40 Cheap Beauty Products People Call Their Most Amazing Finds Of The Year

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

by BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 

There’s no question that a thoughtful, intentional splurge can bring you so much satisfaction (shopping therapy is real). But more often than not, it’s the little, almost-accidental purchases that end up being the most surprisingly delightful — especially when you use them on a daily basis. That’s exactly how our editors feel about the 40 cheap beauty products on this list, all of which we’ve chosen specifically for their impactful effects and shockingly low price points — a combination that’s nothing short of amazing.

On this list, you’ll encounter some drugstore staples — it’s inevitable! — but which you may not have given the time of day, though we’ve included plenty of under-the-radar picks, as well. You’ve likely never considered how life-changing an amped-up saline spray can be, or thought to pick up an organic lotion made for sensitive baby skin. But trust us: You’ll thank yourself when you hit that Add To Cart Button, especially as everything on this list costs well under $25 on Amazon. And as most (if not all) of these products are eligible for Amazon Prime’s incredibly quick shipping, you won’t have to wait long to try them out for yourself.

Ready to engage in some low-stakes, high-impact retail therapy? Scroll on to shop 40 cheap beauty products our editors have dubbed their most amazing finds of the year.


A High-Impact Nail Polish That Only Requires One Coat

With its intense pigmentation and wide, flat brush, this Revlon nail polish delivers rich, opaque coverage with a single coat. Perhaps even more impressively, the formula is free of 20 questionable ingredients commonly found in nail polishes and what remains of the ingredients list is 78% organic. Choose from 20 vivid, high-gloss shades, including Bright Side, the neon chartreuse (cuter than that may seem) pictured above.

  • Available shades: 20


This Disinfectant Spray That Helps Heal Keloids, Rashes, & More

This Topical Skin Spray is a must for your medicine cabinet. A step up from your standard saline solution, the multitasking healing spray contains just two ingredients: electrolyzed sea salt water and HOCL, a naturally occurring disinfectant and anti-inflammatory. It’s a powerful (yet gentle) remedy for keloids, tattoo or piercing aftercare, scars, and the like; though you can also spritz it on your face throughout the day to cool down or refresh your complexion, a trick that one of our editors swears by.


A Set Of Holographic Masks That Instantly Brighten Up Your Under Eyes

“These under-eye patches instantly make me feel less tired, and they have a pleasant cooling effect. I love the holographic design, too!” says Associate Commerce Editor Carina Finn. That cooling effect is courtesy of xylitol, a zingy sugar alcohol that can help reduce moisture loss, while hyaluronic acid and peptides work to firm and brighten your skin. Keep them in the fridge for even more soothing affects— then prepare to take a selfie or two in these shiny, star-studded masks.


A Rich, Non-Greasy Moisturizer From A Cult-Favorite Drugstore Brand

With a 4.8-star average among over 50,000+ ratings on Amazon, this CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a clear favorite among shoppers all over the world — in addition to Associate Commerce Editor Ileana Morales Valentine. This no-nonsense yet highly impactful cream is packed with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to restore the skin barrier, and the brand’s patented MVE delivery system keeps your skin moisturized for a full 24 hours. Bearing a stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association, this fragrance-free moisturizer is gentle enough for use on the most sensitive skin types.


This Classic, All-Purpose Ointment That Comes In 5 Fruity Scents

Lanolips, the marquee product from Australian heritage brand LANO, has long been a cult-favorite for its dense, non-greasy formula that heals everything from chapped lips to flaky knuckles to calluses, according to Finn, who uses it on her hands after rock climbing. “I keep a tube of Lanolips in every room in my house, in my car, in my bag — it's my all-time favorite lip balm,” Finn adds. Heads up: This ointment is powered by lanolin derived from sheep, so it’s not vegan; though it is cruelty-free. Choose from five yummy flavors, like coconut or peach.

