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    29 Drugstore Skincare Products That Work As Well As High-End Brands

    "Assistance on aisle one β€” there's someone here crying tears of joy."

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI β€” prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads resurface new skin with just the flick of your wrist, thanks to their formula of exfoliating 2.8% glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, and a light moisturizer. Whether you're mid-breakout or just want *brighter* skin, these are an easy step to add to your routine.,

    FYI, the witch hazel is there to soothe and tone your skin (to balance out the other exfoliating properties). And if you're a skincare junkie like me, I don't have to tell you how great a deal $10 is for glycolic acid. Bless.

    Promising review: "I am new to the world of AHAs and glycolic acid, so I'm not sure how this product measures up to others similar to it. But I'll never go back to NOT exfoliating. I've noticed my stubborn acne scars fading drastically after only a week of using these nightly. My recurring acne in those areas seem to be dying down, and my overall skin tone seems to be brightening. I am really impressed so far!" β€”Mitzy McMillion

    Get a 60-pack from Amazon for $9.99.

    2. Soap & Glory Face Daily Detox Vitamin C Facial Wash energizes and tones your complexion with a brightening antioxidant complex made from *citrus fruits*. Plus, it removes makeup and fights acne (I guess our moms were right to say fruit is good for us).,

    Promising review: "I recently bought this facewash and I am absolutely obsessed. I have awful and sensitive combo skin that doesn't take kindly to any face washes, much less exfoliators or detox washes. My skin is a mix of oily, dry, and acne-prone. I had recently gone through a skin analysis and was advised to try gel-based face washes as opposed to oily or soapy ones, simply because they make combo skin flare up worse. I ended up buying this because it was affordable and had good reviews. Man was that an understatement! This stuff is absolutely amazing. After one face wash I had already noticed a difference in my acne and in my skin. The little pink microbeads are made of wax and do a really good job at exfoliating without ripping all your skin off. The deep cleansing properties make your face tingle as they clean out your pores. The best part is that you don't even need a lot because it foams up and goes a long way. The gel helps takes your makeup off, and then when you wash the face wash off, BAM your face is like good as new." β€”Katie

    Get it from Amazon for $15.50.

    3. Aztec Indian Healing Clay Mask is honestly the most powerful solution for tough (even cystic) breakouts. I personally consider this more a vacuum than a mask β€” no matter how deep your acne goes, this mask will suction out clogged pores like there's no tomorrow.

    I'm honestly not even sure how there are still people left on this Earth who have yet to buy this, because 13,227 people already swear by this! By the way this works best with apple cider vinegar!

    Promising review: "HOLY MONKEY EATING BANANAS. IT WORKS. I've only used it for two days (at night before sleep) and you can clearly see the difference! All the acnes dries up! It also makes my pores smaller. My skin feels smoother, I swear it looks like I'm wearing primer on my face. It's amazing." β€”karen

    Get it from Amazon for $9.30+ (available in three sizes).

    Want more proof? Read our full breakdown!

    4. Simple Foaming Facial Cleanser gently hits the refresh button after a long day of being exposed to oil, dirt, makeup, and who knows what else. Its main ingredients: pro-vitamin B5, chamomile, geranium, and glycerin all help to soften and smooth your skin so you look and feel squeaky clean.

    Btw, this brand is a sensitive skin holy grail! It's all-natural and made entirely with gentle ingredients.

    Promising review: "This very inexpensive, incredible face wash changed my face! I was getting a lot of stress/hormonal breakouts in my mouth and chin area. I also have sensitive skin. I tried SO many products, all prices, and was stunned when this was the one that worked. I’ve now been using this as my only face wash, and my skin is clear and GLOWING. I get so many compliments and am often mistaken for being in my 20's (I’m 35). Yaaaayyyyy!" β€”Danielle

    Get it from Amazon for $5.83+ (also available in scrub).

    5. Eco Tools Facial Cleansing Brush deep-cleans pores and lightly exfoliates so you can make the most out of your favorite face wash. Tl;dr: this gets rid of makeup, oil, and dirt A LOT more effectively than just your fingers.


    Not to mention they're all-natural and cruelty-free (they're made from bamboo and cotton)! Their bristles are soft so they're great on sensitive skin. Btw, you'll either get pink or black (the colors are randomly selected).

    Get them from Amazon or Target for $4.79.

    6. Thayer's Witch Hazel Toner *smooths* over any tension between you and your skin by moisturizing and calming red, broken-out complexions with rose-petal water, vitamin E, witch hazel extract, and aloe vera.

