Home Feminism and Finances In the Name of Feminism, Beauty and the Budget: Skin Care

In the Name of Feminism, Beauty and the Budget: Skin Care

by Bethany
The Struggle

I have struggled for years with skincare. I have very…and I mean very sensitive skin that also tends to be very dry. As such, I have sadly spent way too much money on expensive products and skin care lines that do not work. They ended up irritating my skin, causing a breakout, or running out too fast; meaning I would need to drop another $50 to stock up.

The Racket

It is essential to care for your skin regardless of who you are.  However, there is a racket out there called “The Beauty Industry”. Easily one of the most inflated markets in the United States and worth over $50 billion.(The Cosmetics Racket) 

Imagine a business model that lets you sell an ounce of wax, water and Phthalates for $32.50 marked with the benefits of “miracle _______ fill in the blank with whatever you think is wrong with you”.

Society and the beauty industry work tirelessly to convince (mostly) women that their worth is directly tied to their looks AND most importantly they should be worried or at least mildly concerned about it.

Every year the Kardashians get younger and we get older. There must be an “anti- wrinkle” creme or some magic elixir that will correct my skin. Better yet give me that oh so natural glow of “Meaningful Beauty”[cringe…what the F**k does that even mean?]  that Cindy Crawford promises on the informercials.

Needless to say the pressure exists to utilize and purchase skin care and cosmetics in a powerful way and it exists to get our money. Stacy Malkan, cofounder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry (New Society, 2007) says, the average American woman uses 12 beauty products every day, exposing herself to about 160 different chemicals.

Those chemicals are present because the regulations on beauty products and the industry are far from perfect and have many loopholes for what could be considered “natural” or “organic”. The dangers of this is that many skin care products contain a huge list of ingredients when you really only needed one and the rest are fillers.

There is no mascara or blackhead remover or kale mask worth anything more that $30. That’s it. The beauty industry did not find a way to reach the Greek Gods and harvest their precious enzyme filled, puff reducing, redness erasing recipes. More expensive does not equal “better” or even better quality when it comes to skin care.

You do not have to take it from me, here is a beautiful personal essay by Sam Milam on the makeup buying experience for young women.

The Rules of the Routine

Before I dive into my list I want to summarize a few key points from above and for the future:

  • Do not pay more that $30 for any sort of beauty product. After that it is all mark up.
  • Look at the ingredient list…hopefully it is no more than 2-4- if it is you better be able to know what every single one is.
  • I enjoy skincare, but as a feminist and a human, do not support the industries motives to have women feel dissatisfied with themselves. The goal here is self care…not “fixing”
  • Pay attention to who you buy from and make sure it is cruelty free and earth conscious.
The Products

NOTE: I only do this routine ONCE a day at night after my shower. In the AM I use a smidgen of moisturizer and that is all unless I decide to do my makeup.

Additionally, any link provided are affiliates. This means I get a small kick back if you purchase from that link.

Step 1: Wash your face once or twice. If you have on makeup, wash it twice.

Neutrogena Naturals Face Wash

Earth Science Creamy Cleanser

Step 2: Tone with Witch Hazel and or a spritz of Coconut Water. Let it evaporate for a bit. Our skin likes to drink, especially in the dry winters and equally dry heating.

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel

Coconut Water Spritzer

Step 3: Moisturize with a pure oil or oil blend. I was skeptical of oils for the skin, but found they are the root products in moisturizers and the rest is alcohol (very drying) and sometimes calamine.Just buy straight calamine if you need it.

Pure Jojoba Oil Cold Pressed

Moroccan Beauty Oil (Roses)

Step 4: Moisturize under eyes and lips. The only “name brand” product I use is my Clinique eye cream which has decent and needed ingredients (although I am open to other options if you know of any). Give your lips a little bees wax for protection.

Portland Bee Balm: $1.99 only available in stores or a giant pack on Amazon

Clinique Under Eye Creme: $26.70 (I know it is pushing the limit-another reason I am open to options)

Regardless if you wash your face once or twice or slather on a overnight creme….don’t fall for the industries tricks that will cost you not only money, but confidence in your own beauty. Keep it simple and keep it clean.

Let me know your skin care routines. Do you keep it simple? Do you have even more steps?


Olivia @ Birds of a FIRE January 17, 2018 - 8:16 pm

Erm, I am pretty guilty of face mask consumption. I love the Dr. Jart ones. We get the same exact ones in Asia for $1.5 as the ones Sephora carries for $7. No, not knockoff. The same ones.

Try looking at Korean skin care. They have some of the best in the world (possibly due to their love of plastic surgery and youth). Due to intense competition, their products are crazy innovative and surprisingly cheap.

Bethany McCamish January 17, 2018 - 9:17 pm

I have never tried those, although find that I don’t have much patience for masks. Ha! Maybe I should make that a new self care goal? On another note, do not even get me started on the price inflation for the same products! Even store to store, Sephora and Ulta can be up to $3 more than Fred Meyers or a Grocer (if they carry it). Ugh! The struggle. 🙂

Korean skin care routines are awesome! I will have to look into what they have to offer when I start running low. My big fear is my super sensitive skin, so I tend to stick to the products I know everything in them.

Thank you for reading!


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