By Joyce Hughes
Bank balance giving you worry lines? Laid off and looking the part? Relax! You don’t have to resort to homemade soap and cucumber masks just yet. Here are some great new products under $20 – even $10 – that will keep your skin pampered without leaving you in the red.
First, make your morning shower a luxurious retreat on the cheap with St. Ives In-Shower Exfoliating Body Polishes. Available in three invigorating varieties, the surprisingly thick formula contains fine sugar crystals to scrub away yesterday’s stress, while a rich lather leaves your skin irresistibly soft. If your face starts to feel left out, St. Ives also has a new Microdermabrasion Scrub with vitamin E-enriched antioxidants and soothing chamomile. Tiny mineral crystals make the formula gentle enough for everyday exfoliation, effectively polishing away dead skin and smoothing fine lines. It beats the harsh, coarse feel of comparably priced scrubs and will tide you over when a pricey facial is out of the question.
Available: Drugstores and mass retailers
If natural and organic is your thing, you don’t have to pay a premium for it. JASON’s Red Elements skin care line taps the power of red tea to fight the signs of aging. With 50% more anti-oxidants than green tea, that’s one way to get more out of your dollar. Try the Calming Toner when late nights at the office have taken a toll on your pores. Perfect under a day or night moisturizer, this soothing skin refresher absorbs excess surface oil and leaves skin toned and healthy. Better yet, it’s hypo-allergenic, paraben free and fragrance free.
Available: Whole Foods, health food stores, and www.jason-natural.com
Your eyes will boggle at the bargain of Noah’s Naturals Age-Defying Eye Cream and then thank you for trying it. At just under $10.00 for a generously sized jar, your wallet will thank you too. Packed with anti-oxidants and herbal extracts, the weightless formula absorbs quickly, leaves virtually no shine and contains no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates or propylene glycol. If you’re looking for an everyday workhorse to wear day and night, this no-frills eye cream should be first on your list.
Available: select Wal-Mart stores and www.noahsnaturals.com
The Wall Street rollercoaster ride is adding years of worry to your face, but there’s no room in your budget for Botox. Take heart – Frownies Facial Pads are the economical wrinkle fighters that defy their name. When moistened with the vitamin-enriched Rose Water Hydrator Spray, the paper patches deliver intensive overnight treatment to problem areas. Available for the corners of the eyes or mouth, as well as for the forehead and between the eyes, each box contains 144 patches to last for months. Do they work? Well, four generations of women can’t all be wrong. A Hollywood favorite, the formula still in use today was developed in 1889. And while this 30-something guinea pig doesn’t have too many wrinkles yet, a few nights’ use produced a noticeable tightening effect on the invading crow’s feet.
Available: Ricky’s NYC, select neighborhood pharmacies and www.frownies.com
What if your skin is even less perfect than your credit? You might shrink in fear from too common drugstore brands, but all those special potions are starting to break the bank. Fortunately, there is La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, a dermatologist-recommended cleanser for acne-prone, irritated or combination skin. Although it comes in on the steeper side at $18, it’s worth the splurge, and a little bit goes a long way. The light, clear gel lathers up impressively for deep cleansing that stops well short of over-drying, and its soap-free, alcohol-free formula starts your skin off with a clean slate every day.
And just as a tip for sufferers of the driest winter skin, consider Eucerin Plus Smoothing Essentials Lotion when the temperature outside starts to imitate your 401(k). It’s a fast-absorbing lotion that relieves very dry, itchy skin with glycerin and urea as moisture barriers and alpha-hydroxy as a mild exfoliator.
Available: Mass drugstores.
So if you long for high-end elixirs, why not give your corner drugstore a second look? And for those who love a bargain above all, these picks should give you extra cheer going into the holiday season.