These Are The Best Cheap Beauty Products Because They Work So Damn Well, According To Makeup Artists


Beauty and personal care are multi-billion dollar industries, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend tons to find reliable products that work. With a sea of items to choose from, however, it can be daunting to figure out what’s worth the hype and what’s just overpriced. That’s why these 13 makeup artists, hairstylists, and beauty experts have weighed in to share their go-to products. Best of all, these items won’t overwhelm your beauty budget. In fact, every single one is in the $30 range, with many coming in around $15 or even less.

So whether you’re looking for reliable lip liners, red-carpet-ready mascaras, or secrets for dewy skin, there’s something here for you that’s been approved not only by enthusiastic reviewers but also by experts and artists themselves.

Table of Contents


This Creamy Stick That Makes Contouring A Breeze

Mary Winkenwerder, a makeup artist, ranks this double-sided contouring stick among her go-to’s. She says, “When I need definition in my face features, this is the tool I reach for, always!” It features both a contour and a highlight shade on either side, which takes the guesswork out of creating a sculpted-looking face. Winkenwerder also praises the quality. “[The] wear is long, even under multiple layers of makeup,” she adds.

  • Available shades: deep rich, deep, universal, medium, light


A Neutral Palette That Can Be Dressed Up Or Down

If you’re looking for versatile eyeshadow on a budget, look no further than this neutral palette. Winkenwerder appreciates that it contains 16 shades of shadow, all with varying textures and finishes including glitter, shimmer, and matte. Plus, it contains both warm and cool tones.


The BB Cream That Holds Up To A Full Day Of Wear

Winkenwerder knows a good BB cream is important, and this skin perfector BB cream is an ideal buy. It works using minerals to moisturize skin while providing a tint to help even out overall skin tone. You can use it on its own — or, as Winkenwerder explains, you can apply it over “blended contour lines, highlighters, and other prep products.” And you don’t have to stress about the product fading. “The wear is long so you don’t have to worry about a short-term Cinderella wear timeline,” she says.


This Little Roller That Brightens Eyes While Soothing Unwanted Puffiness

Using vitamin C, caffeine, and cooling mint, this eye roller can calm unwanted puffiness while also brightening under-eye skin at the same time. “This is a holy grail beauty tool at a great price,” Winkenwerder says. “You get product in ergonomically shaped packaging with a generous stainless steel applicator single roller.”


This Durable Gel Liner In A Convenient Protective Case

Winkenwerder attests to the quality of this gel eyeliner. Due to its waterproof formula that delivers a smooth application, you won’t have to worry about smudging, running, or even flaking. “The value here is getting a solid and reliable product with a break-proof retractable pencil case,” she says. Plus, it’s cruelty-free.


A Blendable Bronzer Palette With 4 Different Shades To Choose From

Physician’s Formula has long been making reliable beauty products for sensitive skin, and this bronzer is no exception. It features four different shades that you can use separately, or layer and blend for a more dimensional look. Plus, the iridescent gold pigment in the middle creates an overall glow. “I love this brand’s bronzers and look forward to them yearly. It’s my secret summer solution for shimmer highlight moments,” Winkenwerder explains.

  • Available colors: medium-to-dark, medium-to-light


The Heart-Shaped Blush That Delivers The Happiest Glow

Get that new love glow with this blush from Physicians Formula. It uses several shades of pinks and nudes to deliver a multi-dimensional glow. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and shouldn’t clog your pores. “This product delivers amazing color while making you smile! It lasts a full spring and summer season with regular weekly applications,” Winkenwerder gushes.

  • Available colors: natural, rose


This Organic Coconut Oil With Tons Of Beauty Uses

This organic coconut oil uses natural fats to help nourish both skin and hair on a budget. You can use it to moisturize, remove makeup, or even for cooking. “I love a good coconut oil face cleanse,” Winkenwerder says. “I also appreciate a good coconut oil moisture treatment for the scalp and body. If you’re coconut oil curious, this is a great place to start.”


An Affordable, Multi-Faceted Vitamin Oil

This vitamin E oil is a must-have for your beauty shelf because it can promote collagen development while adding moisture. Plus, this product isn’t a blend — just pure D-Alpha Tocopherol. Winkenwerder is on board, too. “Great instant moisture and therapy serum. Solid value care staple,” she says.


This Multi-Use Oil Helps Acheive Conditioned Hair, Skin & Nails

Argan oil is another one of those wonder products that has tons of uses, and this formula is 100% pure and unrefined. You can apply it on hair, skin, or nails to condition and moisturize. Some users report damaged hair feeling less brittle and shinier after use. Plus, it can help create an ideal canvas for beauty products. “Makeup wears better on clean and balanced skin. Argan oil takes you there!” Winkenwerder shares.


These Fuzzy Bright Headbands To Wear During Your Skincare Routine

Lynn Simpson, the makeup artist for Facial Lounge recommends headbands for face washing and makeup applying, and this bow headband serves its purpose adorably. Made from elastic microfiber fleece, it keeps hair out of the way without creasing. Each pack includes five different colors.


