A Guide to Affordable Skin Care in South Africa

Skincare has always been important, I think now so more then ever because of the popularity of social media. Beauty gurus prep their skins extensively with expensive elixirs in preparation for flawless makeup application. Scrolling through Instagram and infleucers are always raving about products and treatments. But, the reality is that is this accessible to the majority of their audiences?

The answer more often than not is no. I will use myself as an example, you all know my makeup addiction well. Many years ago I was given a complimentary skin analysis and was horrified when I heard the words ‘premature aging’. In my late 20s I recognised that it’s important to take care of my skin but I was clueless and just slapped on some moisturiser and BIO OIL and called it a day. However ,I started really investigating skin care and its ingredients when I noticed a sensitivity and my skin started getting drier.

Having just started work and moving into a new home meant I was always on the lookout for skin care that didn’t break the bank. In all honesty I still don’t see myself shelling out R1k for face cream even if it promises to be a miracle in a bottle. If this is something you do and it works for you then I am glad but for my lifestyle this is not something that is feasible. Anyway, I did a lot of research into skin care and found products that worked for me. I have also found many bloggers that I relied on for excellent skin care recommendations (Caroline Hirons, Stephanie Nicole, Jordan Samuels are my favourites).

As part of my job I am very grateful that I regularly get the opportunity to indulge in complimentary skin care treatments and facials , as amazing as these are I dont have the time to do them consistently. To be  honest spending and again spending up to R1k on facials and treatments is more of a treat for Eids or special occasions then something I can do every month. I’ve had many conversations with family and friends who feel the exact same way and on their behest I have compiled this list.

Through trial, error, research and lots of SkinCare reddits here is a compilation on some decently priced skincare that I have tried and tested. My skin is in decent condition but for reference my skin is colour medium, its dry and sensitive and I have hyperpigmentation around under my eyes (hereditary).  Also, for reference my intense skincare routine with all the steps happens at night. In the day I usually just go for moisturiser and sunscreen. I believe SA drugstores have some good options, and I am eternally grateful that K Beauty has arrived on our shores because they make some of the best products in the game. I know many would probably ask about the Ordinary, which is also a reasonable skin care brand but I have not tried anything on the list so I cannot give a recommendation.

Also as a disclaimer, good skin care is not necessarily the most expensive and neither is cheaper skin care terrible. Do whatever suits your price range these are merely suggestions for the next time you stumped in the middle of Dischem or Clicks.



Don’t put too much of your money here because cleansers are not on your skin for too long. The coconut oil I only use on days of heavy eye makeup and the same goes for the micellar water. These are used as the first cleanse on make up days followed with a second cleanse from either of the other cleansers on the list. The last 2 suggestions are K -Beauty available online in SA, a great option for affordable and great quality skincare.

Créde Organic Coconut Oil R63.00

Micellar Cleansing Water from Garnier R79.95

Biorè Baking Soda Cleansers (finally in SA @ Clicks stores!) R135 .00

(Get the charcoal one for deep cleanse days)

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser  R180.00

Cosrx Low Ph Gel Cleanser R185.00- R205.00

Neogen Real Flower Cleansing Water R335.00


I have dry skin so I prefer exfoliating toners to sweep away dead skin and prep for hydration from my moisturizers and serums. Stephanie always recommends a good portion of your budget go towards your toners/exfoliators because they do the most for your skin. I’ve included K Beauty which I love and also some high end varieties from Clarins, Kiehls and REN. These do last quite a long time, I am currently using the Clarins toner with COSRX AHA/BHA solution. Here’s a video link on AHA’s & BHA’s. For manual exfoliation I shave my face (no, it does not grow back thicker!), using a straight Japanese razor from Minisio (it retails for under R20.00)

Son & Park Beauty Water R155.00 (Get this!)

