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Injector-Approved Drugstore Skincare Staples To Stave Off the Needle

Whether you get cosmetic injections on the reg, head into for a touch-up or two once in a while for maintenance and prevention, or are contemplating getting your first in-office procedure altogether, it’s important to address the elephant in the room—there are truly no cheap products that work like Botox — well, there are no topical skincare products that can 100 percent replicate or mimic the results you’ll get with injectable treatments like neurotoxins (i.e. Botox and Dysport) and fillers (i.e. Restylane and Juvederm). With that being said,  there are plenty of products that, like injectables, can help push back visible signs of aging, reverse the loss of volume, and soften the appearance of fine lines. In-office treatments can be pricy, and oftentimes, the skincare products sold and recommended by the derms, plastic surgeons, and injectors are equally as steep.
I spoke with Shawna Jones PA-C, MPAP, Aesthetic Physician Assistant at Skin Spirit in Newport Beach (she’s also recently started seeing clients in Beverly Hills!) to get the lowdown on some of the more affordable products that she recommends to her clients looking to save a buck or two on pre, post, and preventative care.  Jones, —a.k.a. The Wrinkle Warrior and the absolute queen of lip enhancing—has become well-known for her mastery of natural-looking pouts, and has an impressive client roster chock-full of influencers and beauty editors (including me!). Half-artist, half-scientist, and full-on-perfectionist, Jones herself is basically the unofficial spokesperson of just how important skincare is (whether you get injectables or not). I mean, she just turned 40, but looks about 28—and no, I’m not exaggerating.

It’s important to protect your investment, and at-home skincare will help boost and maintain in-office treatment results

While neurotoxins and dermal fillers are still the most popular treatments requested, because the pandemic forced so many offices to close last year, the importance of at-home skincare became even more integral to Jones’ practice. “Skincare was actually a huge trend in 2020, with many of us being stuck at home during the pandemic. Most people put off treatments such as facials and neurotoxins and are [only now] coming back into the office looking for a refresher,” she says. Oh, and all those Zoom calls influenced in-office trends too. “With the popularity of Zoom calls, many patients are seeing themselves from new angles and are coming into the office looking for full-face rejuvenation.”

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Sure, social distancing protocols may be loosening up and in-office treatments are making a major rebound, but skincare is still equally as important to maintaining your results. “It is important to protect your investment, and at-home skincare will help boost and maintain in-office treatment results. Sun protection is key, and I always recommend a physical rather than chemical sunscreen. Antioxidants are also important since they prevent free radical damage,” she says.

Throw away those makeup wipes and start using micellar water to remove makeup at nighttime!

Her current favorites? ZO Daily Power Defense and SkinBetter Alto. “I’m also frequently pairing Alastin Restorative Neck Complex with in-office procedures such as Micro-Botox for the neck or Sculptra for the décolleté,” she says.


I will forever be an advocate for the notion that great skincare doesn’t have to be fancy and super expensive (there are, of course, a laundry list of exceptions), and it turns out that some dermatologists, injectors, and estheticians, including Shawna Jones, happen to agree with me.

Scroll through below to check out her personal favorite affordable skincare products available over-the-counter, along with some products that she recommends to her patients. To make an appointment at one of Skin Spirit’s locations, click here.

STYLECASTER | Cheap skincare products work like botox

Courtesy of Cetaphil.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

I have been using this product since I was a teen—it is my go-to basic cleanser. Remember to use lukewarm water when washing since hot water can lead to irritation and dryness.

Buy: Cetaphil Daily Cleanser $11.90

STYLECASTER | products that work like botox

Courtesy of Garnier.

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

Throw away those makeup wipes and start using micellar water to remove makeup at nighttime. Micellar water is gentle and an effective way to remove makeup and dirt and won’t dry out the skin.

Buy: Garnier Micellar Water $9.99

STYLECASTER | cheap products that work like botox

Courtesy of Neutrogena.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This hyaluronic acid serum is great for those with dry skin since it strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier. It is great under your moisturizer, but I also love it paired with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel.

Buy: Hydro Boost Serum $14.47

STYLECASTER | cheap products that work like botox

Courtesy of CeraVe.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe is definitely a fan favorite. This moisturizer contains ceramides which are important [to use] during the dry, winter months and year-round for mature skin.

Buy: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream $16.08

STYLECASTER | cheap products that work like botox

Courtesy of Differin.

 Differin (Adapalene 0.1%) Gel

This is a common OTC product that I recommend a lot. It’s a retinoid that used to be prescription-only but is now available [at drugstores and online without prescription].

Buy: Differin Adapalene Gel $12.88

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