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:

Cleanser. 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.

Moisturizer. 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.

Anti-wrinkle. 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.

Eye makeup remover. 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.

Toner. 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.

Exfoliant. 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!

Daily sunscreen. 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.

Household tips

NO-BURN SCENTED CANDLE. This is a way to enjoy wonderful candle scents without burning a candle. Just set a glass jar-type candle on your range top next to the oven vent. The heat melts the candle and sends the wonderful scent all through the house, and the candle never burns away. I have had the same cinnamon candle for almost three years now, and it still smells as great as it did the day I brought it home.

— LeAnn

CHEAP BOOKMARKS. Those metal snap hair clips make great inexpensive bookmarks. You can snap the point of the clip so it points directly to the place on the page where you stopped reading. The clips hold onto the pages without ripping them. They’re available at the dollar store.

— Raquel

TOOTHPICK HOLDERS. I needed something to hold toothpicks, so I cleaned out a short votive candleholder. It is just the right size, and it looks good, too.

— Tara

SERIOUS SELLERS. Your tips for getting the most money when selling a house were great! I just have a couple to add from my experience as a Realtor. Curb appeal is so important; I was so glad to see you started out with that. I would just add to make sure that sellers look at their front door like they were entering as a buyer. Most people don’t use their front door and come in through the garage. Thus, the front door usually has cobwebs and needs a good sweeping and cleaning. Second, the most important thing, as you stated, is to declutter. Sellers, if they are serious, need to start packing up stuff so there is room in the drawers and closets and buyers don’t feel like the house is not large enough. I suggest to sellers that they put things in bins stacked nicely either in the basement or the garage along the wall. Most buyers don’t find that offensive or see it as a lack of storage. They just see that these people as serious about moving.

— Pam

Mary Hunt, founder of, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Send tips or address questions to: Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740, or email her at

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