This routine watered my crops, cleared my skin, and my grades are flourishing

Skin health.

Learning about skincare can be daunting because you’re unsure what products to buy or where to start (yes, there are 12-step routines; and no, it doesn’t have to be that complicated!)

When you’re a student, your schedule is tight and your money is precious. So, here’s a quick and easy three-step routine for healthy skin on a student budget.

1. Cleanse

Otter rubbing face

The start of your new routine is to cleanse. This is when you’ll wash away debris, sweat and the stress of school.

Cetaphil and CeraVe are great, easy-to-start-with brands. They typically don’t include fragrance in their products, which can be a potential irritant for some people.

It’s good to start with the basics until you figure out what works for your skin and what doesn’t. And, before applying a new product to your face, always do a patch test on your arm or neck to see if you have a reaction.

Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser and CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser are affordable products that won’t break the bank—swing by the drugstore to pick them up when there’s a sale.

Plus, you can get coupons for Cetaphil and CeraVe products when you sign up with them!

2. Moisturize

The second step is to moisturize after cleansing. Moisturizing promotes healthy skin through hydration and wards off that winter dryness.

“But do I need one of those $500 moisturizers made with the tears of angels to get results?”

Cat swatting hand away from wad of cash


Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin E are raved about in many high-end skincare products. Hyaluronic acid (HA) retains moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. Vitamin E hydrates your skin and protects it from the sun.  

The truth is: no product is a miracle worker. But you can find these helpful ingredients in affordable moisturizers like e.l.f.’s Holy Hydration! and Olay’s Complete Lotion Moisturizer.

As a student, you have enough expenses already. So, save some money and find a simple moisturizer to help keep your skin healthy!

And, best of all, you can get these products shipped to your doorstep.

3. Protect

Police opening suitcase full of sunscreen

No student skin care routine is complete without sunscreen.

Sitting by the window in class? Sunscreen. Taking the TTC to dinner with friends? Sunscreen. Hanging out at the Humber Arboretum? Sunscreen and a hat.

We know it can be a hassle, but protecting your skin from sun damage is an important final step. Luckily, there are some products that make this step a little easier, like the Neutrogena Face & Body Stick Sunscreen. It’s the perfect product for a student because you can throw it in your backpack and easily reapply it throughout the day.

Still sounds like too much work? Then here’s a pro tip for you! If you pick a moisturizer with SPF you could tackle steps two and three at the same time!

As promised, these three simple steps take just a couple of minutes in the morning, can be maintained at a low cost and set you up for healthy skin.

Keep learning

So, we’re done? Well, not exactly—a healthy skincare routine is a process.

For example, healthy skin isn’t always blemish-free—but cleaning and caring for your skin can help prevent breakouts.

But you should feel good in your skin. It can be difficult, but stick to your routine! Even after a long day (or pulling an all-nighter for your final) hop in the bathroom and do a quick cleanse and moisturize before you curl up into bed.

Cat clock from the simpsons ticking

And, because everyone’s skin is different, learn about yourself and what products work for you! Patience is key when trying out new products and waiting for results.

In short, you don’t have to exceed your student budget to get started with skincare basics. Whether you choose to keep it simple or add new steps as you go, it won’t be long until you’re a pro!

It’s not easy to live within a student budget. Here’s finance expert Michael Thorpe’s advice for saving, spending, and splurging (sometimes).

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