Skincare for beginners: how to get the best ingredients in your routine for less

Thanks to social media skinfluencers (*ahem*, Hyram), the general population’s skincare knowledge is greater than ever before. The alcohol-soaked wipes and microbead scrubs of our teenage years have officially been ‘cancelled’, paving the way for high-powered actives and clean, gentle formulas from the get-go.

If you’re not quite ready to splurge on super luxe skincare but want the best of beauty’s big-shot ingredients in your routine, we’ve got you covered with our most affordable, feel-good skincare (that still looks good on the ‘gram).


The hype for hyaluronic and its many forms is real: Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Complex was the first ever skincare product to use the hydrating and plumping ingredient, and APOT.CARE founder Antoine Le Galloudec lauds it as the one ingredient everyone should have in their skincare routine.

A popular humectant for all skin types, hyaluronic acid has the power to retain over a thousand times its weight in water within the skin's cells. Add it to your routine with a serum, such as Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Dew Drop Serum, or, in a moisturiser—our starter picks are Morphe’s new Total Softie Gel Moisturizer, and the Kylie Skin Face Moisturizer.

READ MORE: I used nothing but Kylie Skin for a week and these are my thoughts


Playmaker of clear, glassy, even-toned skin, vitamin C is a super-antioxidant we sing praise for time and time again. Plus, it makes a sun, pollution, and free-radical fighting super duo when paired with your favourite sunscreen. A good vitamin C serum can be on the pricier side, so when we peeped the ingredients list for Kylie Skin’s Vitamin C Serum, (it’s the second ingredient!) we were sold. If you want to ease into the ingredient with a smaller dose, try the brand’s Eye Cream, or Mario Badescu’s Hydro Moisturiser With Vitamin C.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about incorporating vitamin c into your skincare routine


Now that we’ve all learnt how to pronounce it, it’s about time you reaped niacinamide’s long list of benefits. Also known as vitamin B3, the essential nutrient strengthens the skin barrier, counteracts dullness, helps to alleviate breakouts, and regulates oil production. When paired with hyaluronic? Game. Changing.

Whenever your skin is feeling ‘bleurgh’, slather on the Hydrating Face Mask from Kylie Skin—alongside niacinamide, it has shea butter, ceramides, and vitamin E, and will bring your skin back to life in just 15 minutes (or, if you prefer, overnight). If you’re on the go, reach for Morphe’s Li'L Pick-Me-Up 3-In-1 Face Mist for a quick fix of the ingredient.

READ MORE: What can’t niacinamide do? Meet the ingredient that takes your skin from blah to brilliant


Lightweight, non-comedogenic and a rich source of fatty acids and antioxidants, squalane—an olive and rice bran-derived emollient—is moisturising, gentle and hard-working, and found in our most nourishing and softening skincare. Kylie Skin’s Vanilla Milk Toner is almost more essence than toner, drenching the skin in squalane, hyaluronic, jojoba, avocado, as well as more famously effective ingredients for less than $40. Morphe’s Lippie Lullaby Lip Mask sends squalane’s softening powers direct to your lips.

READ MORE: Squalane is the skin-softening multitasker you need, stat


An alpha-hydroxy-acid and one of skincare’s greatest glow-getters, glycolic acid is the ingredient to reach for when your skin takes a trip down lacklustre lane—like when you apply your foundation and something about it just doesn’t look right. Potently powerful, glycolic helps to refine pores, target acne, fade discolouration and resurface your complexion, leaving it clearer, smoother, and infinitely better. If it’s your first time using the acid, the key is to start in small doses and for short time periods—making a cleanser your perfect gateway. Our recommendation? Morphe’s Bubbly Fresh Gel-To-Foam Cleanser, which balances glycolic with calming aloe vera and blue-green algae.

READ MORE: Glycolic acid: the glow-boosting gamechanger your skin needs


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