A lot of people look at the new year as an opportunity to refresh and buckle down. Austerity tends to be the main focus in January in nearly all imaginable categories: food, alcohol, money spending, entertainment, etc. It’s also an opportunity for many to “take back their health” now that the holiday festivities have ended.

For me, skin health is always important. It’s the largest organ on our body and is often the biggest tell in terms of our lifestyle. So beyond eating well, abstaining from drinking and smoking, how can you give your skin the tender loving care it deserves without loosening your January purse strings too much? Well, I’ve boiled it down to three essential categories with both a budget friendlier and a splurge option. I have personally used these products and can highly recommend them.


No matter the clime, we all need to moisturize. I live in Chicago, so this is especially important during the winter season. Aveeno has always been a drug store favorite and I like that they have an extra boost of SPF in their moisturizer (there’s also an SPF 30 option). It’s oil-free and the soy extracts help to even skin tone and create a more radiant visage. At the moment, I’m religiously using Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream morning and night. It’s very luxurious, rich, anti-aging thanks to antioxidant-rich ingredients like Japanese purple rice, Okinawa algae, and hyaluronic acid. Plus it smells lovely!

Budget Friendly: Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Soy Moisturizer SPF 15 | $13.99

Splurge: Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream | $68


Everyone likes to end and start their day with a clean face and dermatologists seem to recommend gentler cleansers these days without the stripping chemicals and big exfoliating microbeads that can damage the skin. Cetaphil’s classic cleanser is soap-free and perfect for sensitive skin in addition to being fragrance-free. If you like a little scent, Youth To The People offers an equally gentle cleanser that’s like giving your face a shot of green juice. Ingredients include antioxidant-rich kale, spinach, and green tea! Plus, it’s packaged in a recyclable glass bottle.

Budget Friendly: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser | $12.49

Splurge: Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser|$36


Sunscreen is probably the most important anti-aging product. Even when it’s not sunny out, you should be applying.

It’s easy to assume that if it’s not sunny outside then you don’t need sunscreen – after all, you’re not feeling the sun on your skin. But actually, you can still get sunburnt even when it’s overcast and grey outside. It’s the UV index that puts you at risk of burning, and that exists whether its bright and sunny or cloudy.

Downey, A. (2019, August 29). Should you wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy? Retrieved from https://patient.info/news-and-features/should-you-wear-sunscreen-even-when-its-cloudy.

Both of these options offer UVA/UVB SPF 50 sun protection and they’re non-greasy, easily applied, and wearable with makeup.

Budget Friendly: Neutrogena Face Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin SPF 50 | $11.79

Splurge: Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+ | $38

If you’re looking to spend less but make more of an impact on your skincare, sometimes, less really is more. Boiling it down to essentials is better for your wallet and over-treating skin can wreak havoc. I plan to keep my routine more minimalist this year, built on the foundation above. Take care of your skin in 2020!

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