Is there cheap skin cream that's just like the expensive skin cream?
January 3, 2011 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Is there cheap skin cream that's just like the expensive skin cream?

I got a free sample of Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme Ultra Firming Creme (what a ridiculous long name) a long time ago and ignored it in my drawer until the weather became cold and dry. I used it on a whim, and wow, my face was soft and moisturized but not greasy and it felt so smooth to the touch, and it had sun protection, and just the tiniest hint of scent.

When I went to price the product, I found that it's $50/jar. Ouch.

Are there any face creams that you enjoy using that make you feel like you've spent $50, but really you've only spent half that much? Do you know of a generic analog to the Estee Lauder product?
posted by Addlepated to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I moved to a cold dry place in the middle of last winter and messed around with a lot of different products trying to find something that would stop my nose from flaking off my face. One day on a whim I tried my body lotion on my face, and it was miraculous, and I've used it ever since: Eucerin Calming Creme. It comes in a giant tube, which is economically great, but I've also found it in travel size at Target and Walgreens, which might be good for you to try it out.

It does not leave my face greasy and I can use it in the morning before putting on makeup without any problems. I am very prone to breakouts and it has not caused any. It does not have sun protection, but does layer nicely with a separate sunscreen (I use Neutrogena sheer face something or other).
posted by padraigin at 7:28 AM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I like using Paula's Choice products (sold online). They are reasonably priced - a bit more than drugstore stuff, but nowhere near $50. They are all fragrance free, and the company is very big on honesty - not making outrageous claims about what the ingredients can do. The head of the company has also written some good books on skincare & makeup which I've found useful. Thanks to her I've been able to control my acne by alternating salicylic acid & benzoyl peroxide with Differin - and I think my skin has benefited by using products with a lot of antioxidants.
posted by PompatusOfLove at 7:36 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion for Sensitive Skin. It's the only face cream I've ever used, so I don't know if it's as good as $50 cream, but it's not at all greasy, makes my skin noticeably softer, has some sun protection, and is under $10 I think. (I do use Aveeno sunscreen for faces in the summer as well, however.)
posted by mchorn at 7:36 AM on January 3, 2011

Response by poster: Oh, I forgot to mention that I have rosacea, though it usually flares up due to temperature changes and stress rather than anything I use on my face. Not that I use anything on my face very often, hence this question. Anyway, rosacea-friendly would be good.
posted by Addlepated at 7:37 AM on January 3, 2011

Yves Rocher cremes (and other products) are pretty good. There are always 2 for 1 sales that you can take advantage of.
posted by mooselini at 7:41 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

My skin reacts to weather and temperature too - I have very pale skin that gets red/dry with cold and wind in the winter and oily/dull in the summer and I find Eucerin Redness Relief to be great in all seasons. It's thick and nourishing but not greasy, and I find that it calms my skin down regardless of season. I believe it's specifically formulated to be rosacea friendly, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than $50. I've shelled out for fancy face creams before and the Eucerin holds its own with the best of them.
posted by superfluousm at 7:45 AM on January 3, 2011

Consumer Reports did an article on this not too long back, comparing high-end and drugstore creams; does anyone have it to hand? (I'll look for mine but my toddler steals them for the car pictures in the back.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:48 AM on January 3, 2011

Can't vouch for it personally, but plenty do:

The Olive Oil Cleansing Method
posted by mkultra at 8:36 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I lived in a cold, dry climate for a long time and deal with dermatitis around my nose and cheeks. I've tried a million different skin creams, but the only facial cleansing method I've appreciated in the long term is basic Cetaphil facial cleanser, Neutrogena's alcohol-free toner followed by Pond's Dry Skin Cream. I use Pond's Cold Cream as a makeup remover. On top of that, I use a drugstore generic brand of the cleanser and creams for a fraction of the price. I still have breakouts from time to time, but my skin is no longer red and scaling off due to dryness.

For me, the simpler the formulation and the longer the item has been around, the better.
posted by theraflu at 8:51 AM on January 3, 2011

I use Oil of Olay Total Effects night cream for a day cream on my super-dry skin. Much less expensive than the stuff I used to use when I was a high-paid consultant rather than a broke-ass writer and editor, and soothing and pleasant smelling.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:08 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I swear by L'Oreal's Hydra-Renewal, which is pretty cheap (typically 7 bucks a jar and it lasts a looong time) BUT very hard to find in walk-in stores these days (not to be confused with their anti-aging cream which looks nearly identical). Unfortunately though it doesn't have sunblock in it, but otherwise it's great--it never feels greasy, sticky, or heavy to me, but is super effective at keeping my skin soft and comfortable provided I use enough of it, and right after gently toweling off from a shower while there's still a little moisture to seal in. I have fairly oily skin though, so YMMV. I've been using it for over 10 years and whenever it looks like it might disappear for good I stock up like a fiend.

