48 Cheap Beauty Products That Are Effing Amazing – The Zoe Report

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.
So often, “cheap” is synonymous with “poor quality.” But smart shoppers know that in more and more cases, that couldn’t be further from the truth — and that’s especially true when it comes to beauty products, like the amazing ones on the list ahead. Whether makeup, hair care, or skin care (or the occasional, genre-defying hybrid), these products do their jobs incredibly well, and often even better than their pricier counterparts, if we’re being completely honest.
True, you’re probably no stranger to the genius of affordable drugstore beauty staples (find us one makeup wearer who doesn’t have a tube of Maybelline Great Lash mascara somewhere in their arsenal). But to make this list a bit more worth your while, our beauty-obsessed editors scoured Amazon’s digital shelves (and our own shelves) to dig up some ingenious treasures you may have never heard of before. There’s a collagen-packed Korean sleeping pack, for instance, as well as a game-changing mascara remover from Japan. Or how about a self-tanning lotion that you can use in the shower, or a cult-favorite gel sunscreen that feels like water on your skin?
Clever, hardworking, and just plain amazing, these 48 cheap beauty products are worth adding to your cart ASAP.
The best kind of hybrid product, this Physicians Formula eyeliner is technically an eyeliner and a lash serum in one — the formula is infused with peptides, which work to strengthen your lashes and encourage healthier lash growth, while the pigment is smooth, opaque, and lasts all day long (even after a sweaty workout, according to fans). Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive eyes.
Get softer, more radiant skin in just two minutes with this polishing peel. The formula is made with glycolic and lactic acids for a hit of chemical exfoliation, while beet, lychee, purple carrot, and watermelon extracts deliver a boost of good-for-skin antioxidants. It’s relatively gentle (but seriously effective), and Amazon reviewers confirm that it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin or feel overly drying.
Rather than splurge out on a single makeup sponge, why not pick up this set of four for just $5? The quality is equal to that of pricier sponges, but they blend just as brilliantly, feel super-soft against your skin, and wash nicely without tearing or pilling. Plus, the adorable egg carton container keeps the sponges neat and organized — and away from unwanted germs.
Korean skin care brand Dr Song is quickly gaining a cult following for its ridiculously low-priced, high-quality offerings, and this $10 hyaluronic acid serum is a prime example. One Amazon reviewer wrote that the three-ingredient serum works just as well as a $100+ medical-grade serum they previously used, and plenty more confirm that it feels amazingly hydrating on parched, dry skin. The thin, watery texture absorbs quickly, though if you prefer a richer consistency, you can add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer or face oil.
This hair treatment from K-beauty brand Elizavecca is the very definition of a cult-favorite — it’s earned over 15,000 five-star ratings on Amazon thus far, and plenty of hype elsewhere on the internet (and beyond). This deep conditioner is chock-full of strengthening ingredients — like soy protein, ceramides, and collagen — which all work to instantly repair and deeply moisturize dried-out hair. It’s a must for hair that’s been bleached, fried with hot styling tools, or otherwise damaged, but honestly, all hair types can benefit from its silkifying effects.
This mascara remover is pure genius: Just comb the brush through your mascara-laden lashes, wait a few seconds, and wipe it off. It works to dissolve any type of mascara, but it’s especially a godsend for super-stubborn waterproof formulas — including the brand’s own cult-favorite mascara, which is notoriously difficult to remove.
If you like to self-tan, you’ve probably used a bottle of Jergens lotion at some point. But this version upgrades the brand’s classic formulas thanks to elastin, collagen, centella asiatica extract, and coconut water, which work to firm and hydrate your skin as the tanning agent creates a subtle, natural-looking glow. Plus, it’s designed to be used in-shower on wet or damp skin to speed up the self-tanning process (and make it less messy).
Exfoliating doesn’t get much easier than with these inexpensive wash cloths: Just slip one over your hand, mitten-style, and gently scrub your skin while you’re in the shower. These are too abrasive for use on your face, but they work absolute wonders on your body, especially those areas prone to rough, bumpy skin like your shoulders, bum, and elbows. You can’t beat the value at just $1 per cloth, either.
Keep an envelope of these blotting tissues in your purse for mid-day touchups. Rice is an amazing natural ingredient for oil absorption, and these tissues use the ingredient in two forms — the rice paper base, which mattifies shine immediately; and an infusion of tinted rice powder that lightly transfers onto your skin for a flawless, shine-free finish that lasts. Get it in four shades: Warm Beige, Natural, or Translucent.
