Knowing when to spend and when to save is something of an art, especially if your tendencies lean toward the former. But unlike leather goods or heirloom jewelry, beauty is a category in which you can (literally) afford to practice some monetary discretion. Consider this list of wildly popular beauty products that are
so damn cheap, but don’t sacrifice a single cent of quality. Despite performing just as well as products that cost five (or 10) times the price, everything featured here rings up at less than $15.
Ahead, you’ll find a healthy mix of drugstore classics and cult-favorites that’ve earned their stripes among the discerning online shopping set. Some of these picks are favorites overseas, like a Japanese oil cleanser that doesn’t make your face greasy, or a Korean vitamin C serum that costs an unheard-of $5. They’re all backed by loyal followings, whether among our editors who curated this list, or by tens of thousands of Amazon reviewers who keep these products on their Subscribe & Save rotations.
Which brings us to another great thing: Everything on this list is available on Amazon, so you don’t even need to leave your home to try out these cheap but impactful beauty products firsthand. Scroll on to start shopping (and saving).
A $6 Liquid Highlighter To Give Your Skin A Sunkissed Glow
liquid highlighter can be used on its own when dabbed onto the high points of your face and collarbones; as an ultra-glowy primer under your base makeup; or mixed with your body lotion, face cream, or foundation for some sneaky, allover radiance. The versatility of this product makes its $6 price tag all the more amazing.
The Liquid Exfoliant That Celebs & Beauty Experts Swear By
With over 25,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and many cosigns from beauty pros and celebrities, like Kaia Gerber, this
liquid exfoliant from Paula’s Choice takes the concept of “cult favorite” very seriously. The reviews section on Amazon is filled with people claiming that this miracle product “saved” their skin from rosacea, acne, blackheads, unwanted scarring, and redness, among other things — in other words, it targets virtually every skin concern, thanks to its simple formula of 2% salicylic acid and green tea extract. This 1-ounce bottle costs just $10; when you run out (and get hooked), you can get a bigger, 4-ounce bottle for $30.
A Weightless Lip Tint With A Powdery, Velvet-Like Finish
Peripera lip tint (a K-beauty favorite) leaves behind a powdery, velvety finish and an opaque color that makes your lips look naturally fuller — think matte liquid lipstick in effect. But unlike a lipstick, this is a tint, so it feels lighter-weight, less drying, and defies feathering and cracking. In other words, it’s the perfect matte lip product, complete with the cutest packaging we ever did see.
A Tub Of USDA-Certified Organic Shea Butter
If you fancy yourself a product minimalist, you should have a tub of shea butter on hand — even better if it’s 100% pure, unrefined, and certified organic by the USDA à la
this one from Sky Organics. To name just a few of its potential uses: Massage it into dry, rough patches; use it as a base for DIY cosmetics; rub it into split ends or on your scalp to alleviate itching; or slather it all over your feet and hands before bed to wake up to the softest, baby-like skin in the morning.
This Japanese Cleansing Oil That Melts Through Sunscreen & Makeup
Expensive cleansers are worth splurging on a few times a year; but in between those purchases, why not spend just $10 on a
Japanese oil cleanser that’s just as effective as its pricier counterparts? Beloved by J-beauty fans the world over, KOSE SOFTYMO Speedy Cleansing Oil boasts a thinner consistency than most others, so it may feel more palatable for those with oily skin (or who otherwise favor lighter-weight textures). In addition to melting through makeup and leaving skin silky-soft to the touch, one Amazon customer dubbed this “an amazing pore-shrinker,” and credited this for clearing up acne and blackheads. What’s not to love?
An All-Natural Lip Scrub That’s Good Enough To Eat
Made with natural components like sugar, sweet almond oil, and coconut, this
lip scrub is just a step up from whipping up your own, homemade batch using ingredients from Whole Foods. And it really does work, according to its 7,000+ five-star ratings from reviewers who praise how soft, plump, and hydrated this leaves their lips. It also comes in a matcha latte version, if that’s more up your alley.
These Eco-Friendly Cotton Rounds That You Can Reuse Again & Again
If you haven’t yet replaced your single-use cotton rounds with reusable ones, consider this a friendly reminder.
