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The Drugstore Skin Rejuvenators That Weaned This ‘Price Whore’ Off La Mer’s Mist

Photo: Photograph by Hannah Whitaker; makeup by Robert Reyes at MAM-NYC; product images courtesy of retailer

I am a skin-care price whore.

If you read my columns, it should be no surprise that the more expensive something is, the more convinced I am I will like it. This is not entirely faulty logic — price does often determine quality, depending on what exotic and special ingredients are used. Still, I sometimes suspect that if I properly cleanse and hydrate and anti-age with over-the-counter products, I am going to be just fine and won’t have to take out a loan.

Lately, I’ve been on a morning and nightly regimen that is really clicking for me, regardless of how much the products I use cost. My skin has never looked better. So I mostly only go over the counter to supplement. But I do like to tinker. And that tinkering has led me to discover three products by popular drugstore brands I can use to brighten, moisturize, and rehydrate my skin when I don’t feel like sacrificing spritzes of my favorite skin rejuvenator, the Mist by La Mer. Substantial and thicker than your typical mist, the La Mer really blends nicely into the skin. It is made with a no-less-than-30-ingredient formula (which includes caffeine, rose water, and marine botanical extracts) that the brand aptly dubs a miracle broth. I only use it on my face, but even though limiting where I spray it means I won’t run out as fast, I still cannot cannot dismiss its cost. At $80 for a 3.4-ounce bottle, the La Mer is so prohibitive that I now think of it like fine wine, only to be used on special occasions.

At one-eighth the cost of the La Mer, Olay’s “Cooling” Ultimate Hydration Essence mist is a much cheaper alternative. It only features some 17 ingredients — my favorites being the white mint and refreshing cucumber water, which makes it feel slightly more bracing — but goes on effortlessly and is just as easy to carry around, as its bottle is basically the same size. Like the La Mer, I use it on my face. But because it’s basically just water with mint and cucumber, this stuff is pretty thin and really best for a quick shot of hydration.

If you have time for more than a few spritzes, I highly recommend Garnier’s Moisture Bomb sheet masks, which I have fallen in love with. If the La Mer is a fine wine, consider these — at around $13 for a set of 6 — a pack of Bud Lights. They’re cheap and they get the job done. They’re obviously just for the face, but they are super-hydrating: a perfect way to pamper the body and soul come midafternoon, when you are tired and the world seems closer to the verge of the apocalypse than usual. Peel it off, apply it to the face so the eye and nose holes are aligned, press down until you look like Hannibal Lecter, then stretch out on the couch for fifteen minutes to half an hour and close your eyes. (If you don’t have time for a catnap, apply just before a meeting in which you hate the participants and don’t want them to fuck with you.) The initial sensation on the skin is cold and bracing, but then just refreshing, as the mask really does lull you into a state of drowsiness — which is why, on occasion, I’ve also used one at night when I am having trouble sleeping.

[Editor’s note: to receive the discount you must click to apply a coupon when adding the item to your Amazon cart, and the price will be changed when you check out.]

Neutrogena has of course been around forever, going back to my adolescent days, when my mother (may she RIP … sort of) endearingly called me Pimple Puss. It is one of those tried-and-true brands that you can always depend on, just like death and taxes. The Hydro Boost is also great for when my face is feeling dry, but because it’s a gel-cream, I will also use it on my entire body. It’s formulated with super-saturating hyaluronic acid and about 15 other ingredients and, in texture, is slightly viscous, obviously the thickest of my three La Mer subs. But I’ve found it applies evenly (though it will leave behind the occasional goop hill on my arm after rubbing it in). The 1.7 oz. tub is about half the size of the La Mer bottle, but I think this is still a pretty inexpensive alternative, especially considering its full-body appeal.

One more thing, before I let you go: I am delighted to announce the formation of the Buzz Bissinger Beauty Influencer Hobbyist Influencers Advisory Board (BBBIHIAB) and the installation of two inaugural Buzz Bissinger Beauty Influencer Hobbyist Influencers (BBBIHI), who help inform my insatiable habit. BBBIHI Dana Bissinger is my beloved daughter-in-law and a skin-care savant. BBBIHI Gila Waels has roots in Mauritius and Iran, grew up in London and Abu Dhabi, lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and two children, speaks about six different languages, has a French accent guaranteed to reduce you to putty, and is so elegant that I am not sure why she even speaks to me. There are no perks to becoming a BBBIHI on the BBBIHIAB. It does not carry a whiff of stature, but it does boast acronyms impossible to remember and pronounce. Feel free to apply!

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The Drugstore Products That Weaned Me Off La Mer’s Face Mist