The 15 Best Affordable Skincare Brands of 2022

Plus, a dermatologist shares which ingredients to prioritize in your skincare routine, no matter your budget.

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Best affordable skincare brands
Photo: amazon.com

Whether you're looking for an anti-aging serum or a super-protective SPF, there are plenty of affordable skincare brands out there that prove you don't need to splurge on luxury skincare to see results. To determine which ingredients to look for in affordable skincare lines, we tapped Dr. Amanda Doyle, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City's Russak Dermatology Clinic. Right off the bat, she names niacinamide, bakuchiol, and retinol as three important ingredients to work into your skincare regimen.

"Niacinamide is a derivative of B3 that is known to have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory effects," explains Doyle. She says that it can also be used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as redness and dark spots.

When it comes to retinol, Doyle explains that it's a derivative of vitamin A that's commonly found in anti-aging products, thanks to its ability to increase collagen synthesis. Bakuchiol is another anti-aging ingredient that is plant-based. Not only is it less irritating than retinol, but Doyle says that it "has major antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties."

Here are our picks for the best affordable skincare lines, many of which include Doyle's recommended ingredients.

Our Top Picks

La Roche-Posay

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Laroche-posay.us

Also available at Amazon, Target, and Ulta.

Who it's for: People who want high-quality skincare they can find at just about any drugstore.

Who it isn't for: People who want to spend as little money as possible on skincare products.

One great thing about La Roche-Posay is that the brand is transparent with ingredients—including how they are sourced. Many of the brand's formulas contain shea butter to help soothe and restore the skin's hydrolipidic film. The formulas are also packed with glycerin, niacinamide, vitamin B5, and thermal spring water sourced from France.

La Roche-Posay's line of products also includes vitamin C serums as well as retinols for those who are hoping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The brand's bread and butter, though, is skincare classics like cleansers and very popular moisturizers. Start out with the Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer and Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser. Overall, the products check the boxes for effectiveness at fairly low price points.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, retinol, salicylic acid, niacinamide
  • Skincare Concerns: Dryness, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, acne, redness

Price range at time of publish: $8-$65

RELATED: The 9 Best Facial Cleansers for All Skin Types

CeraVe

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Amazon.com

Also available at Ulta, Target, and Walmart.

Who it's for: People with sensitive or very dry skin.

Who it isn't for: People who want high concentrations of active ingredients.

CeraVe is an affordable and effective skincare brand with a focus on fragrance-free and non-irritating products. One of our favorites from the wide range of products is the Moisturizing Cream. Not only does it come in a 19-ounce tub, but it's packed with good-for-you ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. CeraVe also has a range of body products that target specific issues like psoriasis, rough or bumpy skin, and even itch relief.

For targeting stubborn acne or wrinkles, CeraVe's Resurfacing Retinol Serum is very reasonably priced and also boasts ceramides, licorice root, and niacinamide. In addition to creams and retinol, CeraVe also offers a range of face washes that are super gentle and moisturizing. Overall, this is a great brand, especially if you're combating severely dry skin.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide
  • Skincare Concerns: Dryness, psoriasis, irritation, bumpy skin, acne

Price range at time of publish: $10-$29

Neutrogena

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Neutrogena.com

Also available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

Who it's for: People who want dermatologist-recommended skincare products for a wide range of skin issues.

Who it isn't for: People who want products formulated with mostly natural ingredients.

Neutrogena is an oldie-but-a-goodie, and they have been hard at work expanding their range of offerings over the years. While you may associate them with face cleansers and acne spot treatments (which are great, too!), they now offer creams for a variety of concerns. The Hydro Boost Gel Cream is a lighter gel formula that's great as a daytime moisturizer, while the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Pro+ Power Serum is a great option for those hoping to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

One of the best things about Neutrogena is how comprehensive their skincare line is, including body creams, washes, and even SPF options. They also offer a range of gentle makeup removers that are the perfect for sloughing off the day's grime without irritating sensitive skin. And we love that Neutrogena products can be found in just about any drugstore.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, retinol
  • Skincare Concerns: Acne, anti-aging, sun protection, dryness

Price range at time of publish: $3-$80

RELATED: The 5 Best Eye Makeup Removers for Every Skin Type

The Ordinary

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Theordinary.com

Also available at Sephora, Ulta, and Target.