These pads are made of 100% cotton, so they work and feel exactly like disposable ones; but they can be washed in the machine and reused several times, so you’ll end up saving money in the long run, and doing a bit of environmentalism in the process. This order of 18 pads comes with a laundry bag so you won’t lose them in the machine.
A $5 Vitamin C Serum Infused With Witch Hazel & Rose Water
$5 for a
vitamin C serum seems too good to be true, but believe us (and its militant fan base) when we tell you: this stuff works. In here, vitamin C gets a boost from hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil for a moisturizing feel, while witch hazel and rose water help soothe redness and inflammation. One fan of the serum raved: “I’ve been using this product over a week and in that short time my skin has become very hydrated (it was dry previously), acne scars are diminishing, and I feel my overall skin complexion looks more radiant. I’m a fan for life!”
A Cooling Lip Gloss That Offers SPF 20 Protection
Neutrogena lip gloss an evolved version of the classic Lancôme Juicy Tube. Like the lip gloss you swore by in middle school, this deposits a pop of color with a glazed, wet-looking finish (and it comes in that iconic tube with a plastic doe-foot applicator), but the addition of SPF 20 helps protect your lips from sun damage. It’s also made with cooling aloe, cucumber, and zingy menthol, so you’ll want to keep a tube stashed in your beach bag.
A Multipurpose Balm That’s Gentle Enough For The Most Delicate Skin
certified-organic balm from Dr. Bronner’s can be applied anywhere that’s feeling dry or chapped: your lips, cheeks, elbows, knees, cuticles… you get the idea. It’s made with just a handful of ingredients, including beeswax, vitamin E (aka tocopherol), and avocado, jojoba, and hemp seed oils, so it feels super nourishing, but won’t irritate sensitive skin.
This Perennially Popular Mascara For Falsie-Level Lashes
Of all the
incredible drugstore mascaras out there, L’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara continues to be a best-seller. The chubby brush delivers thick, curled lashes with minimal clumping, and the jet-black formula dramatically tints your lashes with just one coat. The version linked here is the classic washable formula, but you’d do well to pick up a waterproof tube, as well — it literally stays on underwater — or any of their jewel tones, like emerald or amethyst, for a subtle pop of color.
Available shades (washable): 8
Available shades (waterproof): 3
A Mineral Sunscreen That Feels Soothing On Sensitive Skin
physical sunscreen is free of most common, potential irritants, so it’s a great choice for people who can’t even look at most sunscreens without breaking out into a rash. Unlike many mineral sunscreens, Amazon shoppers report that this doesn’t leave behind as much of a white cast, and the lotion-like consistency blends into skin smoothly. The version linked here offers SPF 30 protection, though the brand also offers SPF 50 and SPF 70 on the same page.
This Luxurious Cuticle Oil For Stronger Nails, Sans Grease
cuticle oil has earned a 4.7-star overall rating based on over 80,000 reviews, so it may very well be the most popular nail product on the market, period. Made with nourishing milk, honey, and cold-pressed oils, this works to hydrate your nail beds and promote stronger, healthier nail growth — but despite its richness, it absorbs quickly, so you won’t have to wait 20 minutes to touch your phone again. At just $9 for this luxe, golden bottle, this is a small way to elevate your at-home manicure experience.
A Collection Of 24 Gorgeous Makeup Brushes For Less Than $15
Stock your entire makeup brush collection with this
set of 24 super-soft brushes, all finished with gleaming lavender and gold hardware. This comes with every makeup brush you could reasonably need, whether you’re a pro or amateur, from fan brushes and powder brushes to a spate of precision eyeliner brushes. Everything is rolled up into a chic and convenient carrying case for travel.
The Original French Micellar Water (That Costs Just $9)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but you need a bottle of
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water in your medicine cabinet — the French pharmacy brand literally invented micellar water, so it doesn’t get better than this. Although it’s a mainstay makeup remover, the fluid, hydrating formula feels refreshing as an AM cleanser (cucumber extract adds a soothing kick); and it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin types, as are all products from the brand’s Sensibio line.
