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I Cannot Tell This $13 Trader Joe’s Moisturizer Apart From My $48 Former-Fave

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Two deeply true, if oppositional things about me: I desperately want to have beautiful, moisturized and obscenely dewy fancy-lady skin but I do not want to pay to have fancy lady skin. Unsurprisingly, these truths have made finding and committing to a skincare routine a little difficult.

More often than not, this means I’m trying sample sizes of all manner of really nice skincare products that feel luxurious and wonderful only to have their full-size price tags make me want to walk into the sea. But that also means that I’ll do some sleuthing to find a product that delivers all-or-most of the goods of the former with none of the sticker shock of the latter. (And, spoiler alert: This time, I found her !)

This drive brought me first to a mid to higher-end product that I absolutely loved (hating how much I loved it all the while): Youth to the People’s Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream . It’s a lightweight but super impactful moisturizer that is perfect for people who want to feel like their moisturizer is actually doing something from the moment they put it on ’til later in the day.

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Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream $48.00 on Amazon.com Buy now Sign Up

Because I like to try and look like a dewy, damp seal girl throughout my day, I found it gave my skin a moisturizing boost that held up just as well under my make-up as it did on days I was just vibing bare-skinned. But, clocking in at $48 for 2 Fl Oz, it isn’t really something that feels sustainable for my budget right now — and certainly not for everyday use.

This is a pretty “clean” and natural sort of formula that leads with water, Sunflower seed oil and glycerin while also having some kale and green tea extracts and Hyaluronic acid for an additional punch that really nourishes your skin. Again, I really, really love this stuff both for daytime and night and if there was a value tub available that didn’t inflict psychic damage on me via my finances I would slather it all over my body every day.

But because we don’t live in that world, I had to hunt around for alternatives. And who came through for me? Trader Joe’s. Yes, the crunchy granola grocery store with the good sweet potato gnocchi and bagel-adjacent seasoning. They also have some skincare! And their $12.99 6 Fl Oz moisturizer — Trader Joe’s Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer — feels just like the Youth to the People one. 

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Trader Joe's Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer $12.80 on Amazon.com Buy now Sign Up

It does have some differences ingredient-wise — featuring more aloe and Sodium Hyaluronate instead of Hyaluronic acid and leaving out the green tea or kale, obviously— but the results (glowy, beautiful, no notes) and the general feel of the products is deeply similar in practice and wear. I even went as far as to split my face down the middle and put each product on half and found the feeling and wear under my make-up to be impossible to tell apart by the end of the day. Which felt pretty dang promising.

Obviously, I’d recommend either product for someone who is in the market for a refreshing change-up to their moisturizing routine — but if you wanted to save a little here or there by opting for the Trader Joe’s bottle for everyday use , I certainly wouldn’t blame you.

Before you go, check out our favorite skincare brands we wish we’d had as teens:

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