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affordable acne routine

A 6 Step Acne Routine For Under $100 That Works

Investing in a skin care routine can be difficult, which is why we created an affordable acne routine that won’t break the bank.

Skin care can be exhausting, but it shouldn’t have to be. When switching your routine, the number one thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, it makes more sense to buy things one by one and try them out in your routine because everyone’s skin reacts differently to different products. But for those looking for an affordable routine, we wanted to help alleviate the stress by creating an effective acne routine that actually works—all for under $100.

Let’s get down to the routine:

Oil Cleanser: Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity $25


Think oil cleansers will only end up causing you more acne? Well, think again. Oil cleansers actually do the opposite of that because oil attracts oil, meaning an oil cleanser will help to get rid of any excess sebum, makeup, dirt and bacteria lingering on your face. It will leave your skin clean, but most importantly, still moisturized.

The Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity is the one to go for if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin because it’s formulated without any possible irritants like artificial coloring, synthetic fragrance, alcohol, parabens, and mineral oil. If there’s only one thing you can buy from this list, choose the oil cleanser because cleansing your face properly is the foundation to any effective skin care routine.

Foam Cleanser: Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser $11


To follow up your oil cleanser, reach for the Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser. It’s perfect for acneic skin since it’s gentle yet effective. It contains 0.5% salicylic acid and tea tree oil, a superstar combo that helps to exfoliate and renew the skin while killing acne-causing bacteria.

Tea tree oil, in particular, increases this effect because of its antimicrobial properties that work to fight acne and keep it at bay. It also soothes inflammation and is gentler on the skin than most other acne-fighting ingredients. The best part about this cleanser is that it’s only $11! I truly believe you can have quality, effective skin care without paying enormous amounts of money and Cosrx continues to prove that with every new skin care product they launch.

Toner: Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner $19


One thing that those dealing with acne tend to skip is a moisturizing toner. But hydrating your skin properly will not only keep your skin smooth and plump but will also help to keep oil at bay. When your skin is constantly stripped by harsh acne medications, it tends to overproduce oil to compensate for the loss of moisture, which equals more annoying acne!

So, keep your skin hydrated to avoid unnecessary friends popping up when you don’t want them too. The Benton Aloe BHA Toner is super affordable and contains aloe barbadensis leaf water to soothe inflammation, while salicylic acid works to exfoliate and reduce sebum production. Finally, snail mucin moisturizes and repairs the skin. This combination of ingredients is a perfect addition to your routine since it will help to treat and hydrate—just what the skin needs to combat acne.

Treat: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch $5


The Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches are a must-have for any of you pimple poppers out there! I know it’s incredibly hard to avoid popping that pimple as soon as possible, but the truth is, this usually only prolongs it. Plus, you risk damaging your skin and leaving behind acne scars.

Instead, reach for these acne patches. They help to alleviate the urge by wrapping your pimple in a cocoon, protecting it from your prying hands. These handy acne treatments are designed to work by absorbing all the gunk from your pimples overnight so you wake up to smaller, more manageable spots. You can even wear these all day long—even in the shower and under makeup—to keep your safe from acne-causing bacteria and giving your acne spots the time they need to heal properly.

Moisturizer: Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion $20


Do not skin this step—especially those with oilier skin! As I said earlier, moisturizing is the key to balancing your skin and keeping that oil in check. The Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion is great for those who don’t like the greasy residue that can be left behind by heavier moisturizers. This one is super lightweight but deeply hydrating because it contains 70% birch sap, which is known to purify and soothe the skin. This innovative moisturizer will help to quench thirsty skin while calming acne-prone skin without causing breakouts.

SPF: Missha Near Skin Dustless Defense Sun Block SPF 50+/PA+++ $15


SPF is crucial to any routine, but it’s especially important if your routine includes chemical exfoliants (like AHAs or BHAs) to combat acne. While these exfoliants are incredibly effective, they leave your skin more susceptible to UV rays so be sure to layer on sunscreen before leaving the house.

The Missha Near Skin Dustless Defense Sun Block works well because it creates a protective layer on the skin, shielding it from fine dust particles and other pollution that can damage the it. Its light and hydrating formula absorbs quickly into the skin leaving behind a nourishing but matte finish.

Bottom line:

One of the best things about Korean beauty is that you can purchase affordable products that are actually effective. I think of the lot of the time we think affordable products must be cheaply formulated with a ton of fillers, but these products are the exact opposite. They’re high quality and ingredient-rich but priced at a point that makes them accessible for anyone looking to up their skin care game.

Do keep in mind though, that this is just a sample routine that can help to treat and prevent acne but it’s even more important to remember to choose products that will work for your skin type.

+ What is your affordable acne routine? Share it in the comments!

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