Let's Talk Affordable Skincare | Step One, Cleanse

I generally don't write this kind of post, at least not anymore. Beauty related posts aren't my specialty and there are tons of these out there so mine probably won't make any significance. Then again, let's make an exception and allow me to act like one of your cliche lifestyle bloggers by sharing with you some of my favorite and affordable skincare products, starting with cleansers first.

When it comes to skincare products, I know some people don't mind spending so much. I don't have anything against that because hey, if that $40 cleanser gives you magnificent result and you can actually afford it, why not pamper your skin that much? I personally believe that a crazy expensive moisturizer is better than a crazy expensive foundation but I still wouldn't buy me a $140 face cream (and yes, it exists) even if I have the budget for it. Then again, that's just my opinion on smart purchase.

For today, the products I'm going to share with you are affordable, mostly drugstore and have been tried and tested by yours truly. Nothing high end or luxurious and none that claims to give you a self-growing magic money tree, raise your kids or give you your own personal Ryan Gosling.

Now, before I proceed, allow me to clarify certain things:
  • I have normal to combination skin; oily T-zone with mild rosacea, normal on cheeks
  • I am not a professional or a skincare expert
  • Take my suggestions with a grain of salt
  • What works for me might not work for you
  • Your skin is your own responsibility
  • I live in Indonesia where I only have very limited choices (e.g. we don't have Cerave here) so I will only recommend what I can find from my local drugstores.
  • Don't come at me and say "these products aren't cruelty-free!" and re-read my previous point.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Best for: normal, dry and sensitive skin

Who doesn't know Cetaphil? Everybody knows this brand and everybody knows that Cetaphil makes awesome products for sensitive skin. The Gentle Skin Cleanser can be used as face and body wash, is moisturizing, mild and gentle. It's also good for rosacea-prone skin and other skin disorders, which is the constant state of my T-zone. Compared to the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, this one also contains lesser components in its ingredient list and we all know that lesser components = milder formula. Fun fact, the gentle skin cleanser can also be used without water as a moisturizer.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Face Wash

Best for: normal to dry skin

Like its tagline, Hada Labo's products are always simple. This "self-foaming" cleanser has a mild, non-irritating formula that hydrates and keeps my face supple to the touch. Free from harsh chemicals, it has a low pH balance of 5.5, doesn't clog my pores and leaves no tight feeling on my face. In short, it's a straightforward product; an affordable foam cleanser that does its job nicely.

Clean & Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Wash

Best for: oily combination skin

Oil-free formula and is suitable for oily to combo skin with large pores and blackheads, a little bit goes a long way with this one. It's drugstore level, it's affordable and it does what it claims to do. I find that this also minimized my pores, prevents acne and reduced sebum production in the long run. Additionally, it also serves as a decent makeup remover (for light makeup.) If you have a highly sensitive skin, you'd probably want to pick a milder option.

Garnier Pure Active Matcha Foam Cleanser

Best for: oily and acne-prone skin

One of my current favorites, this cleanser is ideal for when you have a lot of breakouts. As a detoxifying cleanser, it contains matcha extract (doh!) and salicylic acid that will help fight off acne and blemishes. It also contains menthol which will give a cooling effect which is something I'm quite fond of. Although it is formulated for acne-prone skin, it does not strip my skin's natural oil at all which is quite surprising because cleansers for acne-prone skin can be drying at times. Side note, I'm not sure if this is exclusive to Asian market or not because I don't see a lot of western bloggers talk about this.

Sebamed Clear Face Antibacterial Cleansing Foam

Best for: combination to oily skin, acne-prone skin

This was an old favorite of mine back when I was still a teenager (dang, I feel old!), back when I used to have a huge, red flaming zit on my nose from time to time (I never had a lot of pimples but when I have one, it's always this... cyst-like, huge and red zit on my nose.) Though it's not as affordable as Garnier or Hada Labo, the Sebamed Clear Face line is good enough if you suffer from long term breakouts. With a mild and non-irritating formula, this alkali-free cleanser also claims to fight off blackheads and skin impurities — which it did. It did not strip my skin, has low pH of 5.5 and leaves you with a matte after-cleanse effect.

Clean & Clear Deep Action Cleanser

Best for: normal, combination to oily skin

Another old favorite of mine before I found the Garnier Matcha cleanser, this one has a thick, creamy texture with PureRice oil control technology who claims to removes dirt and skin impurities, controls oil production and mildly removes light makeup as well. The oil-free formula does not dry out my skin and leaves my face looking matte for more or less 3-4 hours maximum before I have to use blotting sheet. Unlike the Garnier one, this one does not feel as squeaky clean which is why it may work for people with normal skin as well. If anything, the Garnier one may feel a liiiitle bit drying for people with normal to combo skin. If you have normal skin, however, it is recommended not to use this cleanser everyday.

Out of all the cleansers listed above, my favorite cleansers are the Hada Labo foaming face wash and Garnier's matcha cleanser. And yes, I use two cleansers because as much as I care about oil control ,minimizing pores and  reducing blackheads, I want to prevent dehydrated skin.

Part II of this post will be about toners and part III will be about moisturizers.

Let's talk skincare in the comments: what is / are some of your favorite affordable cleansers?

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