And not that you asked, but for the same deal but with all-over body lotion, I have never found one better at being grease-less but super long-term effective than Jergens Ultra Moisturizing. Sooo good.
posted by ifjuly at 9:09 AM on January 3, 2011

There's a ton of Estee Lauder stuff on ebay, searching the completed auctions show that the cream you like regularly sells for half off. Like with any ebay purchase, pick a vendor with a high positive feedback rating, pay close attention to additional shipping costs, and read the product description before bidding as the cream comes in several different sized jars.
posted by jamaro at 9:33 AM on January 3, 2011

I would look on to compare ingredients. Price really has nothing to do with effectiveness.

FWIW the only moisturizer I use is Cetaphil's Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion. Whether it will provoke your rosacea, I can't say, but it is very plain and wildly effective.
posted by tel3path at 9:49 AM on January 3, 2011

ROC is pretty good. Their line in the gold box has the highest level of retinol in over-the-counter moisturizers (or at least it used to have, not sure if that's still true). I like it a lot, both wrinkle-fighting and moisturizing without being too harsh nor greasy.
posted by Neekee at 10:02 AM on January 3, 2011

I switched from Lancome to #7 by boots at Target. I like more than the pricey stuff and it is half the cost.
posted by cestmoi15 at 10:18 AM on January 3, 2011

An, ahem, friend of mine switched from Clinique M Lotion (which is basically the same formula as their Dramatically Different moisturizing lotion) to Oil of Olay and barely notices the difference.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:32 AM on January 3, 2011

tel3path, I second the recommendation of (it's from the same folks who do Paula's Choice products). It's normally a subscription-based site, but they are doing a temporary promotion with free access for everyone. I find it's a nice source for product reviews. While I don't take their reviews as gospel, I think it's a good starting point for researching products.
posted by PompatusOfLove at 10:49 AM on January 3, 2011

CeraVe cream. Find it in a jar in the drugstore for about $15. It provides deep, amazing moisture without the stickiness and/or greasiness other drugstore products sometimes have. If you find it doesn't work for your face, you can use it for the rest of your body. It's the only cream that doesn't aggravate my daughter's eczema (in fact, it clears it right up!), so I'll bet it's gentle enough for your rosacea.
posted by apparently at 11:22 AM on January 3, 2011

I've just recently started using the Mario Badescu skin care line, which I find amazingly effective. Their website has a questionnaire about your skin type, and a day or two after filling it out they will send you an email asking if you'd like samples of your recommended products. They sent me a ton of stuff, and what is in the containers is lasting me quite a long time. My skin looks calm, healthy, a little glowy - and after the first use, too! Their products also have the bonus of being cost-effective, so I am absolutely buying a couple of them when my samples run out.
posted by AthenaPolias at 1:54 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I also use Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect (available at Target). I've tried a lot of what's out there, including some that were embarrassingly expensive (everything from Philosophy to Stri-vectin to Lancome), and ended up coming back to Boots. It's $20 per jar, lasts a long time, and makes my skin look great. You can add something with Retinol (like ROC) if need be.
posted by biscotti at 4:22 PM on January 3, 2011

I know this sounds insane - and I haven't tried it myself - but this beauty blogger compared Crisco with "Crème de La Mer" (which costs $1,390 for a 16oz jar). Surprisingly, she found very little difference!
posted by web-goddess at 5:19 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was a big fan of Oil of Olay's products before my skin got too sensitive to use them. I have rosacea, too, and have only found one moisturizer I can tolerate (Physician's Formula, and I don't recommend it, as I have to apply it over and over to get any effect).

You might look here at the moisturizer recommendations for rosacea. It can be tough to find products we can use.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 7:29 PM on January 3, 2011

I have had my skin blistered by lasers here and there, and the dermatologist who blistered me suggested Vaseline after one procedure, and olive oil after another. You probably don't need Vaseline-level moisturising, but. I was very appreciative of the olive oil recommendation in a place where it would've been easy to say "Here at the clinic we carry Dr Poshpants' serum, and there's a special on right now, only $90 per tube," and, really, olive oil does make for a nice moisturiser. I get very, very dry in the winter and sometimes slap it on after a bath. The only downside is the craving for caprese salad -- but the smell goes away pretty much instantly.

Health food stores can be good for skin care that's lovely but not as pricy as department store stuff. I really like Weleda and Dr Hauschka products, though they can be a bit more on the pricy side.
posted by kmennie at 7:54 PM on January 3, 2011

Both CeraVe and Cetaphil DailyAdvance are great, cost about $1/oz and seem comparable-to if not better-than the $25/oz Philosophy product I'd been using before. Not greasy, all-day moisturizing, no weird chemical whiff... YMMV, but I think they're awfully swell (and affordable).
posted by mumkin at 11:41 PM on January 3, 2011

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