44 Cheap Beauty Products That Make The Biggest Impact

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by BDG Commerce
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Sometimes, a beauty product is worth splurging on — think: active-rich serums, pro-level brushes, and anything made by Pat Mcgrath. For the most part, though, affordable drugstore products are capable of doing just as good of a job as their luxury counterparts, especially when it comes to everyday basics like mascaras and lipsticks. But if you know where to look (and what to look for), you don’t even necessarily have to go the drugstore route to save money on skin care and makeup — a lot of Korean beauty brands and lesser-known European exports, for example, happen to be super affordable. With that in mind, scroll on to shop 45 of the cheapest beauty products that make the biggest impact, despite their affordable price tags.

Ahead, you’ll find a nice variety of beauty products to choose from, from playful makeup and skin care saviors to plenty of delights for your hands, nails, and hair. The common denominator here is that they all cost less than $25 on Amazon, and they’ll make a major, noticeable difference in one way or another. Best of all, since just about everything is available on Amazon Prime, you’ll only have to wait a few days to try out your discoveries.

Start stocking your vanity with these cheap-but-impactful beauty finds, just ahead.


A Moisturizing Face Sunscreen From A Cult-y Australian Brand

You can get Bondi Sands sunscreen on Amazon now — the Australian brand’s products have been notoriously hard to find Stateside until recently. Of course, there are few products that make a bigger impact — both immediately and over time — than sunscreen. And this face sunscreen, with its water-resistant, fragrance-free formula and moisturizing (but non greasy) feel, is just perfect. One Amazon reviewer called it the “best [they’ve] tried at this price range,” while another wrote, “No white cast, easy to apply, very moisturizing. Should have guessed the Australians would figure out a great sunscreen!”


A Much-Cheaper & More Accessible Alternative To Prescription Retinoids

Instead of spending hundreds on derm visits to get a retinoid prescription, try Differin gel instead. It’s America’s first, over-the-counter, prescription-strength retinol — the key ingredient here is Adapalene, which has similar activity to tretinoin (aka Retin-A). This is a great choice for acne-prone skin, since it works to clear out pores and calm inflammation, though people who aren’t dealing with acne can still use this to exfoliate and resurface their skin.


A $10 Hair Wash That Produces Similar Results To An In-Salon Keratin Treatment

Similar to a keratin treatment or hair mask, L’Oreal’s 8 Second Wonder Water will give you smooth, soft, silky hair after just one use. The difference is that this treatment is completely weightless — it really feels like water — so it won’t make your hair feel heavy or weighed down. The results are pretty incredible, which explains why it’s already garnered over 10,000 five-star Amazon ratings and a cult-like following, despite being a relatively new product.


This Award-Winning Mascara & Primer For Dramatic Lashes That Look Natural

Use this lash primer and mascara to get long, full, defined lashes that look dramatic, but still natural. Made by Jessica Alba’s “clean” personal care brand Honest Beauty, this fan-favorite mascara even won an award in PEOPLE and The Today Show’s 2020 Beauty Awards.


A $5 Eyebrow Pencil That Rivals Much-Pricier Competitors

There’s really no need to spend upwards of $15 on an eyebrow pencil — this one, from K-beauty brand Etude House, works just as well as competitors that cost three or four times the price. It has a creamy, angled pencil on one side, which makes it easy to create realistic-looking strokes, and a fluffy brush on the other for grooming and blending. You could use this as eyeliner, too.

  • Available shades: 7


A Truly Amazing Face Serum At A Can’t-Beat Price

Newish brand Naturium makes some truly incredible skin care products with even more incredible price tags. The clear fan-favorite (so far), though, is their niacinamide serum. Niacinamide has all sorts of benefits for your skin — it can help tighten up congested or enlarged pores and promote a more even tone, in addition to being generally soothing and moisturizing — but this serum takes things a step further with the addition of zinc, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid. Since all of these ingredients are so gentle and they work together to tackle myriad concerns, this is an all-around amazing serum for any type of skin.


