21 beauty products under $25 that actually work
Less money, more results
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Speaking from personal experience, the world of designer beauty products is a slippery slope. You try out one highly reviewed product—for me, it was Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder—and because it works better than the $5 drug store stuff you’ve been using, you become convinced that designer cosmetics and/or skincare must be the way to go. Next thing you know, you’re spending hundreds at Sephora every month.
Don’t get me wrong: There are many brand-name products that are worth the splurge (I still live and die by that setting powder), but there are also a lot of inexpensive beauty products that work just as well, if not better, than the high-end alternatives. So before you drop $180 on a jar of La Mer moisturizer, check out these top-rated beauty products under $25. You might be surprised at how well they rival their expensive counterparts!
1. A face wash that leaves your skin hydrated, not dry
A good cleanser is a must-have part of any skincare routine, and people really, really love the CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash, which is formulated for dry skin. The creamy cleanser removes dirt, oil, and makeup, all while helping to restore the skin's protective barrier. Plus, it's fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, meaning it’s non-irritating and won't clog your pores.
"I have dry, extremely sensitive skin. I bought this cleanser on a whim, and it’s the best one I’ve ever used!" says one happy buyer.
2. A budget-friendly lip gloss that people obsess over
Designer lip glosses can cost $30 or more—that’s 10 times the price of this cult-favorite gloss from NYX Cosmetics. The Butter Lip Gloss is soft, silky smooth, and never sticky, and it comes in a wide range of pinks, reds, and neutrals to suit every style. Many reviewers say it's their go-to lip product, and several note that it doesn’t dry out their lips like other products can.
“I have very sensitive lips. They break out and dry out on the edges if I try anything ‘cheap,’ so I was skeptical on purchasing this gloss.” one Amazon reviewer writes. “It’s so buttery and pretty! My husband and I both think it smells like cookies LOL. It goes with anything I wear and feels moisturizing; my new favorite!! Spend the $3, you won't regret it!!”
3. A personal favorite everyday concealer
If you’re planning on wearing a full face of makeup, you may reach for a full-coverage concealer, like the mega-popular Tarte Shape Tape. However, for an everyday makeup look, I prefer a more subtle, less-fuss product—namely, the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Multi-Use Concealer. It covers up dark circles and redness without looking caked on, and the sponge applicator is convenient and easy to use.
Get the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Multi-Use Concealer from Amazon for $7.42
4. A daily moisturizer that will leave your skin glowing
Moisturized skin is happy skin, and if your face is frequently dry or flaky, you need a product like the Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Moisturizer. The formula is oil-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin, and it contains broad-spectrum SPF 30 to protect all skin from sun damage. The product is designed to moisturize while improving the appearance of skin, and reviewers say it truly works, helping to give them a brighter, more even complexion.
One Amazon reviewer writes: "I keep coming back to this Aveeno moisturizer. I use it in combination with another moisturizer, this one goes on top for SPF protection. I still really like it and helps to smoothe out my complexion. I've been using it on and off for well over 15 years. My skin likes it."
5. This overnight lip mask for a supple pucker
You can keep your lips feeling luscious with the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, which comes in a variety of tasty-sounding flavors, like watermelon and vanilla. Apply this lip mask before bed, and as you sleep, it soothes and moisturizes your lips, leaving them feeling supple come morning.
The inexpensive product has more than 8,000 five-star reviews, and happy users say it works better than any lip balm they’ve tried before.
6. A jade face roller to soothe and de-puff
Jade rollers are part of traditional Asian skincare, they’re thought to boost collagen production and minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and puffy under eye bags with regular use, though this isn’t proven. What is: A cool stone roller feels great on the skin and can provide relief for puffy eyes or inflamed skin.
This particular product includes a dual-sided roller and jade gua sha scraper, and reviewers rave about the results they’ve seen.
“My aesthetician highly recommended me to get a face roller for lymphatic drainage,” writes one happy buyer. “I didn’t realize how bright my skin could _glow_after each use of the face roller! I have an acne and oily type of skin so it really helps to unclog the pores and reduce the growth of acne.”