  • Available scents: 5


A Gentle Face & Body Cream From Mustela’s New Organic Line

“It’s no secret that Mustela is one of my all-time favorite beauty brands, despite *technically* being for babies,” says our commerce team’s beauty editor, Adeline Duff. “But recently, they launched a certified-organic line, which I’ve been really loving lately. I’m especially into this gentle, hydrating moisturizer — after showering, I slather it all over my face and body. When it comes to moisturizers, my motto is the simpler, the better, which is why I love this multi-use cream so much. It contains nothing unnecessary — no fragrance or phenoxyethanol; just the good stuff, like aloe leaf juice, glycerin, and a few plant-derived oils. And you get a pretty big bottle for just $15, so I think it’s a great value, considering that it’s an organic product.”


A Precise, $8 Brow Pencil That Works Better Than Expensive Ones

With its ultra-fine, retractable tip and fade- and smear-resistant formula, NYX’s Micro Brow Pencil is a worthy alternative to that ubiquitous, more expensive brow pencil that shall remain nameless. But according to its 20,000+ five-star Amazon reviewers — and our very own Commerce Editor Amy Biggart — it’s even better than its pricy counterpart. “This is my favorite brow pencil by far, and for just $8 it works as well as many way more expensive brow products I've tried,” Biggart says. “The tip is really fine which makes it easy to fill out your brows so the strokes blend seamlessly into your natural brow hairs." You have seven shades to choose from — an impressive selection for a drugstore product.

  • Available shades: 7


This Rinse-Out Product That Leaves Your Hair Silky & Smooth In Seconds

Our editors literally can’t stop talking about this L’Oreal 8 Second Wonder Water, a true miracle worker that leaves your hair next-level shiny, silky, and strong in just eight seconds. This rinse-out treatment can replace your conditioner or hair mask, though its water-light consistency feels much more refreshing (and it won’t weigh down fine hair). Still, it’s powerful enough to work its wonders on thick or coarse hair, too. At just $9 a bottle, what do you have to lose by trying it out for yourself?


A Lightweight Body Lotion That Absorbs Into Skin Instantly Without A Residue

This NIVEA body lotion was only launched recently, but it’s already garnered a cult-like following. Thanks thanks to its impossibly lightweight, fast-absorbing formula — hence the lotion’s name, NIVEA Breathable. Unlike a lot of other body lotions, this feels like nothing on your skin as soon as you put it on, so you can get dressed immediately after applying it. Choose from two scents: Tropical Breeze and Fresh Fusion.


A Makeup Setting Spray That Doubles As An Allover Highlighter

“This is by far the best setting spray I’ve used,” says Associate Commerce Editor Caroline Goldstein of this Neutrogena setting spray. “It leaves your skin looking so dewy and glowy (no highlighter necessary), and keeps my makeup locked in all day. I also spritz it on throughout the day when I need a boost of hydration or radiance, or if my makeup is slipping.” She adds that it has some fragrance (which makes it smell fresh, not sickly or overpowering), but it doesn’t irritate her sensitive skin — in fact, it feels quite soothing.


A Purifying Clay Mask That Comes In A Convenient Roll-On Stick

After gliding on this clay mask stick, you’ll wonder why every mask doesn’t come in stick form — it’s so much easier, less messy, and more hygienic than a bowl. It’s also convenient for spot-treating particular areas that could benefit from the formula’s combination of purifying, deep-cleaning white charcoal and kaolin clay (a dream team for calming breakouts and controlling excess oil production). It comes in three other clay formulas, too: Tea Tree for extra shine control; antioxidant-spiked Pink Mineral Complex; and Black Charcoal for a deeper cleanse.

  • Available formulas: 4


This $4 Mattifying Foundation With Over 40,000 Perfect Amazon Ratings

This $4 Maybelline Fit Me foundation is another go-to for Biggart, who says: “It’s super easy to build, offers great coverage, and has a matte finish I love. Despite trying many pricier foundations, this is the one I always come back to.” The addition of clay in the formula is responsible for that velvety, matte finish and shine control, though several of its 45,000+ five-star reviews note that it feels surprisingly breathable on skin. And with 40 shades to choose from, there’s something to suit every skin tone.

  • Available shades: 40


A Face & Body Moisturizer That Makes Your Skin Velvety-Soft

Biggart and Goldstein both swear by this moisturizer from First Aid Beauty, which Biggart claims “has genuinely changed the game for my dry skin.” It has a whipped consistency that feels rich upon first application, but “it absorbs remarkably quickly to a non-greasy, almost suede-like finish that leaves your skin immediately softer,” says Goldstein. It’s safe for use on sensitive skin, as all First Aid Beauty products are; though if you find it too rich for your face, this makes for a lovely hand or body cream, instead.


