The Cheapest & Easiest Ways To Fix Your Biggest Beauty Mistakes

Go ahead and thank us later.

Written by Marissa DeSantis
The Cheapest & Easiest Ways To Fix Your Biggest Beauty Mistakes
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Want to be let in on a little secret from Bustle’s beauty and shopping editors? Ok, how about a bunch of little secrets? You might be making so many beauty mistakes that take seconds to fix, and you’re going to read about dozens of them right here. Maybe you’re drying out your hair in ways you didn’t even realize, you’re not cleaning some of your beauty tools properly, or you’re misusing some of your favorite products. Read on for some of the cheapest and easiest ways to fix your biggest beauty mistakes, and get ready to take your beauty game to the next level.


Mistake: Using Old, Expired Mascara

Solution: A Travel-Size Mascara You Can Use Up In A Few Months

Ideally, you should be replacing your mascara every three months — otherwise, it runs the risk of developing bacteria, and that’s something you don’t want getting near your eyes. But what do you do when most mascara tubes can take a solid year (or more) to finish? Start buying travel-size mascaras. Not only will this allow you to use up your full tube before it begins to dry out and breed bacteria, but it also saves you money and gives you a chance to try out other mascaras (without committing to the full-size price). For super feathery, voluminous lashes, Lancôme’s Monsieur Big mascara is hard to beat — but of course, there are hundreds of other mini mascaras you can buy on Amazon.


Mistake: Wasting Money On Single-Use Cotton Rounds

Solution: These Reusable Cotton Rounds That Pay For Themselves

If you rely on disposable cotton rounds to help with removing makeup, applying toner, or taking off nail polish, you’re wasting money (not to mention, it’s not exactly the most sustainable choice either). Instead, switch to these reusable makeup remover pads, which are made with a combination of bamboo fiber and cotton for a soft, yet durable feel. You’ll get 16 individual cotton rounds in each pack for less than $10, and they even come with a tiny mesh laundry bag so that you don’t lose any in the wash.


Mistake: Going To Bed With ‘Raccoon Eyes’

Solution: This Heavy-Duty Remover That Melts Off Waterproof Mascara

Stop tugging at the delicate skin around your eyes when you’re removing tough, waterproof mascara, and invest in this Japanese mascara remover. All you have to do is brush the liquid product onto your lashes — as if you’re applying mascara — and let it sit for a few minutes before effortlessly washing it off with the rest of your makeup as you cleanse your face. The product is made with nourishing ingredients like argan oil and almond oil, and it’s less than $15.


Mistake: Using A Curling Iron Too Frequently

Solution: This Heatless Curling Set For Perfect Ringlets Without Any Heat Damage

Overusing hot tools, like straighteners and curling wands, can leave you with dry, broken, damaged hair. But if you’re not ready to give up your curls, simply opt for this heatless curling set that’s gone viral on both TikTok and Amazon. Simply wrap your hair around the satin foam rod, secure it with the included satin scrunchies, and go to bed. You’ll wake up to perfectly curled locks with hardly any effort at all, and without any of the frizz or breakage that comes with heat damage.

  • Available colors: 15


Mistake: Drying Your Hair With A Bath Towel

Solution: A Gentle Microfiber Towel That Minimizes Frizz

Another surprisingly easy way to protect your hair from damage? These Turbie Twist hair towels. Made of an absorbent microfiber material, they’re designed to draw as much water out of your hair as possible before you go in with the hair dryer, cutting down your hair’s heat exposure time. The convenient towels have elastic loops in the back to keep them securely on, and their soft, microfiber construction helps to minimize frizz and breakage. Plus, you’ll get two towels for less than $20 in this super affordable pack.


