11 Best Drugstore Skincare Hacks: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird
Here are some of the best drugstore skincare tips and hacks using not-so-commonly-thought-of personal care products.
Your next skincare hack could be hiding in the aisle at your local drugstore.
The weird & wonderful world of beauty hacks and unusual skincare treatments has led to a lot of experimentation, often for the better! But sometimes, the clever hacks are just too good to be true or end up doing more damage than good. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting hacks using products found at the drugstore and items you may already have at home.
Please note that I am not a dermatologist. Instead, I’ve linked to sources with dermatologist claims regarding the following unusual applications.
Here are the best drugstore skincare tips and hacks:
Claim: Use Aquaphor for almost any part of your face & body!
There are a few Hip team members who swear by Aquaphor and all the benefits it contains! Many people actually use it as a moisturizer or on top of the moisturizer of their choice. Because it’s a healing ointment, it helps pretty much any skin type achieve dewy skin and hydrate any cracks and dryness. This also helps with dryness on your elbows, knees, and other areas. It can even strengthen your eyebrows and lashes! This is by far our vote for best drugstore skincare.
My Hip teammate Crystal uses it for tons of reasons, including on cuticles that are out of control, as a lip mask before bed, and on top of her moisturizer three times a week. She also uses it as a foot mask and for her elbows and knees. It never clogs her pores, and she swears by it! She even uses it to tame any flyaways.
What do dermatologists say?
Dermatologists can’t get enough of Aquaphor benefits either! Dr. Rachel Nazarian, an NYC dermatologist, says it helps “to improve your skin barrier and keep it healthy”. It also prevents water from evaporating on your skin.
Claim: Use coconut oil as a makeup remover.
A lot of makeup removers are oil-based anyway, but coconut oil contains lauric acid, so it’s like a makeup remover with an extra antimicrobial kick! It’s also free of any harsh solvents and works well with dry skin.
What do dermatologists say?
I’m happy to say that coconut oil is, indeed, a legit replacement for makeup removers! Better yet, it has a lot of other benefits for your skin, like extra moisturization without any weird or harmful skincare ingredients. However, as reported by Dr. Anthony Youn, there is a chance that the oil could clog pores for certain skin types.
Claim: Toothpaste can be used as a spot treatment for cystic acne.
Before 2019, several brands of toothpaste contained an ingredient called triclosan, an antimicrobial agent formerly found in many consumer goods. And several other ingredients in toothpaste–namely alcohol, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide–have drying properties that could shrink zits. Between the antibacterial properties of triclosan and the other drying ingredients, we can totally see how toothpaste would be an effective spot treatment!
So does it really work?
Technically, yes… but dermatologists say we should skip it anyway. Those same chemicals that dry zits can cause an imbalance in our skin’s pH levels, says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse. Instead of harsh baking soda and peroxide, she recommends using OTC acne products with specific skincare ingredients like salicylic acid, retinol, and benzoyl peroxide. These can treat breakouts without drying out our skin.
Claim: Aspirin contains a secret skincare ingredient that can treat cystic acne.
While cystic acne can definitely cause a frustrating headache, we heard that Aspirin can actually help us out in another way. 👏 Getting rid of a pesky pimple can be as simple as crushing up an aspirin pill with a small amount of water to create a paste. Then when applied and left on for 10 minutes, it can help heal the impurity.
What do dermatologists say?
Try it! This is actually a method recommended by Joshua Zeichner, MD, since “aspirin is a cousin to salicylic acid and may help calm inflammation and pain.”
Claim: Red lipstick can hide pesky dark circles.
Whether genetic or just from too little sleep, dark circles can be tough to hide. Cue our savior… red lipstick?? Yep, red lipstick. TikTok users have been claiming that this beauty staple can hide those dark circles just as well, if not better than, many of the concealers out there.
So can it really hide them?
According to dermatologist Annie Chiu, it does work, but it shouldn’t be used by those with sensitive skin. One of the ingredients in red lipstick is Eosin, a dye that can cause skin irritation, especially if used on the delicate under-eye area. The red color masks the problem area well because it neutralizes the opposite purple and blue shades generally prominent in dark circles.
Luckily, there are several red-hued concealers made for the under-eye area that have a comparable effect & skincare ingredients that probably won’t cause irritation.