    It *also* contains natural antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, aloe vera, citric acid, and grapefruit seed extract! Check out how one BuzzFeeder kissed acne goodbye with this seriously-helpful review!

    Promising review: "This stuff is freaking amazing! I had a lot of redness and breakouts on my chin, as well as a few on my forehead. It truly just cleared them all up. I don't have any breakouts as of now, just my scars that I will be working on. I used this every night after cleansing my skin and it was perfection! I love this product!" β€”Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $8.79+ (available in five formulas).

    7. Acure The Essentials Oils cancel the need to overspend on higher-end brands. They come in six formulas for different goals (i.e. Moroccan argan oil to improve skin tone and Marula oil reduce redness and chapped skin) and are super easy to apply thanks to their helpful pumps.

    Shall we break down what each oil does? Btw these are all vegan and cruelty-free!

    * Moroccan Argan Oil: fights fine lines, smooths skin, and restores the appearance of a smooth texture and tone.

    * Blue Tansy Oil: soothes red, irritated skin.

    * Brightening Citrus Argan Oil: hydrates chapped skin, exfoliates scars and fine lines, and reduces redness.

    * Marula Oil: Reduces dryness, redness, and fine lines.

    * Rose Argan Oil: Restores the appearance of a smooth texture and tone.

    * Rosehip Oil: Corrects environmental damage with natural lycopene, vitamin C and E, and essential fatty acids.

    Promising review: "I've tried many expensive moisturizers, oils, and serums, and none compare to this product. I was initially worried that because it's an oil, my face might break out (as it does with olive or coconut oil β€” yes, I've tried everything!), but it's actually done the opposite. My skin's never been so clear or soft. I have combination skin, and thought it might leave the oilier spots too oily, but it's effectively saturated the dry and oilier spots evenly, making my whole face soft and blemish-free." β€”Amy

    Get them from Amazon for $6.54+ (available in six styles).

    8. Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme boasts jojoba oil and vitamin E to drastically hydrate your chapped face, hands, or body practically overnight. But don't worry, its formula is still lightweight so you don't have to worry about breaking out.

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this creme. It is the only moisturizer I can use on my face that doesn't make my skin red, irritated, and itchy. In fact, I have been using it for over 14 years. I have occasionally switched to other facial cremes, but all other lotions I have tried irritate my skin, so I always come back to this. Note that I have combination skin (oily T-zone, but the rest of my face is dry). This creme easily absorbs into my skin without being heavy or making it feel oily. It feels wonderful when you apply this lotion to a freshly washed and toned face." β€”Melissa M

    Get it from Amazon for $5.12.

    9. Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub has acne-prone, oily skin specifically in mind. It calms redness, tightens pores, and reduces breakouts thanks to salicylic acid that's naturally derived from willow bark.

    PLUS it uses jojoba beads and a fruit acid complex to gently exfoliate dead skin for clearer and smoother skin.

    Promising review: "It's been about two years of loyal use of this product and I thought it deserved a positive review. At 21 years old I had the absolute worst acne. I had cystic acne to begin with and on top of that, I am on some pretty powerful mood stabilizers that just piled on the acne. I tried Proactive, oral medications, and several other acne washes, but I am allergic to pine sterols which end up in a lot of OC products. My dad, did some research for me one day when I called home crying, because my face hurt too much to even put my face on my pillow to sleep. He found a few blog post about this product helping other young adults with medication-caused acne and sent this to me overnight. I shit you not it cleared up ALL my acne, cystic included, almost completely in six weeks, and in two months my face was completely clear. I've been using this for two years now, and it has honestly saved me. My face is soft and blemish-free as a flipping Barbie doll." β€”Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $6.75.

    10. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Face Mask delivers a cooling sensation on blemish-prone, irritated skin so you're saying ahhh not AHHHH when treating your complexion. It'll deep-cleanse your pores, control excess oil, and target breakouts with tea tree oil to get you clear STAT.

    Basically both you and your skin will calm down.

    Promising review: "What a miracle this product is. I have always had issues with acne/hormonal breakouts β€” not severe, but enough that when they do happen, it looks like alien beings are trying to give birth to their offspring via my pores. I'm so used to nothing working to keep my face 80% clear that when I tried this, I couldn't believe how wonderful my face felt and how glowing my face was after just two weeks of using this mask, twice a week. I've also been using this as a spot treatment (another reviewer mentioned they did this) and overnight it really improves whatever blemish I put it on. I just can't believe how well this works and how much my overall skin has improved since using this for just two weeks." β€”jerake

    Get it from Amazon for $13.62.

    11. Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment may be an old school solution to pesky zits, but it WORKS thanks to its 2% salicylic acid acne medication. It'll dramatically reduce swelling, redness, and size while you're asleep. Beauty sleep has never been such a *clear* choice.

