use chemically.

  68. Maur says:

    Ooo baby I love me some softlips. Except I always leave them in the pockets of my jeans and then.. you know it… they go through the washer and dryer and I’m crying over another empty tube of softlips.

  69. shanice says:

    hurray ~

  70. Lena says:

    Oh, this is an awsome giveaway and I would love to win!

  71. p. potter says:

    I’ve been using the Clean & Clear in shower Facial and Cetaphyl cleanser, both drugstore brands. I love them!

    I also just bought the Mini-Peel pads from Philosophy, which cost more than my cleansers combined. But what can I say, I love trying new things.

    Now if I could only find a moisturizer that really worked on my dry, flaky skin!

    p. potter´s last blog post..Modern Inconvenience

  72. Janet says:

    I looove SoftLips 🙂

  73. Gail says:

    Thanks for the contest. I’ve been looking for some new skincare!

  74. Sophia says:

    Great contest!!! Thanks for this giveaway!!!

  75. Karen too says:

    I love contests! Even if I neeeever win. Ever. 🙂

  76. Tuhina says:

    I love these giveaways… I never win, but I try anyways!

  77. TPan says:

    OO!! I hope I can get this! It’s my birthday the 8th!

  78. Raha says:

    Recession beauty..yay

  79. Emma says:

    Never heard of either brand, but I’m in!

  80. Nessa says:

    I would <3 to win again!

    But I understand if I don’t 🙂

  81. bria says:

    very exciting!

  82. Eileen says:

    ooooo!! pHisoderms <333 I’m already a subscriber and I can’t think of any catchy/cute/sarcastic comment to make you pick me. So I’ll be generic and say “pick me!”


    Eileen´s last blog post..Masha Novoselova in Vogue Russia January 2009

  83. Kam says:

    Great giveaway and post! Always on the search for the perfect skin care products!

  84. Sofia says:

    Awesome giveaway! I’d really love to try the pHisoderm body wash, I have tons of pimples in my back, ick! Love the blog Karen, keep up the great work!

  85. Kathy says:

    ohh i never tried pHisoderm before 🙂

  86. Gail says:

    Me Please

  87. Megan says:

    I’m in. So sorry I’ve been MIA lately…I feel like I have been travelling for the past month…you know how that goes. My family is driving me nuts too. Too many problems for sure.

    How is your mom (IL) doing? I know you, el hub and tabs are getting the year off to a happy start.

  88. charlene says:

    oh WOW! its like u heard my heart’s cry for some new skincare products in my life Karen!! great post too!!

  89. Briana says:

    Ooh, love all the drugstore skincare tips! Will definitely have to look for something with salicylic acid next time I’m there.
    Love all your contests! 🙂

  90. Josephine says:

    I love me some Phisoderm!

  91. veedee says:

    Great New Year’s giveaway, aloooohaaaaaa!!!!!

  92. lea says:

    My skin could really benefit from this giveaway! *crosses fingers*

  93. jenn says:

    Me! Me! Me! I’m sooooooo dry!

  94. Olivia says:

    I’m so ready for some new skincare….my chin has gotten uber flaky and gross, HELP!

  95. cloudburst says:

    I’ve been meaning to try Olay Regenerist. Thanks for the contest Karen!

  96. Shiny says:

    I love your giveaways!

  97. La La says:

    I would love to try this line…Its difficult for me to find a good cleanser because of my combo skin…. An d plus i get a couple pimples that pop up once in a while…

  98. Louisa says:

    This would be such a wonderful way to start the new year.

  99. Kiana says:

    I hate to admit but I’m a drugstore beauty junkie ;]

  100. jessica says:

    sweet giveaway! I want to win!

  101. Carolyn G says:

    What a great giveaway. I love beauty supplies!!!

  102. Michele P. says:

    I love cosmetics from the drugstore…usually when on vacation, I will head to an all night Walgreens or CVS to get a new lipstick or eyeliner (because I have usually forgotten to put it in my makeup bag!)I have found lots of neat shades, and I blend them with the high end products I also purchase from time to time.

