Shopping for Good Skincare without Spending a Fortune by Brigitte Armstrong

I am so excited to welcome Brigitte to Plenty.  She positively glows, and her approach to her skincare is as enthusiastic as it is no-nonsense.  It is Brigitte who set me on a path of discovery, helping me to break with decades of the same skincare routine.  I love her down to earth and practical approach, and if you could see her glow in real life, you would heed her advice, too!


I love skin care, and I love taking care of my skin. I love the ritual of layering my products and massaging them in. At the age of 44, I often get compliments on my skin thanks to following the advice I got from a client long ago.  I used to work in New York, and my client was a dermatologist who worked out of NYU. I trust her, and I trust her advice, and I love to share. What she recommended is backed in solid research and on myself. The best part is, you don’t need to spend a lot.  Effective (and cost-effective) skincare products can be found inexpensively at your local drug store and health food store.  I was shocked when she told me her favorite moisturiser was Olay, and it’s mine now too! I do love and will indulge occasionally in fancy skin cream, but I honestly see no difference aside from the beautiful jar adorning my bathroom counter. 

Here is a list to start you on your path to good skin without going to a department store or spending too much.



Choose a cleanser for your skin type.  I use Neutrogena naturals.  Cleanse morning and night. Use a gentle wash cloth for exfoliation a few times a week–no fancy scrub or special device needed! It is important to wash your face day and night: in the morning to remove residue from your pillow and hair and in the evening to remove SPF and environmental pollutants.



Start with an over the counter product that contains retinol. The two best that I have tried are Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair and NeoStrata All-in-One Night Serum. Retinol is proven to rebuild collagen in our skin, to smooth the surface and to reduce or prevent fine lines and wrinkles.  Retinol is also great for reducing sun damage pigmentation. After a few months on an over the counter retinol, you will need to move on to a prescription to continue and increase your results. I use prescription Renova and Retin-A. It is best to start slowly the first time you use a retinol because it can be irritating a bit to the skin at first. Build up slowly by using the product a few times a week until you are using it daily. Prescription retinol is a favorite of dermatologists as the best treatment for wrinkles and sun damage without an invasive procedure.



Choose a serum with active ingredients for your skin concerns. I love Olay’s serums and use Regenerist and Luminous tone perfecting treatment. There is a serum for every type of skin. 


Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is for use in the morning only or on nights when you are not using a retinol. Do not use it at the same time as retinol.  I have been using 10% glycolic acid for years. I use one from Avon and one from L’Oréal. Smooth on your face after cleansing and before your serum in the morning.


Choose a good moisturiser for your skin type. I use Olay Regenerist Night Cream and Olay Luminous Nighttime Gel. If you are using retinol and glycolic acid, you do not need a fancy moisturiser.

Facial Oil

The last step for nighttime is a face oil. I use Physicians Formula pure Aragan oil, which I often get on sale for $17. I also like L’Oréal and some health food store versions. 



The last step for the daytime is a good sunscreen. I will splurge a bit more on my SPF for the summer and use La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 or Clarins SPF 40 mineral formula. In the winter I use Olay Regenrist SPF 30. There are great inexpensive sun screens in the drugstore. It is very important to use an SPF of 30 or higher daily. Sun damage is the number one reason for wrinkles and pigmentation. When using retinol or glycolic acid, you have to be especially careful to apply sunscreen because they will make your skin more sun-sensitive.  Sunscreen will also, of course, protect the results of your skincare products.  A great hat is also very effective and stylish!

If you have acne-prone skin, I would recommend you see a dermatologist or a naturopath as some ingredients can be irritating to this skin type. 

Cheers to you on your path to good skin without spending a fortune! See you in the aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart!




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