    Promising review: "I recently donated my hair and wanted to grow it out fast, so I decided to start taking a biotin product. Unfortunately, they did not mention anywhere that if you have acne-prone skin, it may cause a major breakout. I was left with a horrible breakout and needed something to clear it up fast. Not only does this not dry out your skin, but it helps make zits disappear fast. I saw a noticeable difference every morning when I woke up. After two weeks, my face looked back to normal with minimal scarring! I'm so grateful to have found this product." β€”Jake

    Get it from Amazon for $5.98.

    12. Bliss Pore Patrol Cleanser controls excess oil (the joys) by using a blend of clays and detoxifying willow bark that tighten skin, but never leaves it feeling dry. AND it tingles in the best way possible so you know it's working.


    Big pores? Never heard of 'em.

    Promising review: "I have sensitive combination skin and EVERYTHING makes me break out. I was a little nervous about using this, but after just one use I was so impressed! It's super light and creamy, easy to wash off, and very gentle. Plus the packaging is pretty! It made my skin super soft and almost a glowy complexion." β€”nicole

    Get it from Target for $9.99.

    13. Freeman Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask miraculously makes removing white and blackheads extremely relaxing. Cooling cucumber, melon, and ginseng extracts create a silky blend β€” but don't be fooled β€” it plays hardball when extracting clogged pores.

    ^^ Look closely at the removed mask on the right. Those are all blackheads that this mask pulled out!

    Promising review: "I can't ask for much more at this price point. This mask pulls out whiteheads easily and does not hurt all when coming off. Easy application and easy to pull off!" β€”Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $6.09.

    14. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water confronts oily skin ~head-on~ with its specialty mattifying formula. It'll effectively remove makeup, purify pores, and cleanse excess oil in just a few swipes β€” all without breaking you out.


    Promising review: "My new holy grail facial cleanser. This stuff is fabulous β€” so fabulous that I've been using it in the evenings and mornings, and have all but retired my expensive brands. It is so simple and fast to use. I love that I don't have to pull my hair back and inevitably get my hair wet when I wash my face. Anyway, I use this with a facecloth and to help do some light exfoliating. It dries quickly and once it does my skin is silky smooth and clean. Best of all, my pores are literally gone and so tiny that I rarely even wear foundation anymore." β€”Mrs. Warren

    Get it from Amazon for $6.48+ (available in three formulas).

    Check out why a BuzzFeeder now lives by Garnier Micellar water (#5 in the post)! AND! The original formula won best makeup remover in the lowest price category on BuzzFeed Reviews!

    15. Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser acts as the only skincare step you need at the end of the day. It effortlessly removes even waterproof makeup, moisturizes, and deep-cleanses your pores β€” all at once. Anything to get us to bed faster, right?

    Promising review: "I have very dry skin. I generally tend to go to Macy's for my skin care products, but being on a budget I decided to give this a try.

    I'm shocked to tell you that I actually like this cleanser BETTER than my old expensive options. I wipe it on, and wipe it off with a wet washcloth. My skin is softer with this stuff than the expensive stuff! No breakouts and no flaky skin! I'll stick to buying the department store brands for eye creams or serums, but for cleansers and cold creams, this stuff wins hands down! Don't be intimidated by the low price!" β€”Jessica

    Get it from Amazon for $5.34.

    And! Check out our top picks for makeup removers on BuzzFeed Reviews!

    16. And! Pond's Dark Spot Corrector tackles uneven skin tones and, you guessed it, dark spots with vitamins B3 and C while also acting as a moisturizer so you're never dried out. Conclusion: you CAN have it all.

    Promising review: "This cream is nothing short of a miracle for me. I started using Retin-A three years ago and while it was helping me with the texture of my skin it did nothing for clarity. I have worn sunscreen for many years but I still have sun damage. I started using this cream on alternate nights and then bumped it up to two times a day, and the results have been incredible. I have also slathered this cream all over my chest and arms, as well and I have had similar results there. My skin texture is amazing and the clarity is incredible. I am positive that this cream is responsible for the changes, because I don't use any other products on my arms and chest. This cream has turned back the hands of time for me." β€”KMP

    Get it from Amazon for $12.27.

    17. Peach Slices Brighten Mask minimizes pores and tightens skin all while you sit back and relax (and presumably watch Netflix). And for only $2.50, you better believe I'll clear out the aisle.

    How, you say? Its blend of willow bark, oregano, wild mint, hinoki cypress, rose, soybean ferment, citrus, common purslane, and cinnamon all show enlarged pores the door and tighten your complexion.