This $9 Drugstore Oil That Can Help Fade Unwanted Scarring

Bio-Oil has been on the shelves for decades — and like so many legacy drugstore products, it really is that good. The formula includes retinyl palmitate, vitamins A and E, and fatty botanicals to help fade unwanted scarring, replenish dehydrated skin, and give your skin an allover glow. “I love using Bio-Oil as a total body moisturizer, and I've definitely noticed it makes my skin feel softer, more hydrated, and has also faded a few of my older scars,” confirms Biggart.


An Australian Lip Balm Made With 100% Natural Ingredients

These Clean & Pure lip balms are, in fact, exactly as “clean” as the name says: The formula for this Papaw version (which Associate Commerce Editor Jen Fiegel loves) only contains olive oil, beeswax, cocoa seed butter, vitamin E oil, and papaw seed oil (aka papaya seed oil), a natural source of vitamins A, B, and C to soften and restore your lips. You have eight other formulas to choose from as well, including one with cure-all Manuka honey and SPF.

  • Available formulas: 9


A Small-Batch Eye Serum Made With Rosehip Oil & Shea Butter

Several of our editors reach for this SallyeAnder eye serum, which is handmade in small batches in Beacon, NY. It’s infused with natural ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, rosehip oil, and orchid oil that work to moisturize, brighten, and protect the delicate skin under your eyes, and its hypoallergenic formula is safe for reactive skin. The roll-on stick feels so soothing (and makes it more hygienic, too).


This Pure, Vegan Squalane Oil You’ll Reach For Constantly

Acure is one of Amazon’s best-kept secrets for purchasing plant-based skin care products at affordable prices — like this bottle of 100% vegan squalane oil that Fiegel recommends. Squalane is an amazing emollient, skin-soother, and glow-booster with a refreshing, fluid consistency. Use it on its own, or mix a pump or two in with your favorite moisturizing cream to thin out its consistency. You can even use it to hydrate the ends of your hair. Crucially, this comes housed in an opaque glass bottle with an airtight pump to maintain its freshness.


This Tinted Lip Bam That Adjusts To Your Complexion

“Peek inside any drawer in my apartment, and you’ll probably find a tube of Baby Lips stashed inside,” says Goldstein. These tinted lip balms make your lips feel so plush and smooth, and they leave behind a gorgeous, rosy glow that adjusts to suit your complexion based on your skin’s pH level. Depending on the shade you choose, the color payoff can be a natural, “your-lips-but-brighter” effect, or surprisingly pigmented and more along the lines of a lip crayon. Plus, they smell like fruit punch.

  • Available shades: 5


A Cult-Favorite Japanese Conditioner That Smells Like White Flowers

This Japanese conditioner is a cult-favorite among beauty editors and r/Asian Beauty Redditors alike, many of whom cite this (and its accompanying shampoo) as a holy grail product. The main ingredient in here is tsubaki oil, also known as camellia oil, a mainstay in Japanese hair and skin care products for its supplies of antioxidants and fatty acids. This’ll leave your hair gloriously soft and hydrated — even if your hair is damaged — and smelling like delicate flowers.


This Clear Brow Gel That Instantly Shapes & Tames Your Brows

“I don't wear a ton of makeup, so I use a quick swipe of this clear eyebrow gel to shape and set my brows for a low-key, finished look,” says beauty writer Andrea Pyros of this cult-favorite brow gel from NYX. “It dries quickly, doesn't flake, and though the formula holds up all day long, it washes off easily with any gentle face wash.” It’s vegan and PETA-certified cruelty-free, to boot.


This Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover That *Actually* Smells Good

This Ella+Mila nail polish remover is another favorite of Finn’s, who says, “This nail polish remover actually smells really good, and it's strong enough to remove glitter and long-wear polishes, without acetone.” In place of acetone, the formula contains vitamins A, C, and E to help strengthen nails, while lavender essential oil is responsible for that fresh scent. Like all Ella+Mila products (including their amazing line of non-toxic nail polishes), it’s vegan and cruelty-free.


