11 Best Drugstore Skincare Hacks: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird

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Here are some of the best drugstore skincare tips and hacks using not-so-commonly-thought-of personal care products.

odd skincare products — lamisil foot fungus cream

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!

aquaphor drugstore skincare

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.

hand holding a jar of coconut oil

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.

hand holding box of whitening toothpaste in store

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.

So while it is effective, there are way better options out there. However, it looks like toothpaste can work to brighten your nails! For a cheap and easy nail whitening treatment, leave a baking soda-based toothpaste on your nails for about 10 minutes before removing it.

Claim: Aspirin contains a secret skincare ingredient that can treat cystic acne.

Bayer aspirin in the box

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.

four tubes of lipstick in different shades of red

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!

unusual skincare face products — lotrimin af cream

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.

shelf in store with men's face products

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.

unusual skincare face products — motherlove nipple cream

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.

odd skincare face products — boudreaux's diaper rash cream

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.

a bottle of raw, unfiltered organic honey

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!

holding a tray of ice cubs from Euphomy ice maker

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. 🙌

On the lookout for new skincare products? Check out all the hottest beauty deals here!

About the writer:

Kaitlyn has a Bachelor's Degree from St. John's University with 2 years of writing experience for LinkedIn, Celeb Magazine, and other various publications.

Join The Discussion

Comments 49

  1. Lori

    Love this!!

    • Emily (Hip Sidekick)

      Thank you, Lori!

  2. Kim

    Interesting 😁

  3. Lori

    What an interesting post! I can only imagine how much time and effort was put into this post. Thanks for all you do Hip2Save!

  4. Ivan

    Had an older relative that put Prep H on his face several times a week. Don’t know if that was the cause, but he died at 90 and had the best skin I had ever seen.

  5. Thao

    I work in a Dermatologist office as a Surgical Assistant and Licensed Esthetician with 6 years experience. I showed this to my Dermatologist: he laughed and said skip everything.
    With my personal experience, Nipple balm works as a lip balm. That’s the only thing that’ll work. If you want the best for your skincare, I recommend dermatology grade products (ie: Image Skincare) or even Dermalogica, which can be found at Ulta. Putting things that don’t belong on your face will only make it worse.
    PLUS, splurge on a facial every month! 🙂

    • Heather C

      That bomb is THE BEST! Of course we call it “Boobie cream,” which the kids are less fond of 😂. Honestly, it’s my “go to” product if I’m desperate

    • Laura

      Image skincare I found on Walmart.com.

    • a

      I totally agree with this. I cringe when I read some of these suggestions. Oftentimes you end up with skin in worse condition!

  6. Coupon Katie

    Ky is a lubricant not a laxitive…. OR IS IT?!? 😜

    • AuntJenny


    • DK


    • Emily (Hip Sidekick)

      It is a lubricant. In the post, we list out 3 items that Huda Kattan tried out in a Youtube video as a face primer, which were KY Jelly, a generic laxative, and Vagisil. Hope that clears it up for you!

  7. JD

    A Star Hip2Saver is a recognized member of our Hip2Save community hand selected by our team for demonstrating a long history of engagement with helpful & friendly comments across Hip2Save.com and our social channels. Our Star Hip2Saver badge acts as a verification for readers who know the ins and outs of all Hip2Save sets out to accomplish — assisting our community to live extraordinary lives on ordinary budgets. Readers cannot pay or provide any sort of exchange in order to earn this badge. Rather, they are invited to participate by a member of the Hip2Save team and opt to have the Star Hip2Saver badge added to their profile & comments.

    Thao that advice to get a facial by a licensed esthetician is a great one. Just getting the right products for your skin type makes a world of difference. Cheap trick—drink plenty of water.
    Here’s an old way to remove blackheads and treat acne. Beat up an egg white (no yolk) and apply over face with cotton ball. Place tissue paper over face and apply any remaining egg white on top of tissue paper. Let dry for thirty minutes and remove tissue paper. Rinse well and finish with cool water to close pores. Do not apply on lips or eyelids goes without saying.

  8. Desiree

    Monistat chafing relief powder gel as face primer. Use sparingly after you moisture and before foundation. Been using this hack for years and much cheaper than face primers.

    • Ivette

      I totally agree with the Monistat chafing gel. Works better than any primer I’ve ever used!

      • Annaa

        Have you ever seen the you tube videos on using monistat in a spray bottle to thicken your hair? I recently saw this and I’m seriously considering it. The videos are by Dani Austin, she’s on Instagram and she has trouble with thinning hair and she says this helps🤷‍♀️

    • Emily (Hip Sidekick)

      So interesting, Desiree! I had never heard of using a chaffing cream before as primer. Thanks for the tip!

    • Britt

      I’ve used the chafing gel as primer for years!

  9. julesO

    Great post!….super helpful…. love to hear the pros and cons and alternatives to pricey brands…thanks for the post on the monistat chafing gel, just did my research and seems like a great hack and so much cheaper then my Dior primer.

