Image credit: Instagram/georgiafowler

I headed home over the Christmas break for a well-deserved spot of R&R (home for me is a 3.5 hour drive north). I had just wrapped up the working year and moved house, so was well and truly exhausted. I was slipping into holiday mode, about to settle in for an uninterrupted 10 hours of sleep when I realised I’d forgotten to bring my entire skincare bag (surely amongst the mess of moving boxes and unassembled furniture back home).

To some, no big deal, but to me (an acne-prone beauty editor with an extremely curated, effective product lineup) it was not ideal. I contemplated driving home but once the shock wore off, I didn’t want to spend a day of annual leave on the freeway, so I decided to treat it as an opportunity. With no Mecca in site (I come from a small town), I made a beeline for Priceline – the one I worked at for six years growing up – to buy the bare essentials. See the choices and results below.


Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Fluid, $20. SHOP NOW

Sunscreen is the only skincare product that I literally could not live without (or anyone, for that matter). I picked up this Neutrogena fluid because it’s lightweight, broad spectrum, milky, hydrating, not greasy and was half price (!!!). But even at its normal price point ($20), it’s a steal considering it’s a stellar anti-ager and can double as a moisturiser during the day (as it did for me). Into the bag it goes.

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water, $30. SHOP NOW

I’ve got to cleanse, and thankfully my go-to cleanser is this cult French budget option. It’s a micellar water, so I use it before showering on a biodegradable cotton round. Be thorough so you properly remove the sunscreen. I bought the big size because it’s a great staple. Another one, in the bag.

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil, $18. SHOP NOW

If you want cheap but good skincare, it’s got to be The Ordinary. They do all the good ingredients without the fillers and inflated price tag. I picked up a bunch of options, but settled on marula oil for a few reasons: all the swimming and salt can be drying so an oil is ace; I love a slightly-greasy face in summer; it doubles as a hair oil; I have a bottle at home and I’m a fan, so at least I know I’ll like it. In short, it’s hydrating and packed with antioxidants and gives good summer skin. Into the bag, once again.


I didn’t break out, feel dry or notice any Earth-shattering changes whilst on my minimalist routine. It likely had a lot to do with the daily swims in ocean water, lots of sleep, minimised screen time and a general sense of chill, but the pared-back skincare as it seems, wasn’t too bad. Also, proof that good skin need not cost the world. But for now, it’s back to my retinol in 2020.