Mistake: Applying Lipstick On Dry, Flaky Lips

Solution: This Exfoliating & Moisturizing Scrub That Preps Your Lips

As odd as it sounds, your lipstick will sit so much better when you start with a quick lip exfoliant like this Hanalei sugar lip scrub. That’s because a scrub works to slough away any dead skin cells and dry skin that can otherwise interfere with your lipstick finish (especially if you’re working with a matte lipstick). This formula buffs away an uneven texture with Hawaiian cane sugar, but it also nourishes with shea butter and kukui nut oil to leave your lips feeling hydrated and smooth. The product is cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, too, and it’s under $20.


Mistake: Using Foundation Or Concealer To Cover Redness

Solution: This Green Color-Correcting Primer That Cancels Out Redness

Struggling with post-blemish redness? It’s actually super easy to counteract with this Rescue Balm by Hero Cosmetics. The balm contains soothing, skin-loving ingredients like shea butter and peptides that help skin heal after a breakout, and its green tint means it works as a color-correcting primer to immediately cancel out unwanted red tones. Wear it under makeup or on its own to leave you with a radiant and more even complexion.


Mistake: Not Washing Your Makeup Brushes Often Enough

Solution: An Electric Makeup Brush Cleaner That Takes Seconds To Use

Quick — when was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? It was probably pretty long ago — it’s one chore that’s so easy to forget about, but a weekly clean is important for killing the bacteria that your brushes can harbor. Thankfully, this makeup brush cleaner makes the task a breeze. Just put your brush into the electric spinner, buzz it in the glass bowl filled with the included cleaning solution, and then spin the brush in the air to dry it. In just seconds, you’ll be left with a clean, dry brush that can be used right away.


Mistake: Picking Off Gel Polish

Solution: This Kit That Makes It Easy To Remove Gel Manicures At Home

With this gel nail polish remover kit, the next time you get your nails done, you can eliminate the temptation of picking off a chipping manicure (and severely damaging your nails in the process). Instead, you can safely and easily take off the polish at home with this $15 kit that comes with cotton pads, files, clips to keep the acetone-soaked pads on your nails, a scraper tool to safely remove all polish, and a nail brush. The kit is endlessly reusable, too, and will save you so much money in the long run.


Mistake: Wasting Money On Fancy Cleansers

Solution: A Gentle Cleanser That Gets The Job Done For Just $10

It’s easy to get caught up in the skin care hype and convince yourself that you need a $30-plus cleanser that’s packed with active ingredients. Since you’re just rinsing a cleanser right off anyway, save the actives for your serums and moisturizers, and stick with a simple, gentle cleanser like Vanicream instead. The derm-loved cleanser is free of fragrance, dyes, and other common irritants, which makes it a solid choice for even the most sensitive skin types, and it’s less than $10.


Mistake: Skipping The Heat Protectant When Styling Your Hair

Solution: This Protectant Spray That’s Especially Great For Curly Hair Types

Even if you’re cutting down your heat styling time with heatless curlers or microfiber towels before blow-drying, you should still be prepping with a thermal protectant anytime you are using a flat iron, curling wand, or blow dryer. This heat protectant spray from Mielle helps to shield hair from damage when using hot styling tools, but it was also designed for curl pattern protection, as it helps to reduce frizz and keep hair moisturized with ingredients like sweet almond oil, argan oil, and mongongo oil.


Mistake: Using Harsh Scrubs To Exfoliate Your Skin

Solution: This Leave-On Exfoliant That Uses Salicylic Acid

Between the physical exfoliants themselves and the act of rubbing at your face, mechanical scrubs can leave you with skin that’s red and irritated rather than radiant. Instead, this BHA liquid exfoliant by Naturium uses a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, one of the most commonly used exfoliants to help reduce the look of congested pores and even the skin’s texture by clearing the pores of oil and debris. Pro tip: you only need to use a product like this once or twice a week to see results.