Claim: Foot cream isn’t just for feet & contains a skincare ingredient that can also combat acne!
Yes, this is a weird one, but truthfully, fungal acne is a very confusing condition – so much so that a blogger poured into over 150 studies just to make sense of Malassezia! Individuals took to the internet to proclaim clear skin salvation in… wait for it… foot fungus cream!?
So is it safe for the face?
Luckily, it is! Because of the fungal acne healing properties of topical treatments (even if they’re typically used on the feet), you can spot-treat acne using “creams containing 2 percent ketoconazole, econazole nitrate, or 1 percent clotrimazole cream, all of which are often used to treat athlete’s foot” as reported by Self.com.
Who’d have thought the skincare ingredients in a foot cream could be so versatile?? That said, it wouldn’t hurt to give your dermatologist a visit if the problem persists. It’s definitely one of the best drugstore skincare hacks given its effectiveness.
Claim: Nivea Men’s Post Shave Balm doubles as a makeup primer.
Primers can get super pricey, and sometimes we’ll skip them to save money and time… but then our makeup slides right off after an hour in the sun. 🥵 It’s a whole struggle. But according to beauty bloggers, this $6 men’s post-shave product is here to save our day–and our wallets.
Is it worth a try?
It looks like this one’s the real deal, so go ahead and try it! That’s not too surprising since, unlike a lot of other weird beauty hacks, this is actually meant to be put on your face. 😅 It also contains glycerin, which is the super-versatile skincare ingredient in many makeup primers that acts as the “glue” to keep your makeup in place.
And the best part? It won’t clog your pores, according to Dr. Emily Arch, and generally works well with all skin types!
Claim: Nipple cream makes a super-moisturizing lip balm.
This ain’t your grandma’s Chapstick… The hack for using nipple butter/balm/cream has been growing in popularity because of the perceived ultra-hydrating benefits. Celebrities love it, the internet is obsessed with it, but should we be putting this on our mouths?
What do dermatologists say?
Give it a try! In an interview with Parents.com, dermatologist Emily Rubenstein, D.O. says that lanolin, the main ingredient in nipple cream, “is a non-toxic, safe soothing cream that can help heal cracked and dry lips.” However, if you’re allergic, there are some lanolin-free alternatives that work well as a lip balm dupe.
I’m not a mom, but I’m making my way to the baby section at Target, stat!
Claim: Zinc is the skincare ingredient in diaper cream that helps it clear up cystic acne.
Thanks to a viral thread on Reddit, the trend of smearing baby butt cream gained traction when a Redditor wrote that applying diaper rash cream all over her face cleared up her cystic acne because of its heavy zinc concentration.
So can rash ointment really work like that?
You can try it, but there are some conflicting theories. InStyle says that many diaper rash formulas are comprised of two main ingredients—zinc and petroleum, which may not be the best ingredients to put on your face. While zinc is actually anti-inflammatory and works well in treating acne, the petroleum can seal off the skin and make the problem worse.
In an interview with Allure, a dermatologist explains that it can be useful for spot treatment. With other solutions to acne mentioned above, it doesn’t seem like this one is the one to try.
Claim: Use honey to work wonders on your skin.
It’s been touted that honey can cleanse pores (because it’s anti-bacterial), treat acne (because it’s anti-fungal), and fade scars (because it has trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide). Who would have thought one of the best drugstore skincare products would come from the sweetener you’ve been pouring into your tea?!
Does this pantry staple make the cut?
It definitely does! Using honey for skincare is actually one of the most natural remedies, and it’s still a trending topic today. There’s a lot of scientific backing surrounding the medicinal properties of honey per Women’s Health. Opt for raw, unfiltered honey, and get to applying!
Claim: You can skip the expensive skincare ingredients for glowing skin & use ice instead!
Glowing skin is always in, and we’ve all seen the hundreds of products made specifically to achieve a dewy complexion. But according to skincare-savvy TikTokers, the secret to luminous skin is located right in your freezer… and it’s free!
But is it too good to be true?
According to skincare product researcher Eva Abildgaard, this one is a safe bet–and it really works! The ultra-cold temp both increases circulation and tightens pores, leaving skin with a natural flush. And the best part about this hack is that ice doesn’t contain any mystery ingredients and won’t clog your pores, so it’s a solid skincare hack for almost everyone. 🙌
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