A new year brings with it new resolutions and if yours includes saving more money or saving up for something special, here are 5 key grooming staples that you don’t need to spend a whole lot of money on and for. Here’s why:
Clean hands is something that I contribute to my overall healthiness. I don’t fall sick very often and I’m sure it’s due to the fact that I keep my hands pretty clean. If you think about it, you can’t avoid picking up germs on a day-to-day basis: taxis, ATMs, public restrooms, money. Well, even mobile phones were found to have more germs than a toilet seat!
So washing your hands regularly is a great habit and sometimes, you can’t always pick the kind of soap you wash your hands with (if you have a choice, sulfate-free is the way to go). But what you can do is use a great hand cream to keep your hands well, healthy and hydrated. Your hands are one of the first places on the body to show signs of ageing. While growing wiser is always awesome, having wrinkly hands that don’t match the zest and vigor I have for life is not something I desire.
There isn’t a better hand cream than this amazing one from Neutrogena, in my opinion. Concentrated and effective, this hydrates and heals dehydrated, chapped skin instantly and its wallet-friendly price means you don’t have to feel bad about washing your hands.
Buy this Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, Fragrance Free for US$3.99 at Drugstore.com.
Unless you are looking for a particular scent, there’s no need to spend a ton of money on body lotions. Firstly because most body lotions on the market share similar ingredients and the difference varies only by packaging and scent. So if there’s something you particularly like, go for it. But if you don’t really care, then this Vaseline one with cocoa butter smells like chocolate and will hydrate even the driest of skin. Buy this Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Non-Greasy Lotion with Pure Cocoa Butter for US$6.87 at Drugstore.com.
Secondly, the body obviously has more surface area so the cost of your body lotion can add up. But since hydration doesn’t have to be expensive especially on the body where skin is thicker and less delicate than the one on your face, a drugstore one will suffice and perhaps even exceed expectations. If you want something more neutral, this St. Ives Replenishing Mineral Therapy Body Lotion (US$4.55) will do the trick.
The same rule goes for sunblock. Well, especially sunblock. Since we usually don’t apply enough and stay out in the sun way longer than we expect (time always flies when you’re having fun).
This summer, you don’t need to spend a bunch on sunblock for the body because well, there are a lot of drugstore options that have serious science backing them up. Neutrogena is a great, affordable brand. I especially like the Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50 (US$9.99) because you can go in the water, get out, towel off and then spray liberally. This sunblock mist works on both dry and wet skin so you don’t have to spend time dealing with sunblock that slides off. Or feel the pinch when you use a lot.
Also, there isn’t a need to spend money on anything above SPF 50 because the sun protection plateaus. Focus instead of a generous layer and re-application every 2 hours.
Yes, you should definitely invest in skincare products that have antioxidants and retinol when it comes to your face. But there is no need to spend a lot of money on a cleanser because it doesn’t stay on your skin long enough for active ingredients to penetrate or make a difference.
Instead, use a soap-free cleanser twice (also known as double-cleansing) at the end of each day to thoroughly get rid of all the grime, dirt, oil and sunblock. I prefer a hydrating cleanser like Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser (US$6.99) even when I breakout because most traditional acne medications or even exfoliating treatments can dry the skin and so the last thing you want to do is overdry the skin with a harsh cleanser.
If you have other skin concerns, invest in a good serum for that particular issue instead.
Lip balm is another thing you don’t need to splurge on. You apply it, you drink something, it’s pretty much gone. You lick your lips subconsciously throughout the day and it’s gone. The best solution for chapped lips is thus regular application.
In the day, use one with SPF to protect the thin, delicate skin (your lips get chapped because there aren’t any oil glands found under the skin of the lips). I like Kiss My Face Sport Treat Lip Balm SPF 30, Mint (US$3.49) because it’s petroleum-free, refreshes with mint and doesn’t leave an oily sheen.
At night, use something richer and thick like this La Roche Posay Ceralip Lip Repair Cream (US$18). It provides a barrier and seals in moisture while protecting against harsh elements (cold winds, dry cabin air etc). It doesn’t have petroleum which makes this a god-send to those with sensitive lips (like myself).