Best Affordable Drugstore Skin Care for Oily Skin

A good skin care routine is vital for maintaining, clear, glowing, youthful looking skin and preventing early signs of aging. Unfortunately, many of us operate under the misconception that skin care only becomes a necessity in our 30s and 40s. This is so wrong! Why? It is far easier to maintain your skin’s youthful qualities rather than take measures to try to treat set in wrinkles, dark spots, or other signs of aging.

While I regularly splurge on more expensive skin care, the drug store is upping their game by offering affordable, high-quality skincare to help individuals with a myriad of skin care issues at any age. Please keep reading to discover your new favorites at the drug store.

Best Drug Store Skin Care 2018
Best Affordable Drug Store Skin Care – November 2018

Best Drug Store Cleansers & Makeup Removers

Clean & Clear – Continuous Control Acne Cleanser | $7.79 USD

Best For: Oily, Acne Prone Skin 

The Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser was my ride or die face wash during middle school and high school when I suffered from severe acne. The Cleanser promises to remove dirt and oil and to fight and prevent breakouts with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, and it does exactly what it promises.

However, I only recommend using this face wash if you suffer from severe acne and have very oily skin. This will irritate normal, combination, or dry skin. Moreover, I recommend that users only use this cleanser once a day (preferably at night), because it can be too drying for those with oily skin if used in the morning and evening.

PSA: Do NOT get this cleanser in your eyes because it will burn horribly.

Clean & Clear is not cruelty-free.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser | $13.49 USD

Best For: Normal to Oily Skin

Unlike the Clean & Clear face wash above, the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is one of the best cleansers available for sensitive skin because it won’t irritate or dry out the skin. It promises to cleanse the skin without stripping it of essential moisture. This cleanser is great for daily use because it leaves the skin feeling soft and clean.

However, this cleanser may not be strong enough for individuals with severe acne. For those who actively suffer from bad breakouts, this product may be best used when paired with a stronger cleanser.

This product is not cruelty-free.

Pond’s Cold Cream Cucumber Cleanser & Make-Up Remover | $4.99 USD

Best For: All Skin Types

The Pond’s Cucumber Cleanser is the most inexpensive, highly effective makeup remover that I’ve ever used. Makeup easily dissolves away, so there is no need to scrub or tug at the skin. Moreover, unlike other makeup removers that can dry out the skin, the Cucumber Cleanser is actually 50% moisturizer, so the skin is left feeling soft and supple after use.

The Pond’s cleanser is so emollient that a little amount of product goes a long way, even when using stubborn eye makeup. I’ve been using my jar since August and I’ve barely made a dent in it. I predict that this product will last me a year.

Although this product is best suited for dry skin, I love this product despite having very oily skin. That being said, those with oily skin should still double-cleanse (a.k.a. use a makeup remover and then cleanser with a face wash), otherwise, the creamy cleanser may clog pores.

From a sanitary perspective, dipping fingers into a jar is not ideal, so this jar should not be shared. Also, the package is quite bulky so this product is not the most travel-friendly option available.

This product is tested on animals.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes | $5.99 USD

Best For: All Skin Types

The Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes are iconic for good reason: they are the best makeup remover wipes available at the drug store. With its gentle but powerful formula, the Neutrogena wipes melt away makeup without the need to tug at the skin or use multiple wipes at one time.

Each full-size pack comes with 25 moistened towelettes. The cleansing towelettes are formulated without alcohol or fragrance.

Disclaimer: I hate single-use products like these for daily use. However, makeup remover wipes are travel-friendly and these wipes do a good job at removing makeup.

These towelettes are not cruelty-free.

Best Drug Store Face Masks & Acne Treatments

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask | $10.89 USD

Best For: Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

The SheaMoisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask promises to draw out dirt, oil, and other skin contestants, while also brightening and balancing the appearance of oily, acne prone skin. Prominent ingredients include African Black Soap, a natural remedy for oily skin, Tamarind, an astringent that exfoliates and brightens the skin, and Tea Tree Oil, a skin soothing anti-inflammatory.

