If you want to know how to cook a good roast chicken, you look to a cook for a recipe. If you need advice on a new couch, you tap an interior designer. And if you need to know about the best cheap beauty products, you turn to a beauty expert. And luckily, thanks to social media and the internet, doing so has never been easier than it is now.
Makeup artists, hairstylists, dermatologists, and beauty vloggers try dozens upon dozens of products on the regular — and just because some of them have fancy taste doesn't mean they can't get behind a great budget buy. To curate the ultimate guide to the best affordable beauty products on the market, I scoured YouTube, Instagram, and countless interviews to find out which cheap products beauty experts swear by. Below, you'll find 32 killer picks from people like Daniel Martin, Katie Jane Hughes, Dr. Shereene Idriss, Sir John, and so many more.
Not only does every product on this list come highly recommended by a beauty expert, but each one costs less than $25 — with most coming in at $15 or less. So go ahead and keep scrolling to shop 32 of the best affordable beauty products on the market right now.
1. The Multi-Use Micellar Water That's In Every Makeup Artist's Kit
It's rare to look into a makeup artist's kit and not see a bottle of Bioderma, a cult-favorite French micellar water that's safe for use on even the most sensitive of skin. "It's a great makeup remover," makeup artist Nina Soriano told The Zoe Report, while makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes ranked it as the number-one product she couldn't survive without on set. The Sensibo H20 micellar water expertly removes even the most stubborn of makeup — including waterproof mascara — and can also be used with a Q-tip to clean up smudges. Plus, unlike most other makeup removers, it leaves your skin hydrated and soft, instead of oily or super dry.
2. An Eyeshadow Palette Meghan Markle's Makeup Artist Loves
In an editorial for Bustle, makeup artist Daniel Martin (who did Meghan Markle's makeup for her wedding) used this Physician's Formula Rosé All Day Palette. It contains both matte and shimmering shades in a range of pink, brown, and purple tones that'll look gorgeous on literally anybody.
3. A Jeffree Star-Approved Dupe For Tatcha's Silk Canvas Primer
It's very difficult to impress beauty guru and entrepreneur Jeffree Star, but this primer from e.l.f managed to do the job. Star wore this primer on one side of his face while wearing Tatcha's Silk Canvas primer on the other for a full day to see which one he liked better. The results were almost indiscernible, but Poreless Putty managed to receive the distinction of being Jeffree Star-approved. Though they work almost identically, at $8, Poreless Putty is a much more affordable dupe for Tatcha's Silk Canvas primer.
4. A Drugstore Concealer NikkieTutorials Loves
Legendary YouTube vlogger and makeup artist, NikkieTutorials, is a big fan of the L'Oreal Infallible Full Wear More Than Concealer. In a video, she revealed that she loves its full-coverage effect and big doe-foot applicator, comparing it to Tarte's cult-favorite Tape Shape Concealer. Though the formula is nice and creamy, it leaves skin with a matte finish and claims to last for up to 24 hours. Choose from 25 shades.
5. An Under-$10 Dry Shampoo The "Hollywood Hair Guy" Swears By
A drugstore classic, Freeman's Psssst! Dry Shampoo still holds its own against newer, more innovative dry shampoo formulas. Emmy-nominated Hairstylist Dean Banowetz, aka "the Hollywood Hair Guy," is a huge fan. He loves it for absorbing dirt and oil, of course, but also notes that it adds great body and volume. Plus, it smells delicious.
6. A Tati Westbrook-Approved Lipstick For Just A Few Dollars
Looking for the perfect pinky-nude lipstick? Tati Westbrook recommends Maybelline's Color Sensational lipstick in the shade Mauve For Me — a gorgeous mauve that looks good on just about every skin tone. It's intensely moisturizing, but it also doesn't budge, making it an ideal lipstick for everyday wear.