    Promising review: "I'm 28 years old. I've noticed my makeup never looks as it did 10 years ago from my pores being dark and large. I have tried a few things from a pore cleansing face wash, charcoal gel masks, and toner. I did notice my pores did shrink down a lot and weren't as noticeable as usual. I plan on buying more of these! For $3 it's not a loss to try." β€”Hml1017

    Get it from Target or CVS for $2.49.

    18. CeraVe Renewing SA Cream exfoliates and moisturizes simultaneously with salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin D to conquer dry, bumpy skin wherever it may be. It'll even replenish ceramide levels, making this a popular solution for psoriasis.

    Promising review: "OMG. I had a serious psoriasis outbreak and I was beside myself with pain and itching. I read that salicylic acid helps psoriasis. This cream has a nice texture and is not too greasy and does not stain. It did not burn or tingle after I applied it. Within 24 hours my psoriasis started to heal up and the itch subsided. I was shocked that all my red spots and plaques completely healed up within 48 hours. I will use this cream for for the rest of my life, I highly highly recommend trying this creme if you suffer from psoriasis. The results will astound you." β€”Kristen 32223

    Get it from Amazon for $16.11.

    19. Alba Botanica Advanced Sea Plus Renewal Night Cream picks up the night shift so you don't have to by fighting discolored pigmentation and deeply moisturizing. Basically, you'll wake up to a bright, supple complexion without having done any of the hard work.

    Its ingredients like aloe, seaweed, and mango plump skin and drastically reduce dark spots and discoloration. Plus it's 100% vegetarian and cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "I was looking for a night cream to help moisturize my skin during the dry winter months. This cream exceeded my expectations. I think the smell is clean and refreshing. I have pretty sensitive skin and am prone to breakouts. Unlike most creams I've tried, there was no adjustment period for my skin to adjust to this one. No irritation, no breakouts, and most importantly, I have smooth, silky, hydrated skin every morning! I will definitely purchase this again." β€”Amy Greene

    Get it from Amazon for $8.27.

    20. Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches drain your zits overnight so you can avoid picking or any of the other lovely benefits of a usually longer-lasting breakout. Not to mention they give you all the satisfaction of a popped zit without the scarring.

    Sarah Han / BuzzFeed,

    Check out a BuzzFeeder's deep dive for proof!

    Promising review: "Absolutely amazing! They come in three different sizes, so you can conquer any zit, no matter how large or small. They are close to clear, so they blend in well with my skin. I'll put one on a painful, irritated, head-less pimple in the morning, go about my day (no one has called me out for wearing them, which means either they haven't noticed or they're afraid to say anything), and by the evening all the yuck has been sucked out onto the patch. It's disgusting, but SO COOL! When I take the patch off, it looks like the pimple was photoshopped right off my face. ZAP! Leaving the patch on all day also keeps me from picking, which prevents nasty scars and making the zit worse." β€”Lindsay & Eddie

    Get a 24-pack from Amazon for $4.97.

    21. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser satisfies sensitive skin with a milky lather to remove eye makeup, dirt, and other irritants before even the most finicky complexions have time to be bothered. If you break out from just about everything, this is your new best friend.

    Not to mention it'll just feel luxurious AF. It helps your skin retain its moisture and natural protective barrier and pH levels, even while efficiently removing the day's grime.

    Promising review: "My skin was dry and flaking. Ugh. I use higher-end products so I was blaming my swimming and looking for more hydration. I made a couple of product and process changes including this facial cleaner. Bam β€” flaking gone. Skin clean, not taut or dry. Very happy mama. Enjoying the swimming too, just added another day to the week." β€”Deborah Haberer

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

    22. Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips draw blackheads, dirt, and oil out of clogged pores from your nose and forehead like a freaking magnet. Deep clean does not even BEGIN to define these.

    You'll get a combo-pack for both nose strips and facial strips!

    Promising review: "I have scrubbed the center of my forehead for months but the 'field of black dots' just remained no matter what. So finally I decided to give this a try. I followed instructions exactly (removed after 10 minutes) and after I peeled it off I looked and not a dot in sight β€” until I looked at the strip! That looked like a forest with all those 'dots' standing up on end. Highly recommend!" β€”David G.

    Get a 24-pack from Amazon for $12.80.

    23. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar Soap works overtime to fight acne all over: be it on your face, tuchas, chest, wherever. No zit will go untreated, even if it's a tad hard to reach.