The Cult-y Clay Mask That Belongs In Every Beauty Cabinet

Whether you’re just discovering it this year or you discovered it long ago, Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is (pun intended) one of the best beauty secrets of all time. This multitasking clay is most commonly used as a purifying face mask, but it can also be used as an all-over body mask, or mixed in with your bath. Wherever you apply it, it’ll help give your pores a deep clean and your skin an overall refresh. A particularly amazing choice for people with congested or acne-prone skin.


These Exfoliating Foot Masks That Shed Off All Your Dry Skin

One of the best ways to get rid of the stubborn dry skin on your feet is with these Dr. Scholl’s foot masks. Sold in a three pack for less than $10, they use exfoliating AHAs and skin-softening urea to peel away hard, dry, callused skin, so a few days after you wear the masks (which come in the form of serum-drenched booties), smooth, soft skin will be revealed. There’s also peppermint oil and lavender in here to leave your feet soothed and refreshed. An amazing drugstore find.


This Plant-Based Oil That Truly “Saves” Damaged Nails

Beauty editor Adeline Duff says one of her best cheap discoveries this year was Jason’s Tea Tree Nail Saver. “I apply this stuff twice a day to my nails and toenails, and the results have been astounding. I was experiencing a lot of bruising and dryness, and it brought my nails back to their strongest, healthiest selves. And despite my twice-daily application, the bottle I bought over five months ago is still half full.” This is made almost entirely of plant-derived oils (like tea tree, sesame seed, safflower and evening primrose), many of which are certified organic.


A Soothing Makeup Remover Made With Rose Water & Glycerin

An amazing and cheap beauty buy for anyone, this Garnier micellar water feels a little more luxurious (and hydrating) than its other, micellar water counterparts. That’s thanks to the addition of rose water and glycerin in the formula, so this leaves your skin feeling soothed, refreshed, and soft. But it works just as well as other micellar waters in the makeup-removing department, and it’s free of alcohol, fragrance, and oil.


These Scrunchies That Are Like Little Towels For Your Ponytail

These microfiber hair scrunchies are so genius. Perfect for people who like to throw their hair up after a shower, the microfiber material is incredibly absorbent, so the scrunchies can help dry your hair a lot faster. Think of them as mini towels for your ponytail.


A Pack Of 36 Patches That Help Flatten Blemishes Overnight

Mighty Patch pimple patches are one of the best beauty finds not just of this year, but of all time. By creating a shield between your blemish and outside bacteria (and your hands), they can help your pimples heal faster, while their hydrocolloid material simultaneously extracts any pus so your blemishes appear flatter. You get a pack of 36 for less than $15, so it’s a great value, too.


An Antioxidant-Rich Sunscreen That’s Truly Invisible

One of the best drugstore-beauty finds of the year is undoubtedly this new sunscreen from Neutrogena. It uses SPF 60 and antioxidants to protect your skin from both the sun and other environmental aggressors. And it’s free of a lot of ingredients that some people prefer to avoid, like oxybenzone and mineral oil (though note that it does contain fragrance). The best part is, it goes on totally clear, so it’ll work nicely for any skin tone. You can use this on both your face and body.


A Foaming Bubble Bath That Helps Soothe Your Body & Mind

Add this to your list of the best ways to spend $5. This Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath is made with muscle-soothing epsom salt and calming lavender, so a few drops into your tub is a great way to relax before bedtime. This comes in a massive bottle — you get 34 ounces of product — so you won’t be running out anytime soon.


2 Silicone Brushes For Applying Face Masks, Body Butters, & More

If you apply a lot of face masks, skin serums, and rich creams, it’s worth shelling out the $4 on this pack of two application brushes. They’ll make applying all of those things a lot more convenient — especially clay and mud masks. Since they’re made of silicone, any product that’s left on the brushes will rinse off easily with water. Over 40,000 Amazon shoppers gave these seemingly simple brushes a perfect, five-star rating.


The Best Detangling Brush You’ll Ever Use

This detangling brush has been awarded over 30,000 five-star ratings and reviews on Amazon, while over 900 people called it things like the “best brush” ever. One person wrote, “I took a chance on this brush and every single day, feel like this is the best purchase I have made in a VERY long time. I need zero product and can brush through my daughter's hair with zero trouble, pain, or difficulty.” Another reviewer called it the “Best hair product you can invest in.” Go ahead and see what all the hype is about for yourself.


A Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner Made With Pomegranate & Honey

Get a massive bottle of top-quality leave-in conditioner for less than $15, thanks to Mielle Organics. It’s ideal for Type 4 curls, but anyone with thick or curly/wavy will probably wind up loving this stuff. Made with nourishing, botanicals like murumuru seed butter, buriti oil, and several plant-derived extracts, as well as honey, it’ll help leave your hair hydrated and silky, and can also help protect it from future dryness and breakage. Bonus points for its divine, fruity scent.


This Soothing Body Cream That Feels Like Aloe Vera Gel

A new launch from drugstore-favorite brand Cetaphil, this lightweight gel cream, which is made with soothing allantoin and hydrating aloe, makes the perfect body cream for summer. Store it in the fridge to enhancing its cooling effect — it’ll feel so amazing after a long day in the sun.


A Matte Liquid Lipstick That Won’t Dry Your Lips Out

For lipstick-lovers, The Lip Bar is a brand worth taking note of. They make a lot of different lipsticks, but their matte liquid lipstick is perhaps the star of the line. Though it lasts just as long as other liquid lipsticks (read: for hours, even throughout several meals and drinks), it has the nourishing feel of a creamier lipstick or balm, so it won’t totally dry your lips out. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, too.

  • Available shades: 11


The Best OTC Gel You Can Buy For Acne & Clogged Pores

Another one of the best cheap beauty finds, always, Differin Gel was the first prescription-strength, over-the-counter retinoid to be approved in the U.S. It only costs $12, and it makes an excellent occasional exfoliator for most skin types — but it’s particularly well-suited to acne-prone skin, since Adapalene, the retinoid in the formula, works to treat acne at the root to prevent future breakouts from occurring. In case you need more convincing to try out the wonders of Differin, check out the 20,000+ five-star Amazon reviews.


This Mat That Makes It So Easy To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you wear makeup, here’s one of the best $5 purchases you can make. This simple, silicone mat makes it easy to give your makeup brushes a proper clean: Using a suction cup, it sticks onto any surface, then you simply wet your brushes, add some soap or makeup brush cleaner, and rub your brush around the mat in a circular motion. Simple, but so genius.


A Gentle But Effective Face Wash For Acne-Prone Skin

Salicylic acid cleansers are amazing for people with acne and blackheads, but a lot of salicylic acid cleansers can be overly harsh. Not this one, though. It contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, skin-strengthening ceramides, and anti-inflammatory niacinamide to balance out the effects of the SA. You can use this on your face and body, and you get a big, 8-ounce bottle for just $10, so it’s a great value.


A Creamy Blush For The Dewiest, Prettiest Flush

Achieve a dewy, natural-looking flush with this cream blush from Honest Beauty. It’s a great price for such a high-quality product — it’s made with good-for-skin ingredients like castor seed oil, beeswax, and plant-derived extracts — and it comes in a sleek white compact with a handy built-in mirror. Choose from four pretty, natural-looking shades.

  • Available shades: 4


A Nourishing, Multi-Use Soap Made By A Sustainable Brand

Beauty writer Andrea Pyros says, “I love this brand (both their products and their commitment to fair trade and other good business practices.) I use their African Black Soap as a body wash, but you can also shave with it, wash your face, and even shampoo your hair. It's made with shea butter, without any sulfates and it provides a refreshing, clean feel that isn't at all drying. I prefer the unscented one, but if you're all about a scented body wash, you've got eight to pick from, including citrus ginger and vanilla almond, and they're all made without synthetic fragrances.”


These Relaxing Shower Steamers Infused With Lavender & Chamomile

Showers can be just as relaxing as baths, thanks to these Sleepytime Shower Steamers. Pop them on your shower ledge, and these steamers will release a sedating blend of lavender and chamomile essential oils, both of which may help promote a better night’s sleep. Sip a mug of Sleepytime tea (the cult-favorite blend from Celestial Seasonings, not these shower steamers) when you step out of the shower to truly bliss out.

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