You’ll get so much use out of this multitasking balm, which looks gorgeous dabbed onto your lips, cheeks, or eyes (or all of the above for a cohesive, monochromatic look). The formula is super-creamy, blendable, and moisturizing, and the pigment delivers a flush of radiant, dewy color — nothing garish. It’s quite pigmented though, so a little bit goes a long way. Choose from five pretty shades, from deep berry to coral-orange.
This face mask boasts a deliciously whipped texture, like marshmallow fluff, so it feels incredibly soft and light in your skin. The formula itself contains marshmallow (the root extract, not the s’mores filling) to brighten and hydrate skin, while vitamin C and citrus oils help revive dull complexions in just two to three minutes. Considering that this mask hails from such a renowned spa brand, the $13 price tag is an incredible bargain.
Niacinamide is the skin care world’s newest obsession, thanks to its ability to do just about everything you’d want from a single ingredient — brighten, even out texture, encourage moisture retention, you name it — and with this simple niacinamide serum, there’s no reason to break the bank to reap all those benefits. In addition to 12% niacinamide, this contains 2% zinc PCA to regulate oil production and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, along with hyaluronic acid for lightweight hydration. It’s all contained within an opaque, airtight pump bottle to keep the formula fresh and potent as it sits on your shelf.
Where an in-office microdermabrasion procedure could set you back hundreds of dollars, this at-home kit costs well under $20. Although the results won’t be as intense or long-lasting as a pro session, it’s a gentle and effective way to reap the same brightening, evening, and firming benefits, as its over 10,000 rave Amazon reviews confirm.
Getting rid of unwanted pimples is only half the battle. The Mighty Patch Rescue Balm tackles the second half: calming redness, flakiness, and preventing scars from cropping up in the wake of your breakout. No need to wait until a breakout to use it, though — it can work as an all-purpose ointment anywhere on your face and body that’s dry or irritated.
Clear up unwanted body acne with this body wash, which harnesses tea tree oil, a natural antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and oil-regulating botanical. So many Amazon reviewers confirm that it works to get rid of acne and even rosacea on your back, shoulders, chest, and the like, without irritating sensitive skin. Many report that it’s less drying than a prescription body wash for acne, though it’s still a good idea to follow up with a light moisturizer, especially if you have dry skin.
The Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder has been on the shelves since 1935; but if its continued (and growing) fan base is any indication, it’s just as amazing now as it ever was. The texture is wonderfully soft and lightweight, though it leaves behind a smooth, velvety finish that lasts for hours, even for those with very oily skin. Use it for setting your makeup, baking your contour/concealer, touching up your makeup throughout the day, or even as a powder foundation.
No matter how much SPF you apply (and reapply), some sunburn or “crispiness” is inevitable if you’re spending several hours in the sun. And that’s precisely when you should have this Pacifica body spray on hand. It’s made with aloe, chamomile, and caffeine to soothe burns and irritation, and simply make your skin feel cooler and calmer. The coconut-vanilla scent is delicious, too. Store it in the fridge before you head out for the day.
Each of these swab-like sticks are filled with Almay’s cult-favorite eye makeup remover, so you can quickly and precisely clean up transferred mascara, eyeshadow fallout, smudges, and other makeup snafus with ease. They’re also especially handy for creating crisp, clean eyeliner wings, though you don’t have to use them solely for your eye makeup — go ahead and clean up your lipstick with them, too.
Never has there been an easier, less fussy way to exfoliate your lips than with this genius product from e.l.f. The lipstick-like bullet is studded with brown sugar to buff away flakiness, while vitamin E, shea butter, avocado oil, and jojoba oil leave your lips pillowy-soft and moisturized. A swipe or two will prep your lips for flawless lipstick application — especially handy if you’re using a matte or liquid formula.
If you love a bold eye look, you need this Revlon palette in your life. All four colors deposit a high-intensity pigment with a prismatic, pearlescent effect to make your lids look like multidimensional crystals. The cream-to-powder texture can be applied and blended with your finger or a brush (either dry or wet, for more concentrated color), with minimal fallout. It’s such an expensive look, but it costs just $8.
This scalp treatment is a godsend for itchy, flaky scalps. In here, pyrithione zinc treats existing dandruff flareups, while menthol and peppermint oil soothe and cool itchy, uncomfortable scalps. This no-rinse formula is ideal for refreshing your scalp in between rinse days; and, like the brand’s entire Royal Oils line, it’s formulated specifically for Black hair, and works especially well on protective styles, twists, and locs. The alcohol-free formula won’t dry out your hair, while castor oil helps keep it supple and moisturized.
If most sunscreens feel too thick and greasy for you, you’ll be obsessed with this A’PIEU Aqua Sunscreen Gel. Exactly as the name says, the formula feels like a watery-gel, so it’s the rare sunscreen that’s actually refreshing. Plus, it applies and blends into your skin invisibly with no white or gray cast, though an SPF of 50 provides ample sun protection.
