Real People Give Advice on the Best Budget Beauty Items That Actually Work

I once had a friend with impeccable skin tell me you should never spend more than $30 on a beauty item. Her skincare routine was flawless -- the results were right there on her face -- and cheap. Most experts without bias or vested interested will tell you that high end skincare products and many of their drugstore counterparts are basically the same thing. Because we all need to start spending a little less money on expertly marketed and extortionately priced beauty products, I asked some real people to give real advice about the best budget beauty products they've used that actually work.


"I've been loving the Suave Almond + Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner ($2.94). It doesn't strip my hair dry. My hair has never felt stronger!" - Annika*

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"I don't think any of my skincare is over $20. Cerave in the tub ($9.99), Stridex red box ($4.19), Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser ($7.59)." - Gloria


"My all-time favorite thing to use is coconut oil ($11.49). I use it as make up remover and as a face moisturizer after I take a shower. I also use it as a leave in conditioner for my hair or when I want to deep condition it. You can use it for literally anything. If you're looking for makeup, I absolutely love, love, love Maybelline's Stiletto Mascara ($5.69)." - Maddy

"I used to have super frizzy ends, and then someone recommended a dime size of olive oil ($12.09) on them. I use when my hair is wet, on the lowest 6 inches or so. It's made a huge difference! I've been getting lots of compliments and people asking if I've just got a cut (the ends look really fresh). It's way better than the pricey oils I've tried." - Eloise


"My daily moisturizer is the Aveeno Radiant Daily with 30 SPF ($10.85). It makes my skin look smoother and better with no makeup. For night time I use the Cetaphil moisturizer with hyaluronic acid in it ($11.81). For hair (I have porous, dry hair) I also use 100% drugstore stuff: Tresemme shampoo ($3.98), Garnier Damage Eraser Conditioner ($6.97) and I use an Aussie leave in conditioner ($2.69) to detangle." - Zara


"Sunscreen is essential especially if you're planning to use anything anti-aging like an AHA or a retinol. I recommend (as does every other beauty addict!) Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence ($9.99)." - Ebony

"Cera Ve PM ($10.23) eye cream... I love Cera Ve. Super affordable, super effective!" - Rachel

"For beauty stuff, Nyx is drugstore and I see plenty of professional makeup artists using them. My favorite thing is their Blush in Taupe ($9.99) that I use to contour. Most of their stuff runs $10 or less. For a lip color, can't recommend the soft matte lip creams enough, or the liquid lip suedes. For brushes/tools there is ELF ($1-$3) and Real Techniques (under $10 per brush)." - Ella

*Names have been changed