40 Expensive Beauty Mistakes You Don't Realize You're Making

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The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that charges shoppers tons of money with the promise of making them look better. It leaves consumers feeling like they have to shell out a small inheritance just to keep up with the trends. But after some research and lots of shopping, I’m here to tell you: you’re spending too much money on your beauty care. I’ve found products to replace those expensive creams and lotions with affordable options that work just as well. Check out these 40 expensive beauty mistakes you don’t realize you’re making. Then share with a friend to save them some cash, too.

Name brands and fancy ingredients can instantly raise the price of an otherwise inexpensive cream or skin treatment. Teeth whitening, skin brightening, and hair removal treatments at salons can add up, but you can often replicate those same effective treatments at home for a fraction of the cost. I’ve compiled a handful of options that will give you professional results for much less.

Another way to cut costs without compromising your beauty routine is to find versatile products that can do double... or even triple duty. I’ve added affordable products like apple cider vinegar, castile soap, and mascara that serve multiple purposes.

Looking your best and nourishing your skin, hair, nails, and face doesn’t have to break the bank. Swap out your usual products and cash in on serious savings, all without compromising quality.


A Narrow Spatula For Getting Every Drop From The Bottle

Stop throwing out your moisturizer, foundation, or eye cream when you know there’s still some left in the bottom. This flexible spatula is designed to save you money in this exact scenario. The Spatty Daddy fits into any bottle or container, no matter how narrow the opening, so you can get every last drop. It's BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and was even featured on Shark Tank. This two-piece set comes with a 6- and 12-inch reusable spatula.


These Cheap Tube Squeezers That Save Money

When it comes to toothpaste, this pack of four plastic tube squeezers will ensure no paste is left behind. Just slide the device onto the end of your tube of toothpaste and slowly slide it down as you use the toothpaste over time. Now you can get your money’s worth out of each tube. It’s easy to use and even works for paints, creams, or makeup. This pack of four is just $5 and is available in four colors.


A Better Alternative To Standard Petroleum Jelly

A standard tub of petroleum jelly is not actually good for your lips but this petroleum jelly has skin conditioning cocoa butter which is amazing at healing chapped or dry skin. A five-star reviewer noted, “Great value for the price. I was afraid to purchase because I typically only use Vaseline. This was a great substitute.”


The Reusable Cloths That Remove Makeup With Water

Stop scrubbing off your makeup every night with harsh cleansers or expensive wipes. Instead of wasting money, switch to these makeup-removing cloths that can be used over and over. These microfiber towels have tiny fibers that remove makeup, dirt, and oil from your skin with just water. For just $10, you get this pack of four that’s earned nearly 13,000 reviews. Machine wash the towels between uses.


These ACV Bottles To Replace Pricy Scalp Treatments

Apple cider vinegar is known for its various health benefits, but did you know it could replace some of your beauty products? The raw, unfiltered ACV includes the “mother,” which consists of proteins, enzymes, and good bacteria that are naturally cleansing — and usually recommended for improving gut health. But you can also use it as a scalp treatment or clarifying shampoo instead of spending money on name-brand treatments.


This Budget Moisturizing Cream For Sensitive Skin

Having sensitive skin can sometimes mean forking over a ton of money for products that work for you. But this moisturizing cream is dermatologist-tested and approved by the National Eczema Association as a night cream for sensitive skin — and it comes at a reasonable price. It’s free of dyes, fragrances, and parabens, plus it won’t clog your pores. It can heal and protect your skin from psoriasis, winter cold, wind, or sun exposure.


A Gel Polish Kit For Salon Manicures At Home

If you’re looking for a long-lasting manicure without the salon price, this gel polish grooming kit is for you. It comes with three different nail files, a cuticle fork, and a buffer block, as well as 10 gel polishes, base and top coats, and an LED lamp to set your polish. The set even includes accessories for nail art such as stickers, rhinestones, nail glue, and nail art remover paper.


This Hair Tool That Dries, Straightens, And Styles

A fresh blowout really puts a pep in your step... until you see the price. Snag that same confidence at home with this affordable three-in-one hair dryer brush. Now you can blow-dry and style at the same time with this tool that’s a hairdryer, straightener, and volume-enhancer all in one. The versatile tool is designed with tufted bristles that grip, detangle, and lift your locks while drying. It features three adjustable heat settings for different hair types and textures and will help you stay under budget.


