The Best Face Care Picks Under $15, According to Dermatologists
You know you're supposed to be washing your face, but what if your face is dry, acne-prone, or sensitive? Our favorite skincare products handle every skin type with ease—and they don't cost a fortune.
The basic rule for a healthy, beautiful complexion is simple: Wash your face to remove dirt, oil, and makeup each night before going to bed. The right cleanser will do its part to clear pores and keep your skin soft and glowy, but it's important to take your skin type and care needs into account when shopping. If you’re not sure which face-cleansing product to use or your skin’s needs have changed with age (the acne treatment you used as a teen is probably too harsh and drying now), follow these tips from dermatologists and try one of our favorite drugstore products—all under $15.
Best for Dry Skin
When it comes to your face, squeaky clean is no good. Anyone with dry skin should look for a rich cream-, balm-, or oil-based cleanser. To reap the maximum benefits, let it sit for a few minutes to give hydrating ingredients more time to sink into your skin, says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine.
Best for Removing Makeup
Many cleansers can’t break down the heavy oils in makeup, especially in creamy foundations or waterproof formulas. So you need to start with a cleansing oil or a micellar water—both effectively dissolve makeup oils. Follow with your regular face wash (or a second swipe of micellar water) to cleanse your skin, Gohara says.
Best for Breakouts and Wrinkles
The potent acne wash that worked when you were a teen can backfire on you as an adult because mature skin is drier and more sensitive, says New York City dermatologist Melissa K. Levin, M.D. A gentle gel-based or foam formula removes excess oil without stripping your skin. Use a separate product (like retinol or salicylic acid treatment) to unclog pores and prevent breakouts.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Mild cleansing is a must for anyone with sensitive skin. Pass on foaming washes—too drying—and choose a gentle formula labeled as soap- and fragrance-free. Non-soap cleansers use detergents with a neutral pH, which are less likely to cause irritation. Also helpful: Rinse with cool or lukewarm water. Hot water dries out your skin and exacerbates flushing.
Best for Face and Body
Keep a multitasking cleansing bar in the shower. As long as it’s gentle (not a deodorant soap), you can use it on your face and body. “A moisturizing bar is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have any major complexion concerns and just wants to wash and go,” Gohara says. As inexpensive skincare products go, this one's a no-brainer.
Best Exfoliating Scrub
Regular exfoliation removes dead skin cells and improves the penetration of other skincare products, Levin says. Just don’t overdo it. Choose a product with small, uniform scrubbing particles like sugar or natural jojoba beads, and use once a week instead of your regular cleanser.