7. A Lightweight Serum/Foundation Favored By Hollywood Royalty
Viola Davis and Helen Mirren, both ambassadors of L'Oreal Paris, swear by the brand's Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation with SPF 50. It's a lightweight, yet full-coverage foundation that feels like a serum, but offers the smoothing and concealing benefits of a foundation. What's more, the hydrating formula has an SPF of 50 and contains antioxidants to help protect skin from free radical damage. Choose from 30 shades.
8. This Cult-Classic Balm That Katie Jane Hughes Uses For Everything
Many a makeup artist, like Katie Jane Hughes, swear by Weleda's cult-classic Skin Food for so many different things. It's another staple you'll often see backstage at photoshoots and fashion shows. As Hughes told The Zoe Report, "Weleda Skin Food is kind of what's in everyone's kit now. You can prep skin with it, use it as a mask, or use it as a highlighter. That kind of product is liquid gold." Dermatologist Shereene Idriss also loves the rich balm.
9. A Fun, Glittery Eyeshadow Palette For Dramatic Nighttime Looks
For budget-beauty shoppers who love some sparkle, you can't do much better than this Beauty Glazed Glitter Eyeshadow Palette. Kelly Clarkson's makeup artist Ashley Donovan is a big fan. "It's one of my favorite discoveries on Amazon," Donovan told the Zoe Report. "The formulas are gel, so it's an easy way to carry around glitter in my kit without the mess and spills that come with loose glitters." The shades are stunning, ranging from rosy pink to gorgeous gold. But the best part? It costs just under $10.
10. A Simple $5 Blush Patrick Ta Swears By
Celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta, who counts Gigi Hadid and Shay Mitchell among clients, has called out Milani's Rose Powder Blush in Blossomtime Rose as a personal favorite. "The texture of the blush is comparable to many high-end brands," Ta told Bustle. It provides a natural wash of color with just a hint of shimmer, which gives skin a subtle, light-catching glow.
11. A Rich Shea Butter Cream To Define & Moisturize Thick Curls
When shopping for hair-care products, it's always a good idea to go for ones that hairstylists use on their own hair. Hairstylist Nikki Providence is a fan of this Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream because of how rich and moisturizing it is. "[It] is great for thick curly hair, to bring out the curl and reduce frizz, and it smells delicious," Providence told Bustle. What more could you want from a curl cream than that?
12. The Perfect, Affordable Mauve-y Nude
The Revlon Super Lustrous The Luscious Mattes Lipstick in the shade Pick Me Up is a favorite of makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes (she even uses it on her eyes and cheeks). It's a creamy nude with a slight pink tint that swipes on matte but isn't drying, thanks to hydrating ingredients, like agave and moringa oil, in the formula.
13. The Makeup Sponge That Just About Every Makeup Artist — Including Kris Jenner's — Swears By
At this point, the magic of the Beautyblender Pro Makeup Sponge isn't exactly a secret. But still, you can't talk about expert-approved products without giving it a mention. Ash K. Holm, who does Kris Jenner's makeup, is a big fan — but uses the sponge in an interesting way. Instead of using it for liquid foundation and concealer, Holm uses a damp Beautyblender to apply setting powder. “Applying the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder in this way adds moisture and makes the skin look fresh and lightweight,” Holm told The Zoe Report. This way, you can avoid that cakey effect that often goes hand-in-hand with powder makeup.
14. The Original Anti-Frizz Serum
Raise your hand if you used to use John Frieda's Frizz-Ease Serum in middle school to tame your locks. (I know I did.) Turns out, hairstylists still love it, too. Adam Broderick called it out in an interview for its frizz-fighting abilities. "It’s still one of the best de-frizzers on the market,” he said to Reader's Digest. The newer formulas now contain sun protectant to protect your hair from UV rays, as an added bonus.
15. The Best Drugstore Mascara On The Market — & It's A Favorite Of Mario Dedivanovic's
Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian's longtime makeup artist, loves the L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara in Carbon Black — a tube you'll likely spot in many other makeup artists' kits, as well. “I’ve been using this for more than 15 years. It’s so classic. I’ve tried so many of the new luxury mascaras that come out, but I always somehow wind up going right back to my Voluminous Carbon Black," Dedivanovic told People.