Another two-in-one product, this L’Oreal Face Primer is infused with a serum to give you soft, supple skin. The primer itself works to impart a filtered, soft-focused effect, and the slight rosy tint blends seamlessly into all skin tones. This is an ideal primer to wear alone, though it also creates a perfect, long-lasting canvas for your foundation.
With a 4.6-star average out of over 300,000 ratings, the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer Brush is one of the most popular hair stylers to ever hit the market. That’s because it delivers salon-worthy results in literally one step, thanks to the detangling barrel brush and ionic technology that give you smooth, voluminous hair with barely any effort involved. An ergonomic grip, cool-touch tip, and long swivel cord make the already-easy process feel even more effortless, even if you have extra-thick or abundant hair.
You might think all cotton pads are created equal — until you try DHC Silky Cottons. These soft, substantial pads are a pure delight to glide over your skin. They’re literally made from cotton and silk, and they don’t leave behind any white fuzz on your face, since they’re lint-free and smooth. Then, there’s the built-in pocket for your fingers — another handy touch — and the fact that they don’t absorb (and therefore waste) too much product. And the best part? For less than $20, you get three 80-count boxes, so you’ll be stocked for ages.
Even derms love The Mighty Patch pimple patches, so why not stock up on a pack? The invisible patches won’t show up over Zoom calls, so you can wear them while WFH in addition to overnight. Since they prevent you from picking at your blemishes, and external bacteria from making them worse, they’ll help your pimples heal a lot faster. They also suck out all the gunk, so your spot looks flatter and less inflamed when you take your patch off. You get 36 patches for less than $15, so it’s a great value, too.
This creamy palette from Black Radiance covers all your contouring bases — for just $10. In each kit, you get a darker shade for contouring, a medium shade for sculpting, and an illuminating shade for highlighting. Each one is creamy and easy to blend, whether you use your fingers, a makeup sponge, or a brush.
Etude House’s Moistfull Collagen Sleeping Pack is one of the most consistently popular K-beauty products of all time. It’s a refreshing overnight mask made with — you guessed it — collagen, to give you soft, elastic, bouncy skin when you wake up. The texture is akin to a rich jelly, so while it doesn’t feel heavy or suffocating on your skin, you will want to apply it about an hour before bedtime to give it time to dry down. A must-have for nights when your skin is feeling tired, dry, or dull.
This ridiculously affordable foot cream is also one of the most effective. It’s a rich cream made with soothing and smoothing ingredients like allantoin and urea, as well as moisturizers like glycerin and paraffin, to leave even the most dry, cracked feet feeling hydrated and soft. Impressively, O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream has been awarded over 40,000 five-star ratings and reviews on Amazon. You could use this on other rough areas, too, like your elbows or knees.
Not going to lie, avocado hair milk sounds good enough to eat — but that’s not the only reason to buy it. The creamy formula is made with so many good-for-hair ingredients, like aloe vera, wheat protein, and several plant-derived oils, to hydrate thirsty hair and make detangling easier. Though this is especially ideal for curly hair, any hair type can use it (just use less product if your hair is on the finer side).
If you have body breakouts or bumpy skin, you may already know that salicylic acid body washes are amazing. But they’re even more amazing when they come in the form of a bar soap because they’re so long lasting, and they don’t involve any plastic packaging, which makes them more eco-friendly. In case you need a refresher, salicylic acid helps prevent breakouts and congested skin by deep cleaning your pores, so it’s also great for keeping your skin generally smooth, soft, and clean.
A juicy lip gloss will always be amazing in our book — but Neutrogena has taken things to the next level with their MoistureShine lip gel that’s formulated with SPF 20. Another bonus? The gel formula feels cooling and soothing on your lips, whether they’re dry and chapped or have been burnt by the sun. Sold in three shades, this lip gloss makes your lips look lustrous while leaving behind a subtle tint of color.
Over 35,000 Amazon reviewers left this brush a five-star review or rating, making it one of the most popular brushes on Amazon, period. Why? As one person wrote, “This brush has not only shocked and amazed me but confused the heck out of me as well..HOW DOES IT WORK SO WELL?? […] I’ve had long, very curly hair my whole life and no longer do I waste hours of my life painfully brushing out tangles and knots in my hair.” You can use it on both wet and dry hair, too.
Ask any derm for the best over-the-counter acne treatment, and they’ll likely point you toward Differin gel. Using the retinol Adapalene, it works to treat and prevent acne by unclogging your pores, encouraging skin cell turnover, and soothing inflammation. And it costs just $12!
