In financial times like these, it's hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on beauty and cosmetics over the course of a year.  Granted, sometimes a splurge is absolutely necessary both for mental well-being and for medical benefits that cannot be achieved through cheaper alternatives. Though I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to what goes on my face, no matter how many fancy, overpriced products I try, I always return to the drugstore for my trusty favorites when it comes to three items: a gentle face scrub, a handy eye cream, and a curative concealer.

Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub ($6.99) - Though I know that it is recommended to use a face scrub only twice a week, I must admit that I sometimes get addicted to this stuff and have to restrain myself from using it every night.  Even so, it is so gentle that the most sensitive skin could probably handle a nightly cleanse with Biore's scrub without suffering irritation.  Its lush pearls exfoliate softly, while its luxuriously creamy base lightly moisturizes.  The oil-free formula uses 2% salicylic acid to remove dirt and build-up from pores and to refine a splotchy complexion.  From its light, fresh fragrance its attendant tingling sensation, my skin radiates with cleanliness after washing with this scrub.  Owing to Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub's effectiveness, my pores are smaller, my skin is smoother, and there is not a blackhead in sight.

Nivea Visage Q10 Advanced Wrinkle Reducer Eye Creme ($6.99) - I was first introduced to this unpretentious eye cream many years ago by my mother, who is not one to shop in the beauty aisle of the drugstore very often.  I guess I should more accurately say that it was Santa who introduced this item to my family, since it was hidden in my stocking on Christmas morning, along with the stockings of my father, sister, and mother.  We have all become loyal users of Nivea Q10 eye creme, which is now a stocking-stuffer tradition in my family.  One of my most imperative prerequisites for any face cream is sun protection, and this eye cream touts an SPF of 4.  Though it might be meager, at least it creates some sort of barrier between the delicate eye zone and damaging UV rays.  This eye cream is no mere moisturizer, since it has proven anti-aging benefits that have shown to reduce the appearance of lines substantially and increase skin firmness in ten days.  It contains Q10 Energy Complex, featuring Coenzyme Q10, which is supposed to to mimic the combination of the skin's natural anti-aging properties, in addition to a few enhancements, and restore energy that has been lost over time.  With regular use, the eye cream should reduce existing wrinkles and help prevent new ones from cropping up.  I'm not so sure about all this energy mumbo-jumbo, but I do know that the skin around my eyes isn't showing it's age after years of using this eye cream.  Moreover, Nivea's Q10 eye cream has never once irritated my overly sensitive eye area; it is absorbed quickly and creates a perfectly moist palette for under-eye makeup; and it is a great size and shape for travel.  It rides along in my purse everywhere I go!

Almay Clear Complexion Concealer ($13.71) - This little number has been a regular in my beauty arsenal ever since I was graced with the charming affliction of adult-onset acne.  With dual power to both conceal blemishes and heal their cause, this concealer always makes me feel as if I'm medicating my skin as I put on my makeup.  Its blemish-busting effectiveness derives from a 1% concentration of salicylic acid, which is just strong enough to help clear your skin without leaving it irritated and flaky.  I have attempted to use all sorts of department store brand concealers (ie. NARS, Trish McEvoy, Clinique) and never have found one that could replace my Almay for daily use.  Almay's formula offers the perfect amount of fluidity to allow for natural blending and also a fair degree of staying power.  Perhaps I am one of the fortunate few whose skin tone matches perfectly to the Light version, but I have never noticed obvious smears of product under different lights, as I have with other concealers.  The one limitation of this concealer is that it should be used only as a spot treatment and should not be blended over large spaces of skin like a foundation or dabbed under eyes because it is very drying.  As a curative cover-up for blemishes, Almay's concealer reigns in a category all its own.

Ingredients in Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub:

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 2.0%, Inactive Ingredients: water, sodium cocoyl isethionate, glycerin, glycol distearate, synthetic wax, PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides, ethoxydiglycol, cetyl alcohol, PEG-12 dimethicone, sodium lauroyl lactylate, menthol, benzophenone-4, propylene glycol, xanthan gum, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, diazolidinyl urea, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, blue 1 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 5, blue 1

Ingredients in Nivea Visage Eye Creme:

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Methylpropanediol, Octyldodecanol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Distarch Phosphate, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Creatine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, 1 Methylhydantoin 2 Imide, Butylene Glycol, Cyclodextrin, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Alumina, Simethicone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Ingredients in Almay Clear Complexion Concealer:

Active Ingredient: 1% Salicylic Acid. Inactive Ingredients: Aqua (water), Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Boron Nitride, PEG/PPG 18/18 Dimethicone, Talc, Tribehenin, Trisiloxane, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Alumina, Nylon 12, Methylmethacrylate Crosspolymer, Polyisobutene, Synthetic Wax, Cera Microcristallina Cire Microcrystalline (Micocrystalline Wax), Sodium Chloride, Fomes Officinalis Extract (mushroom), Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract (cornflower), Spiraea Ulmaria Extract (meadowsweet), Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract (matricaria), Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Phytantriol, Methoxypropylgluconamide, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Sorbitan
Sesquioleate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, HDI/Trimethol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Methoxy Amodimethicone/Silsequioxane Copolymer, Silica, Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, May Contain: Zinc Oxide (CI77947)