The 15 Best Affordable Skincare Brands of 2023

These inexpensive skincare lines offer quality, science-backed formulas without the high-end price tags.

In This Article

Jump to a Section

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Best Affordable Skincare Brands

InStyle / Kristin Kempa

Welcome to the golden age of affordable skincare. Gone are the days of eschewing drugstore beauty aisles; if anything, we’re beelining straight to them. That’s because today’s inexpensive beauty brands aren’t letting their low prices compromise quality, efficacy, or creativity. It’s true, your local pharmacy’s shelves are stocked with wallet-friendly skincare just as good as any luxury option out there.

Whether you’re looking for some seriously powerful actives or gentle formulas for ultra-sensitive skin, there’s a price-conscious option for you. And to help you weed through the endless options, we put on our investigator hats and got to work. Read on for the 15 best affordable skincare brands.




Byoma took a page out of the luxury skincare handbook by centering its line around a proprietary ingredient called the tri-ceramide complex, which rebuilds the skin barrier and restores natural moisture levels. Unlike its high-end counterparts, though, none of Byoma's products exceed $20.

The brand has struck a particular cord on TikTok, where the hashtag #byoma has garnered more than 50 million views (and counting). There, users have waxed poetic on the brand’s gentle Clarifying Serum and Moisturizing Gel Cream.

TikTok users aren’t the only Byoma fans, though. One InStyle writer even likened the brand’s Moisturizing Gel Cream to the Tatcha Water Cream Moisturizer (which is more than four times the price of the former). Other favorites include the Hydrating Serum, which minimizes trans-epidermal water loss, redness, dryness, and flakiness, as well as the Moisturizing Rich Cream, which feels far more rich and expensive than its $15 price tag.

Bestsellers: Moisturizing Gel Cream, Hydrating Serum, Creamy Jelly Cleanser | Price Range: $11 to $19 | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Daily Moisturizing Lotion

We can’t talk about affordable skincare without mentioning CeraVe. Ask any dermatologist for a skincare recommendation, and you’re bound to find at least one CeraVe product on the list. And derms are just a sliver of the brand’s massive fan base: CeraVe has gone viral on TikTok, is beloved by celebs like Blake Lively and Emma Chamberlain, and is a mainstay in beauty editors’ routines around the world.

The brand holds countless bestseller titles across Amazon, too: Its Daily Moisturizing Lotion reigns supreme as the site’s number one bestselling body lotion (no easy feat), the AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 tops the facial cream bestsellers, and the Eye Repair Cream is the site's bestselling eye treatment.

CeraVe’s mass appeal (and massive success) is proof that when it comes to skincare, simplicity reigns supreme — and an important reminder just how essential a strong skin barrier really is. When in doubt, CeraVe is almost always a safe, reliable option.

Bestsellers: Moisturizing Cream, Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Hydrating Facial Cleanser | Price Range: $8 to $29 | Cruelty-Free: No

The Ordinary

The Ordinary

The Ordinary

You may think you need to shell out the big bucks to get effective, highly concentrated formulas — but The Ordinary is here to prove the opposite. At first glance, you might think the low price tags are too good to be true (the brand’s potent serums start at under $5), but using any of the science-backed products will make you fully believe that the finer things in life don’t have to cost much. 

The brand has dozens of products, and there’s not many we don’t love (in fact, it was difficult to narrow down our 20 favorites, but we somehow managed to). Whether you’re a skincare novice or have your routine down pat, the simplistic products can really supercharge your skincare regimen,

Some of our favorites include the Hyaluronic Acid + 2% B5 — this bestseller plumps and hydrates skin with just three ingredients: Two forms of hyaluronic acid, plus panthenol (aka vitamin B5). If you’re looking to brighten skin, go for the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, a multipurpose moisturizer that simultaneously evens skin tone, diminishes blemishes, and banishes dullness. Truthfully, we could wax poetic about almost every product. You really can’t go wrong with anything from The Ordinary.  

Bestsellers: Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, Squalane Cleanser, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% | Price Range: $5 to $31 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Beauty industry extraordinaire, Marcia Kilgore, founded Bliss in 1996 while working as a celebrity facialist. Inspired by clients’ demand for quality skincare and complaints of stress, Bliss believes skincare and self-care are one and the same — and hopes its products empower everyone to achieve a higher state of happy. 