A Gel Acne Treatment That’s Just $12

Fight acne without spending a fortune with this cult-favorite topical acne gel. The Adapalene gel targets breakouts deep in your pores to stop them in their tracks by offering prescription-strength healing without the trip to the doctor. This formula is free of drying alcohol, oils, and fragrances and has earned more than 28,000 reviews.


The Two-Part Treatment For A More Even Skin Tone

This popular skincare duo offers a budget-friendly way to smooth and rejuvenate your skin without harsh ingredients. The set includes a resurfacing serum and a retinol moisturizer that’s clinically proven to smoothen skin, fade dark eye circles, and add major hydration to dry skin. One five-star reviewer cited, “Best Ever. Feels Great! My skin is so soft after using this combination”


A Topical Treatment For Rosacea That’s Affordable

Shoppers who struggle with rosacea and perioral dermatitis may be using a prescription cream, but can achieve similar results with this less expensive azelaic topical acid. It’s made with a concentration of 10% glycinated azelaic acid, along with niacinamide, vitamin C, and coffee seed extract that brightens skin and reduces redness, dullness, and discoloration. The serum is vegan and free of gluten and fragrances.


This At-Home Pro Teeth Whitening Treatment

Most teeth whitening treatments are time-consuming and expensive, but these popular Crest Whitestrips, which boast more than 43,000 reviews, brighten your smile, right in the comfort of your home, for so much less money. Using the strips once a day for 30 minutes can remove up to 14 years of stains. This kit includes 20 treatments and two one-hour express treatments to boost your smile. The non-slip grip strips stay on your teeth while you talk and even sip water.


A Powder That Covers Roots Between Salon Visits

Go ahead and reschedule that hair appointment and grab this root cover-up instead. The natural-looking powder is water-resistant and even covers grays seamlessly. Use it to fill in gaps in your hair or perfect your hairline for much less than a trip to the salon. It’s available in eight colors from blonde to black and has more than 7,800 reviews.


The Wildly Popular Face Wash With Ceramides

This affordable everyday face wash has a cult following, with nearly 50,000 reviews, which proves beauty products don’t have to be expensive to be effective. This creamy, non-foaming cleanser is packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. It’s tough on dirt, oil, and makeup, but gentle and moisturizing enough to keep your face feeling hydrated and never greasy. It’s also safe for sensitive skin. Best of all? It’s only $15.


These Eco-Friendly Reusable Bamboo Rounds

These reusable cotton rounds are a win-win: good for your skin and your wallet. They’re made from highly absorbent and soft bamboo velour. Use these rounds as a replacement for disposable cotton that you’d usually use to remove makeup, nail polish, or apply toner. Just toss used facial pads into the included mesh laundry bag and machine wash to use them again and again. They've earned more than 15,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating.


These Eyebrow Razors To Keep Facial Hair In Check

You don’t have to pay to get your eyebrows or other facial hair waxed or threaded, just snag this three-pack of eyebrow razors and dermaplaning tools. They give you smoother skin by removing fine hair, like peach fuzz, while exfoliating your face and sloughing away rough skin. The small blade makes it easy to closely remove hair without cutting yourself. Use it for upper lip hair, shaping eyebrows, or exfoliating your cheeks.


An Eyebrow Coloring Kit To Use At Home

No need to pay someone to tint your eyebrows when you can do it at home with this eyebrow color kit. It comes with a natural brown cream hair dye, liquid oxidant, and a mixing brush and dish. One reviewer noted, “Who knew I could get such great results at home? I sure didn't! Wow, I seriously missed the boat all these years by not using this sooner!” It’s easy to use and you can even apply it to beards.” This pick has a 4.6-star rating and more than 3,000 reviews.


An Electric Shaver To Replace Expensive Waxing

Keep your skin silky smooth with this wet and dry shaver. If this professional-grade hair removal tool seems pricey at first, consider how much you’ll actually save by eliminating your monthly wax or laser appointments. This razor is gentle and has a skin contact cap to keep you from cutting yourself. It comes with a shaver and trimmer comb, plus a massage roller cap. Choose from two speeds to remove hair at the roots for smooth results that last longer.


A Purple Shampoo That Corrects Your Blonde

Calling all the blondies — this purple shampoo is formulated to extend the life of your color without having to get it toned so frequently. This sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner set corrects any brassy tones in your bleached, dyed, or highlighted hair. Use it two to three times a week instead of your usual shampoo to extend the life of your color and save you money. Plus it’s super nourishing to your locks.


