A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

Declutter your routine with these zero-bullshit, straight-to-the-point skincare picks



At the risk of sounding like my mother with her reminders to declutter every time January comes around, I urge you to take a good, hard look at your beauty routine. After all, it’s the new year: the tides have turned, the calendar pages flipped. There’s no better time for a little introspection and reevaluation, is there? Everything warrants a little extra reflection at the cusp of a new year––and the multi-step skincare atop your beauty counter shouldn’t be an exception.


This year, we’re considering taking a stripped-down approach to products, a pursuit fueled partially by last year’s fruitful skincare diet attempt and mostly by the annual resurgence of these “new year, new me” posts that are proving to get under our skin in more ways than one. 


So, how about it? Skip the unnecessities without scrimping on the effectiveness with these barely-there, back-to-basic skincare picks. Don’t worry, we’ve included save and splurge options for each, too.


RELATED: I Went on a Skincare Diet and This is What Happened




Save Splurge
A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

CELETEQUE Hydration Facial Wash, P140

A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

HERBIVORE Pink Clay Gentle Cleansing Soap Bar, P610


We’re all about condensing steps, but no matter what way you twist and tune your routine, cleansing has got to be a mainstay. Wash away all the dirt, grime and bad memories from the year that was with a simple, dermatologist-approved formula like Celeteque’s Hydration Facial Wash. It’s from a local brand, is fragrance-free and costs only P140 a pop, which all sounds like music to our ears. Herbivore’s Pink Clay Gentle Cleansing Soap Bar, on the other hand, weighs in at P610. It cleanses the skin of impurities––without that tight, squeaky clean feeling––with French pink clay and works especially well with dry skin types.



Save Splurge
A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

THAYER’S Witch Hazel Rose Toner (355mL), P695

A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

PYUNKANG YUL Mist Toner (200mL), P860


Consider toning the checks and balances step of your routine. After cleansing and the inevitable strippage that comes with it, toner replenishes the skin while picking up the last bits of dirt and debris left post-wash. The Healthy Options treasure-turned-cult fave, Thayer’s Witch Hazel Facial Toner, is alcohol-free, relying instead on witch hazel and rose petal’s natural astringents to tighten pores and get rid of excess oil. Rosewater, an anti-inflammatory ingredient, also packs a punch of Vitamin C and hydration to refresh the skin. Fair warning, though: those with sensitive skin may want to consider the oft-sold out unscented iteration.


Crafted with minimal ingredients that get the job done, K-beauty sinew Pyunkang Yul’s Mist Toner makes for a more premium option. Made primarily out of Coptis Japonica root extract, this toner is light as water and works especially well with oily and sensitive skin. 



Save Splurge
A Save vs. Splurge Guide to Barely-There Skincare

THE ORDINARY Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (30mL), P600


THE INKEY LIST Squalane (30mL), P895


Hyaluronic Acid is something of a power ingredient, not all that different from that one person who manages to pull everyone’s weight in a group project. If you’re familiar with the ingredient, it’s likely that you’re also familiar with the claim that a single molecule of the stuff can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water––which is definitely sounds impressive, but also a little like scientific mumbo-jumbo. In simple terms, this means that HA is an absolute champ at retaining moisture and can fast-track hydration better than most ingredients can. The Ordinary’s take on HA combines molecules of various sizes, ensuring multi-level hydration for only P600 a bottle.


Despite how miraculous Hyaluronic Acid sounds, a little caution is still warranted. As Parizaad Khan Sethi explains in an informative piece for The Cut, the very nature of HA is to pull water from wherever it can. When it can’t find moisture in the air, it pulls it from the deeper layers of the skin. With this looming possibility in mind, take care to apply HA while the skin is damp and lock it in with extra moisturizer or face oil to seal the deal. 


Alternatively, consider going for Squalane. Primarily plant-derived, Squalane is a thin, non-greasy oil with a high absorbency rate, which makes it easy for the skin to drink right up. It’s been dubbed the best face oil a number of times, too (see here and here!), in case you needed a little more convincing. The Inkey List, a no-bullshit skincare brand from the United Kingdom, serves up a 30mL bottle of the stuff for P895.


RELATED: Tried, Tested, Honest: We Sported Full Faces of Bench Beauty


Which of these products are making it to your beauty counter this year? Are you saving or splurging on your skincare for 2020? Sound off below! 



Art Alexandra Lara


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