best beauty tools skincare lead
CNN  — 

There’s something about the perfect tool that just elevates and improves your entire beauty regimen. Maybe it’s the perfect makeup brush that applies foundation like a dream, or tweezers that can catch every eyebrow hair. Whatever it is, the right tool streamlines your routine and enhances the steps around it.

That’s why we’ve talked to various experts, including dermatologists, makeup artists and hairstylists, about the tools they recommend to their patients and clients that make life just a little easier. Plus, every product here is under $25, so you won’t need to break the bank to snag one (or a couple) of these picks.

Sonia Kashuk Professional Buffing Blender Brush No. 123 ($10;

Sonia Kashuk Professional Buffing Blender Brush No. 123

“Synthetic hairbrushes shaped like this are my favorite type of brush for blending in foundation, concealer and cream blushes,” shares Monika Blunder, a celebrity makeup artist and the founder of Monika Blunder Beauty.

This option is versatile and comfortable to use and comes with a clear cap that’s perfect for travel or just keeping your brush clean while it’s not in use.

Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment ($13.99;

Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment

Dr. Claire Wolinsky, board-certified dermatologist at Berkowitz Dermatology and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital, recommends this red light device for when you have a troublesome cyst but can’t make it in to see your derm.

“With anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, low-level LED light works to treat acne,” she shares. “For the occasional pimple, this device is just the right size.”

Sdara Derma Microneedle Roller ($15.97, originally $24;

Sdara Derma Microneedle Roller

Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics, is a self-proclaimed fan of skin microneedling, or “percutaneous collagen induction,” as she describes it, “which causes superficial perforations, or ‘micro wounds,’ in the top layer of the skin.”

You may have heard of microneedling before, and while Hayag does use more invasive, professional microneedling devices in her office, she recommends patients continue to do their skin “homework” with generic devices like this one. Whether you go into your derm’s office or opt for an at-home tool, microneedling initiates a release of growth factors that trigger collagen and elastin formation, resulting in smoother skin and improvements to wrinkles, acne scars and more.

Thrive Causemetics Lash Upgrade Lash Curler ($20;

Thrive Causemetics Lash Upgrade Lash Curler

“A must-have tool in my kit is a lash curler,” shares Blunder, who recommends this curler specifically. “You’d be surprised at how much of a difference they make.”

This option from Thrive Causemetics is handcrafted and features a curved design that’s meant to reach every lash regardless of your eye shape. It also leaves your lashes without that “pinch and crimp” effect, a telltale sign of a low-quality lash curler.

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original Acne Patches ($9.79;

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original Acne Patches

“This product is an excellent option for anyone who picks at their skin and blemishes,” says Wolinsky. Hero Cosmetics’ Might Patch is a hydrocolloid-based patch, which when applied to an open or picked pimple can help the spot heal more quickly and reduce inflammation.

“Hydrocolloid is a product used frequently for wound care,” Wolinsky notes, “and these circular small patches are just the right size to take care of that bothersome pimple.”

Aquis Original Hair Towel ($20.99;

Aquis Original Hair Towel

“These towels remove water 50% faster than traditional cotton towels, and without the use of heat,” shares Sabrina Yamani Yamga, an award-winning hairstylist based in Chicago. Your hair is most vulnerable to damage when it’s wet — which is why you shouldn’t brush or style it while it’s still wet. Instead, dry it naturally and quickly with this simple but super-useful tool.

“The gentle material also helps avoid any snagging, pulling or breaking of your hair,” shares Yamga, which benefits your hair’s health in the short and long term.

Dermora Foot Peel Mask ($24.99;

Dermora Foot Peel Mask

Foot peels exfoliate the top layer of your skin and help to remove calluses, cracked heels and any dead skin. This option includes tea tree and papaya extracts, sporting a nearly 5-star rating from more than 2,200 reviews. The results can be dramatic (consider this your warning if you’re not into peely skin) but super effective.

Afterward, advises Wolinsky, “it’s extremely important to follow up with a moisturizer nightly, like Aquaphor or a urea-based cream like Eucerin Roughness Relief.”