Mistake: Picking At Your Pimples

Solution: These Healing Patches That Prevent The Temptation

Pretty much the gold standard in pimple patches on the market, Hero’s Mighty Patch hydrocolloid patches are a must-have product for anyone who gets pimples (so basically, everyone). The small patches adhere to your skin, working to draw out any excess fluid from your blemishes while you go about your day or even as you sleep. Perhaps most importantly, the clear stickers prevent you from picking at your pimples, which can actually make things worse by spreading bacteria (and therefore exacerbating the breakout) and causing scarring.


Mistake: Only Applying SPF When It’s Sunny

Solution: A Daily SPF That Actually Feels Nice On Your Skin

It’s an easy assumption to think that you don’t need to put on sunscreen when it’s cloudy out, and it’s even more tempting to skip the SPF if you haven’t found a formula that you actually like using. But since UV rays can penetrate clouds, you still need to apply your sunscreen, and this La Roche-Posay formula protects your skin with a combination of broad-spectrum SPF 50 and antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C. The water-light formula, which combines skin care benefits with sun protection, is an absolute delight to apply, according to Bustle beauty editor Adeline Duff, who considers this one of her “holy grails.” It’s also a fan favorite on Amazon and wears beautifully under makeup — though of course, any sunscreen that you like will do just fine.


Mistake: Using Tight Hair Elastics

Solution: These Satin Scrunchies That Reduce Breakage

Hair needs to be treated gently even at night, and that’s where these satin scrunchies come in. They tie hair back loosely but gently, helping to reduce tension and breakage while you sleep. They’re the perfect everyday scrunchie, too, as they tie your hair back without leaving creases or tugging too much when you take them out. They look just as cute wrapped around your wrist, and this super affordable six-pack goes for no more than $10.


Mistake: Swimming Without Protecting Your Hair

Solution: This Hair Treatment That Strips Green Discoloration From Pools

Anyone who’s ever been blonde knows all about the dangers of a swimming pool, and how it can turn hair dull, dry, and even green. Thankfully, this swimmers remedy treatment by Malibu C is designed specifically for hair that’s been discolored by swimming pools. Simply dissolve the crystals in the palm of your hand after shampooing and rinsing your hair, scrunch the paste into wet hair, and let it sit for five minutes before washing it out. The patented vitamin C complex in the formula removes chlorine, copper, and other hard water metals, leaving you with brighter, healthier looking hair for less than $5 per pack.


Mistake: Doing Your Makeup In Dim Lighting

Solution: A Portable Makeup Mirror With Multiple Light Settings

One of the easiest beauty mistakes to make? Getting the lighting wrong when you’re doing your makeup. There’s nothing worse than applying makeup in a dark bathroom, and then going outside into bright sunlight where your makeup no longer looks right. That’s where this makeup mirror comes in. It has built-in LEDs with three temperature settings — cool light, natural light, and warm light — so you can match the lighting of wherever you’re headed. Rechargeable and less than 8 inches tall, it’s great for bringing on the go, too.


Mistake: Ending Up With Clumpy Mascara

Solution: This Eyelash Comb For Perfectly Separated Lashes

Say goodbye to clumpy mascara forever with this eyelash comb. Small, thin, stainless steel prongs slip easily through mascara and comb out any clumps for separated, natural-looking lashes no matter how many layers of mascara you apply. The lightweight comb comes with a protective cover so you can throw it in your makeup bag and keep it clean while you’re traveling, and at no more than $5, the little tool is shockingly affordable.


Mistake: Self-Tanning Without A Mitt

Solution: This Reusable Mitt That Prevents A Patchy Tan

A good self-tanner is a fantastic way to add a little bronzed glow to your skin without any sun damage. But if you always end up with patchy areas or orange palms after applying your tanner, it’s time to turn to a self-tanning mitt. At less than $10, the mitt helps you achieve a smooth, even tan without any streaks, and without leaving your hands more pigmented than the rest of your body. It’s endlessly washable and reusable, and it works for both righties and lefties.