These Jelly-Like Highlighters That Are Super Pigmented

As their name indicates, these cheap e.l.f highlighters have a satisfying, jelly-like texture that makes them a joy to put on. Despite being so affordable, though, they’re really high quality: Just a little dab will make your skin shine all day long. The finish is shimmery and metallic (but not glittery), and they’re sold in three versatile shades: Bubbly, a pearlescent white-gold; Cloud, a true rose gold; and Dew, which leans coppery. You can wear these as eyeshadow, mix them in with your moisturizer or foundation, or dab them onto the high points of your face in the traditional, highlighter way.

  • Available shades: 3


An Under-$5 Lip Pencil That Makes A Big (But Subtle) Difference

Here’s a makeup artist trick: Line your lips with a pencil that’s just a shade or two darker than your natural lips, then put a coat of clear gloss on top. It won’t even look like you’re wearing anything, but it’ll still make a big difference. This NYX lip liner is perfect for that, since it comes over 10 natural-looking shades. While you’re at it, pick up one of the bolder shades like Bloom or Hot Red. At just $4 a pop, it’s worth stocking up.

  • Available shades: 16


A Creamy Palette That Covers All Your Contouring Bases

Cover all your contouring bases with this kit from Black Radiance; it includes three shades to “contour, sculpt, and illuminate,” though you could easily use them as bronzer (or even a natural-looking eyeshadow) as well. The consistency is delightfully creamy, which makes them a breeze to use. Choose from two palettes: light to medium, which includes a shimmering gold highlighter; or medium to dark, whose highlighter runs more coppery-bronze.

  • Available shades: 2


The Cult-Favorite Clay Mask That Transforms Your Skin In Just One Use

One of the rare face masks that actually makes a difference, the cult-classic Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay will help soothe all your skin woes in just one use. You’ll really feel it pulsate on your face, as the brand says — all you do is mix it with water or apple cider vinegar, then leave it on for anywhere from five to 15 minutes. You could also mix this into your bath, or apply it all over your body like a mud wrap. And since all you need is a little bit of the clay at a time, this 1-pound tub will literally last you years.


This Popular Exfoliating Brush That’s Simple To Clean

No matter what your preferred routine includes, use this exfoliating body brush before self-tanning, applying your extra-hydrating nighttime moisturizer, waxing, or shaving. This popular exfoliating brush with over 9,000 five-star ratings can be used on wet or dry skin — whenever you want to exfoliate. This exfoliating step is also simple to clean with the detachable brush head, so you never irritate your skin.


This Best-Selling Body Wash That Smooths Out Rough, Bumpy Skin

If you have body acne or skin that’s bumpy and rough, this body wash may make a big difference. The key ingredient is salicylic acid, which helps clear out pores and clogged hair follicles to get at the root of those blemishes and bumps. Since it’s formulated with skin-strengthening ceramides and soothing niacinamide, though, it won’t leave your skin feeling dried out.


A Putty-Like Primer That’ll Create The Smoothest Base For Your Makeup

This putty-like primer has a thick texture that’ll help smooth out your skin for a flawless makeup base — but don’t worry, it doesn’t feel rich or greasy once absorbed. Your makeup will literally glide over it, and it makes blending a breeze, but you could wear it without makeup, also. This one is ideal for dry to combination skin, but it also comes in a version for oily skin, as well as a “luminous” formula that has a subtle illuminating effect.


The Iconic American Concealer That’s So Creamy & Hydrating

Apparently, this the number-one best-selling concealer in America, and it’s also won plenty of awards. And it’s not hard to see why. First, there’s its creamy consistency — though it provides ample coverage, it doesn’t feel overly thick, and it dries down into a hydrating, non-chalky finish. Then, there’s the handy sponge-tip applicator, which makes applying it a breeze. Last, it offers skin care benefits as well, thanks to the Haloxyl — a blend of skin-supporting peptides — in the formula. In addition to skin-like colors, this also comes in two color-correcting base shades for brightening and neutralizing your skin pre-concealer.

  • Available shades: 18


An Easy Way To Ensure Your Lipstick Looks Flawless

Here’s a cheap and clever way to ensure your lipstick always looks flawless. Exfoliate your lips with a gentle brush to remove any flakes before putting on your lip color. It’ll also make your lipstick glide on a lot more smoothly, and it’ll help prevent it from flaking off within the hour as well. These are double-sided, made with gentle, easy-to-clean silicone, and sold in a pack of three.