Bliss’ formulation philosophy is simple: What’s not in the product is just as important as what’s actually in the product. The brand claims to formulate without over 1,300 harmful ingredients (which, to be honest, sounds like a fear-mongering marketing tactic). Still, if clean beauty is important to you, Bliss will meet (maybe even exceed) your standards.

As for InStyle favorites, we’re fans of Bliss’ Eye Got This Hyaluronic Acid Depuffing Eye Masks, which expertly depuff, brighten, and tighten tired eyes; and the Bright Idea Vitamin C Serum, which Bethenny Frankel says is one of her favorite high-quality serums. We also love the Block Star Invisible Mineral Daily Sunscreen, a gorgeous, universally sheer SPF that blurs imperfections without leaving behind any greasy residue.

Bestsellers: Bright Idea Serum, Block Star Mineral Daily Sunscreen, Drench & Quench Cream-to-Water Hydrator | Price Range: $4 to $45 | Cruelty-Free: Yes


oil to milk cleanser


Founded in 2015, Cocokind is paving the way for modern day beauty brands through its radical transparency. From ingredients to impact, the brand's honesty makes it easy to feel like a fully empowered, informed consumer.

Cocokind's products are built around tried-and-true botanical-forward formulas and superfood ingredients, like matcha, turmeric, and celery, that support the skin barrier as well as boost hydration. We’re partial to the Ceramide Barrier Serum, a holy grail for hydrated, supple skin that makes a major difference in skin with just one use. The Chia Bounce Face Mask is another favorite; its effective formula is seriously versatile, and can be used as a quick wash-off mask, as a gel moisturizer, or as an overnight mask.

Another multifaceted go-to is the Rosewater Facial Spray, which I love to use on my scalp between washes (often after particularly sweaty gym sessions) to reduce oiliness, prevent dandruff, and smooth frizz.

Bestsellers: Oil to Milk Cleanser, Rosewater Facial Toner, Daily SPF | Price Range: $9 to $27 | Cruelty-Free: Yes




Avène has the history and ethos of a luxury brand without the high prices. The brand found its roots in a small town in the South of France during the mid-1700s, when the Marquis of Rocozels discovered the therapeutic properties of the town’s thermal springs. The thermal spring water went on to win the approval of scientific leaders in dermatology and countless doctors, and was even sent to America in 1871 to help soothe burn victims of the Great Chicago Fire.

Fast forward a couple hundred years to 1990, when the first Eau Thermale Avène products were finally manufactured, introducing the brand as we know it today. Each product includes that famed thermal water, making the line especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin.

Whatever your skincare concern, there’s likely an Avène routine for you — and its famous fan base speaks for itself: From Hailey Bieber (who swears by the Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream) to Gwenyth Paltrow and Rita Ora (both are avid Thermal Spring Water users). As for us, we’re also hardcore Avène fans and count its Hydrance Aqua Gel Moisturizer, and Cold Cream Concentrated Hand Cream among our favorites.

Bestsellers: Thermal Spring Water, Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream, Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream | Price Range: $9 to $78 | Cruelty-Free: Yes


 Atoderm Intensive Balm


Bioderma is yet another French pharmacy favorite that’s garnered immense popularity in America. Launched in the 1970s, the brand is committed to developing effective, accessible solutions that simplify everyday life. 

While Bioderma’s products span a range of categories (including everything from SPF and serums to self-tanner), the brand’s cleansers loom large above the rest. And the fans agree — clear-faced megastars, including Lucy Hale, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Drew Barrymore, swear by the brand’s gentle yet effective cleansers.

You’d be hard pressed to find a beauty editor who doesn’t own multiple bottles of Bioderma Micellar Water (I currently have four in my possession, maybe five). There’s a reason the celeb-loved micellar water earned a spot on our best micellar waters list: With three iterations of no-rinse cleanser available (one for sensitive skin, dehydrated skin, and acne-prone skin), each quickly and effectively removes all traces of makeup while also soothing and refreshing skin. 