This Dry Shampoo That Extends Your Blow-Out

This dry shampoo revives oily, flat hair so you can go longer between washes, which will extend the life of your expensive hair color or blow-out. The talc-free cleanser uses natural rice starch to absorb oil and odor, add volume, and freshen your scalp. Just shake the bottle and spray about eight inches from your head. It won’t leave a white residue and will keep your hair looking fresher for days.


A 3-In-1 Beauty Stick That’s Good For Your Skin

Cut costs and clutter with this multipurpose makeup stick. The all-natural formula can be used to add color to your cheeks, lips, or eyelids — effectively replacing your blush, lipstick, and eye shadow. It made with ingredients your skin will love like shea butter, coconut cream, and Acai oil. It’s available in eight shades that range from Rose Dust to Toasted Nutmeg.


This Multitasking Liquid Soap That Cleans Everything

If you buy different soaps for your body, your produce, and your kitchen, you’re wasting money. This pure Castile liquid soap does it all — and smells like lavender. It has (at least) 18 uses such as cleaning dishes, giving your dog a bath, and can even be used as a replacement for shaving cream. It is safe for your skin and hair — and the planet, since it’s organic, biodegradable, and vegan. The concentrated formula means it lasts longer and its versatility means you won’t have to spend money on a million soap types.


An Affordable Mascara That’s A Cosmetic Classic

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality mascara that adds definition, length, and volume to your lashes. This drug store favorite is $4 and reviewers love the results. The formula is available in washable, waterproof, brown, black, and clear — which doubles as a brow gel. The classic bristle brush enhances your lashes just as well, if not better, than the expensive brands at your favorite beauty store and this pick has earned more than 24,000 reviews.


A Colored Hair Mask That Lengths Time Between Dyes

If you love colorful hair and want to extend your dye job, this color-depositing hair mask is for you. It’s a deep conditioning treatment that nourishes your hair with apricot kernel oil and vitamin E, while also adding temporary color. It comes in nine shades and is designed to fade out gradually. Now you don’t have to avoid shampooing out of fear of fading your color. Your wallet and scalp will be happy.


The Cheap Liquid Eyeliner That Lasts All Day

If you wear eyeliner every day, you know how quickly you can run through a whole pen. This affordable ink eyeliner softens the blow to your wallet without sacrificing your go-to look. It’s waterproof and has an ultra-precise tip so it’s easy to apply. It’s earned more than 35,000 reviews including one that noted, “I bought this eyeliner as a vegan alternative to my beloved MAC brush liner and, to be honest, I prefer this one much more. Not only are you saving a fortune, but it truly is waterproof, smudge-proof, and stays on all day...”


These Individual Lashes To Customize Your Look

Everyone loves long lashes, but not everyone likes to pay for them. This $5 pack of individual lashes is a steal compared to what you’ll pay to get extensions. This kit is perfect for customizing your lashes. Each cluster of lashes has 10 to 15 strands that can be applied with a strip and individual lash adhesive. They last for around two weeks and are easy enough for beginners to master.


A Well-Priced Vitamin C Serum That Works

Vitamin C is a beauty super ingredient and usually costs a pretty penny, but this serum, packed with a 22% vitamin C complex that include hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E, is just $20. Not only does it repair dull or dry skin, but it can also boost collagen production and shield your skin from environmental stressors. People with sensitive, dry, aging, acne-prone or combination skin can use it twice a day to revive the skin and brighten the complexion.


This Reusable Q-Tip To Save Money (And The Planet)

Stop buying and wasting disposable cotton swabs and opt for this reusable option instead. It’s just $12 and comes with a double-sided swab designed to clean your ears, apply your makeup, and touch up your nail polish. The swabs are made of medical silicone and have a spiral head for gentle cleaning. Just rinse the flexible swab in water between uses to save up to 100 swabs. You’ll save money and eliminate unnecessary waste.


The Body Oil That Treats Scars For Less Than $10

People pay thousands of dollars to treat scars and stretch marks, but this crowd favorite (with nearly 80,000 reviews) body oil does the trick for so much less. It’s made with natural oils, including chamomile, sunflower, and lavender oils, plus vitamin A, which is clinically proven to repair damaged skin. It can help with scars from surgery, injury, acne, C-sections, and pregnancy and can also help to even out your skin tone. According to many reviewers, one bottle lasts several months.