    • Desiree


  10. countrygal

    I use the honey with a drop of lemon juice, it works great. I would give it a try if you have the products at home.

  11. Lisa Chen

    Hahaha, this made me lol! When I was younger I remember hearing one of my mom’s friends telling her to use that cream on her face, and I laughed then too! ; )

  12. stefk

    I’ve used coconut oil based nipple butter on my lips and it’s wonderful! I’ve also used lanolin on my lips, also wonderful. If it keeps your nipples from being dry and cracked, and is safe for baby, then it should be safe for lips.

    • Emily (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s my favorite hack! The more I looked into it, the more people I found who swear by it. Seems like a must try, especially during winter months when my lips get much more chapped than normal.

  13. Christine

    Zinc works on redness and small pimples. I noticed it when I was regularly using a tinted sunscreen with zinc oxide. So when my skin isn’t looking great, I use It for a few days and my skin looks much healthier. Once in awhile I put on Desitin pure zinc oxide on at night—just a very light layer as that stuff is like glue. Works wonders on facial redness.

  14. Gina Seaton

    I had a mother in law who used straight up olive oil on her face and body and she always had nice skin. Weird or?

    • Dkp91576

      As someone who comes from part italian, if she put it on her face, she also ingested it a lot. Mediterranean diet is one of the best for skin. My grandma used to wash her face with used coffee grinds and olive oil. She never spent money on exfoliators or creams/lotions. Awesome skin, she looked 60 when she was 80.

      • PrincessMom

        yes, the used coffee grinds with oil are a great exfoliator and much gentler than stuff you buy in the store! Of course, used coffee grinds got used for all kinds of things, even the garden! 🙂

        • Chrissy Goff

          The lunch ladies at our DODDS school used coffee grounds in their gravy for some reason.

          • JustCallMeCoco

            That’s called red eye gravy. It’s a common staple food in the south.

    • Lisa JP

      I use olive oil on my face and have since I was a teen. Use it as a cleansing oil. I’m 44 and am often mistaken for my 25 year old daughter so I’m thinking it works lol

  15. Idahomomof6

    😂 Thanks for a good laugh this morning! The title of this post is awesome!! Super funny, as well as a great and informative post! Love you ladies and appreciate all your hard work (and sense of humor)!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, You’re very welcome! Thanks a bunch for the super sweet comment. I’ll be sure to pass this along to the team. ❤️ We certainly appreciate YOU!

  16. Tara

    I can vouch for ibuprofen though we crush it and leave it in a bottle of rubbing alcohol. We use it for in grown hairs and acne. My husband (with course hair) uses it as after shave to keep from getting razor burn. My husband, 14 yr old daughter, and I all use it.

  17. johnniesutterfield-ahrens

    I used to use the nipple cream that’s in the pic on my lips when I was breast feeding. It does work. I wish I never threw it away now. Only tossed it because I was done breast feeding.

  18. acgold

    Another vote for the Monistat anti chafing gel. A cosmetic chemist told me it is almost exactly the same as the Smashbox primer. It is also great to prevent blisters in tight shoes. Also great if you have a tag that you cannot cut out without damaging the top, but it is itchy- put a little on your neck or back. Good if you have a seam on something that has a little nylon in it and is uncomfortable.

  19. Ash

    Hip2Save you should do a diy hair mask version of this article.

    • Gscribble


    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the request, Ash! I’ll be sure to pass this along to the team!

  20. frugal lady2

    ❤️ this post! ..and I like reading all the comments here. Funny, interesting, and mostly informative at times. Like one of the reader’s suggestion above, please share topics on hair mask/growth/thinning as well. Thanks and ❤️hip2save!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome! BIG thanks to YOU for your super sweet comment and the request! I have passed this along to the team! 💖😊💖

  21. Chrissy Goff

    How interesting. I knew that honey was good for you. It is an old German remedy to put honey on scrapes and burns. I can’t tell you how many military wives used the white paste toothpaste to cover nail holes when they moved out of quarters. Everybody was doing it in the 80s and 90s. Not sure about now. I also know that you can use the athletes foot creams on ringworm. Been there and done that with the kids growing up. Works wonders.

  22. Chrissy Goff

    I heard of aspirin being used in cut flower vases too.

  23. Pat

    I use baby shampoo to remove eye makeup, works better than anything else I have tried. Been using it for 30 years.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Good to know, Pat! Thanks for sharing that tip! 🥰

  24. Vee

    Honey is amazing for the skin. Manuka honey has strong antibiotic/antimicrobial properties. As a nurse, we use this on patients for wound care. Even on deep wounds, the doctors prescribe it. I also used this on my dad when he got a bed sore. Healed right up even without the use of antibiotics.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      WOW! Thanks for sharing that neat honey tip, Vee! 💕

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