These 21 Cheap Beauty Buys Have Officially Replaced Our Pricey Favorites

Constant changes over the past year have brought on many beauty revelations. Suddenly, we've all gotten way more comfortable performing at-home manicures, tackling our own hair color, and even performing spa-level facials complete with top-of-the-line treatments and the latest skincare tools. But one major lesson that's presented itself is that up to this point, many of us have been spending entirely too much money on beauty products. As a beauty editor, that's a tough pill to swallow since I get so much joy from sampling the most spendy products out there. But on the other hand, that very activity has taught me that a product's price tag doesn't always determine its efficacy and that there are tons of products that cost pennies on the dollar and perform just as well.

Team Who What Wear is full of beauty lovers, even on the fashion side, so I thought it would be fun to probe my co-workers to see which cheap beauty swaps they've made recently. And wouldn't you know it, they had a lot to say. Ahead, check out 21 under-$25 beauty products we've fallen in love with that have officially replaced our more expensive favorites. You won't have to feel bad about filling your cart with these affordable picks!

Yusra Siddiqui, Assistant Market Editor

Photo:

@thatgirlyusra

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This has been my ride-or-die face product in the past year. It applies like skincare, and it has buildable coverage. It honestly feels luxurious on the skin and gives me a healthy and glow.

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This is the best powder blush, and I will not stop talking about it, especially since it's under $10! I've gotten so many of my friends hooked on this product, and it beats a lot of more expensive ones. The pigment is buildable, so it works for when I want a light blush or other days when I want a stronger punch. It applies so beautifully to the skin, and I love to play around with the different shades in the palette. 

Anneliese Dominguez, Fashion Editor, Branded Content

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@annadominguez

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I forgot my moisturizer when spending the weekend at my boyfriend's house, but luckily, being the good girlfriend that I am, I had made him buy this CeraVe moisturizer a few weeks prior. I decided to use some for myself, and let me tell you, this stuff was good. I now secretly keep "forgetting" mine when I go over so I can steal his.

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I'm pretty sure I'll own this spot treatment until the day I die. I've tried so many zit stickers and fancy creams, but this one just gets me. Anytime I have hormonal acne, I dab a little bit on at night, and in the morning, it's way less noticeable. Plus, if I'm ever on vacation and forget to pack it, I can find it anywhere.

Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY

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@sarahayang

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Vanicream is always on my bathroom vanity. I use it on my face and body religiously because the very simple formula leaves my skin moisturized and calms any irritation. Every winter, without fail, my face acts up and gets red and dry, and when that happens, I stick to Vanicream for a week, and I'm good to go.

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I'm officially hooked on this serum and have been using it nonstop. I never thought I'd like face oils, but this one is just so lightweight and moisturizing. It only takes a few drops to leave my skin soft and nourished. Plus, it leaves me with a nice, healthy glow, which is perfect for my dull-skin days.

Anna LaPlaca, Associate Editor

Photo:

@anna__laplaca

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Seeing as it's winter, my skin could use all the hydration it can get, and this Hyaluronic Acid Serum has saved it. I reach for it day and night, layering it in between other skincare products without abandon. My ethos is that there's no such thing as too little of this stuff—it's that good.

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Obsessed is an understatement when it comes to my feelings toward this lip mask. I tried it out when my brother, who's arguably more of a skincare fanatic than I am, brought it home over Christmas, and ever since then, I've been hooked. It has a nice, glossy finish that can easily be worn during the day, and when I apply it before bed, I wake up to find it's still on and working its magic even eight hours later.

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You can officially count me as a member of the micellar water fan club—once I started using this to take my makeup off (before going in with another cleanser, of course), I was hooked. There are plenty of micellar waters out there, but I like this one because the all-in-one formula feels ultracleansing, and it's gentle on my sensitive skin. Plus, a restock runs me less than $10.

Erin Jahns, Senior Beauty Editor

Photo:

@erin_jahns

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My skin has this really special talent of freaking the eff out even when a product promises that it won’t incite that reaction. Enter, micellar water. Harmless, right? Well, for some reason, so many formulas I try clog my pores and leave my skin bumpy, except this treasure from Sephora Collection. Not only does it effortlessly suck up the yucks that accumulate over the course of the day, but it’s also fortified with special ingredients like zinc, which works to clear and glowify my face. Not mad at it! I’m already on my third bottle. I use it first thing when I wake up before my normal cleanser and at the end of the day before my evening cleanse. 