The SheaMoisture African Black Soap Mask is a thick, grayish-black mask that comes in a plastic jar. This is a great dupe for Origin’s beloved Clear Improvements Charcoal Mask or GLAMGLOW’s Supermud Clearing Treatment. As all three masks promise to help reduce the appearance of pores and clear out congested skin; however, the SheaMoisture Mask is a fraction of the price. Furthermore, the SheaMoisture mask is better for individuals who may have combo skin, as both the Origin’s and GLAMGLOW masks can be drying or harsh on the skin for normal to dry skin types. All three masks can also be used as spot treatments for acne.

Despite the many benefits of the SheaMoisture Mask, there are two cons: (1) The product smells like Playdoh and (2) the mask is not as powerful as the Origins or GLAMGLOW treatments. For example, to get rid of a breakout, I need to use the SheaMoisture mask 3-4 times to eradicate acne. In comparison, the Origins and GLAMGLOW masks will drastically reduce a bad breakout after one application.

SheaMoisture does not test on animals.

P.S. I found this product at Marshalls for only $4.99 so you may be able to find this cheaper through other distribution channels.

JJ Young Pore Glow Face Mask | $14.99 USD

Best For: All Skin Types

The JJ Young Pore Glow Face Mask is a new addition to the CVS Beauty Aisle. In an effort to reach more diverse beauty needs, CVS recently expanded their K-Beauty offerings in-store and online. The JJ Young Pore Glow Face Mask promises to brighten the skin, tighten large pores, and leave a cooling effect.

Prominent ingredients within the Pore Glow Face Mask include Menthol and Panthenol which provide the cooling and tightening effects, respectively. Other notable ingredients include Pomegranate, Fig, Mulberry, and Gingko which promote brighter skin.

This JJ Young Mask is great for individuals with dull, discolored skin as well as those with large pores. I find this mask’s claims to hold true as my skin feels refreshed and bright after use. For an added cooling effect, I store my mask in the fridge.

Finally, this mask comes with a tiny plastic spatula for application. While the mask is convenient for scooping product out of the plastic jar, I find it ineffective for an even application on the face.

This mask is cruelty-free.

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel
Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10
Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Medication | $7.49 USD

Best For: Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

The Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Medication is a holy grail drugstore acne treatment. Formulated with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, this treatment promises to treat current breakouts and prevent future pimples.

Unlike retinoid-based treatments, this treatment will not overly dry out the skin. This works well with other benzoyl peroxide-based treatments, but should not be used in combination with any retinol or retinoid based serums, oils, or topical solutions as it will cause extreme irritation, inflammation, and dryness… I learned this the hard way!

This product is best applied nightly with fingers after washing up. Only a small amount of product is needed, so an entire tube could last for a year.

This product is tested on animals.

RELATED: Saying Goodbye to $200 Worth of Skincare

Differin Gel
Differin Gel
Differin Gel | $13.99 USD

Best For: Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

The Differin Gel is a great topical treatment for adults suffering from acne. Unlike the Persa-Gel, the Differin Gel is retinoid based. Formulated without alcohol, oil, and fragrance, this treatment promises to quickly minimize breakouts and prevent future acne from appearing.

This gel should be applied once a day, as needed, after washing the face. A very minute amount of product is needed to see results. I find that this product works quicker than Benzoyl Peroxide, however, it is more of an irritant, as it can dry out clear skin next to a pimple. Additionally, any time a retinoid is used, sunscreen is a non-negotiable, as retinoids can make skin more susceptible to sun damage.

As previously noted, do not mix retinoid and benzoyl peroxide based skin treatments, as this may cause a severe reaction. Currently, this is the only over-the-counter retinoid based acne treatment available at the drug store.

I am unclear about the brand’s cruelty-free status, but given the nature of the product, I would assume that this is tested on animals.

Best Drug Store Face & Body Moisturizers

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream | $19.99 USD

Best For: Oily skin

Let me just put this out there – I have a love-hate relationship with the Hydro Boost line largely due to the price-tag associated with these products. Furthermore, I don’t find that the moisturizers contain truly amazing ingredients that warrant the price tag. Personally, the beautiful, high end-looking packaging is likely the reason for the high price tag. So how did this product make the list?