This Creamy Primer That Makes Your Skin Look Filtered
Although it’s called a putty, this
cult-favorite primer feels breathable on skin, and its creamy texture blends in smoothly — not at all like the kindergarten paste you may expect. It provides a healthy amount of coverage, so it’ll blur out inconsistencies in your skin texture, minimize the appearance of pores, and temper redness. Intrigued? You only have to shell out $8 for a tub; and since a little goes a long way, it’ll last you ages.
The Affordable Makeup Sponges That Thousands Of Shoppers Swear By
makeup sponges perform just as well as their name-brand counterparts, but at $9 for a pack of five, they cost a fraction of the price. Many shoppers actually prefer these to more expensive sponges, as they absorb just the right amount of product, clean easily, and hold up over time without tearing or losing their shape.
These Cream Eyeshadows That Stay In Place All Day (& Night)
If you’re after a wildly long-lasting eye shadow (who isn’t?), pick up a pot or two of this
Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow. The buttery consistency blends like a dream, but the pigmentation remains opaque and dramatic for hours on end — one of our editors (accidentally) slept in this shadow and confirms that it remained intact the next morning. These smudgy pots double as one-step smoky eyes, though they also work well as primers for powder shadows.
A Popular Drugstore Serum That Smooths Away Unwanted Frizz
Anything in Garnier’s Sleek and Shine line is a failsafe option if you’re hoping to smooth out unwanted frizz, but
this serum is a particular fan-favorite. The dimethicone-based formula contains argan and apricot oils for hydration, leaving your hair smooth, sleek, and glossy with just one pump (or less). And unlike so many other hair serums — drugstore or otherwise — this doesn’t get gloopy.
This Decadent Body Polish That Makes Your Skin Impossibly Soft
Equal parts moisturizing and exfoliating, this
Dove body scrub is a decadent treat for dry, dull skin. Crushed macadamia sloughs away roughness and flakes, while one-quarter moisturizing cream and rice milk offer soothing hydration. This works up into an ultra-fine lather, so you’ll feel like you’re getting a nice cleanse as it polishes, too.
A Cult-Favorite Concealer You Can Use So Many Different Ways
three-in-one concealer is an amazing under-eye concealer, though with its sponge-tip applicator and generous, 18-shade range, you can put this to work as a contour cream or matte highlighter, too. This offers medium coverage with a dewy finish, and it doesn’t crease up or get cakey. No wonder it’s America’s favorite concealer.
This Korean Sheet Mask Made With Skin-Plumping Avocado
avocado face mask may seem like a gimmick, but with its stores of essential fatty acids, the fruit works wonders for plumping and strengthening your skin. This $3 purchase is an easy addition to your Amazon cart; but if you’re curious to try the Korean brand’s other, botanical-inspired sheet masks, pick up an assortment of their five hydrating heroes for just $15.
The Gentlest Face Wash You Ever Will Find
Whether you have super-sensitive skin or just prefer to use a mild, no-frills cleanser to wash your face,
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is a must-have. It’s made with just a handful of ingredients, but more important is what it’s made without, like sulfates, fragrance, essential oils, and propylene glycol, to name a few — aka all of the things that tend to trigger irritation in reactive skin. It’s a great choice for any skin type, really, but if you have a condition like eczema, consider this your new holy grail.
A Set Of 2 Silicone Exfoliating Brushes For Your Lips
If you can’t be bothered with a lip scrub, here’s an even easier way to exfoliate your lips. These
silicone brushes have two different textures on each side: one that’s better for removing flakes, and one for lip-plumping massages. Because they’re made of silicone, they’re easy to keep clean, and you can use them over and over again without any mess or fuss.
The Cult-Favorite Korean Hair Mask Thousands Of People Swear By
Over 15,000 Amazon shoppers left this
Elizavecca hair treatment a perfect five-star rating or review, so go ahead and see what all the hype is about for yourself. It’s a protein-rich hair mask that helps make your hair stronger, smoother, and silkier with each application. Just use it in place of conditioner, and leave it on for anywhere from five to 20 minutes. Especially ideal for damaged, color-treated, or over-processed hair.
