We’re definitely the kind of people who are willing to try a new beauty product no matter what. We love to see what’s on the market, and even try to reinvent our routines every few months.
Hands down, one of our favorite things is finding more affordable options that hold a candle to another more expensive beauty product. Though these drugstore or more affordable lookalikes might not be an exact replica of the more expensive product, they typically work just as well (or even better) and can help you achieve your beauty goals without as much post-buy regret.
With this in mind, check out our roundup of the best affordable beauty products from Amazon — all of which are under $30 — that are just as good as their cult-favorite counterparts.
E.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer ($6; amazon.com)
If you’re looking for a lightweight, full-coverage concealer for less than $10, the E.l.f 16HR Camo Concealer might catch your attention. Available in 18 shades on Amazon, this concealer is highly pigmented and dries quickly to a matte finish. If you prefer a more satin finish, opt for E.l.f’s Hydrating Camo Concealer instead for the same great results.
This cruelty-free and vegan concealer has generated nearly 1,900 reviews on Amazon, where customers rave that the product works as well as Tarte’s infamous Shape Tape Concealer ($27; tartecosmetics.com or ulta.com).
Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder ($24.95; amazon.com)
There aren’t many things worse to a makeup fanatic than terrible makeup flashback. No matter how flawless you may look, if you set your face with a powder that doesn’t complement your skin, you may end up looking chalky or become victim to camera flash.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($12.79; amazon.com)
Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay is a deep-pore-cleansing mask made of 100% natural calcium bentonite clay that reviewers can’t get enough of. You mix the clay with water and apple cider vinegar to create a paste that you then put on your face, your body or even your hair as a mask. Many reviewers share that this has worked wonders on their acne or super clogged pores. (Seriously, check out the customer before-and-after pictures.)
This might be a great option for you if you’re interested in a deep-cleaning mask but don’t want to pay for the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($26; sephora.com) or the Glamglow Supermud Charcoal Instant Treatment Mask ($59; sephora.com).
L’Oreal Paris Makeup Lash Paradise Mascara ($9.97; amazon.com)
Finding the right mascara is a game changer. With so many on the market, however, both drugstore and high-end, it can be daunting to decide which ones to give the time of day. Reviewers are obsessed with L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise Mascara, which is waterproof, long-lasting mascara that features hourglass bristles that deliver volume and length for a clump-free, full-lash look.
This is known to be a great lookalike of Too Faced’s cult-favorite Better Than Sex Mascara ($25; sephora.com), even down to the design of the tube it comes in.
Maybelline New York Baby Lips Glow Lip Balm ($2.98, originally $4.49; amazon.com)
We’ve been fans of Maybelline’s Baby Lip Balm since it launched. We loved the moisturizing formula and the sheer lip color it provided. Over the years, its many fans have noted that this lip balm is a good budget-friendly alternative to the popular Dior Lip Glow ($34; sephora.com). For less than $3, pick your favorite Baby Lips shade and try it out for your next dinner date or Instagram selfie.
Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush (starting at $4.19; amazon.com)
Gel or cream blushes are gaining popularity thanks to how easy they blend and create a natural-flush look. Once you learn a method of applying the blush in a way that complements your makeup and skin care routine, you may never use powder blush again.
Many of us were introduced to the world of gel-cream blushes with Glossier’s Cloud Paint ($18; glossier.com), but now Maybelline’s Cheek Heat has entered the scene. For less than a third of the cost of Cloud Paint, you can get the same beautiful glow in this pigmented, buildable cream blush.
NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner ($6.99, originally $9; amazon.com)
Creating the perfect winged eye look requires an exceptional liner that is precise, highly pigmented and won’t smudge. When we tested the best liquid eyeliners of 2020, the NYX Epic Ink Liner came out on top as our best budget buy, scoring the highest of all the liners we tested in application and precision. For less than $10, you can achieve the cat-eye of your dreams with a liner that users say rivals KVD Vegan Beauty’s Tattoo Eyeliner ($21; sephora.com).