The Lip Gloss Pack That Comes In 8 Wearable Shades

This lip gloss set will prove incredibly useful in your beauty arsenal because it includes eight shades of product, all of which are practical and fit for everyday wear. They’re also infused with vitamins A and E to deliver moisture with each application. Simpson describes them as “the most wearable lipgloss colors,” and notes that they’re beautiful on just about every skin tone.


These Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads That Can Be Used Up To 1,000 Times

Mandie Brice, makeup artist, creator of Mandie’s Makeup Mastery Academy, and author, recommends these reusable makeup remover pads as an awesome alternative to wipes. “Makeup wipes are one of the worst things for the environment and have shown to be bad for our skin most of the time as well,” she explains. Each pack comes with 30 rounds made from bamboo cotton, all of which can be tossed in the washing machine when you’re done.


The Rosehip & Hibiscus Eye Cream Made With Natural Ingredients

Autumn Grant, a licensed cosmetologist as well as the owner and founder of The Kind Poppy, recommends this eye cream made with natural ingredients. “LilyAna has a beautiful line of cosmeceutical skincare and I love their rosehip eye cream and vitamin C serum.” This one’s infused with vitamins as well as rosehip seed oil and rosemary extract to moisturize and brighten the areas around your eyes.


This Primer & Sunscreen That Gives Your Face A Dewy Look

Sarah Wolack, a makeup artist, extols the value of getting your face ready before makeup goes on — and this sunscreen primer can do the trick. “Skin prep is everything!” she says. She also adds how important it is to wear SPF every day. “In order to get myself to follow this rule, I had to somehow make wearing sunscreen fun. Then came along SuperGoop’s GlowScreen,” she adds. GlowScreen is both a makeup primer and an SPF-40 sunscreen. Since it’s infused with hyaluronic acid, it’s also hydrating.


An Affordable Foundation With Hidden Benefits

This tinted serum doubles as a foundation with minimal cost. Wolack says, “Don’t let the price of this product fool you. It’s just as good as any high-end foundation [and] it’ll leave your skin wanting more!” It’s made with hyaluronic acid, which can add moisture to your skin and deliver a plumping effect, she explains. It can even brighten your complexion, too. Wolack adds, “Luminous mineral pigments provide light coverage that brightens the skin’s complexion!”

  • Available shades: 14 (very deep — very light)


The Liquid Blush That Doubles As A Highlight

Wolack adores these liquid blushes. “I truly have never tried anything like them. They have the consistency of water, perfect amount of pigment, and practically blend on their own,” she says. Because of the shimmer, the product delivers a natural-looking peachy blush but also a hint of a glow. Wolack finds you often don’t even need highlighter when using it.


This Plumping, Creamy Matte Lip Gloss

Wolack recommends these plumping lip glosses. Made with hyaluronic acid, they moisturize and give a plumping effect that delivers shine without shimmer. She says, “This product made me fall back in love with lip-gloss. However, I should warn you. I have one of these in my makeup bag and purse at all times. They’re just that good!”


The False Lashes That Look Totally Natural

Heather Kuntz, a makeup artist, loves these lash extensions. They come with 24 individual lash clusters so that you can customize them to your ideal placement, plus bonding and sealing serum. Kuntz says, “Super easy to apply and they last for days! I even had them on while I was in labor with our son!”


This Ultra-Affordable Lip Liner That Comes In Tons Of Satiny Shades

This slim lip liner comes in a range of shades and delivers a satiny finish. It goes on easily and won’t bleed, either. Kuntz thinks it easily compares to pricier options. “This lip liner is just as good as some cult favorite high-end liners out there but can’t be beat at under $5. […] I think I have at least one of these in every purse I own,” she says.


The Double-Sided Brow Tool That Delivers Trendy Looks

This eyebrow pen delivers multiple uses in one stick. On one side there’s a waterproof pencil to help you fill in your brows — and on the other, there’s an ultra-fine tip with brow stain to add precise hair-like strokes. Kuntz loves this tool for brow styling and says, “Such a good product to achieve that fluffy, well-groomed, laminated brow look when you don’t naturally have amazing, thick brows — like me.”


A Moisturizing Mask That Smooths Lips While You Sleep

This lip sleeping mask is an intense overnight treatment designed to soften and smooth your lips while you snooze. Made with antioxidants, vitamin C, shea butter, and more, simply apply and wait. “I personally wear this at night as a treatment and during the day over my favorite lip liner. I also put this on my clients while I’m doing the rest of their makeup,” Kuntz explains.


The Ultra-Rich Face Cream That Doubles As A Primer

Gisele Ayora, a makeup artist, says this face cream is her “favorite makeup base!” She continues, saying that it leaves skin “hydrated and smooth before makeup.” Made with shea butter, beeswax, aloe vera, and more, it can be used to provide deep moisture or to prime your face before applying makeup.


