I have a bit of a bummer of a question for you, but it could help out a lot of people these days. Unfortunately, I lost my job last week. I’m literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, or jar that is, of my Hope in a Jar. I simply cannot justify spending the money on more. What do you recommend for the most inexpensive skin care?
Oh, man. Dude. I’m sorry. I lost a job a couple months or so after 9/11, and it sucked. SUCKED. I got so panicky about money I remember microwaving the last swallow of lukewarm coffee and making tuna fish sandwiches with the end pieces of bread just so I could spring for the NICE resume paper. Everything worked out after a few scary months, and interestingly enough, one of the big reasons I started writing online in the first place was because I wished I had a blog to talk about my experiences at the unemployment office. And now here I am, bossing people around on the Internet. I hope things work out for you in a similar fashion.
I’m sure I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: I’ve yet to find an inexpensive skincare option better than Cetaphil. It wasn’t the miracle product for me that it is for other people (I mean, obviously not, or I’d still be using it — though I use it on my babies’ skin constantly), but despite trying dozens and dozens of drugstore brands and products, Cetaphil proved to be about as good as it got.
They make an actual moisturizer, but I think it’s too much for oily or combination skin (though it IS non-comedogenic). If your skin gets severely dry and tight, it’s great. Otherwise, the gentle cleanser can actually be left on skin and double as a light moisturizer as long as your skin isn’t desperately dry (the “without water” application directions are also great if you suspect your water is irritating or drying out your skin). The version for oily skin is pretty good as well, though I personally preferred to alternate face washings with the original gentle cleanser (around $12 for a 16-ounce bottle) and a ($5.99 for a pack of three!), with the Cetaphil filling in for a moisturizer. If you find you need more moisture than that, upgrade to the Cetaphil moisturizing cream, or amp up your skincare regimen with some homemade remedies, like avocado or oatmeal or vitamin E capsules.
(I have not tried Cetaphil’s sunscreen/moisturizer combos, though I plan to. Particularly this one, with SPF 50! Hot damn, there’s nothing getting through that.)
Whatever you do, don’t get tempted by tiny “low-priced” versions of your pre-unemployment favorites. While a $38 moisturizer is an obvious luxury now, Hope in a Jar has a $15 size that I swear, can momentarily trick your brain into thinking that oh! Hey! I can do $15! Right? I know I like it, I’ll just use a tiny bit some days, like before job interviews! It’s the perfect compromise! And then you realize that you just paid $15 for HALF AN OUNCE, and applying that math to the larger two-ounce size, a $38 jar would cost $60, and the $60 four-ounce jar would cost $120 and you are a big fat instant gratification sucker.
Published April 2, 2009.
Last updated April 2, 2009.