The Best-Selling Face Powder People Have Been Swearing By For Decades

People have been using Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder since 1935 — and it still holds up. It’s an amazing mattifying powder that happens to be super affordable, and it can be used for baking your concealer, setting your makeup, soaking up oil, and preventing photo flashback. This one is translucent, but it also comes in versions with rosy and honey undertones.

  • Available shades: 8


The Classic, Creamy Eyeshadow People That’ll Never Let You Down

Here’s another affordable product that still holds up after years of popularity: these creamy eyeshadow palettes from Revlon. Sold in playful and neutral colors alike, they blend in easily, glide on smoothly, and are super buildable. You could even use some of the shades as highlighter, too.

  • Available shades: 9


A Shea Butter Lip & Cheek Balm That Isn’t Sticky

This shea butter lip and cheek balm is so highly pigmented it lives up to its packaging, which resembles a tube of paint. Once you choose from the five colors, you’ll only need a dab of this $10 balm that will last you a while. Its best feature is the non-sticky and non-drying formula that uses shea butter for hydrated lips and cheeks.


A Tinted Moisturizer With Sunscreen & Vitamin C — For Under $25

It’s hard to find a good tinted moisturizer under $25, let alone a tinted moisturizer that also doubles as sunscreen. But that’s not all — Honest Beauty’s CC cream contains vitamin C, so you’re getting your antioxidant protection as well. Talk about making a big impact in just one step.

  • Available shades: 4


This Rice-Infused Cleanser That Leaves Your Skin Radiant & Refreshed

This cult-favorite Korean face wash will make a big impact in a few ways. First, it’ll remove every trace of makeup (including the stubborn stuff) in just one wash. What’s more, it leaves your skin looking truly radiant — that’s likely thanks to the rice water in the formula, which has been used for centuries for its beauty benefits. As an aside, it also happens to smell really good.


2 Tubes Of Maybelline’s Best-Selling Primer — For Just $10

Maybelline Baby Skin is among the most popular drugstore primers out there — and for just $10, you get can get not one but two tubes. It’ll help smooth out your skin and (temporarily) reduce the appearance of congested or enlarged pores. The resulting effect is decidedly cherub-like (hence the product’s name).


A Non-Sticky Lip Gloss That Comes In Over 25 Bold & Neutral Shades

Get your gloss on without that dreading sticky feeling with NYX’s Butter Gloss. True to its name, it has a buttery consistency and high-shine finish, without being gloopy or acting like a magnet for stray hairs. This offers medium coverage, and can be worn alone or layered on top of lipstick. Choose from 28 gorgeous colors, from rosy pink and bright red to bold blue.

  • Available shades: 28


The Exfoliating Body Lotion That’ll Make Your Skin So Smooth & Soft

With consistent use, this AmLactin body lotion can make a big impact on the way your skin feels. Like all of the brand’s products, it contains lactic acid to promote smooth, soft skin — so if you have keratosis pilaris, for example, it’s a must-try. It’s also really great for skin that’s generally rough, bumpy, flaky, or dry.


These Pretty, Creamy Blushes From Drew Barrymore’s Beauty Line

Give your cheeks a gorgeous flush of color with these Blush Bombs from Flower Beauty, Drew Barrymore’s surprisingly underrated beauty line. They’re creamy and silky, blend into skin seamlessly, and look super natural — start out with just a drop, then you can build them up for a more intense flush, if you want. Choose from six gorgeous shades.

  • Available shades: 6


The Best-Selling Bronzer With A Creamy, Buttery Feel

Arguably the most popular drugstore bronzer of all time, Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer is a powder, but it still has a creamy, buttery feel — so it looks super smooth on your skin. Just a light wash can make a major difference, whether you use it all over your face or to contour your cheekbones. Don’t forget, bronzer makes an excellent eyeshadow, too, especially when you’re going for that natural, no-makeup look.