The Body Shop Aloe Water Toner R170.00

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner R225.00

COSRX Poreless Power Liquid R330.00 (A cult favourite)

Kiehl’s Cucumber Alcohol Free Toner R350.00

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner R450.00 (My favourite)

REN Ready, Steady, Glow Daily AHA Tonic R460.00 (Available at Woolies)

NEOGEN Lemon Gauze Peeling Pads R480.00 (This was recommended as a cult favourite from the team at philosophyglow.co.za)

Serums & Oils

I use oils and vitamin C as a serum for glowing skin. For oils I love jojoba and my beloved Rosehip oil remains a staple in my skincare routine. Rosehip contains vitamins and fatty acids that help with hydration and anti aging. A decent Vitamin C serum is excellent for a radiant and clear complexion. I know retinoids are also an important part of skin care but to date I haven’t tried any and recommend you see an aesthetician before using a retinols.


SoIL Organic Rosehip Oil R250.00 for 100ml from Dischem (Get the bigger bottle its more value for money and lasts longer, Dischem)

Credè Jojoba Oil R108.00 100ml (Dischem)

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum R220.00

Suki Suki Rosehip & Vitamin C Oil R367.00

Tea Tree Oil for spot treating acne R50.00 (Dischem)

LUXE Purchase REN Rose Dry Oil for Hydration R950.00


Hey Gorgeous Vitamin C Serum R270.00 (Available from Foschini)

Homespun Hyaluronic Acid R289.00

TIA’M C Source Pure Vitamin C (20%) R295.00

Vichy Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum R380.00

Advance Snail Mucin Power Essence R325.00

Klair’s Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop R395.00



Neutrogena HydroBoost Gel Cream for very dry skin R149.00 (My favourite)

Cetaphil Face Cream R179.00

Eucerin Replenishing Face Cream for dry skin R189.00 (this +Jojoba oil for winter is a winner!)

Avéne Hydrance Rich Hydrating Cream R300.00 (Clicks, another great cream for dry skin especially in winter)

Avéne Hydrance Light Hydrating Cream R280.00

Klair’s Rich Moist Soothing Cream R385.00

COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream R435.00

J.One Jelly Pack R435.00


Huxley Glow Awakening Cream R550.00

Honorary mention: EUCERIN Aquaphor R79.95

I use this to moisturise my lips, also to seal in all the skincare as a last step in my routine, this leaves me with baby soft skin. This is a must have in my skincare routine.


Heliocare XF Gel SPF 50 R295.00 (P.S This is available for all skin types at the Dermastore)

Heimish Artless Glow Base SPF 50 R390.00

Avéne Very High Protection Sun Cream SPF 50 R280.00

La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultralight Fluid SPF 50 R245.00 


Face Masks:

My homemade face mask remains a favourite. I combine gram flour (chana flour) with a pinch of turmeric, some honey, thick yogurt and rose water. Apply to the face until semi dry (I don’t let it dry all the way because I have dry skin). Rinse and lather on a good moisturiser.

Freeman Charcoal and Brown Sugar Cleansing Mask R96.00 (Dischem)

Skin Republic also available at Dischem, I love the hyaluronic acid, vitamin c and collagen masks. Priced at R45.00 +

You cannot go wrong with a K Beauty sheet mask, Philosophy Glow has an excellent selection. Priced from R40.00 + (Try the WISH mask brand) .

Hair Oil

I usually combine Jamaican Black Castor oil with olive oil in winter and coconut oil in summer. Apply liberally to hair a minimum of once a week. Also, brush the castor oil with an old spooly through your brows and lashes to grow them out. Jamaican Black Castor oil is available at Clicks or faithfultonature.co.za and retails for around R200.00


If you have serious  skin issues and want to indulge in some treatments my suggestion is to see the following asetheticians.

Dr Fatima Bhabha from Beauty & Curves combines medicine and aesthetics, they also bring the latest, trending treatments to SA. If you are keen on visiting them using the promo code SAFEERA01  this will get you 10% off any treatment. This code is valid for both the Rosebank and Bedfordview branches of B&C

Tasneem Valley knows skin and and how to treat it (have you seen her? #skingoals). She has recently moved to the Terenzo Aesthetic Suites on Bompas Rd in Dunkeld. Use the promo code TV20 to get 20% off your first treatment.


Caroline Hirons Skin Care Cheat Sheets. Click here.

Stephanie Nicole’s Skin Care Playlist. Click here.

Her high end and US drugstore recommendations are excellent for the next time you’re out of the country or at Sephora.


All the skincare is based on personal or friends recommendations, nothing on this post was sponsored.






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