    Promising review: "So this soap is absolutely incredible. I'll just start with that. I have used so many OTC scrubs, deep pore cleansers, pore refiners, moisturizers, skin care systems, and to no avail. I still suffered from acne. I'm in my late 20's, I've suffered with pretty moderate acne for a good chunk of my life and have never found anything that worked. Until now. After the first use, I could tell my face was smoother, after a few days, I could tell my existing acne was healing and I wasn't getting any new ones. After a week, my skin was clear. After two weeks my face completely smooth, no new breakouts, and I am happier than ever. Not only is my skin clear, by my confidence is boosted. I work in sales so I am face-to-face with people all day, and I finally feel like for the first time in my life, people aren't just staring at my breakouts. I will recommend this soap to anyone that can relate. This soap is AWESOME!" β€”Danna Cammarata

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

    24. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel helps you *flake* on dry skin with its water-gel and hyaluronic acid formula. Not to mention it's great for wearing under makeup β€” so long, foundation dry patches. We won't miss you.

    Kayla Suazo / BuzzFeed

    Check out a BuzzFeeder's full review!

    Promising review: "I've been using this for the past few weeks and I must say: I love this gel-cream. It's for extra-dry skin, and trust when I say I have extra-dry skin, especially during the winter. Suffice to say that my whole face, pretty much, gets dry and crusty, especially the forehead and chin areas. My skin gets so dry that in some parts, particularly the corners of my nose, that it peels, itches, and burns. Ever since I started using this gel-cream I've noticed a huge difference, even from the first time I used it. It keeps my face soft and moisturized the entire day. It even takes away the shine my forehead tends to get after I wash it. Every. Time. It's also very gentle on my sensitive skin; not one breakout from using it. I highly recommend it." β€”Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $15.99.

    25. Aquaphor Lip Repair moisturizes cracked, dry puckers more than any other balm on EARTH (in my humble opinion) with nourishing vitamins, shea butter, and soothing chamomile. If you're on a drying acne medication (i.e. Accutane), this is your savior.

    ^^Speaking from experience! This was the first thing my derm recommended when I started Accutane.

    Promising review: "This is by far the best lip balm I've ever used. I found it about two years ago when I began Accutane. As anyone knows, the medication causes your lips to become EXTREMELY dry and flaky. My dermatologist recommended it, and I have never used another lip balm since. It is extremely effective at moisturizing and softening dry lips and feels very light. I couldn't recommend this product more highly." β€”Juli Porto

    Get it from Amazon for $3.97.

    26. Bye Bye Blemish Acne Treatment Drying Lotion kills πŸ‘ that πŸ‘ zit, even if it's not a whitehead yet. No picking, scarring, or tears. Just fast healing β€” aka no time for you to do further damage.

    Promising review: "After I stopped nursing my daughter, I started breaking out and it was just getting worse as the months went on. I noticed that I was not only getting annoying red spots and whiteheads, but I was also getting cystic, painful acne in other places too. I stumbled across this with great reviews, and it was the best decision! I have engagement photos tomorrow and I can say for the first time in about two years I am completely breakout free! This product is so easy to use and is great for overnight use β€” by the time I wake up in the morning the product has disappeared on my face along with my acne. The first night I used it my breakouts were either completely gone or half the size! Now a week later I have woken up with no breakouts and I am ecstatic!" β€”Megan S.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.73.

    27. Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Scrub offers a gentler alternative to those whose sensitive skin can't handle harsher exfoliants. Ingredients like soy extract moisturize and soothe your complexion, while also bringing out a brighter skin tone.


    This works to improve your overall complexion by helping skin tone, texture and clarity. Its soy extract moisturizes so you're not left ~high and dry~.

    Promising review: "Out of all the products I've used for my face, I can say that this gave me the best results. My face became brighter after a month of using this product. To those who have sensitive skin (like me) and gets irritated very easily, Aveeno is a good product for you. It doesn't dry up your face after multiple uses. It moisturizes your face and keeps it looking healthy and clean." β€”Gaelle Moise

    Get it from Amazon for $5.29.

    28. Pixi skintreats Glow Tonic wins over just about everyone, courtesy of its one-step solution to an afforable ~glow up~. Glycolic acid gently exfoliates skin for a brighter complexion, ginseng improves circulation to keep you looking *fresh*, and aloe vera soothes and prevents irritation. Could it get any better? No.

    Promising review: "My complexion has never looked so even before! I also have less breakouts and I can tell that my skin all around is more healthy looking and glowing. I loved it so much I gave a bottle to my mom and sister. They both saw reduction in their sun spots and uneven skin texture on their forehead. We are all obsessed!" β€”KatieM

    Get it from Target for $15.

    Looking at your overpriced skin care products now like:

    Disney Channel

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!


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