6 ways your skincare routine could be wasting money—and how to make every drop count

April 15, 2024

If you’ve been bit by the skincare bug, chances are your wallet is noticing. Skincare can be pricey, whether you’re a fan of a 12-step routine or prefer to keep things simple. In any case, you may not have to simplify your love of skincare just for the sake of cutting back on costs just yet — below, take a look at some common wasteful things you may be doing with your skincare routine that can make a difference in your spending. 

You’re using too much product

One of the biggest culprits of being wasteful with your routine involves using too much of your formulas at any one time. Try cutting back on the actual amount of product you use and you may find yourself not having to repurchase them as often. (FYI: A dime-sized amount of your cleanser and serum is plenty enough to wash your face — other product categories like eye cream and retinol only require a pea-sized amount.)

You’re keeping your products tucked away

For some people, the saying “out of sight, out of mind” rings true when it comes to the products they already own. Find yourself forgetting what you have (or accidentally purchasing a repeat product)? Switch up your organization by displaying products on your countertop or vanity — this may serve as a nice reminder to put those hard-working formulas to use. There are several different ways to do this, one of them being strategically give each product a home, placing your most-used items at arms length and the other, more “nice-to-have” products in something like a  skincare caddy.

You’re over-spending on short-contact products

Some products (like cleansers, makeup removers, and rinse-off face masks) only come into contact with your skin for a short period of time. If your budget requires you to be picky with what products you spend on, you’ll get more bang for your buck by investing your money on formulas that’ll sit on your skin for a longer period of time (like a serum, moisturizer or oil).

You’re not wearing sunscreen daily

Without proper sun protection, you’re opening yourself up to a world of new skincare issues to remedy, which can end up burning a hole in your wallet in the long-run. While the common symptoms of sun damaged-skin like hyperpigmentation, sun spots and fine lines can be improved with products containing active ingredients, preventing these issues from forming in the first place via sunscreen can help save you precious time and money.

You’re using single-functioning formulas

Multi-tasking skincare products have bumped in popularity because they save time, money and effort when it comes to research and application. If you assess your skincare drawer and find that your products are only targeting one issue, consider taking advantage of multi-functioning formulas that achieve more than one thing (think: a sunscreen with a tint, a dark spot reducer that also brightens, a moisturizer that hydrates and offers anti-aging properties).

You’re not taking advantage of refillable packaging

More and more skincare brands are making sustainable packaging a priority, adding refillable products to their lineup of offerings. Not only does this benefit the environment by reducing waste, but it cuts back on costs for the brand, meaning you’ll end up paying less once it’s time to restock on your favorites.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not looked be considered specific medical advice.  

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Michelle Rostamian is a Los Angeles-based beauty and wellness contributor for Murad's Well Connected with 10 years of experience in the industry. She currently writes for Allure, InStyle, People, The Zoe Report, W Magazine and more.