Spend or Save: Toner Pads

New feature! New feature! As I mentioned way back in September, I’m working really hard to concentrate my dollars to truly deserving outlets. One big money-suck for me is, of course, beauty and skincare – I spend so much money at Sephora that I’m basically VIB Rouge 4 lyfe. On the plus side, this means I qualify for a Personal Beauty Advisor appointment without committing to spending $125 in-store (hellooooo, wedding makeup plan), but it also means a LOT of my money has gone toward products that I could’ve gotten a good dupe of for way less.

Which leads us back to the start of the post: new feature! I’m going to be going through my higher-end products over time and trying to swap them out for lower-cost alternatives without losing effect. Some will succeed, and I’ll introduce a new product to my routine; others will fail, and I’ll be grateful that Target and CVS have awesome return policies. Either way, I’ll report back to you on what the outcome has been.

Today’s spend or save subject: toner pads.

Spend: Facial Radiance Pads, First Aid Beauty ($30 for 60 pads at Sephora)


I came across these pads a few months back when I decided I wanted toner pads instead of the bottle+cotton option. These guys are awesome – they’re jam-packed with all the good exfoliating acids (lactic, glycolic) and alcohol-free! They also absorb beautifully; if I’ve used my Clarisonic prior to application, it’s almost instantaneous. These do a great job of evening out my combination-oily skin and preparing it to take on serum. However, since I use them twice daily, 60 pads last me about a month – making this a $350 annual commitment.

Save: Essential Daily Care Pads, Stridex ($3.43 for 55 pads at Drugstore.com)


These pads also boast exfoliating acid (beta hydroxy) as well as the holy trinity of vitamins (A, C, and E). They are alcohol free as well, which is a must. They’re a tiny bit harsher than the First Aid Beauty pads, and also take significantly longer to absorb, which has an effect on my morning routine (which requires thorough efficiency to maximize my time sleeping and/or cuddling with the cat). Once it’s in, though, the effect is great – mattifying and evening. And the price is hard to beat.

Verdict: Save

This one is obvious. The Stridex pads work well enough, and I can happily refocus my attention to cat-snuggling while it absorbs in the morning. With 55 in the package instead of 60, I’ll have to replace them slightly more frequently than the First Aid Beauty pads, but it still amounts to a savings of about $300 per year. Done, son.

One thought on “Spend or Save: Toner Pads

  1. Those First Aid Beauty pads are my holy grail product. I wake up at 5am and never feel like washing my face, so the pads are great to get the sleepness off before I put on makeup. So I might need to check out this dupe. A little hesitant that it make irritate my face (it’s super sensitive to most drug store products), but for that price it might be worth a try.

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