16. A Super Hydrating Concealer In An Easy-To-Apply Tube
If your concealer is constantly leaving you with caking and flakes, you need to try Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Hydrating Concealer, according to makeup artist Neil Scibelli. "It's great for dry skin types because the formula is sheer and buildable — so you can be sure it won't cake up on the skin," Scibelli told The Zoe Report. "It's also formulated with hyaluronic acid — a powerful hydrator that quenches skin almost instantly."
17. A Huda-Approved Eyeliner For Under $10
Beauty guru Huda Kattan has her own line of prestige makeup products — but when it comes to cost-effective buys, she's all about this NYX That's The Point Eyeliner. "I love how mirco and tiny it is," she said in a video for Glamour. "This [gives] me a lot of control." It's also totally budge-proof; the formula will stick to your lids until it's time to be washed off.
18. A Simple, Affordable, Oil-Free Moisturizer
"My go-to moisturizer is [the] Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer, and has been for years," makeup artist Sil Bruinsma told The Zoe Report in an interview. “Models always ask what I’m using, since it feels very light and is water-based.” The lightweight formula is a great option for just about any skin type, since it's hypoallergenic and non-greasy. Plus, it even offers a bit of sun protection with an SPF of 15.
19. The Perfect Neutral Eyeshadow Palette — & It Costs Just A Few Dollars
Gilbert Soliz, a global makeup artist for Marc Jacobs Beauty, is a fan of this $6 LA Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadow Palette. In an interview with The Zoe Report, he said, "These shades are soft and sultry, great for sculpting the eye and natural looks. I love them because they're easy to blend and compatible with all skin tones."
20. A Soothing & Hydrating Witch Hazel Toner
For a toner that every skin type can use safely — including those that are dry and sensitive — this classic Thayer's Witch Hazel Facial Toner can't be beat. Makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran keeps some in a spray bottle backstage during fashion week to spray on models' faces, she revealed in an interview with The Zoe Report. "I like to use this to soothe the skin after makeup removal [...] and refresh the skin to help prevent breakouts as it reduces skin irritation," Jaikaran said. That's because of the skin-calming formula, which is infused with the natural antiseptic witch hazel, as well as hydrating aloe and soothing rose water.
21. The Once-Weekly Clarifying Shampoo Everyone Can Benefit From
If you use product in your hair, you can likely benefit from washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo every once in a while. Hairstylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, who often works with Kerry Washington, uses it on her clients. "It removes dullness and buildup of products. Think of it as a detox for your locks! On Scandal, Kerry Washington's hair goes through a lot, and this shampoo gets out all of the products that they've used on her hair all week," she said to Allure. Just make sure to use it only once a week — any more can strip your hair of its natural oils.
22. A Full-Coverage Foundation That Beyoncé's Makeup Artist Uses
If Beyoncé's makeup artist Sir John uses a product, you can pretty much guarantee that it's going to be good. The L'Oreal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Wear Liquid Foundation is one of those products. "It doesn't matter if you're a minimalist or like a lot of color — you have to have good staples," he explained to The Zoe Report. This glow-inducing foundation is one of his. The medium-to-full coverage formula was designed to resist water, sweat, and transfer, but despite all that, it's incredibly lightweight.
23. The Simple Daily Face Wash That Instagram's Favorite Derm Swears By
Dr. Shereene Idriss is one of the most influential dermatologists on Instagram — and her go-to cleansers are both affordable drugstore classics. "My favorite cleansers are from Cerave and Cetaphil," she told Into The Gloss. Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser is perfect for everyday use, regardless of your skin type, because it's gentle, yet effective at removing makeup, and won't leave your skin feeling dry or stripped. Derms tend to recommend it because it's so simple — if you're on any type of topical medication, this formula won't interact with it.