Mistake: Using Makeup Wipes To Remove Your Makeup

Solution: This Micellar Water That Gently Breaks Down Stubborn Makeup

A holy grail skin care product for good reason, this Bioderma micellar water is a great alternative to disposable makeup wipes that’s much better for your skin (and the environment). While makeup wipes are tempting to use in a pinch, they’re not all that effective when it comes to removing makeup and sunscreen, and the ingredients inside, combined with the rubbing motions, can even cause irritation. This micellar water, on the other hand, has the consistency and gentleness of water and is easy to use alongside a reusable cotton pad, but it thoroughly removes makeup without the need for any scrubbing. And if your skin is on the drier side, use it in place of a cleanser in the morning as a non-stripping, non-irritating alternative — your skin will thank you.


Mistake: Brushing Wet Hair With Your Usual Brush

Solution: This Detangling Brush That Was Designed For Wet Hair

Hair is more fragile when it’s wet, so if you’re using your styling brush to comb through post-shower hair, you could be causing breakage. This detangling brush by Crave Naturals uses cone-shaped plastic bristles that help to gently separate tangled hair, even when it’s wet. The ergonomic brush is easy to hold, it’s less than $30, and it comes in so many different cute colors.

  • Available colors: 18


Mistake: Skipping The Double Cleanse

Solution: This K-Beauty Set That Includes Products For Both Steps

If you wear heavier makeup and/or waterproof formulas every day, a double-cleanse is a must for fully removing all of that product and oil without stripping your skin. The double-cleanse process is as simple as it sounds, but this cleansing duo from K-beauty brand SKIN1004 gives you both products for less than $30. Start with the cleansing oil, which effectively breaks down makeup, oil, and other impurities on your skin, then follow up with the foaming cleanser. Both formulas are infused with centella asiatica extract, an ingredient known for its moisturizing and soothing properties.


Mistake: Using Shampoos That Contain Sulfates

Solution: This Celeb Stylist-Created Shampoo & Conditioner Set That’s Sulfate-Free

Switching to sulfate-free shampoo doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. This Kristin Ess shampoo and conditioner set gets you salon-quality products at drugstore prices, costing less than $25 in total. The shampoo still creates an impressive lather, but it doesn’t contain any sulfates that can dry out your hair and strip its color faster. Created by Kristin Ess, a celebrity hairstylist who frequently works with Lucy Hale and Lauren Conrad, the shampoo is lightly clarifying and safe for daily use, as is the conditioner, which was formulated to give you weightless moisture and shine.


Mistake: Neglecting Your Tongue Health

Solution: A Tongue Scraper To Bust Plaque & Bad Breath

If you don’t have a tongue scraper, your oral hygiene routine could use an upgrade. Your tongue, it turns out, can harbor plaque and odor-causing bacteria, and brushing your tongue isn’t always an effective cleaning method. That’s where these tongue scrapers come in, helping you with fresher breath and less build-up on your teeth. This two-pack is no more than $10, and the stainless steel scrapers can even be thrown in the dishwasher to be cleaned.


Mistake: Forgetting To Apply Sunscreen On Your Scalp

Solution: This Non-Greasy SPF Spray For Your Hair & Scalp

Anyone who’s gotten a sunburnt scalp before knows all about the importance of protecting the area with sunscreen. And did you know your hair is just as susceptible to UV rays, too? Especially if your hair is colored, protecting it from the sun is an absolute must on beach days to avoid discoloration (though virgin hair can be damaged by the sun’s rays, too). This scalp spray and hair mist sunscreen takes care of both issues. Spray it all over your scalp and hair for SPF 30 protection that shields hair without making it look greasy.


Mistake: Getting Deodorant Stains On Your Clothes

Solution: These Deodorant Sponges That Remove White Residue

Nothing ruins a gorgeous, sleek black dress quite like a white deodorant stain. But if you keep one of these deodorant remover sponges in your bag, you’ll never have to worry about that again. Just gently rub the sponge on a deodorant mark to remove the white cast, and then throw it back in your bag to use again in the future. And at two sponges for less than $10, they’re a super-worthy investment.