Who it's for: People who want budget-friendly products with high concentrations of active ingredients.

Who it isn't for: People with sensitive skin may find some of the products irritating.

The Ordinary offers lots of powerful serums, toners, and acne-busting solutions at incredible prices. You can buy concentrated serums, like the popular Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum and the "Buffet" + Copper Peptides 1% serum. For a gentler option from their line, consider the Hyaluronic Acid + B5 Serum, which is super hydrating and can help to repair a damaged skin barrier.

They also offer a range of exfoliating products, including masks, peels, toners, and serums. Popular picks in that category include the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. It is worth noting that many of these use high concentrations of AHAs and BHAs, which, though effective, may be too strong for sensitive skin.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, squalane, peptides
  • Skincare Concerns: Dryness, acne, hyperpigmentation, redness

Price range at time of publish: $5-$31

The Inkey List

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Theinkeylist.com

Also available at Sephora.

Who it's for: People who appreciate transparent ingredient lists and no-frills formulas.

Who it isn't for: People who want body care options.

This is another low-budget line with incredibly high-quality ingredients. The Inkey List even offers a quiz on their site that will point you in the direction of the products that would be most helpful for your individual skincare concerns.

While they don't offer any body lotions or washes, they do have plenty of facial cleansers, moisturizers, eye treatments, and exfoliating products. Popular products include the Retinol Serum and the Omega Water Cream. The site is also great at breaking down when and how to use specific ingredients, especially when layering products.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid
  • Skincare Concerns: Acne, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, dryness

Price range at time of publish: $5-$25

Cocokind

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Cocokind.com

Also available at Amazon, Target, and Ulta.

Who it's for: People who want to enhance their routine with eco-friendly formulas.

Who it isn't for: People whose primary concern is combating aging.

This colorful line offers products with lots of unique and natural ingredients, like rosewater and turmeric. The brand describes their products as being "botanical forward," which means that most of their active ingredients come from nature. Popular picks include the Ceramide Barrier Serum, which helps with hydration, and the nourishing Oil to Milk Cleanser.

Cocokind is great at bundling products so that you can get a full selection of items that are helpful for your specific skincare concerns. For example, the Brightening Pack includes a prebiotic cleanser, an SPF that's enhanced with banana blossom, a vitamin C serum with sea grape caviar, and a turmeric illuminating solution that contains a range of exfoliating acids.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Turmeric, rosewater, hyaluronic acid
  • Skincare Concerns: Dryness, sun protection, acne, hyperpigmentation

Price range at time of publish: $9-$25

Cosrx

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Cosrx.com

Also available at Cosrx, Ulta, and Dermstore.

Who it's for: People who are interested in trying Korean skincare.

Who it isn't for: People who want the cheapest products available.

If you've heard about skincare brands using snail mucin in their products, you've probably already heard of Cosrx. Their Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is super nourishing and infused with 96 percent snail mucin, along with sodium hyaluronate to plump and smooth the skin.

The Korean skincare brand also offers a huge range of products, and their site allows you to choose based on your skincare concerns. Snail mucin is their standout ingredient, especially for anti-aging, but they also have many acne-fighting products. Their famous Acne Pimple Master Patches speed up the healing process by protecting blemishes and maintaining the humidity of the skin to prevent further breakouts.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Snail mucin, vitamin C, niacinamide
  • Skincare Concerns: Anti-aging, acne, dullness

Price range at time of publish: $6-$32

Burt's Bees

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Burtsbees.com

Also available at Amazon, Ulta, and Target.

Who it's for: People who are primarily looking for hydrating and calming products.

Who it isn't for: People looking for concentrated exfoliants and serums.

Burt's Bees deserves a mention for their iconic lip balm alone, but the brand has so much more to offer. The Renewal Firming Moisturizing Cream is a great example, as it is enhanced with moisturizing powerhouses like bakuchiol and vitamin E. They also have a range of body washes and lotions that are gentle and effective, like the Ultimate Care Sensitive Healing Body Lotion.

