If you’ve ever accidentally spent your paycheck during a casual Sephora run, you’re in good (if not broke) company. It’s way too easy to go off the rails at our favorite cosmetics superstore. But you don’t always get what you pay for: Sometimes, you can find incredible beauty products at a reasonable price to make your face and wallet happy.
That’s definitely the case for these 10 products: They’re cult favorites, best-sellers, and some of my personal must-haves in my own beauty arsenal. Best of all: They won’t break the bank.
1. A cult-favorite mascara that deserves its praise
In my opinion, this is the best mascara on the market. The brush's design is unparalleled: The plastic bristles are staggered to grab each lash, and the buildable formula boosts length and volume like crazy. The best part is the spikey, domed tip that gets into tight corners to tend to even your tiniest lashes. The formula is the perfect consistency for huge, doe-like lashes—It dries reasonably quickly, it doesn’t ever flake or run, and it lasts forever.
2. A monthly subscription box that really delivers
We recently sifted through all of the beauty subscription boxes on the market, and our favorite by a long shot was Play! by Sephora. Each box is filled with high-quality samples of Sephora's cult-favorite brands that match your specific preferences and regime. It’s reliably delivered to your doorstep each month at a great price.
3. Liquid liner that stays in place—even if you sleep in it
Liquid liner is more intimidating than Everest for some, but the thin, marker-like tip on this best-selling Stila pen is easy to use—even for the beauty novice. It comes in 12 colors, is easy to control, dries quickly, and stays in place until you take it off. I’ve been using it for years and I’ve never had a smudge or run, even when my eyes tear (or if I fall asleep in it).
4. Dry shampoo that actually leaves hair feeling clean
While dry shampoo has a tendency to dull your hair and leave it feeling chalky, weighed down, and overall gross, this Moroccanoil dry shampoo is the only exception I've ever found. It is made with ultra-fine rice starch that actually makes oily hair feel clean, shiny, and smooth, and has a delicious, subtly vanilla scent.
Yes, it's $1 over budget, but its performance leaves me justifying the price every single time I rebuy, and the darker formula keeps my dark hair from looking dusty.
5. Brightening concealer to combat even the darkest circles
Gals with dark circles know the struggle of finding a natural-looking concealer that's also pigmented enough to camouflage tired eyes. I spent years bopping between brands and formulas, but this is the first product that I repeatedly purchased.
This concealer is cost-efficient but has the staying power of a pricier brand. The formula is just slightly luminous to reflect light and brighten, and it’s loaded with nourishing hyaluronic acid to hydrate your delicate under eyes.
6. A universally flattering contour palette
This is the only palette you need to achieve a gorgeous contour. Each of its three pigments are designed to flatter all skin tones. Better yet, they mimic real shadow and reflection for super natural-looking results. The dark contour shade is matte for believable sculpting, and the two highlighters offer varying, buildable shimmer and light-reflecting sheen.
7. An ultra-thin eyebrow pencil for natural-looking, full brows
Say what you will about the Kardashians, but across the board, they have incredible brows. That’s thanks, in part, to this product. I love it for its super-fine tip: It produces tiny, hair-like lines so that eyebrows don’t look overly-filled in or manicured. It’s perfect for bare (or over-tweezed) spots, and has a no-smudge formula.
8. The best liquid lipstick we’ve ever tried
When we tested top-rated matte liquid lipsticks at all price points, Anastasia’s ultra-saturated formula blew the competition away. The non-drying lipstick is buttery smooth, sets quickly, and requires only one coat for full coverage. I actually wore it on a day I forgot I had a dentist appointment, and she said through her mask, unprovoked, “good call on this lipstick—it has not budged.”
9. A finishing spray that keeps your makeup in place for 16 hours
On long days and nights out, this cult-favorite setting spray should always be your last step. The microfine mist locks all makeup into place with serious staying power. Its patented Temperature Control Technology actually lowers the temperature of your makeup to keep it in place no matter how hot, humid, wet, or windy it gets.
10. A best-selling eyeshadow palette with 9(!) colors
Yes, it’s $2 over budget but you will not find a better eyeshadow palette at a more reasonable price than this much-loved Huda set. There are four palette options, and each is packed with a selection of nine high-pigmented mattes and blendable shimmers. There's a good reason they were one of Sephora's best-selling products of 2017.