Thayers Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner ($10.95; amazon.com)
People love witch hazel to tone the skin after cleansing because it’s known to help decrease inflammation and soothe sensitive skin. If you’re looking for a witch hazel toner without alcohol, fragrance and parabens, try this one from Thayers. Many users opt for this over Mario Badescu’s Witch Hazel Toner ($14; nordstrom.com) because it’s a little cheaper for more product and doesn’t include synthetic ingredients.
Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme ($9.19; amazon.com)
Rihanna shocked us all when she launched Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Longwear Lip Paint in Uncensored ($25; sephora.com), a beautiful red that was designed to look good on practically every skin tone. Like so many others, we fell in love with the color and formula, and didn’t think we’d ever try another red lip again. But in an effort not to spend our savings on our makeup collections, we stumbled upon Milani’s Amore Matte Lip Creme in the shade Striking, a liquid matte formula that’s a true lookalike once it’s on your lips.
BS-Mall 14-Piece Synthetic Makeup Brush Set ($9.99; amazon.com)
A good set of makeup brushes can significantly improve your makeup application, so it’s important to find tools that work best for your routine. If you’re looking for an amazing deal on brushes that some users think stack up to Sigma’s ($160; nordstrom.com), you should give these a try. This set features 14 brushes, is available in four colors and is a No. 1 Amazon bestseller.
Xpreen Silicone Face Cleanser and Massager Brush ($19.99; amazon.com)
Sometimes cleaning your face with your hands doesn’t quite achieve that thorough cleansing you desire, but when you use a spin brush it may feel too harsh — especially if you have sensitive skin. If you’re looking for a next-level cleansing experience somewhere in the middle, a silicone brush might work for you. Foreo is widely known for its popular silicone brushes, such as the Luna 3 ($199; foreo.com or sephora.com) that effectively cleanses deep below the skin’s surface.
We get it: It’s a big commitment to spend $200 on a facial tool. So check out the much more affordable Xpreen Silicone Face Cleanser Brush, which uses pulsations to cleanse the skin and remove makeup residue and skin cells, just like the Foreo. Because the bristles are silicone, you’ll get a good clean that isn’t too abrasive. Read our full review of the Xpreen here.
NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil ($7.09, originally $10; amazon.com)
The NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil is hands down one of our favorite drugstore beauty products that truly rivals its more expensive counterpart. Don’t get us wrong, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($23; sephora.com) is an amazing pencil that creates precise, natural-looking brows using only one tool.
However, for those times when we’re not willing to spend more than a few bucks on a brow product, we opt for the NYX version without hesitation. The Brow Wiz glides on easier and creamier than the Micro Brow Pencil, but the end result is the same: a simple snatched eyebrow. Read our full review of the Nyx brow pencil here.
Pond’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm ($9.98; amazon.com)
Cleansing balms are a popular method of removing makeup and cleansing skin in a way that’s more effective (and eco-friendly) than makeup wipes and that leaves skin feeling nourished. Pond’s is known for its iconic Cold Cream Cleanser, but it’s now giving Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($30; sephora.com) a run for its money with its Makeup Remover Cleansing Balm. For only $10, you can melt your makeup away while infusing your skin with moisture to reveal softer, more radiant skin.
E.l.f. Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow (starting at $3.50; amazon.com)
When you want to spice up your makeup look on the go but are pressed for time or space in your makeup bag, a liquid eyeshadow is the way to go. Stila’s Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow ($24; sephora.com) is a serious winner for a stay-on, lightweight, liquid shadow with beautiful pigment. Luckily for us, E.l.f. has given us another amazing option — for under $5 — with its liquid glitter eyeshadows. Choose from eight shades to add some shimmer over your eye look, or rock it on its own.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($29.50; amazon.com)
When it comes to exfoliants, Biologique Recherche’s P50 Lotion ($101; shoprescuespa.com) is easily one of the most popular. The exfoliating toner is known to be effective in its mission to cleanse, purify and balance pH by basically removing dead skin in a way that’s better for your face than physical exfoliants. (It’s also notoriously hard to track down online.)
All of this sounds phenomenal and worth cult status, but an over-$100 price point can be a stretch. Although Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant doesn’t contain the same ingredients as the renowned P50, reviewers say it still does wonders to unclog pores, exfoliate dead skin cells and even out skin tone — for glowing and radiant skin without the guilt.