If you're wanting to try out some of their products for the first time, they offer a bundle of minis that would be a great place to start. Since many of their products prioritize natural ingredients, this is a great line for those with sensitive skin. Plus, all Burt's Bees products are Leaping Bunny certified, meaning they're not tested on animals.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Bakuchiol, vitamin E, coconut oil, beeswax
  • Skincare Concerns: Sensitivity, anti-aging, dryness

Price range at time of publish: $3-$20

Sukin

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Sukinnaturals.com

Also available at Sukin and Target.

Who it's for: People in search of effective vegan skincare options.

Who it isn't for: People whose primary skin concern is acne.

Sukin is an Australian brand that is completely vegan. But just because the ingredients are natural, doesn't mean they're ineffective. Sukin uses ingredients like acacia gum for its astringent and skin-tightening properties, as well as argan oil to enhance the brightness and moisture levels of the skin.

They offer a range of products, including cleansers, serums, exfoliators, and hair care. Bestsellers include the Antioxidant Eye Serum and the Facial Recovery Serum Super Greens Serum. Plus, their site features an ingredient glossary for all the ingredients used in their products.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Rosehip oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera
  • Skincare Concerns: Anti-aging, dryness, dullness, sensitivity

Price range at time of publish: $6-$21

Mario Badescu

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Mariobadescu.com

Also available at Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora.

Who it's for: People dealing with acne or breakouts.

Who it isn't for: People with dry skin.

While it may be Mario Badescu's Rosewater Spray that immediately comes to mind when you think of the brand, there are a wide range of other skincare products as well. One of their most fast and effective products is the viral Drying Lotion, which uses ingredients like salicylic acid and sulfur to quickly treat surfacing blemishes.

The brand also offers a huge range of toners, as well as cleansers, eye creams, and anti-acne serums. This is one of the better brands for treating breakouts, whether you struggle with them regularly or just find yourself in need of a quick fix on occasion. In addition to the Drying Lotion, popular products include the Brightening Mask with Vitamin C and the Acne Facial Cleanser.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, sulfur, aloe vera
  • Skincare Concerns: Acne, dullness, oiliness

Price range at time of publish: $8-$45

Timeless Skin Care

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Timelessha.com

Also available at Timeless Skin Care, Target, and Walmart.

Who it's for: People who want to buy specific oils and ingredients in their pure form.

Who it isn't for: People who don't have a lot of knowledge of different skincare ingredients.

All of the products from Timeless Skin Care feature beautiful, brightly colored packaging—but don't let this distract you from what's most important. In addition to brightening up your medicine cabinet, the line of serums and oils will also leave your skin looking bright and moisturized.

On top of the complex formulas geared toward specific skincare concerns, the brand offers a few different oils and ingredients in their pure form so that you can add them to body lotions or moisturizers that you regularly use. Popular products include the brightening 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum, the super hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum 100% Pure Serum, and the anti-aging Coenzyme Q10 Serum.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Squalane, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin C
  • Skincare Concerns: Dullness, dryness, anti-aging

Price range at time of publish: $11-$27

Pacifica

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Pacificabeauty.com

Also available at Amazon, Target, and Ulta.

Who it's for: People who want vegan face and body products.

Who it isn't for: People looking for a more curated selection of products.

The purpose of this line is to enhance your existing skincare routine by adding in moisture and nutrients through quality ingredients. Pacifica also offers skincare sets and bundles, so you can try out specific formulas to find the one that works best for you.

This line stands out for formulas focused on dullness, acne, and aging, and includes a range of niche products like the Bacne Warrior Spray and Body Scrub. Pacifica also offers lots of antioxidant-enhanced formulas that will leave your skin looking healthier and brighter, as well as products with collagen, which will help the elasticity of your skin so that it stays looking youthful.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Collagen, vitamin C, retinoid
  • Skincare Concerns: Acne, dullness, anti-aging

Price range at time of publish: $3-$25

Bliss

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Blissworld.com

Also available at Amazon, Target, and Ulta.

Who it's for: People whose primary focus is fixing dullness or hyperpigmentation, and people looking for eye treatments.

Who it isn't for: People who want products with high concentrations of active ingredients.