First, this line is available at the drug store and at Ulta, so it is almost always on sale. I used a 40% Off coupon to purchase my jar.

Second, this product is amazing for oily skin because it isn’t greasy. The formula is lightweight, absorbs quickly, and applies smoothly. As someone with large pores and oily skin, cream-based formulas don’t work well for me because they clog my pores. Given there are so few gel-based moisturizers at the drug store, this is a great offering for oily skinned individuals. I wish the Hydro Gel formula was available ten years ago because I would have been more inclined to adopt a moisturizer into my skin routine at an earlier age.

Although the packaging is sleek and gorgeous, it is not travel friendly. Furthermore, the jar packaging makes this product unsuitable for sharing.

Neutrogena tests on animals.

Best Drug Store Skin Care: Neutrogena Hydro Boost SPF 15
Neutrogena Hydro Boost SPF 15
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel SPF 15 | $19.99 USD

Best For: Oily skin

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel SPF 15 glides on just as easily as the regular Hydro Boost Water Gel, leaving the skin with lightweight, non-greasy moisture. However,  this iteration provides a slight SPF. While not enough to provide adequate sun protection, I appreciate products that provide some SPF.

This product is great for individuals that frequently work out at the gym or travel because the packaging is quite sleek. I love tossing this into my toiletry bag when going to the gym or packing for a trip. Additionally, I love that this product comes with a pump, as this is a much more hygienic way to apply the product.

As mentioned above, I do find this product to be pricey for what it is and only recommend purchasing while it is on sale. Again, Neutrogena tests on animals.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream | $16.99 USD

Best For: All Skin Types

The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a holy grail drugstore moisturizer, particularly for those who are on or have recently been on Accutane or those who have extremely dry skin. This beloved body and face moisturizer is formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which restore moisture and act as a barrier to protect the skin.

The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is noncomedogenic and fragrance-free. While this cream is too thick for my skin, it is essential during the Winter months in New England. The formula truly locks in moisture for 24-hours and leaves the skin feeling silky smooth without feeling greasy. However, given the rich, thick texture of the cream, I would not recommend this to individuals who live in hot, humid climates all year long.

CeraVe does sell many iterations of moisturizers for the face and body, but this particular product is my favorite from the brand. While the price tag is steep for the drugstore, this product is more than worth it for individuals with dry skin.

This product is tested on animals.

Best Drug Store Skin Care: Burt's Bees Body Lotion
Burt’s Bees Body Lotion
Burt’s Bees Fragrance-Free Body Lotion with Shea Butter & Vitamin E | $8.79 USD

Burt’s Bees Fragrance-Free Body Lotion with Shea Butter & Vitamin E is a great alternative to the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream if you are Cruelty-Free. While the moisturizer is not as long-lasting as the CeraVe formula, this lotion is hypoallergenic and absorbs quickly into the skin. Moreover, this is a better option for individuals that live in more humid climates. Also, the packaging is more sanitary since it is easily squeezed out of the tube.

However, the Burt’s Bees Lotion is not truly scent-free. Is it formulated without fragrance? Yes. But is it scent-free? No. The product has a strong plastic, chemical smell. I am unsure whether this is being caused by the actual packaging or from the product itself, but the smell is noticeable when rubbing the lotion onto the skin. That being said, the smell does not persist after application.

Burt’s Bees does not test on animals.

Best Drug Store Sun Care

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 | $12.49 USD

Best For: Oily Skin

I tried the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion on a whim this summer because I ran out of my favorite sunscreen from Algenist. I enjoyed this formula because of the ease of application. This sunscreen glides onto the skin due to the moisturizing formula but doesn’t compromise on providing UVA/UVB sun protection.

This formula is great for individuals with oily skin because it won’t clog the pores, cause breakouts, or leave the skin looking or feeling greasy.

Best Drug Store Skin Care

Good skin care doesn’t need to break the bank. Thankfully there are some amazing products available at the drug store to help your skin feel brighter, tighter, and clear.

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What are your holy grail affordable skin care favorites? Have you tried any of these products? Please let me know in the comments below!