Bestsellers: Atoderm Shower Oil, Sensibio Micellar Water, Atoderm Intensive Balm | Price Range: $5 to $49 | Cruelty-Free: No


AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid


CosRX is a K-beauty brand that is known for its simple, efficacious products — and it is perhaps most famous for its Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream (an Emily Ratajkowski favorite) and Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. Both are enriched with more than 90% snail mucin to nourish and plump skin, repair damage, and provide long-lasting hydration. And while snails are the star of these two bestsellers, the brand is quick to point out that no snails are harmed in the making of its products.

The Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule is another standout in the CosRX lineup, thanks to its ability to calm skin, reduce redness, soften texture, improve radiance, and support elasticity. And for those ready to venture further into the brand’s offerings, we suggest checking out the Low pH Goodnight Soft Peeling Gel, a dermatologist-approved exfoliant that renews skin without irritation.

Bestsellers: Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, Master Patch Set, Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser | Price Range: $6 to $32 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Hero Cosmetics

Pore Release The blackhead solution

Hero Cosmetics

Ju Rhyu started Hero Cosmetics in 2017 with a pimple patch and a dream. The brand offers solutions for every type of pimple, as well as tools for prevention, repair, and restoration. In fact, Rhyu is so passionate about pimples that Hero offers seven different types of acne patches — from ones with micropoints to target those pesky under-the-skin zits to a contoured XL full nose patch

Hero Cosmetics steps away from any sort of shame around acne, even around one of the biggest blemish care taboos: Popping your pimples. Sometimes, squeezing and prodding happens. When it does, Hero’s Rescue Balm is there for you. Inspired by first aid ointment, Rescue Balm targets four post-blemish issues — red spots, bumps, scaly patches, and dark marks — to take your recovery time from weeks to days.

And Hero’s solution-based offerings don’t end there. There’s the Superfuel Serum Stick, which offers a swipe-and-go boost of cooling hydration to the skin, and the Lightning Wand, a supercharged brightening serum.

Bestsellers: Mighty Patch Original, Rescue Balm, Lightning Wand | Price Range: $13 to $30 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

The Inkey List



Better knowledge powers better decisions. That’s the philosophy that built The Inkey List. Skincare can be confusing, which is why this brand is committed to spreading beauty know-how and top-notch products at accessible prices. Each of the formulas focus on a single ingredient, and the brand offers an in-depth glossary on the website, so you can understand every formulation choice.

The commitment to education and accessibility doesn’t end there. For each product, packaging includes clear information about who the product is suitable for, when to apply, how to apply and how much, the benefits, and a working definition of the star ingredient. And let’s not forget nearly every product is under $20.

Even celebs are The Inkey List fans. Both Alana Haim and Gemma Chan swear by the Caffeine Eye Cream (as do I, and as a very puffy-eyed person, I can confirm it’s legit). The brand’s wide range really does ensure a product for whatever your needs may be — even if your concern is less about your face and more about scalp.

Bestsellers: Oat Cleansing Balm, Caffeine Eye Cream, Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum | Price Range: $6 to $24 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay

More likely than not, you've probably used a La Roche-Posay sunscreen at some point in your life. The drugstore staple offers more than just sun protection, though — with a range of serums, creams, and acne treatments La Roche-Posay can build out your entire skincare routine.

The brand has no shortage of fans, from dermatologists and beauty editors, to countless celebrities, including Kelly Ripa, Heidi Klum, Alexa Chung, Anne Hathaway, Leighton Meester, Nina Dobrev, Sarah Jessica Parker — the list goes on. In fact, SJP has used the Toleraine Dermallergo Moisturizing Cream for more than 10 years. Meanwhile Natalia Dyer is partial to the brand’s Double Repair Face Moisturizer

We’re also fans of the Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment, a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment that helps unearth even the deepest of pimples. From the serums to the SPF to the impressive bodycare, it’s hard to find a La Roche-Posay product we don’t stand behind.

Bestsellers: Toleraine Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer, Cicaplast Balm B5 | Price Range: $8 to $65 | Cruelty-Free: No


Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50


Despite launching as a global pandemic shut the world down, Naturium’s quickly made a name for itself in the beauty space. Founded by Susan Yara, the brand is driven by her belief that high-performance skincare should and can be clinically effective and affordable. 