Not only does Bliss offer up amazing scents for their body lotions, but they have lots of effective products that will help brighten and moisturize your skin. They have a particularly great range of eye treatments, including the Eye Got This Under Eye Mask and the Rest Assured Eye Cream, both of which reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.

While Bliss does offer many other products in addition to their body line, it's still worth calling out their creamy lotions that will leave even the driest skin feeling soothed. They even have body creams geared toward specific concerns like texture and sensitive skin.

Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, niacinamide, salicylic acid
  • Skincare Concerns: Dryness, dullness, discoloration, acne

Price range at time of publish: $4-$34

RELATED: The 15 Best Eye Creams Dermatologists Actually Swear By

Acure

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Acure.com

Also available at Acure, Target, and Ulta.

Who it's for: People who want to build a skincare regimen around a specific skin concern.

Who it isn't for: People whose top priority is anti-aging.

While this line isn't necessarily for those looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it does offer a lot of products aimed at specific skin concerns. These include resurfacing, hydrating, brightening, soothing, clearing, and rejuvenating product lines.

The best part? Each line includes all of the products needed for an entire skincare regimen. Nearly all of them come with a cleanser, serum, day and night creams, and even a face mask or peel depending on the concern. They also offer a range of oils and serums that could be easily integrated into any one of the product lines.

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Charcoal, olive oil, cocoa butter, vitamin C
  • Skincare Concerns: Dryness, dullness, acne, anti-aging

Price range at time of publish: $5-$20

Innisfree

Best Affordable Skincare Brands
Us.innisfree.com

Also available at Amazon and Sephora.

Who it's for: People experiencing discoloration or dullness.

Who it isn't for: People who want to avoid fragrance in their skincare products.

This Korean skincare brand offers lots of different moisturizers and face masks, all of which target different skincare concerns. The Fermented Soybean Firming Energy Essence helps to improve the skin's firmness and elasticity around the face and neck. You'll also find a number of creams that moisturize while reducing the appearance of pores.

This is also a great line for those in search of an effective serum or sunscreen. Their most popular serum, the Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Serum, contains green tea seed, as well as five different types of hyaluronic acid, so that your skin is hydrated at the deepest level. As for SPF, the Daily UV Defense Sunscreen has somewhat of a cult-following for its great formula that doesn't feel greasy or leave a white cast. It is important to note that many of their products have fragrance, so keep this in mind if you have particularly sensitive skin.

Product Details:

  • Key Ingredients: Black tea, green tea seed
  • Skincare Concerns: Pore size, dryness, sun protection, dullness

Price range at time of publish: $7-$40

RELATED: 16 Best Sunscreens for Every Skin Type and Concern

How to Shop for Affordable Skincare Like a Pro

Skin Concerns

Your skin concerns are what you first want to consider when shopping for skincare products. If you're acne or blemish-prone, definitely seek out products with salicylic acid or other exfoliating acids. For wrinkle reduction, make sure you look for retinols; and for dry skin, make sure you're looking for moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and oils that will lock in moisture. Doyle also points out that sun protection is a skincare concern for everyone, so make sure you're incorporating SPF into your skincare routine, too.

Ingredients

The best way to determine whether or not a skincare line will be effective is to look at its ingredient list. While most of the packaging will state what skincare concern it targets, it's important to look at the order of the ingredients list so you know exactly what's included.

Quality

In addition to knowing which ingredients to look for, you'll also need to consider the quality of those ingredients. It's important to see what percentage of that ingredient the serum contains, as well as how it's preserved. Take vitamin C, for example: The ideal concentration is around 15 percent (although you may need to work your way up to this if you have sensitive skin), and it's important to make sure it's preserved as L-ascorbic acid. For ingredients like retinols, you can look to see if it's naturally or chemically derived. While either works, the natural versions will be a little less harsh.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Brittany Loggins, a freelance writer who specializes in beauty and lifestyle content. To come up with the best affordable skincare brands, she considered the quality of the ingredients, the range of products available, and the overall value of each skincare line. For expert insight as to which ingredients to look for in different skincare products, she spoke to Dr. Amanda Doyle, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City's Russak Dermatology Clinic.

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