  • Available shades: 4


This Body Scrub That Smells Amazing & Leaves Your Skin Impossibly Soft

This Himalayan salt body scrub will make your skin feel so, so soft — you’ve got to try it out for yourself to see. This pink exfoliating salt has a sweet almond oil scent. That’s not the only natural and nourishing oil it has — there’s also plenty of jojoba and argan oil. Scrub with this pink scrub a few times a week to maintain your softest, silkiest skin ever.


The Drugstore Liquid Lipstick That’s Among The Best You Can Buy

There are a lot of liquid lipsticks out there, but it’s hard to top Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink — especially considering its under-$10 price tag. Obviously, liquid lipsticks make a huge impact on your makeup, since they produce bold, pigmented color and stay on for hours without smudging or fading. But this stuff really won’t budge — even through drinks and meals — and won’t make your lips feel super dry, unlike a lot of other liquid lipsticks. Plus, the glorious, 50+ shade range is hard to beat; it even comes in fun colors like lavender, violet, and navy blue.

  • Available shades: 52


The Cult-Favorite Korean Sunscreen That Doesn’t Feel Greasy Or Sticky

A favorite among oily and sensitive skin types (and over 5,000 Amazon reviewers), this Korean mineral sunscreen has a nice, high SPF of 50 and leaves behind a comfortable, non-greasy finish. It’s loaded with good-for-skin ingredients, like aloe vera, centella asiatica, and hyaluronic acid, and feels airy and breathable on skin. And believe it or not, you can get it for less than $15 on Amazon.


The Best Liquid Eyeliner You Could Buy For Under $10

There’s really no need to spend $20 on a liquid eyeliner when you can get this one for just $7 on Amazon. NYX Epic Ink has a super-fine pointed tip that makes quick work of drawing on wings, while its waterproof formula ensures it stays on for hours without budging. One Amazon reviewer reported that it “Will NOT smudge or transfer even if you cry or sweat!”

  • Available shades: 2


This Classic, Clear Mascara That Has A Few Other Handy Uses

If you’re going for the no-makeup makeup look, clear mascara — like Maybelline’s Great Lash — is a must. (Why mess with a classic?) But beyond being used to coat your lashes, it can also be used as brow gel — and who doesn’t love a good multitasking product? Here’s another clever hack: You can use this to smooth down your baby hairs or flyaways when you’re rocking a ponytail or bun.


A Creamy, 2-in-1 Foundation At An Unbeatable Price

Another multitasking product that costs less than $10, Milani’s Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer can be applied all over your face or used for more targeted coverage. Unlike a lot of concealers, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry and chalky, or looking flaky; and unlike a lot of foundations, it actually offers concealer-level coverage.

  • Available shades: 38


The Korean Protein Treatment That Helps Strengthen & Repair Damaged Hair

For a $7 hair mask that rivals in-salon conditioning treatments, pick up Elizavecca’s CER100 Collagen Coating Hair Protein Treatment. Using ceramide-3 and soy protein, it helps repair and strengthen dry, damaged hair so it feels softer, silkier, and more nourished. Just one treatment will make a big difference — and the best bit is, it costs less than $10.


The Best Drugstore Concealer On The Market

Ask most drugstore-beauty enthusiasts, and they’ll tell you: This is the best concealer you can buy for less than $10. It offers full, waterproof coverage with a matte finish, and truly lasts all day long (or up to 24 hours, according to the brand). Over 11,000 Amazon reviewers left this a five-star rating, with several people calling it their “holy grail” and the “best concealer [they’ve] ever used!”

  • Available shades: 24


A $5 Serum That’ll Make Your Hair So Shiny & Smooth

Another super-affordable product that rivals its pricier competitors, Garnier’s Sleek and Shine Anti-Frizz Serum is a must-try for anyone with dry, damaged hair. It’s also great for smoothing out unwanted frizz and flyaways, and it’ll make your ends feel so soft. Another bonus is that it comes in a generously sized bottle with a handy, pump-top dispenser, yet costs just $5. And like most Garnier products, it smells absolutely delicious.


