The Affordable Skincare of Your Self-Isolation Dreams


Inspired by our 24-Hour Product Diaries, Jezebel brings you Dirtbag Product Diaries, a video series showcasing the beauty routines keeping us afloat during isolation.

Hello theydies and gentlethems. I’m Arabelle, a beauty writer for various places, most recently my own newsletter. Right now I’m mostly working on my book for Norton and playing with my dog at midnight in the park near my house, like a feral vampire mom. Apparently, the content mill has churned my way and I have been asked to share my skincare routine of the moment! I used to do a lot more product recommendations and skincare updates when Tumblr still mattered, but it’s become less of a priority for me since I don’t try out new products as soon as they hit the market anymore. My skin is as tired as I am of this administration, and I just want to use what works for me. Anyway, here’s what I use right now:

La-Roche Posay Effaclar Micellar Water, $15.99, Skinstore (link)
Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Foam Cleanser, $7.92, YesStyle (link)
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, $29.50, Paula’s Choice (link)
Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops, $145, Sephora (link)
Atolla Personalized Serum, $35, Atolla (link)
Beboe High-Potency CBD Mask, $18 for single mask, Beboe (link) [Note: In general I like the Mediheal N.M.F Intensive Hydrating Masks, which are less expensive but currently out of stock.]
Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre, $28, Dermstore (link)
Goodal Gold Snail Sleeping Pack, $37.99, Amazon (link)

You’ll notice that most of these aren’t particularly expensive—my readers have always asked me for product recommendations under $50 so I just gravitate to trying out things that fall under that category. I splurge on facials at Rescue Spa (go to Morgan) and regular manicures but everything else is usually under that budget.

I have been using Paula’s Choice products for many years, though the ones I use differ depending on my needs, which change according to the season and my stress levels. I’ve been doing this particular routine for probably a year or so—I’m on my second bottle of the Anti-Pollution Drops and about done with this foaming cleanser. I have also lost track of what Curology bottle I’m on—it’s a custom acne medication—but I was in between bottles when I shot this video, so it’s not included.

I made a decision about two years ago to not buy any new beauty products or request them from brands for a story unless I have been asked by an editor to try stuff out. After writing about the beauty industry’s state of sustainability for Teen Vogue recently, I began keeping all my empty beauty packaging in a clear bag to bring to a specialty recycling point when they open again post-pandemic. Credo has recycling points at their locations ordinarily, so I’ll be taking my empty bottles and tubes there when everything is safely reopened.

There’s really no point in me trying out new products when I have boxes of stuff to use up first, so I don’t. Maybe this makes me a less useful beauty writer in terms of recommending the newest products on the market, but it makes me feel better as a person. I’m more focused on ingredients and affordability than how attractive packaging is anyway. My research right now is primarily on labor practices in the beauty industry, so I feel weird about using products from new brands I haven’t vetted thoroughly yet, too.

All my skincare routine fits into a plastic bin I got at a Dollar General. I do not require elegance, just efficacy, ya know?

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