  103. Sue C says:

    Nice giveaway. It’s amazing how some of the most basic products do such a great job. I’d love to win.

  104. Mansie says:

    I’d love this!!

    Mansie´s last blog post..Another Eye Look

  105. Lillian says:

    wow! the prize pack looks great! and so affordable! =D

  106. amy rosen says:

    I love certain drugstore skincare products, cetaphil cleanser, alpha hydrox souffle moisturizer, burt’s bees products, would love to win this prixze!!

  107. Becky says:

    Thanks! I hope to win.

    Becky´s last blog post..CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain Swatches

  108. Susan says:

    pick me please!

  109. Elaine R says:

    I have just subscribed and I would love to try some new skincare products!

  110. Hana says:

    Want. <3 I used to use a Phisoderm cleanser that was really nice. 😀 And I still use and love the Phisoderm body wash. I think it’s a lot better than the Neutrogena anti-acne one.

  111. Wendy says:

    Whow! awesome giveaway!

  112. Courtney L says:

    I want this really bad for my mom. She really wants pretty skin and maybe this’d finally work. But the softlips? All of them? I’m taking them. Especially the tinted one. Oh. Okay. I guess she can have one. Even if I don’t win, I may buy her this stuff. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestions.

  113. Ashley K says:

    I’d love to win, my skin is awful this summer!

    Ashley K´s last blog post..Style vs. Comfort: What to wear when you’re traveling

  114. Nikki says:

    I’ve never tried Softlips so I hope I win!

    Nikki´s last blog post..Askmewhats For A Cause

  115. Angela says:

    Great contest! Thanks for the chance to win a great prize 🙂 Love the blog!

    Angela´s last blog post..Freebie Break: Mary Kay Signature Ultimate Mascara

  116. shukumei says:

    I’d like to win! I never win anything.

  117. Henri says:

    Yay for contests open for us international gals, too!

  118. Adina says:

    Awesome giveaway K! I always had the notion that drugstore won’t get the job done, I could be wrong 🙂

  119. Erin says:

    Thanks for these tips. I’m having some weird acne, plus dry skin…. not hot!

  120. Karen says:

    YAY!! Hope I win

  121. Lindsay says:

    Awesome giveaway! I love almost anything “on the cheap!”

  122. auroragyps says:

    I’ve been wanting to start with the anti-aging stuff, but there’s so many products out there, it makes my head spin. Plus, not many (not me at least) can afford to keep buying different things to try. This a great way to try out some stuff without breaking the bank. This contest is full of win!

  123. Jennifer says:

    i love giveaways, and this stuff looks great.

  124. Mel says:

    I would really like to try those products and am so glad the contest is open for international people too!

  125. Tina M says:

    I would love to win this since I am now a recessionista!

  126. Heather says:

    I’m always down for drugstore skincare products! In my experience, the topical meds my doctors have prescribed for acne are way too harsh for my skin – I’ve had better results with OTC products (from Walgreens, natch!).

  127. Kelly says:

    Thanks Karen!!

  128. Cindy Lartigue says:

    OMG – I just came upon this website by accident – how lucky am I?! I used to constantly check for updates on new makeup, etc but I am now sold on the Makeup and Beauty Blog!!!!

  129. Allison says:

    OOO i want in! I need a skin care regimen–i have to admit that i usually don’t even wash my face before bed :-O

  130. Belinda Yaxley says:

    Thanks for the info, very interesting that cheaper brands can be effective too. Please enter me!

  131. Lindsay says:

    i am def going to try some of these products out!

  132. Flae says:

    I’ve always had these wrinkles on the bottom of my eyes…since I was 15! I’d love to find a way to get rid of them, and I think I might have to start some anti wrinkle cream 🙁

  133. Eva says:

    Hi there, Im ur website reader from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Hope Im one of the lucky winner 🙂

  134. Liz says:

    What a lovely giveaway! I’m going to give the Olay serum a whirl. Why not? For $20, it’s a small investment.

  135. Lyn says:

    I just found your blog today, and was totally hypnotized by all the pretty eye shadow makeup tips! Good thing I scrolled to the bottom. Please enter me in the contest too! 🙂

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