If you hate the feeling of heavy creams, try a lightweight lotion, like ISNTREE’s Aloe Soothing Emulsion. Formulated with soothing and hydrating aloe (and without added fragrance), it can be used both day and night to deliver moisture to your skin without feeling greasy or suffocating. You get a ton of product for less than $20, too (unlike most face creams that come in small, 1- or 2-ounce jars). With this purchase, you get over 4 ounces of product in a convenient pump-top bottle, which prevents the lotion from becoming contaminated by your fingers.
Whether your nails are dry and brittle or yellow and bruised, this JĀSÖN nail oil will truly save them. It’s a blend of plant-derived oils, plus vitamin E and soothing allantoin — that’s it. A little dab of product goes a long way (and blends into your skin nicely), so this one-time purchase will last you way longer than you think.
Get glowing, refreshed, squeaky-clean (but not tight!) skin with this SKINFOOD exfoliating scrub. Using the Asian beauty miracle ingredient, rice (in its extract form), this multitasker can be used either as a leave-on mask or as an exfoliating face wash. It’ll leave your skin so satisfyingly clear and soft, and feeling generally refreshed.
Unless you’re using a fresh towel every time you dry your face, you may be exposing it to a buildup of bacteria. Instead, use these soft, single-use, extra-large towels — you get a pack of 50 for just $15. And don’t worry: They’re biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about not being eco-friendly.
This face mask is made with so many key ingredients that are amazing for acne-prone skin — namely sulfur, zinc, and bentonite clay (plus vitamin C for an added brightening boost). But what really makes it so amazing is that it changes colors (from white to blue) when it’s fully dried down on your skin, so you know exactly when to wash it off.
Get the smoothest, sharpest lines of your life with this waterproof eye pencil from K-beauty brand CLIO. Unlike most pencils, which get stubby over time, this one has a “nano tip” that consistently stays pointy and thin — no sharpening requiting. Also rare for an eyeliner? It comes in six different shades of brown and black.
There are few beauty tools more amazing than a kabuki brush — but they also tend to be among the most expensive. This best-selling brush, however, rings up at just $10 on Amazon, despite being of professional quality. Designed with bristles that are the perfect combination of firm and soft, it can be used with both cream and powder makeup, and since they’re synthetic, you don’t have to worry about shedding (this also makes them easier to care for). On Amazon, this brush has been awarded over 20,000 five-star reviews and ratings thus far.
How cute and cleverly packaged is this eyeshadow trio from Kaja Beauty? The space-saving palette contains three gorgeous, complementary shades layered on top of one another, both shimmery and matte. It’s so genius, it won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2019. Considering that you’re getting three high-quality shadows for the price of one, the $21 price tag feels eminently reasonable.
It’s mind-blowing to believe that you can buy both a jade roller and a gua sha tool for less than $10 — but such is the beauty of Amazon. Both tools are amazing for soothing, sculpting, and depuffing your skin, but you can (and should) read more about the ancient beauty practice that is gua sha, here. Despite its suspiciously low price tag, this set boasts over 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
This genius mascara from Honest Beauty isn’t just a mascara (though it is an amazing one at that). It also boasts a lash primer on one side, so you’re getting two powerhouse products for less than $15 — and saving space in your makeup bag at the same time. No wonder it won a PEOPLE x Today Show beauty award in 2020.
Nobody does sheet masks quite like Mediheal, so if you’re into self-pampering, pick up this pack of their six most popular sheet masks for just $12. Included, you get two different hydrating masks, one tea tree mask, one collagen mask, and one charcoal mask. They’re among the rare beauty products on Amazon that boast a coveted, 4.8-star overall rating.
If you often straighten your hair, this MiroPure straightening brush will change your life. It’s both a flat iron and a brush, so you don’t need to use separate tools (or even separate hands) to get smooth, sleek locks. Just glide it through dry hair like you would with a normal brush, et voila — that’s it. This comes with a protective glove to prevent your hand from becoming burned, as an added bonus. And oh yeah — it costs less than $40.
If you like to take baths, this is the best $5 you’ll ever spend. For the price, you get a massive, 34-ounce bottle of Dr Teal’s foaming bath, which is made with epsom salts to soothe your body and lavender essential oil to soothe your mind. It creates a delightfully frothy foam that’ll make you feel like you’re in a spa (or a rom com), and it’s even enriched with a dose of aloe vera to keep your skin moisturized. No wonder it has a rare, 4.8-star rating based on over 40,000 Amazon reviews.
How annoying is it when your hair gets into your face when you’re cleansing or applying a mask? The solution? Pick up a spa headband, like this one, to ensure that not even a single hair gets stuck in your product. These are made of a soft, terry material (so they’re also useful for wearing in the shower), and are sold in a pack of four — despite costing less than $10 on Amazon.


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