TikTok is a treasure trove of beauty tutorials, reviews, tips and tricks. I downloaded the app thinking I had a good hold on makeup and skincare, only to realize my sorely limited knowledge. Little did I know I’d quickly uncover the best and worst affordable skincare, which is frequently covered on the stimulating platform.
TikTok brings us the likes of resident skincare guru Hyram, who dominates the app. Other influential aficionados in the space include JC Dombrowski, Dr. Shah (@dermdoctor) Charlotte Palermino (@charlotteparler) and Young Yuh (@yayayayoung). I’ve impressively learned more about skincare during my short time on the platform than during the course of my life.
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These experts’ massive followings swear by their actions: micellar water is always a yes, whereas makeup wipes are always a no. But to get into it a little deeper, I’ve rounded up a list of what the TikTok experts generally classify as the best and worst affordable skincare brands on the market.
Keep reading to find out!
CeraVe: Leading the pack of best and worst affordable skincare brands is CeraVe. A drugstore staple, the brand is known for its generous supply and effective ingredients. Like many, I quickly brushed their products to the side, due to lackluster packaging. But if the experts sway my desire to experiment, I’ll look into fan favorites, the Hydrating Cleanser and Moisturising Cream. The brand’s products are frequently sold out, and have been proven to work wonders on the skin. CeraVe is truly the all-star in the TikTok skincare space.
First Aid Beauty: This brand is heralded by the experts as a go-to for sensitive skin. But additionally, it’s touted for its antioxidant-rich sunscreen, which blends seamlessly. Hence its name, the clean beauty brand is also known for targeting specific skincare woes, including Keratosis pilaris (KP), eczema and acne.
La Roche-Posay: With such a fancy name and sleek packaging to boot, I’m always shocked to see La Roche-Posay posted up in CVS. The French skincare brand boasts an array of effective and affordable products geared toward sensitive skin. Derms swear by this brand, and its popularity is more evident than ever on TikTok.
The Ordinary: I’ve always abided by the saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And in the case of The Ordinary, it may just defy the odds. It’s one of the most remarkably priced brands at Sephora, chock-full of effective ingredients and a wide array of products for varying skin types. To top it all off, its packaging, albeit simple, is sleek and professional. The Ordinary—most renown on TikTok for its AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution—keeps its products focused on prime active ingredients (like niacinamide and zinc, for example) and ditches the fancy frills.
The Inkey List: Taking cues from The Ordinary, brand new The Inkey List is another ridiculously affordable skincare brand at Sephora. Known to include your standard buzzy ingredients (hyaluronic acid, retinol and collagen, to name a few), they’ve also released innovative formulas previously unknown to the common consumer: Polyglutamic Acid, Multi-Biotic Moisturizer and Heptapeptide Serum.
St. Ives: If you live by the “any press is good press” motto, St. Ives can thank TikTok for making it one of the most talked-about skincare brands on the app (even if it happens to be a best and worst affordable skincare list). St. Ives is the butt of every joke in these 15-second videos, but nevertheless, it has gained relevancy. Roasted for its ridiculously high concentration of fragrance, its harmful scrubs (which have been proven to cause tears in the skin), and the brand’s recommendation to exfoliate every single day, using St. Ives in your skincare routine is considered the ultimate no-no by the experts.
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Clean & Clear: While I’ve never been a Clean & Clear user, it’s definitely synonymous with my childhood and acne commercials I saw every day as a kid. Having been around for so long, you’d think the company would have their formulas down by now—but according to the skincare experts, such is not the case. Clean & Clear’s products contain heavy concentrations of fragrance and other harmful ingredients for the skin, including alcohol and menthol. Also, in cases where beneficial ingredients are included, they’re often counteracted with other ingredients that make them either harmful or obsolete.
Bioré: Who doesn’t love a good peel-off mask or nose strip? Watching gunk seep out of your skin is oddly satisfying. It isn’t, however, actually doing anything for you. While yes, you may see a temporary removal of blackheads from a Bioré nose strip, these strips do absolutely nothing to treat or reduce blackheads longterm. Pore strips aside, many of the brand’s formulas are advertised as fitting “for all skin types,” when, in fact, they’ve been proven to cause redness, breakouts and excess oil production when used on dry or sensitive skin.
Thayer’s: Thayer’s is up there with St. Ives in the TikTok skincare space. Just about every expert swears against it, insisting that tannins-infused witch hazel is unacceptable on the face, no matter your skin type. Thayer’s is known for its array of witch hazel products, which have gained popularity based on their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But their high concentration of alcohol only causes the skin to produce more oil and trigger more breakouts. Steer clear at all costs!
Mario Bedescu: When I think of this brand, Urban Outfitters immediately comes to mind. Trendy and affordable, it never dawned on me that experts deem Mario Bedescu one of the most hated-upon skincare brands. In fact, the company settled a class action lawsuit in 2013 for failing to disclose the inclusion of strong steroids in at least two of their products. Generally speaking, the brand’s ingredients lists are misleading and cheaply made.
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