An Under-$10 Retinol Gel For Acne-Prone Skin
Though the retinoid Adapalene once required a prescription, you can now get it in over-the-counter products like Acne Free Adapalene Gel. It’s one of the most effective products you could buy from a drugstore to treat acne, blackheads, and other forms of breakouts, and unlike its harsher, prescription counterparts, it’s
less likely to cause irritation among those with sensitive skin. The gel is oil-free, lightweight, and unscented, and should be applied to clean skin before moisturizing.
This Light-As-Water Tint For Your Lips & Cheeks
Despite being light as water, this
multi-use tint from K-beauty brand Etude House delivers vivid color with just one coat (though the more layers you apply, the bolder it will be). Use it on your lips for a just-sucked-on-a-popsicle effect, or on your cheeks for a doll-like flush of color.
Available shades: Cherry Ade, Orange Ade, Strawberry Ade
This Gently Exfoliating Body Cream That’ll Make Your Skin Smooth & Soft
this body cream contains the gentle exfoliant lactic acid, which helps soften bumpy skin, it’s an ideal choice for anyone dealing with keratosis pilaris or body acne. Despite its exfoliating powers, though, it’s still incredibly moisturizing — apply this liberally after the shower anywhere that could use some smoothing out.
The Best Primer You Can Buy For Less Than $10
Name a better primer for less than $10 — I’ll wait. The
cult-classic Baby Skin primer from Maybelline blurs your pores so your skin looks smoother and more even, which allows makeup to glide seamlessly on top. The formula — which is of the transparent gel variety — dries down invisibly and imperceptibly, so you’ll barely notice you’re wearing anything on your skin.
This Buttery Gloss That’s As Pigmented As A Liquid Lipstick
Butter Gloss from NYX manages to be shiny and glossy, but not sticky. And despite being a gloss, it’s nearly as pigmented as a liquid lipstick, whether you wear it on its own, layered over a balm, or on top of a bold lipstick. The shade range is impressive, too: Choose from both neutral pinks and classic reds, or try one of the more playful colors like bright blue or purple.
A Certified-Organic Jojoba Oil For Your Hair, Skin, & Nails
Jojoba oil can be used for so many purposes: as a face or body moisturizer; as a nail and cuticle oil; as a split end treatment; mixed into your bath; or as a carrier oil for DIY skin care projects. And top-quality jojoba oil doesn’t have to cost you a lot — just look at this one from Cliganic, which is certified organic by the USDA and costs just $10. A staple in any bathroom cabinet.
This Reusable Volcanic Roller That Works Just Like Blotting Papers
Cut down on waste with this
REVLON Oil-Absorbing Volcanic Face Roller, which — just like blotting papers — soaks up excess oil and mattifies shine anywhere you roll it. The roller itself is made from volcanic stone, and can be reused again and again; just wash it occasionally with water and soap, and leave to dry overnight. Fans (and there are a lot of them, thanks to this product’s TikTok fame) especially like how it’s discreet to use in public, and small enough to fit in a clutch.
The Iconic Face Powder That Still Holds Up After Decades
It’s been around since 1935, yet all these years later,
Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder still holds up. Use it to set your makeup, soak up shine, or “bake” your concealer — it’s as good as what the pros use despite being so cheap. It comes in a universal translucent shade, but it comes in tinted versions as well. Amazon reviewers with all different skin types — oily, sensitive, acne-prone, dry — swear by this stuff.
The Makeup Brush Cleaner That You Should Always Have On Hand
To make cleaning your makeup brushes less of a chore, keep a bottle of
Ecotools Makeup Cleaner around — no more mixing dish soap and olive oil necessary. The gentle, plant-based formula can be used on all types of brushes (both natural and synthetic), and makeup sponges as well. Over 25,000 Amazon reviewers gave this a perfect five-star rating, and swear by it over all other brush-cleaning methods due to its gentleness.
