A Beginner’s Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore

A Beginner’s Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore

We're talking about non-negotiables your money can actually buy



My lifelong love affair with the drugstore started as a 9 to 5 corporate employee whose sanity was kept intact by regular visits to Watsons (or the SM Store Beauty Section) after a long workday. I regarded a dizzying ten-step routine—or whatever the kids call it these days—an actionable way of self-care even if it felt like a chore, some days. Whether your thoughts have been infiltrated by your favorite K-Drama or you think it's time to start a daily routine, skincare is always a good idea. Let's break it down to the basics!


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A quick cheat sheet: Identify your skin type and put into consideration skin issues you may want to treat (e.g. sensitivity, dehydration, acne scars, etc.) Skim through the ingredients list; avoid alcohol and fragrance, by all means. Hydrate and pile on humectants a.k.a. superstar agents, which retain moisture. 


Pro-tip: Layer products from lightest (cleansing product) to thickest (sunscreen for day and moisturizer for night.) For day: cleanse, tone, moisturize, put on eye cream and slather on sunscreen. For night: Remove eye and lip makeup, double cleanse (cleansing oil followed by cleanser), tone, moisturize and put on eye cream. These are non-negotiables! Now, on to affordable recommendations!


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A Beginner's Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore


Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (Watsons, P249)

Before my essential double cleanse, I always start off my night routine with micellar water for my eye and lip makeup. Soak a cotton pad with micellar water and wipe until it removes two-day-old waterproof mascara—and the weight of your past. The pink variant is for dry, sensitive skin while the blue variant is for oily, acne-prone skin. Now, I know this is packaged as a 3-in-1 skincare marvel to cleanse, tone and remove makeup but be scrupulous; it's not enough! It also comes in a travel-friendly option (125ml)—your perfect companion for this weekend's LU getaway—for only P99.


A Beginner's Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore


Bioré Light & Smooth Cleansing Serum (Watsons, P490)

The double cleanse is of high importance beginning with a cleansing oil. The Bioré Cleansing Serum is the most recent addition to the Japanese brand's roster of bestselling skincare. The lightweight product with a serum-like texture effectively removes makeup, sunscreen and the cares of the day. I personally prefer this over the original Cleansing Oil—but that's just me.


P.S. If you're lazy or went on a crazy night out with the barcada, you may not get your (questionable) decisions back but you can always wipe away the memory of it. Use makeup wipes, I highly recommend PureDerm Cleansing Towelettes from Watsons (P109). Just don't sleep with makeup on, promise?


A Beginner's Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore


Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser (Watsons, P130)

Ah, the cleanser dermatologists swear by for all skin types. This cult favorite is gentle (brand new information, I know) and non-stripping. It's fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, which means it doesn't clog pores. The formula is so mild and non-irritating that it can even be used for a baby's delicate skin!


A Beginner's Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore


Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (Watsons, P685)

Don't let the word “lotion” fool you, this liquid type toner is brilliant—exactly why I hoard it in Japanese drugstores. I know that toners are notorious for stripping skin of its natural oils (that almost plastic feeling on the skin.)  Be wary, this worsens acne! It's time to trade the alcohol for intensely hydrating formulas like Hada Labo's Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion, which harnesses the power of Super Hyaluronic Acid.


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Pro-tip: If you're really on a budget, the Human Nature Hydrating Toner (P99) is a great alternative, I've already emptied four bottles. Just apply two to three layers for extra plumpness!


A Beginner's Guide to Budget-Friendly Skincare from the Drugstore


St. Ives Renewing Collagen Elastin Moisturizer (Watsons, P339)

My best-kept secret—well, not really—from the drugstore is the St. Ives Moisturizer I've kept repurchasing over the years. Infused with collagen, it actually feels like skin is tightening once product is slathered on the face. Feel free to do so generously; with how much product is in the tub, it can even last a full year. You can also use it as a lotion. (FYI: It actually comes in lotion form, too!) Pro-tip: Aloe Vera Gel is a great alternative for a cream moisturizer. Lightweight, affordable and perfect for this humid weather!


AHC - Beginner Skincare from Drugstores


AHC The Pure Real Eye Cream For Face (Watsons, P920)

Did you just read that correctly? Yes, it's one cream with two functions. Before all the eye rollsno pun intended—it is a hefty sum but an eye cream can last longer than your last relationship (because of how little product is needed.) *Ba-dum-tss* One is sold in Korea every three seconds—yes, faster than you can finish reading this sentence. The product was originally developed for high-end aesthetic clinics in South Korea bridging affordable and luxury skincare. It's also an Allure Best of Beauty 2018 awardee! 


Biore UV - Beginner Skincare


Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel (Watsons, P532)

Last but definitely not the least, wear your sunscreen (the 11th commandment.) Exchange the unflattering “sunblock” giving off white cast with a hydrating formula like the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel. This breakthrough product provides protection against UVA and UVB with SPF 50++++. The finish is weightless and almost invisible that you can apply it before your makeup, as it should be.


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Did we miss any of your must-haves from the drugstore? Sound off in the comments below!



Product Photos BeautyMNL

Art Alexandra Lara


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