7. These under-eye patches to smooth wrinkles
If you’re fighting the good fight against wrinkles, you should consider adding Sio Beauty Patches to your arsenal. We tested the brand ourselves, and its unique silicone patches helped to smooth out the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Plus, the line’s two-in-one eye and smile patches cost less than $20 and claim to minimize crow’s feet, laugh lines, and other unwelcome creases.
8. This reviewer-favorite sugar scrub
You can keep your body feeling soft, smooth, and exfoliated with this top-rated sugar skin scrub. It comes in a variety of tropical scents—coconut lime, tropical mango, pear and chia, and so on—and the scrub is made with shea butter to soften and moisturize while it removes dead skin.
“The scrub is quite coarse and not something you'd use on thin skin like your face or the back of your hands, but it is amazing for legs, abs, and booty,” explains one reviewer, who gives the scrub five stars.
9. A scalp massager to use in the shower
Give your head the TLC it deserves with this inexpensive scalp massager. This one from Maxsoft features thick-but-soft silicone bristles that exfoliate your hair for a deep clean while stimulating blood flow to your scalp. It fits comfortably in your hand, thanks to its easy-to-grip handle.
“I’ve suffered with a dry, flaking scalp for about a year now,” writes one reviewer. “I have used tea tree oil shampoo, dandruff shampoo, coconut oil, you name it. I finally read somewhere that exfoliating the scalp might help ... I thought I’d give it a try, and holy moly, my flakes are gone! It’s made out of a silicone-type material and the little 'bristles' are flexible but still get the job done.”
Get the Maxsoft Hair Scalp Massager from Amazon for $8.59
10. An incredibly popular pore-cleansing clay mask
There are so many pore-cleansing masks out there today, but users dote on this one from Aztec Secret. It uses natural calcium bentonite clay that you mix with apple cider vinegar to remove dirt and impurities from your skin, leaving your face feeling soft and clean. Plus, it comes in a one-pound jar that’ll last you a while for a reasonable price.
11. An easy-to-use brow pencil
This is another one of my go-to beauty products, and I’m far from the only person who loves it. The Brow Wiz pencils have ultra-fine tips that let you draw hair-like strokes, creating the illusion of fuller eyebrows. The formula is long-lasting and smudge-proof, and reviewers love how easily it goes on and how customizable it is, whether you want natural, feathery brows or intense, thick ones.
One Sephora reviewer writes: “The tip is so tiny so you can be really precise and make your brows bold or super-natural. It’s worth all the hype.”
12. Acne patches to banish pimples overnight
Pimple popping up on your chin? Don’t stress! With the Mighty Patch Pimple Patches, you can place one of the hydrocolloid stickers over your blemish, and in as little as six hours, you’ll notice it’s visibly shrunken. They’re perfect for using overnight, and there will be little to no redness or irritation come morning.
“I do not claim to understand the science behind these tiny miracles, but they have changed my life,” says one reviewer. “I spent my workday looking forward to going home and putting one of these bad boys on my newly erupted Mt. Zit, and the overnight results were shocking.”
13. Inexpensive blending sponges
The OG makeup sponges—you know, the brand that rhymes with Cutie Clender—are great for applying foundation, concealer, and other liquid cosmetics, but they cost $20 a piece. Save yourself some money and get these dupes instead. The five-piece makeup sponge set costs less than $10, and makeup enthusiasts say they’re phenomenal and work just as well as the “real thing.”
“I’m honestly really stinking happy with my little sponges,” one Amazon reviewer raves. “They double in size as soon as you get them damp but they don’t soak up any of my foundation so nothing goes to waste. It applies my makeup smoothly and works just as well as a Beauty Blender but for a fraction of the price. Totally worth it."
14. A hydrating serum to smooth and plump your skin
Hyaluronic acid is a popular beauty ingredient because of its ability to retain moisture and plump the skin. You can incorporate this hyaluronic acid serum from Cosmedica into your beauty routine to help combat dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, and dullness by applying it to clean skin before moisturizer or by adding it into your moisturizer.
