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Experts in teenage skin and hair care Learn more

Teenage skincare on a budget

Teenager looking carefully at cosmetic product in a store

Learning about personal care and specifically skincare can seem like a herculean task, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of products available especially when working within a limited budget. Most teenagers have limited access to money, making it tough for them to afford high-end skincare and personal care products.

However, you'll be pleased to know that good skincare does not always have to cost a fortune. We're often led to believe we need a separate product for each specific need. However, this isn't necessarily the case. Many personal care products have similar formulations, meaning one product can often be used for multiple purposes.

Here are some top tips to help you achieve healthy skin, reduce waste and simplify your routine without breaking the bank.

Consistent Routine and Own Brand products

A basic yet consistent skincare routine is often more effective than sporadically using a multitude of expensive products. Follow a two-step process; Cleanse then moisturise.


Find a gentle, affordable cleanser that suits your skin type. Cleansers help remove dirt, oil and impurities without stripping your skin of its natural oils.  High street chemists generally have excellent own brand products.  They may not suit your specific skin needs at certain times but they tend to be well priced.


Moisturising is essential to keep your skin hydrated, it’s a crucial step that should not be skipped. Look for affordable options in the own brand aisle. These products are good day to day formulations although will not contain some of the helpful specific actives aimed at young adult skin issues.

Substitutions and Multi-Use Products

Conditioner as Shaving Cream

A conditioner not only softens your hair but can also moisturise your skin and provide a smooth surface for shaving. It's less foamy than traditional shaving cream, making it easier to see where you're shaving. Own brand conditioners are often less expensive but make sure you thoroughly rinse off the product after use as these are designed to be ‘wash off’ formulations.

Pouring Shampoo or Body wash into the palm of your hand

Body Wash and Shampoo can be interchangeable

Much like shampoo, body wash contains surfactants which are substances that can attract both oil and water.  These products have similar ‘frame formulations’ and so this makes body wash an effective substitute for shampoo and visa versa. A body wash can help remove oil and dirt from your hair. Opting for a high-street retailer's own brand can offer even more savings.

Multi-purpose Soap Bar

If you are on a very tight budget then a single shampoo bar could possibly be used as a cleanser, shampoo, shaving foam and body wash. It may well not suit everybody’s skin, especially as a facial cleanser but with a moisturiser it will do the job.

By opting for these multi-use items, you can adjust your routine and products to suit your budget. You will need to experiment a little to find the right products for your personal care needs.

Multi purpose soap bar

Highly Specific Category Products

I’m talking about Products such as anti-perspirants, deodorants, toothpaste and sun protection. Here is where cosmetic products become highly specialised. The actives in these products are specific and proven. Substitution is not recommended.  However, own brand products are very competitively priced in these categories and although the feel of some of the formulations may perhaps not be comparable to higher priced products, they will still do an excellent job.

Drink Water and maintain a Healthy Diet

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps your skin hydrated, while eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein can help maintain a healthy complexion. This costs nothing extra if you’re able to afford what you’re consuming.


Ensure you're getting enough sleep. During sleep there is some evidence that your skin goes into ‘repair mode’, helping to heal the damage from the day.  Try to ensure you get at least eight hours, the current recommendation.

Shop Smart

Keep your eyes peeled for sales and discounts, especially from high street stores and supermarkets. Remember to buy products based on your needs and not because they are on sale.  Applying for the ‘points’ loyalty membership cards that larger retailers offer will also help reduce costs. Some even offer more points for buying their own brand products.

Stores like TK Maxx and Primark often sell excess stock from large brands at hugely discounted prices. Always check the cosmetic sections in these stores.

Beauty sale sign with 30% off

Remember, the most expensive products aren't always the best. There are plenty of affordable options that can help you maintain healthy skin and hair.  Good skincare doesn't need to be expensive. By opting for own brand products, using substitutions and looking for discounts, young adults can maintain excellent and healthy personal hygiene without breaking the bank.

Anyone who is struggling with the cost of maintaining basic personal hygiene, the Beauty Banks ( charity can help.


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