14 drugstore skincare products that will protect your skin — and budget— while we're on lockdown
Make a list for your next visit to the chemist
Ever daydream about filling your bathroom with every fancy-sounding serum, moisturiser, sunscreen and chemical exfoliator you come across? With lockdown in place, our priorities are changing. But we don’t need to compromise on our skincare.
As we run through our supply of sunscreen, eye cream and more, our Nykaa and Amazon carts will have to wait. Chemistwale bhaiya to the rescue. Indian drugstore skincare products can be your replacements until the cloud of Covid-19 lifts.
The white tubes and little bottles of drugstore skincare products might not look or feel as lavish, but with the same core ingredient, they get the job done.
Surat-based dermatologist Dr Anchal Panth does advise caution: “With pharmaceutical products, you need to understand your skin — what the concentration of this ingredient is, how you’re using it and whether you’re prepping your skin adequately or not.”
For example, if your skin is dry, after using the pharmaceutical product, you need to use a moisturiser. She adds, “Such problems won’t arise with high-end cosmetic products because most are formulated to balance the active ingredient with others to protect your skin.”
We’ve put together a list of alternatives to be stand-ins in your routine. Remember to read the ingredient list to spot anything you may be allergic to.
Some of these have SLS, silicones, parabens and all the other big bad wolves that the ‘clean beauty’ skincare world have us fearing (Psst… your Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel has silicones too, but we love it).
Experts want you to remember that these are products that have been formulated by qualified chemists with thought and care. They’re not all bad, as long as they’re in the correct concentration and followed with moisturisers and sun protection.
Indian drugstore skincare products to add to your routine
A double cleanse is great for your skin if you wear a waterproof makeup product and reapply sunscreen. It doesn’t need to be an expensive balm or oil. Micellar water is just as good and is used by dermatologists too, like Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta of ISAAC Luxe.
“On a regular day which includes a workout, spending time with my clients and family, I come back home and start by double cleansing my face. I wet my cotton wipe with Bioderma Micellar Water and gently wipe my face and neck,” says Gupta when talking about her skincare routine.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O and Garnier Micellar water have a cult following of their own. Just as good is a newer one to hit the shelves, Everyuth Naturals Micellar Cleanser, though not as easy to find.
Micellar water contains cleansing molecules that break up a long-stay foundation and waterproof mascara but follow it up with a face wash to avoid leaving a residual film on your skin.
You need a facewash to completely clean up any leftover residue from your pre-cleanse, leftover sunscreen and dirt. Our picks for cleansers are all-round safe for all skin types.
As the name suggests, the Himalaya Moisturizing Aloe Vera Face Wash has aloe vera which can be very soothing and moisturizing for your skin – do a patch test, as some people can develop an allergy to it. It also has cetyl alcohol, which is a fatty alcohol that’s good for your skin, non-irritating and drying. Vitamin E comes in the form of tocopherol, considered an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
It does contain fragrance, but it doesn’t linger once washed off so is tolerable, unless you have very sensitive skin.
The Biotique Bio Honey Gel Refreshing Foaming Face Wash is gentle enough for sensitive skin. Honey is a soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Everybody has a preference when it comes to moisturisers. Gel, lotion or heavy balm, it comes down to your skin type and needs at that time.
We like the Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturiser SPF 15, you also get a variant for combination skin and sensitive skin. It has glycerin, ethylhexyl palmitate – non-occlusive emollient (no film on your face) that’s good for people with dry/flaky skin – fatty alcohols and inorganic UV filters.
Biotique Bio Morning Nectar Flawless Skin Lotion is one of our favourite lightweight moisturisers. Our only qualm with the brand is that they don’t disclose their complete ingredient list. Honey, wheat germ and seaweed extracts together create a soothing formula with nourishing properties, antioxidants (from wheatgerm) and vitamin B.
We lose chapsticks as easily as rubber bands, but it’s time to hold on to what you have right now. Our go-to is the Sebamed Lip Defense balm with SPF 30.
Few chapsticks provide sun protection of their own. This one has jojoba oil, fatty alcohols, vitamin E and UV filters that moisturise, soothe and protect in a smooth, light texture.
The Himalaya Herbals Lip Balm is more oil-based with castor, coconut, wheat germ and carrot extracts. Each oil has a range of vitamins and nutrients that hydrate and battle inflammation.
Put down the walnut scrubs and try chemical exfoliation with beauty acids and enzymes instead. They are gentler on the skin and still gives the results you desire.
The Lotus Herbals Frujuvenate Skin Perfecting & Rejuvenating Fruit Pack is not going to ‘perfect’ your skin. However, the face mask does contain natural alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) in the form of fruit extracts and enzymes which exfoliate the upper layers of dead skin you may have.
A more traditional form of AHA would be glycolic acid in the form of Glyco-12 Cream.
Another form of exfoliation is the Saslic foaming face wash which contains Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) which can combat breakouts. BHAs are effective as a face wash, a better choice if you have drier, irritated skin.
Salicylic acid can control oil production, break up the dirt in our pores and gently exfoliate the skin.
When it comes to any kind of exfoliation, whether it’s from high-end products or drugstore skincare products, use with caution and a maximum of three times a week.
Your treatments target skin problems like skin irritation, dehydration, redness and more. You can get your dose of niacinamide, known for its texture-smoothing abilities, reduction of pigmentation and boosting of a healthy skin barrier, in the iLumax Skin Brightening Cream.
The SBL Calendula cream is a good choice for people dealing with irritation. Calendula is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, so it soothes irritated skin. It’s a calming and healing ingredient used in skincare products to combat redness, sunburn and even inflammation of acne.
Dehydration isn’t the same as dry skin – you can be moisturising your skin but still deprive it of hydration. In comes hyaluronic acid, skincare enthusiasts’ beloved ingredient because it can attract and hold up to 1000x its weight in moisture.
Its hydrating abilities keep the skin replenished, looking supple and healthy — perfect for people who have dry and dehydrated skin.
The Hyalygel Hyaluronic Acid gel is a great skincare dupe. Make sure you moisturise your skin when using this ingredient so you don’t cause more skin dehydration (what you’re already trying to counter).
Everything you use to nourish your skin is useless unless you do the most important thing – protect it from harmful UV rays. Sunscreens come in a variety of textures and forms now, so you have no excuse to avoid it.
You may be indoors for a while, but there are still UV rays coming in from your window. You don’t need to apply and reapply as much as you would on a regular workday, but don’t skip out on it completely.
A long-time favourite for many has been the Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 50+ because it’s light and easily spreadable. It uses inorganic UV filters so no zinc or titanium to give you the white cast we all dread so much.
For people with sensitive skin who prefer the organic UV filters, the Suncros Matte Finish Soft Sunscreen Gel with SPF 50 + PA+++ is a good option among the drugstore skincare products. It’s still light and spreadable without compromising on sun protection in the form of zinc oxide.