I Went 7 Days Using Only Drugstore Products…And This Is What Happened
We challenged one editor to use only drugstore products in her skin care routine for a week… find out what happened below!
When it comes to investing in skin care, it’s not always clear where one should splurge versus save. Adding to the confusion is the age-old debate about whether or not affordable, no-frills drugstore buys can stand up to pricier department store counterparts. Some people assume that more expensive automatically equals better—hint: a leading dermatologist told us otherwise—and thus avoid drugstore brands like the plague. Others swear by products found on drugstore shelves, often at a fraction of the cost of luxe brands.
If you’re anything like me, both drugstore and luxury products sit pretty inside your beauty cabinet. Most of the products in my arsenal are provided to me free of charge (perks of the job!) but a handful are ones I purchased on my own. And guess what? I shop at both the drugstore and department store for my beauty buys, so in other words I’m pretty unbiased. I firmly believe that the products you use are only as good as the routine you follow. You can spend over $800 per month on skin care, but that’s not a surefire way to guarantee the results you want. Achieving the skin of your dreams requires a combination of hard work and daily dedication to the cause, as well as the best products suited for your skin type and concerns. As for whether or not those products should come from the drugstore, department store, or both is up to you to figure out.
Never one to turn down a little skin experiment, I decided to part ways with my department store staples in favor of solely drugstore products for a full week. Curious to know how my skin fared at the conclusion of seven days using nothing more than drugstore products from start to finish? Keep reading!
Since my usual cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF—the non-negotiable parts of a skin routine—are typically formulas by high-end, department store brands, I decided to swap those three out for drugstore products. Below, I share my 7-day routine using drugstore products—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—that were provided complimentary to the Skincare.com team.
Step 1: Cleanse
Upon waking every morning, my first step was washing my face to rid my complexion of any dirt or impurities potentially picked up overnight. Since micellar water is one of my all-time favorites, I used L’Oreal Paris’ Micellar Cleansing Water for all skin types. Even waterproof mascara is no match for this powerful liquid, which cleansed my skin without irritation with just a few sweeps of a cotton pad.
Step 2: Moisturize
Up next? Moisturizing my skin. I have combination skin, so I prefer to use an oil-free moisturizer with a light, matte finish. I applied La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat immediately after cleansing while my skin was just slightly damp. The formula not only hydrates skin but helps reduce excess oil and visibly tighten the appearance of enlarged pores—two skin concerns I battle often!
Step 3: Apply SPF
No skin experiment could keep me from applying broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher to my skin daily. Knowing the side effects that can occur after prolonged and unprotected sun exposure, I make sure to protect my skin with sunscreen, rain or shine. Many people have a love/hate relationship with sunscreen and fear it will make their skin look ashy, cause a breakout, ruin their makeup, or all of the above. The key is to reach for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s lightweight and non-sticky. Vichy Ideal Capital Soleil SPF 50—the one I used—absorbed into my skin immediately without leaving behind a whitening residue.
Note: At night, I skipped step three entirely because harmful UV rays are not present in the evening.
After seven days of following the above routine with the drugstore products mentioned, I am happy to report that my skin looks and feels great! I didn’t feel that the products were any less effective than the pricier formulas I’ve tried. However, skin care is not one size fits all so I can’t confidently state that all will have a similarly positive experience.
Moving forward, I’ll be switching back to my former use of both drugstore and department store products since the beauty junkie in me doesn’t like to restrict skin care options to just one brand, store, or type of item. Instead of focusing on department store vs. drugstore, consider your budget, read product and ingredient labels, and pay attention to your skin type and concerns to make an educated choice on what products are right for you to use.