2 Silicone Brushes For Applying Face Masks, Body Butters, & More
Applying mud masks can get pretty messy, and sometimes, you don’t want to grease up your hands with body butters either. The solution? These
silicone brushes, which can be used to apply all sorts of skin care products in a much cleaner, convenient matter. “I use this to apply a famous and well-known BHA/AHA peel into a nice even layer on my face without getting my hands messy. I also use this to apply cool aloe vera gel from my fridge after waxing to calm my skin down. I like this product because I don’t have to worry about introducing bacteria from my hands to my face while I am treating my face,” one Amazon reviewer commented. Impressively, these seemingly-niche brushes have over 45,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.
The Best Liquid Eyeliner Under $10
When it comes to drugstore makeup, it’s hard to beat
NYX Epic Ink Liner. It truly works just as well as its much-pricier competitors, despite its incredibly reasonable price tag. Highlights include a super-pointed tip that makes drawing thin lines and neat wings easy, and a waterproof formula that won’t budge until it’s washed off with makeup remover.
An Easy Way To Moisturize Your Skin Anywhere, Anytime
Despite *technically* being marketed for babies, this
Mustela cold cream stick will become the new best friend of anyone with dry skin — adults included. It’s a rich, gentle moisturizer in stick form that twists up for easy application, and it’s tiny enough to keep in a small bag. Glide it along your cheeks, forehead, chin, or anywhere else that gets dry throughout the day. A must-have for winter.
This Magical “Water” That Makes Your Hair Silky In Seconds
Get silky hair in less than 10 seconds with
L’Oreal Elvive 8 Second Wonder Water. It works similarly to hair masks in that it helps make your hair smooth and soft, but unlike hair masks — which tend to be rich, heavy creams that weigh down fine hair — this silicone-free treatment is as light as water. It’s already garnered over 13,000 five-star Amazon reviews and a cult-like following despite being a relatively new launch from the brand.
A Tinted Lip Balm That Comes In The Most Gorgeous Sheer Colors
Honest Beauty’s tinted lip balm coats your lips in a sheer wash of color and a protective, moisturizing barrier thanks to avocado oil, cocoa butter, and acai and pomegranate oils, which are rich in antioxidants. The perfect balm for everyday wear, it’s sold in five pretty colors, as well as one clear version.
A Body Cream & Self Tanner That You Apply In The Shower
body moisturizer and self tanner in one doesn’t require you to get out of the shower or rinse off. Once you’ve turned off the water, apply it smoothly, then gently pat yourself dry (or simply air dry). It moisturizes your skin with ingredients like glycerin and shea butter, but it also develops into a natural-looking tan gradually; use it every day after showering and see results within a week or less. One Amazon reviewer raved, “I have never been so satisfied with a product before. Not only does it smell good but it is super simple to use and I noticed a difference in a day. Looks natural and I can keep building up to the tone I want. AMAZING!!”
A Lavender-Scented Bubble Bath Made With Muscle-Soothing Epsom Salt
At the end of the night, unwind with a few squeezes of
Dr Teal’s Foaming Bath in your tub. It helps soothe your body and mind in two ways: using the scent of lavender, which has well-known calming properties, and epsom salt, which can help relieve muscle soreness. This massive bottle costs just $5, so you can be generous with it. Worth signing up for Subscribe & Save for this one.
A Treatment That Makes Your Hair Smooth & Shiny, Not Sticky
“This is THE ONLY product that hydrates, detangles, and smoothes my hair. I buy 5 bottles at a time to make sure I never run out,” one customer reported of this
oil-in-cream from L’Oreal Elvive. It may seem like it’d be overly rich (judging from the presence of both oil and cream), but it doesn’t weigh down fine hair (though those with fine hair should use less), or leave your ends feeling crunchy or sticky. Rather, expect a natural-looking sheen and smooth, soft strands, as well as a divine scent that lingers all day.
These Clever Spatulas That Help You Waste Less Product
Do you ever get frustrated by the amount of product that goes to waste when you can’t reach into the bottom of a bottle? Then you need these
teeny tiny spatulas (which, though technically made for beauty products, can be used for food jars as well). You’ll get two spatulas in two sizes, so you can scrape out every last drop of product from bottles, tubs, and jars of all shapes.