Do you find yourself spending all your extra cash on moisturisers, after-sun sprays, makeup, hair creams, and nail solutions to keep yourself looking pretty?

A functional skincare routine adds up quickly if you're not careful. Want to see where you can cut corners at the beauty store or supermarket on skincare, and not see the difference reflected in your complexion? Read on.

1. Use a simple, bulk facial cleanser

Do you notice there's a common theme amongst people who spend lots of money on cleanser (and other products) marked as "anti-acne"? They usually still don't have clear skin. Every dermatologist I've ever been to has told me to use a plain, basic facial cleaner that you can buy in bulk, like Cetaphil. It's cheap, it's gentle, and one bottle lasts months.

The whole family can use simple bulk cleansers too – including kids – doing away with the need for multiple products for one household.


2. Never forget to buy moisturiser with SPF

When talking skincare, the best money-saving tip is "be proactive". Particularly concerning your face, nothing is more important (and will save you more money over the course of your entire life) than wearing a moisturiser with SPF.

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Male or female, young or old, use it every single day, even when it's cloudy. As you age and all your friends start telling you about expensive serums and oils, you can smugly sit back knowing your skin has retained much of its elasticity purely by being protected from the elements.

3. Use multipurpose products

Something I've learned from frequent air travel and needing to keep all my skincare products in 100ml bottles is this: where possible, you can save money, time, and space by using multi-purpose products.

Papaw ointment does just about everything from lip hydration to spot-cleansing to make-up priming. BB cream is an all-in-one instead of using different moisturisers and foundations – and it usually has SPF in it too. Universal skin salves are ideal for redness, bumps, cuts, and stopping the bleeding after shaving. Shampoo/body wash hybrids are mild on your body from head to toe.

When you really need to save money, a jar of coconut oil can be used as a DIY hair mask, hand and nail cream, face wash, lip gloss, eye make-up remover, and more.

4. Get samples

I am the sample king when it comes to skincare. Any high-end brand will give out samples if you're genuinely in the market to buy, so when I purchase one expensive product from the likes of Aesop or Mecca Maxima, I make sure I make it worth my coin by asking for recommendations on similar products to try. When you take away three or four samples, I often find I'll get an extra few weeks out of my skincare regime before I need to re-stock a certain product.

Alternatively, buying trial-sized is often all you'll need for skincare and beauty products that will go off from lack of use when you buy the full-sized version.


5. Shop online

When you find a skincare product you love in a physical store, don't hesitate to re-order it online next time at a discounted price. You'll find a lot of products are available in New Zealand via parallel import, or from international sellers that ship here. For frequently-used products, you can usually get them in larger sizes than available locally, saving more money when used before the expiry date.

However, do ensure you buy from official and reputable websites, and don't get fooled by those Instagram ads that look to good to be true for designer skincare. There are lots of fake skincare products out there and it's easy to get stung not just in your pocket, but on your face too.

6. Ignore all miracles

Any brand telling you they have discovered a miracle new ingredient is having a laugh at the consumers who fall for it. Never buy any product advertised as revolutionary or that claims some kind of miracle result – even when there are studies listed on the box claiming success (e.g. 85 per cent of users saw a reduction in fine lines within four weeks).

After spending years and thousands of dollars on various products claiming to reduce or remove anything within a certain timeframe (be they dark circles or freckles, blemishes or wrinkles), I've found this always to be pure marketing spin.

If you have any real skin problems you want to fix economically and efficiently, save up for a dermatologist and ask them what they've seen most useful in all their years of seeing other patients.

In recent years, spending $200 on a professional appointment and getting a $5 prescription has saved me loads on trying product after product that costs $100 per 15mls.