A Fancy Face Oil Without The Expensive Price Tag

Luxurious facial oils usually come in tiny containers with huge price tags. But this rosehip oil is an affordable addition to your beauty routine that will improve the appearance of your skin and hair. This pure, cold-pressed oil is rich in essential fatty acids that hydrate and plump your skin for a brighter, more hydrated and even complexion. It’s designed to work for any skin type for healthier skin without busting the budget and is vegan and free of pore-clogging mineral oil.


This Shadow Palette Mixes Quality And Affordability

When it comes to eye shadow palettes, you could spend anywhere from $2 to $200, but you can usually tell the difference in quality. This warm neutral palette has the approval of more than 17,000 reviewers and only costs $11. It includes 16 highly pigmented colors that easily go on and stay all day. You’ll find a mix of matte, satin, shimmery, and metallic finishes in this palette to match your skin tone and occasion. This pro-level palette includes neutral shades like tan, brown, and beige for a natural look.


The Budget Facial Spritz For Mid-Day Hydration

It’s 3 p.m. and your makeup has cracked, your skin is begging for moisture, and you’re about to reach for a third cup of coffee, but instead, you grab this rosewater facial spray. Spritz a little on your skin and instantly feel refreshed, hydrated, and invigorated by the herbal scent and moisturizing properties. This spray is made with aloe, herbs, and rose water and can be applied over makeup without ruining it. The small bottle is perfect for taking on the go when you need a boost. It’s vegan and free of oils.


This Self-Tanning Foam That Costs Less Than A Spray

Free up your budget by skipping the tanning salon, and, instead, using this self-tanning foam. It’s made with aloe vera and coconut so it goes on evenly without leaving behind streaks. This lightweight formula comes in three shades: light/medium, dark, and ultra-dark. Apply the foam with a mitt and leave it on your skin for up to 6 hours, depending on the level of bronze you want to achieve. One reviewer noted, “[It] is the best smell I’ve experienced with a self-tanner. It doesn’t have that distinct tanner smell, it just smells like coconuts. The color stain is a nice olive color and the formula is able to be washed off after an hour if you please.”


A 5-Piece Makeup Brush Set That’s Budget-Friendly

Snag this budget-friendly makeup brush set instead of paying for individual brushes. The five-piece set includes a sponge brush and four lightweight brushes for blush, eyeshadow, and setting powder. It’s earned more than 7,000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating. Aptly named the “everyday essentials set,” this kit offers an affordable way to up your makeup game without breaking the bank.


These Cheap Nail Stickers To Customize Your Manicure

Custom manicures are very trendy, but keeping up with the times will cost you. Instead, get crafty on your nails at home and decorate them with these affordable nail stickers. This pack comes with 50 sheets of water transfer nail decals in designs like flowers, feathers, butterflies, and more. The pack, which has more than 1,100 individual stickers, is just $7 and has earned more than 4,000 reviews.


A Facial Steamer To Treat Your Skin On A Budget

Get the facial of your life right at home with this facial steamer — which is just as effective and much cheaper than a professional facial. It uses nano ions to penetrate even deeper into your skin, getting rid of the gunk in your pores that causes acne, all while helping to hydrate your complexion. The steamer also comes with a four-piece skincare set of extraction tools for stubborn blackheads, and a skincare headband.


An At-Home Glycolic Acid Treatment

These at-home resurfacing glycolic acid pads can give you results that are similar to a spa treatment for a fraction of the price. It’s made with 20% of pure glycolic acid, in addition to green tea, calendula extracts, and vitamins B5, C, and E — all of which exfoliate your skin to reduce the look of scars, bumps, and discoloration. It comes with professional-grade waffle pads that are saturated in the solution, which also acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Your skin will feel softer, smoother, more hydrated, and look more even.


This Bulk Handsoap That Will Save You Money In The Long Run

This 33-ounce bottle of hand soap is a budget eco-friendly alternative to individual soap bottles. The soap is tough on dirt but gentle on your skin since it’s made with essential oils such as aloe vera and olive oil. It has a calming basil scent and is designed to refill the soap bottles you have around the house. This purchase means less plastic in the environment and fewer trips to the store — a win-win.


A Deeply Moisturizing Cream With A Drug Store Price

Expensive creams often share similar super ingredients as the cheaper, drug-store options. Now you can eliminate dry skin with this ultra-hydrating, dermatologist-recommended facial moisturizer by Neutrogena — that only costs $14. The gel-cream formula is made with moisturizing hyaluronic acid, which is able to absorb one thousand times its weight in water. It's oil-free, dye-free, and fragrance-free to provide hydration to even the most sensitive skin types.

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