Nothing about Naturium feels “cheap” or “boring” — two words that have long plagued the affordable skincare industry. Products are innovative and high quality, and the brand’s messaging is refreshingly real in an industry often bogged down by cheeky marketing and overpromises.

While the Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2% is far and away the brand’s best seller, the hits don’t end there. Its first sunscreen, the Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50, launched earlier this year to rave reviews. Naturium also offers a wide selection of bodycare, including seven different body washes for targeted concerns.

Bestsellers: Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%, Vitamin C Complex Serum, The Glow Getter Multi-Oil Body Wash | Price Range: $10 to $36 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Rosen Skincare

Clearing Concentrate

Rosen Skincare

It’s no secret: Traditional acne solutions have long left diverse skin types and concerns out of the conversation. That’s where Rosen comes in. With products and routines developed through the lens of women of color, the brand is making sure all diverse needs are addressed in the acne aisle.

With breakout, bump, and dark spot prevention products, Rosen offers a nuanced solution to acne — and it looks really cool doing it. Unlike traditional acne brands, Rosen’s bringing a much-needed fun facelift to the acne scene. And they know what they’re doing: The brand’s Smooth Jelly Mask topped our best face mask list thanks to its ability to smooth skin texture, lighten dark spots, and clean out pores.

InStyle picks include the Break-Out, a spot treatment packed with antibacterials like zinc oxide and apple cider vinegar to help large, inflamed bumps go away, and the Earth Mask, which helps regulate sebum thanks to a mix of zinc oxide, niacinamide, and earth clay.

Bestsellers: Bright Citrus SerumSuper Smoothie Cleanser, Earth Cleanser | Price Range: $12 to $20 | Cruelty-Free: Yes


pimple patch


If Rosen is all about making acne care inclusive, StarFace is making acne care downright fun. The brand’s Hydro-Stars are easily the world’s cutest pimple patches (even Justin Bieber is a fan!), and the entire brand is built around that same energy.

StarFace also offers a collection of acne-friendly skincare products. The Clear As Day SPF 46 sunscreen is an impressive non-comedogenic sunscreen, while the Moisture on Mars cream soothes dryness and damaged skin. As far as favorites go, we’re partial to the Lift Off pore strips, thanks to their gentle yet effective formula, as well as the Micro-Cloud patches, which feature micro darts for targeting under-the-skin blemishes.

StarFace isn’t just about feeling good — it does good too. The brand’s Rainbow Stars are part of the permanent collection, and all net proceeds from the product in the U.S. are donated to the Black Led Movement Fund and the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ+ Youth. It’s just one example of StarFace’s commitment to positive change in the world, whether it be about acne or equality.

Bestsellers: Hydro-Stars, Moisture on Mars, Rainbow Stars | Price Range: $6 to $24 | Cruelty-Free: Yes




Versed is all about high performance, and a major part of the brand's mission includes getting direct feedback from its community — and actually incorporating those insights into its products. It’s how the brand is able to create formulas that really are for everyone. Plus, all products are under $25.

Versed’s offerings are so popular, that they've proved their success isn’t just a viral fluke. Fans love the brand’s Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum so much, they’re afraid the possibility it could ever be discontinued, while the Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask went viral thanks to its glass skin effects

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention two of our own favorites: the Mood Lighting Luminizing Glow Drops, which feel and act like a serum but leave skin with a radiant, glowy finish, and the Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk Toner, which features a dreamy formula filled with humectants and nourishing amino acids.

Bestsellers: Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask, Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm, Mood Lighting Luminizing Glow Drops | Price Range: $10 to $25 | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Why Shop With Us

Danielle Cohen is a freelance beauty writer and editor with more than five years of experience reporting on the beauty industry and testing products. As a member of InStyle’s commerce team, she swatches, sprays, and samples countless beauty products. For this story, she did her due diligence researching the best affordable skincare brands available. Beyond looking at reviews and celebrity fandom, she tested some of the products out and looked for thoughtful origin stories to find affordable skincare brands that are truly worth every penny. 

Related Articles