How shocked was I to read it in a popular women’s magazine? I was speechless, but somehow I gathered enough strength to respond, “There’s no way!”

Even so, I did a quick search only to discover it was no typo at all. A 1.7-ounce jar of 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Cream retails for $1,095.

All I can say is at that price, it better contain a miracle.

High-quality and effective skin care should not be considered a luxury only available to the wealthy. You can find high-quality, reasonably priced skin care products that are equal, if not superior, to their department store cousin — right in your drugstore or discount department store

A couple of years ago, as my dermatologist was wrapping up my routine office visit, I asked him what specific products he recommends I use for daily skin care. Without hesitation, he pulled out a notepad and wrote down the following:


Cetaphil makes an excellent line of affordable skin care products.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser still comes in under $10 for 8 ounces.

Other cleansers that receive high marks from him are Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser, Basis Sensitive Skin Bar, Lever 2000 and Dove for Sensitive Skin.


Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is priced well. Tip: Walmart sells a generic version under its brand name Equate for about $6.50. I’ve received reports from several readers who insist it’s just like the real thing for a lot less.


If you are concerned about wrinkles and avoiding skin cancer (tell me who’s not), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream is a retinol facial treatment with multivitamins — an excellent product you should consider. This is more than a moisturizer. It’s a skin preservation system and much cheaper than a very expensive dermatologist pre-cancer procedure.


Johnson’s Tear-Free Baby Shampoo is an excellent eye makeup remover. I have had a number of ophthalmologists tell me that they prescribe baby shampoo for their patients who wear contact lenses because the product also removes protein buildup that plagues many lens wearers. It can be used full strength. Rinse well.


Instead of purchasing a name-brand astringent for use in your skin care regimen, use witch hazel, an old natural standby that has been recommended by skin professionals for decades. As a natural astringent, witch hazel has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and shrink down pores.

A topical application can help reduce the number of contaminants that enter your pores and can potentially aggravate skin conditions like blemishes, blackheads and acne.

Witch hazel is available over the counter at any drug store, and any generic brand performs equally well.


Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the juice of 1 whole lemon to form a paste. While showering, invigorate your skin with the paste. Rub heels and elbows with the inside of the lemon rinds. You will swear you’ve just had a spa treatment!


Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen with SPF 45 is what my doctor recommends. It is available online but also in nearly every drug store and Costco. I love this brand because it is ultra sheer and non-greasy.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at


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