24. A Vegan Matte Lipstick That'll Stay Put For Hours
You don't have to drop major coin on a long-lasting lipstick. This Lip Bar Liquid Lipstick (pictured in the shade Bawse Lady) stays put for hours, according to makeup artist Lakeisha Dale. The formula is vegan, cruelty-free, and incredibly long-lasting "Most importantly, they are a Black-owned beauty brand," Dale told The Zoe Report. "It's important for me to see people like me being pioneers in an industry that I love."
25. The Cult-Classic Hairspray That's Backstage At Every Fashion Show
Before you were able to get it Stateside, hairstylists used to smuggle the L'Oreal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray back from France. “Unlike many sprays, it brushes out quickly when you want to change your style,” Adam Broderick, owner of Adam Broderick Salon & Spa, said in an interview with Reader's Digest. The strong-hold formula is also super lightweight and smells delicious, which is always a nice touch.
26. A $5 Body Lotion That's Sir John-Approved
"I’m a Palmer's Cocoa Butter kind of guy," makeup artist Sir John told Into The Gloss. "I love the smell." Aside from just smelling delicious (which it truly does), the rich formula is deeply moisturizing, yet non-greasy, and can even help promote a smoother, more even-looking skin tone. Basically, it's the most luxurious, good-for-skin body lotion you can buy for under $10.
27. A Classic CoverGirl Mascara That Lengthens Without Clumps
The reason why this iconic green tube from CoverGirl is such a favorite among makeup artists and shoppers like yourself is simple — it doesn't clump. Makeup artists, like Jamie Greenberg, swear by this mascara, because who wants to deal with clumping when you're backstage at a fashion show or behind-the-scenes at a photoshoot? Grab this mascara if you want major lift and volume sans clumps.
28. These Sensitive Skin-Friendly Beauty Bars That Only Cost $1 Each
Don't discount bar soap! These classic Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bars are favorites among doctors like Rachel Nazarian, an NYC-based dermatologist. "It's pH balanced and incredibly gentle for sensitive skin," she told Brit + Co. The hydrating formula softens and cleanses skin without leaving behind a residue, and it can be used on both your face and body. What more could you want for a soap that costs about $1 per bar?
29. A Shampoo/Conditioner Combo For Incredible Body & Volume
Celebrity hairstylist Nikki Providence, who counts Leona Lewis and Jenny Slate as clients, discovered this Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner duo through Amazon reviews, she told Refinery29. "This formula smells great, helps keep your hair silky, and doesn’t weigh it down," she explained. It's especially ideal for fine hair types that are looking for a boost of volume.
30. These Natural-Looking Falsies Jackie Aina Loves
If you want false eyelashes that look natural, these Kiss Lash Couture Naked Drama Chiffon Lashes are perfect. YouTube beauty guru Jackie Aina is a huge fan; in a video, she called out how they offer a natural, but glamorous effect to make your eyes pop. Just keep in mind that this two-pack doesn't contain glue, so make sure to pick some up on your own.
31. A Tinted Lip Balm That Doubles As A Subtle Blush
Don't you just love when a product can be used multiple ways? This Covergirl Oh Sugar Vitamin Infused Lip Balm is a perfect example of that. "I own three of the colors," makeup artist Sandy Ganzer told Bustle. "In a pinch the balm can be used on the cheeks as a dewy cream blush!" she noted. The balm is formulated with grape-seed oil and avocado butter for extra hydration, which also makes it easy to blend.
32. A Blow Dry Cream That's A Celeb-Stylist Favorite
The key to a perfect, gravity-defying blowout? A great blow-dry cream. And hairstylist Adir Abergel, the man behind the manes of Kristen Stewart and Reese Witherspoon, loves this one from John Frieda. "This product helps create the right memory at the foundation," he told Byrdie. "A volumizer helps to expand the cuticle and allows hair to hold shape during styling." The best way to use it, Abergel says, is to apply it to wet hair before drying. The best part, though? It only costs $5.
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