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My mom is a bit of a beauty savant, so when she told me I had to try these super-affordable Blush Drops from Flower, I didn’t hesitate. Sure enough, this $10 drugstore find has quickly become one of my favorite blushes of all time. The colors are satisfyingly punchy, and unlike literally every other liquid blush I’ve swiped, it doesn’t vaporize into thin air two seconds after I apply it.

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I feel like everyone is super picky about foundation, but as someone who has had the same four or so in rotation since high school, I feel like I bring “pickiness” to a new, semi-excruciating level. Catrice makes affordable products that feel, apply, and look 10 times their price, and I have no clue how this skin-hydrating formula is only $11. What?! It’s lightweight and vegan and provides seamless, buildable coverage. Plus, it has ingredients like watermelon-seed oil and hyaluronic acid, so your skin will love you for it. It definitely holds its own against some of my other favorites that are six times the investment.

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I rarely, if ever, find a new mascara I like. (I've been committed to two particular formulas since I was in high school and have only allowed two others into my routine since. Yep, really.) So you know how huge of a deal it is that I'm over here writing about this brand-new one from Maybelline. The lift! The length! The curl! The separation! Ugh, where to start. I love bendable rubber mascara brushes versus oversize fluffy ones, so the design and comb-like style are right up my alley. Even though it's a super-light consistency, it still delivers plenty of volume without sacrificing curl, length, or definition. You can quite literally get every last lash. It's a fiber mascara, so you get that long and lush falsie effect, and it's even saturated with conditioning ingredients like bamboo extract to help protect the integrity of your lashes in the long run. I can't get enough. 

Courtney Higgs, Beauty Editor

Photo:

@court_higgs

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The older I get, the further I stray from those quintessential mud masks that suck the life and every morsel of oil out of my skin. I find that they make my skin even oilier over time as it desperately tries to balance out the wreckage of my masking. But this minty number by Kinship is one of only a few mud masks that I absolutely love still. First of all, it's not crazy harsh and doesn't pull my skin uncomfortably taut as it dries. It has lactic acid in it to gently exfoliate, moringa oil to soften, and a proprietary prebiotic-infused complex to support the skin's microbiome. If you don't have time to sit around while it dries, you can just use the paste as a face wash to get the same detoxifying and exfoliating benefits in under a minute.

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Full disclosure, The Inkey List has kind of taken over my skincare routine recently. I've been using this eye cream a few times a week for the past three months, and I'm really liking it. I only took the plunge into retinol eye cream in the last year and was a bit surprised to find that some of them are just as expensive as the all-over retinol face creams I've used. That's wild to me! This one is cheap and does just as good a job keeping the delicate skin around my eyes nice and smooth.

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When my combination skin is feeling drier than I'd like, a peptide moisturizer like this one is so helpful for keeping my skin plump and supple. When I ran out of my beloved Drunk Elephant moisturizer last month, I decided to open this one by The Inkey List that I had stashed away. The experience is shockingly similar. Just like my go-to DE version, this one is rich but not overwhelming, and I love how well it moisturizes my skin without creating an overly slippery base that makeup can't cling to. At $15 a jar, I can't say enough good things about this stuff!

Allyson Payer, Senior Editor

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@allypayer

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This eye cream feels amazing going on. It instantly de-puffs and is super moisturizing but not so much that you can't wear makeup over it. (I know this because I've been wearing it under makeup on a daily basis.) It also brightens pesky under-eye circles, and in my opinion, what's the point of an eye cream if it doesn't do that?

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I'm actually new to liquid cuticle remover, so I decided to try an inexpensive one to see how I like it. I can confirm that this miracle gel dissolves cuticles in 15 seconds. I know, I was shocked and amazed, too.

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I've been using this eyeliner for years and love it more than any expensive kajal eyeliner I've tried. While most are pretty intense, this one looks natural, and it stays put. My only wish is for the brand to bring it back in dark brown. If you're listening, L'Oréal, consider this my formal request.

Caitie Schlisserman, Managing Editor, Branded Content

Photo:

@c__bellamy

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I’m not a huge lip gloss person, so when I find one—especially a super-affordable one—I hold on tight. This is one of my all-time favorites, and Éclair is the perfect shade of pink if you ask me. It applies easily, it’s not sticky, and it leaves my lips looking juicy. What more could you want?

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I’m picky when it comes to mascara because my eyes are so sensitive! But somehow, this under-$10 Maybelline one has never irritated me and gives me major lashes. I really just love the big brush and how it coats every last lash. The formula is infused with collagen and really brings the volume in just one coat. If you do want to add multiple coats, be sure to do so before the mascara dries.

Up next, These Cheap Moisturizers Are Just as Good as Their Expensive Counterparts

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