The Lightweight Beauty Serum Made From Snail Secretions

Although it might raise an eyebrow, this snail mucin essence is an excellent way to add moisture to your complexion. Using snail secretions, this serum helps brighten skin — and it won’t feel heavy or goopy because it’s lightweight and absorbs quickly. It “helps with dehydrated skin,” Ayora adds.


The Soft Matte Concealer That Comes In Tons Of Shades

Hailey Hoff, a celebrity makeup artist, adores this liquid concealer. “The Joeur concealer is $24 and the best concealer in the game,” Hoff says. She continues, “It’s so creamy and actually doesn’t crease. A dream come true.” Bursting with powerhouse skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, it delivers a soft matte finish and includes an applicator.

  • Available shades: 25 (ebony — snow)


A Spray That Revives Makeup & Hydrates Skin

Emilio Uribe, a makeup professional and celebrity hair designer, uses this facial spray to hydrate skin and refresh makeup while giving it a dewy look. He says, “I swear by it as a staple to revitalize your makeup after you’ve been out and about throughout the day to revive your look. Trust me. Don’t underestimate the power of a fresh spritz. It works that well!” Simply spray the ultra-fine water mist in a circular motion around the face.


This Long-Lasting Lip Liner With A Built-In Blending Brush

Uribe recommends this lip liner that features a precise angled tip, deeply pigmented color, and a built-in brush for blending. He gushes over its long-lasting formula, saying, “This creamy formula lasts all day and doesn’t smear. When they say waterproof, they mean it. This lip liner’s formula is the true definition of long-lasting wear.” Uribe adds that it can even be used all over as lipstick, too. “This liner is truly a staple in my kit that I cannot live without. It comes with me everywhere,” he concludes.


This Refreshing Jade Roller & Gua Sha Set

Vivi Mintara, a professional makeup artist and CEO of Eye Makeup Lab swears by this jade roller and gua sha, which both deliver a lifting effect to your skin. “They can be used both in the morning before you put any make-up on, and at night before you go to sleep,” she explains. Simply roll the tool in an upward motion to help relax your facial muscles while brightening the appearance of your skin.


A Volumizing Mascara That Doesn’t Need Touch Ups

Mary Wiles, a celebrity makeup artist, loves the durability of this lash volumizing mascara. It uses biotin and peptides to create its dramatic look. “It’s a makeup artists’ dream because it creates great volume, doesn’t smudge and is long-lasting — all of which is super important when you’re doing red carpet and awards events which last for hours and into the night,” Wiles explains.


These Makeup Puffs With Convenient Finger Straps

Donna Dora, a makeup artist, describes this pack of makeup puffs as a “must have for the smoothest under eye setting.” She adds, “Its angles also come in handy to carve out the perfect contour with your setting powder.” Made from sponge and velour, the puffs feature a convenient finger strap to ensure the utmost precision and control during use.


A Bargain Set Of Reliable Makeup-Blending Sponges

Some beauty products can be expensive, and Dora recommends this sponge set as the “best dupe for high-end sponges.” She also adds they “are latex-free and can be used wet or dry.” To keep them clean, simply lather them with soap and water until the water is clear of any product residue.


This Value Set Of Dramatic Cat-Eye Lashes

Dora recommends these false eyelashes that each feature a dramatic cat-eye shape made from synthetic silk that still feel lightweight. She says, “Va va voom lashes on a budget but still not compromising quality. These are glamorous for sure.” You can wear each pair up to 15 times, too.


The Waterproof Lash Glue That Holds Up To Long Wear

If you’re in the market for a lash upgrade, you’ll need this lash adhesive. Dore says, “In my humble opinion [this is] the best lash glue ever!” She continues, “Pro tip: Let [the] glue get tacky — wait about two minutes — and then apply lashes.” Made with soothing aloe, the glue applies white but dries clear for a hidden finish.


A Convenient & Quick Manicure On The Go

Andrea Claire, a hair and makeup artist, recommends these press-on nails to add glamour without much effort. “These are an easy accessory for a night out too, you can even find some with nail art,” she says. Claire continues, “For a night out, however, you may prefer to use a dot of glue or keep extra tape in your bag just in case.” Featuring a chic matte finish, this set contains 14 sets of nails in 12 different sizes.


This Squishy Tube That Curls Your Hair Without Heat

You don’t need high heat to get big curls, and this curling headband proves it. Made from rubber and cloth, simply wrap damp hair around the headband and secure it at the bottom with scrunchies. Claire offers up her pro-tips, saying, “The key is to braid the first section to lock in [the] headband so it doesn’t slide out, but the results are pretty and really impressive.”


This Tiny Dermaplaning Tool That Helps Make Your Makeup Look Smoother

Claire recommends this dermaplaning tool to improve your makeup application. She explains, “Dermaplaning is when you remove peach fuzz and dead skin with a shaving-like tool.” Claire continues, “It increases the absorption rate of your skincare — no makeup stuck to hair, etc. — which gives a more seamless application of makeup. I use this on myself.” Basically, the makeup won’t be able to stick to those little hairs on your face. Simply sanitize the blades clean when you’re done.


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