An Antioxidant-Rich Primer That Makes Your Skin Look Glowy & Radiant

This brilliant face primer from Flower Beauty does a few things. First, and most obviously, it preps and smooths out your skin for flawless makeup application. Or, you can wear it alone to let your skin literally shine (but in a shimmery, not greasy way). It also offers skin care benefits, since it’s rich in antioxidants that help brighten and protect your skin. All of that, plus the gorgeous, purple and gold bottle, for less than $15.


The Cult-Favorite Korean Lip Tint With A Smooth, Velvety Finish

If you love the look of smooth, velvety lips, pick up this cult-favorite lip tint from Korean beauty brand Peripera. You can dab it onto your lips with your fingers for a slightly blurred look, or layer it on with the applicator for a bolder wash of color. You could use these on your cheeks, too — try mixing a dollop with your go-to moisturizer for a naturally flushed effect.

  • Available shades: 13


A Creamy, Long-Lasting Eyeshadow Stick That Comes In The Most Gorgeous Colors

Over 8,000 Amazon shoppers left this eyeshadow stick a five-star review or rating after trying it. Some highlights? One person wrote, “I can honestly say that I have never before experienced a product that simply DOES NOT wear off until you take it off.” Another reviewer summed things up nicely: “Cream to powder on one end & a really good blender on the other end.” And it does, indeed, have a really great, chubby blender — plus, the 14 shades in which it comes are absolutely gorgeous.

  • Available shades: 14


7 Pairs Of Fluffy False Lashes — & They Have Thousands Of Rave Reviews

Get seven pairs of fluffy, faux-mink falsies for less than $10 in this best-selling set. They come in six different styles that vary in terms of drama, or you can also try a mix of them all. They can be reused between three and 10 times, depending on how well you take care of them, and they feel soft and lightweight. If you’re skeptical, just check out the 13,000+ five-star Amazon reviews.


A Super-Hydrating Base That’ll Make Your Skin Look Glossy & Glowing

This makeup base will make your skin look glowy, plump, and glossy — but not in a greasy way. Made with hyaluronic acid and teeny tiny oil capsules in blue, pink, and yellow, it’s a dream for people with dry skin who prefer a dewy look. Since it’s totally transparent, it’ll work beautifully on all skin tones.


The Drugstore Micellar Water That’ll Remove Even The Most Stubborn Makeup

For a product that’ll make the biggest impact on your cleansing routine, pick up this Garnier micellar water. It’ll remove even stubborn waterproof mascara and layers of sunscreen, foundation, and concealer with ease — literally, all it takes is one swipe. The weightless, water-like cleanser is a gentle choice for all skin types, but do follow up with a proper cleanser, despite the brand stating that no rinsing is required. That way, you can ensure that zero residue has been left on your face.


This 15-shade eyeshadow palette is so gorgeous and deeply pigmented, it’s hard to believe it costs just $5. The bolder palettes, like Blue Tonic and Fruit Punch, are perfect for people who like to get playful with their makeup, but the palette pictured — Pink Mojito — is a versatile, everyday choice. Or, collect them all — you could buy all six for just $30.

  • Available palettes: 6


A Cheaper (& Equally Effective) Alternative To Hair Rinses & Clarifying Shampoos

Instead of using expensive clarifying shampoos and hair rinses, keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your shower. It’s an age-old secret to deep-clean your hair and promote shine (and you can use mix it in with your Aztec Clay Mask, too). You’ll get two bottles for less than $20 — you can keep the other one in the kitchen.


The Fluffy Drugstore Mascara That Pros & Celebs Swear By

Countless professional makeup artists and celebrities swear by L'Oreal’s Lash Paradise Mascara — and apparently, a tube is sold every five seconds. Out of all the makeup on this list, this unassuming tube may just make the biggest impact — with just one swipe, your lashes will look five times fuller, fluffier, and more feathery. Choose from both waterproof and non-waterproof formulas in black, brown, and black-brown shades.

  • Available shades: 6


A Seemingly Simple Product That Makes A Big Difference

And here’s one last cheap beauty product that’ll make a big impact — this time, on your post-shower routine. Not only does this microfiber hair towel help dry your hair faster and more gently (since microfiber is extra absorbent), but it also won’t slip off or weigh your down your head. It’s a simple concept in theory, but once you have one, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.

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