Mistake: Getting Frequent Gel Manicures

Solution: A Tinted Nail Strengthener For Polish-Free Breaks

Has one too many gel or acrylic manicures damaged your nails severely? Been there. This essie nail strengthener comes in to save the day (or at least your nails) by protecting nails that are scratched or flaking immediately upon application, and fortifying them as the days go by, too. It adds a subtle pink tint to give your nails a healthy-looking glow, creates a protective barrier against daily wear and tear, and only costs around $10.


Mistake: Drying Your Face On Your Bath Towel

Solution: This Washcloth Set That Gives You A Fresh Towel Each Day

Another overlooked beauty misstep: using your bath towel or the same washcloth over and over again to dry your freshly-cleansed face. Used towels are great at harboring bacteria, so when it comes to towels touching your face, make sure you have a new one each time with this 12-pack of cotton washcloths. Made of 100% cotton, these Amazon Basics towels are soft, durable, and less than $15.

  • Available colors: 7


Mistake: Overplucking Your Eyebrows

Solution: A Castor Oil Serum To Help Strengthen Your Brows (& Lashes)

Whether you’ve recently overplucked your brows or have always struggled with thinner brows and lashes, this castor oil serum can help. Known for deeply nourishing hair to stimulate growth, castor oil is so easy to incorporate into your routine, as you can simply comb it through your hair once each day. This set comes with a pre-filled brow and lash applicator tube, along with a 2-ounce jar of cold-pressed castor oil for application anywhere — it can help soften and strengthen your hair, too!


Mistake: Never Cleaning Your Hair Brush

Solution: This Tiny Brush Tool That Removes Old Hair & Fuzz

Another beauty-related chore that’s essential not to skip: cleaning your hair brush. Dead skin, dust, and other impurities build up in hairbrushes so easily, transferring to your hair when you brush and making it more greasy and weighed down. Thankfully, this hair brush cleaning tool makes that task much easier. Its stiff bristles remove strands of hair, while the brush at the opposite end removes dust and fluff.


Mistake: Relying On Foot Cream For Smoother Feet

Solution: These 1-Hour Masks That Leave You With Baby-Soft Feet

It turns out that stubborn foot calluses aren’t so stubborn in the face of a foot peel mask, like this one from Dermora. Getting baby-soft feet is a breeze with these masks — just slip them on, wear them for an hour, and then rinse off. Over the next week or two, the extra dead skin from your feet will slowly peel off, revealing soles that are so much smoother and softer. This set comes with two pairs of masks for less than $15, and if you need more convincing, they’re the best-selling foot masks on Amazon.


Mistake: Wearing Your Hair In A Tight Bun Too Often

Solution: A Claw Clip That Pulls Your Hair Back Without The Tension

That “everything in moderation” saying applies to your hair, too. If you’re someone who ties your hair back frequently, you could be causing damage and even hair loss if you solely rely on slicked-back styles. That’s where this claw clip comes in, which effectively keeps hair out of your face without pulling at your hair. This octopus clip has a wider interior than your average claw clip, allowing it to accommodate thicker and curly hair types.


Mistake: Overpaying For Individually Packaged Sheet Masks

Solution: This More Affordable Pack Of 30 Sheet Masks

Do you struggle with dehydrated skin? Regular sheet masking can be a game-changer, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. These collagen sheet masks are infused with peptides and leave your skin looking so much more bouncy and hydrated after one use. The set of 30 means you’re paying about $1 for each mask, and because they’re stacked inside one box, they help to cut back on plastic waste as they save you money. Plus, they come with a handy pair of tweezers to lift one mask at a time without contaminating the bunch.