15. This bizarre yet effective tool for reducing wrinkles
While it looks a bit like a torture device, this microneedling roller is a must-have beauty tool for those with fine lines and wrinkles or acne scarring, according to its happy owners. The teeny, tiny needles on the surface of the roller make equally tiny holes in your skin (don’t worry, they’re practically invisible to our eyes), which stimulates production of collagen, i.e., the connective tissue in the skin, to help improve your skin’s strength and elasticity.
“I bought this on a whim and goodness, it's awesome,” explains one happy buyer. “Indentations are filling in, raised patches are flattening out, and dark spots are lightening up.”
16. Eyebrow and facial razors with a cult-like following
Any peach fuzz on your face can make it harder to apply makeup smoothly, which is why so many beauty enthusiasts turn to the facial razors from Tinkle. The inexpensive blades are ideal for removing eyebrow, neck, and face hair, and soon you’ll be a dermaplaning convert.
“You will be amazed, grossed out, and so oddly satisfied with the sheer amount of hair and dead skin that you will remove the first time you dermaplane with Tinkles!” says one verified reviewer on Amazon.
17. A roll-on eye cream that reduces puffiness
No matter how opaque your concealer is, it won’t hide the appearance of eye puffiness. You can deflate the bags under your eyes with the help of this eye roller, which has a cooling caffeine, mint, and vitamin C formula that also helps brighten up this trouble spot. The roll-on applicator is a breeze to use, and the brand claims you’ll see a visible improvement in just two weeks.
18. A spray-on root concealer for when you can’t make it to the salon
Sometimes you’re just too busy to fit in a hair coloring appointment, but you can still look your best with the help of the Magic Root Cover Up Spray from L’Oreal Paris. It comes in eight shades from black to blond. Within seconds, you’ll be able to conceal your grown-out roots and gray hairs with the lightweight-feeling, spray-on formula. Reviewers say it “works as well as other products twice the price,” helping to camouflage those pesky grays that pop up between colorings.
19. This top-rated vitamin C serum
This fan-favorite vitamin C serum is packed with beneficial ingredients to help brighten, smooth, and tone your skin. It contains hyaluronic acid and aloe vera that moisturize the skin, as well as witch hazel and vitamin C to even the skin’s tone and texture. Reviewers say it works well on acne scars and hyperpigmentation, and many agree it’s gentle enough for those with sensitive skin.
“I seldom write reviews but just had to review this product. I’ve been struggling with acne for years. I get a new pimple almost every day and it seemed like there was never a time I didn’t have a pimple on my face.” one Amazon reviewer writes. “I’ve tried all different types of moisturizers and cleansers. Nothing worked. However I bought this serum on a whim. [...] Blemishes have faded drastically and I have no active breakouts. This hasn’t happened in years. I truly and honestly think it is due to this product. If you are hesitant, don’t be. Buy it!”
20. An affordable matte setting spray that keeps makeup from melting off
A lot of people (myself included) swear by Urban Decay’s All-Nighter Setting Spray, but if you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, this setting spray from NYX is one of your best options. It leaves your skin with a shine-free finish and it will keep your makeup in place on those hot, humid summer days.
“This is one of my top three favorite products ever!” says one Amazon reviewer. “My makeup stays put all day and evening until I remove it, and I've got oily skin, so for me to say this is seriously amazing.”
21. An easy-to-use stamp that gives you the effortless winged eyeliner
I’ve tried for years, but I’ve never managed to perfect winged eyeliner—one side is always longer than the other or at the wrong angle! If you’re in the same boat, The Flick Stick will be a game-changer for you. All you have to do is stamp on the wing, then connect it to the rest of your liner with the double-sided pen. Makeup enthusiasts love The Flick Stick, writing that it makes a perfect cat eye faster and easier than ever.
One Amazon reviewer gushes: “I just want to make my morning routine as easy as possible. I love winged liner but I don’t have the steady hand for it without mistakes. This makes a perfect and consistent wing every time. Love it!
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.