Mistake: Your Eyeshadow Fades By Midday

Solution: An Eyeshadow Primer That Locks Onto Color & Prevents Creasing

Say goodbye forever to the frustrating way eyeshadow fades and creases on your lid with this eyeshadow primer. The primer helps to create a smooth canvas for eye makeup that keeps it in place and prevents eyelid oiliness that leads to makeup creasing. It has pearl powder, too, to make your eyeshadow pigments pop even more, and since you only need a tiny bit of primer for each eye, this under-$15 tube will last forever.


Mistake: Getting Expensive Highlights & Skipping The At-Home Maintenance

Solution: This Purple Shampoo & Conditioner Set To Neutralize Brassy Tones

Do you have blonde, gray, or highlighted hair? Make sure you’re upkeeping your expensive color with a purple shampoo and/or conditioner. This set of purple shampoo and conditioner by L’Oreal is as affordable as it is effective, working to neutralize brassy yellow or orange tones after just a single use. Swap your regular shampoo and conditioner with this set every couple of washes for hair that stays cool and bright, even in between salon appointments.


Mistake: Wearing A Bonnet That Slips Off During The Night

Solution: This Satin Bonnet That’s Slip-Resistant

Have a silk bonnet that sometimes slips off your head in the middle of the night? Check out this non-slip satin bonnet, instead. It features a slip-resistant stretchy headband and an adjustable bow tie so you can fit it snugly to your head and protect both your edges and your hair. Its large size accommodates even super long hairstyles, it comes in 10 different colors, and it costs no more than $15.

  • Available colors: 10


Mistake: Neglecting To Exfoliate Before A Spray Tan

Solution: This Ultra-Fine Body Scrub That Preps & Smooths Your Skin

In addition to using a mitt to apply your tanner, properly prepping your skin goes a long way in ensuring that your self-tanner looks completely natural. This unscented body scrub uses ultra-fine sea salt granules to slough away dead skin cells pre-tanning for a more even canvas, but it’s also helpful in between tans for preventing patchiness as the self-tanner fades. The scrub, which is handmade in Wisconsin, includes moisturizing aloe, coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil, and it comes with its own wooden spoon for scooping out the product with ease.


Mistake: Getting Lash Extensions That Can Cause Breakage & Irritation

Solution: This Lash-Enhancing Serum That’s An Amazon Best-Seller

Lash extensions may seem like a quick fix for boosting your natural lashes, but they can cause damage that includes breakage in the long run (especially if the extensions are applied incorrectly), and they also run the risk of causing eye irritation or even infection. Instead, you can enhance your natural lashes with this best-selling lash serum by Grande Cosmetics. Formulated with amino acids, isopropyl cloprostenate, and moisturizers like grapeseed extract, the serum was shown to promote longer, thicker, healthier lashes after just four to six weeks in a consumer study. All you have to do is swipe the under-$40 product across your lash line once a day, and you should notice noticeably longer, thicker lashes after a couple of months.


Mistake: Using Toners That Contain Drying Alcohols

Solution: A Hypochlorous Acid Spray That Reduces Inflammation & Redness

Toners have gotten a bad rap over the years, thanks to past formulas that were loaded with alcohol and often caused stinging upon application and dried-out skin over time. Fortunately, that trend has faded, with calming toners like this hypochlorous acid-infused mist taking their place. The cult-favorite option from Tower 28 can be used as a face toner, but it’s also capable of calming down skin anywhere on your body because of the soothing powerhouse ingredient. It’s even been given the National Eczema Foundation’s seal of acceptance, making it a multi-tasking mist that can be used on acne, eczema, or burns.


Mistake: Ending Up With Brittle & Weak Nails From Gel Manicures

Solution: This Strengthening Cream That Nourishes Dry Nails & Cuticles

Another solution for post-gel nails that are brittle and breaking off? This nail-strengthening cream that’s designed to fortify nails by keeping them conditioned. The cream is filled with nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, urea, calcium, beeswax, and jojoba oil to moisturize, repair, and hydrate nails and cuticles. It works well on both fingers and toes, and it’s available on Amazon for less than $10.