Aquaphor Healing Ointment for Dry & Cracked Skin ($13.79;

Aquaphor Healing Ointment for Dry & Cracked Skin

Speaking of Aquaphor, “this incredible healing ointment is something every medicine cabinet should have,” shares Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a celebrity cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City and author of “The Pro-Aging Playbook.”

Not only is it a fantastic option for any chapped lips, cuts, scrapes and thick-skinned areas like elbows and feet, “there’s a reason why most dermatologists use this product post laser resurfacing procedures,” Frank notes. “It has an incredible ability to maintain moisture and help heal damaged skin.”

Beautyblender Original ($20;

Beautyblender Original

A beloved staple of the beauty community, this makeup sponge was recommended by not one but two industry professionals. “There’s a reason why this tool has been on everyone’s list for the last decade,” shares Frank. “This makeup applicator allows for a flawless airbrushed finish while using a minimal amount of product.”

His pro tip is to “dampen the sponge before dabbing on your favorite concealer or tinted SPF,” which leaves your skin with a hydrated, dewy glow. Blunder echoes that sentiment, noting that she has yet to discover any similar products quite as good as this option.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100+ ($8.99;

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100+

While sunscreen might not be a beauty tool per se, it is one of the most important tools when it comes to keeping your skin in its best shape. “Sunscreen is a key weapon to prevent all signs of aging,” shares Dr. Kenneth Mark, a cosmetic dermatology expert. That includes “blotchy brown spots, wrinkles and fine lines from collagen and elastin breakdown, and of course precancerous growths and skin cancers with resultant marks from treatment.”

Avoid all that by being diligent about your sunscreen application. This formulation rubs in nicely without that pore-clogging gooey feeling, shares Mark, and “the high number of 100 provides an extra margin of safety for those of us on the go who don’t have time to reapply or don’t put enough on to start with.”

Revlon Oil-Absorbing Volcanic Face Roller ($12.99;

Revlon Oil-Absorbing Volcanic Face Roller

This one’s for the blotting paper loyalists out there. As seen on TikTok and all over social media, this oil-absorbing face roller is an easier, more sustainable alternative to blotting papers that’s a hit with reviewers, boasting a 4.5-star rating from over 14,000 reviews. Made from real volcanic stone, this roller claims to be able to soak up excess oil instantly without messing up makeup. Plus, it’s reusable and super easy to clean, so you can pack it up in your bag and use it throughout the day.

Gsq by Glamsquad Facial Razor Set ($9.99;

Gsq by Glamsquad Facial Razor Set

“I’m a big fan of this facial razor set, which you can use safely at home to eliminate peach fuzz and for dermaplaning,” shares Dr. Dendy Engelman, a cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon based in New York City.

Ideal for the brow and lip area (though you can use these all over your face), razors like these are perfect for trimming away any unwanted facial hair. And if you’re interested in dermaplaning — a form of skin exfoliation in which you shave your face — this easy-to-use razor is a great place to start.

Real Techniques Makeup Brush Set ($17.57, originally $22.99;

Real Techniques Makeup Brush Set

“I’ve been a fan of Real Techniques brushes for such a long time,” shares Blunder. “I love the price point — you get a whole set of brushes for 20 dollars and they’re such great quality,” she says.

This kit, which actually falls under 20 dollars on Amazon, features all of Real Techniques’ everyday essentials — four different brushes and the brand’s Miracle Complexion Sponge, a really fantastic makeup sponge and affordable alternative to the Beautyblender.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager ($16;

Briogeo Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager

“These little tools help to increase blood flow and circulation, which promotes hair growth,” shares Yamga. “They also help to release tension and assist in removing buildup on the scalp.”

This handheld scalp massager by Briogeo can be used on its own or with your favorite hair product — shampoo, oil or a treatment — for a super-relaxing and spa-like experience inside your shower.

Buf-Puf Gentle Facial Sponge ($4.66;

Buf-Puf Gentle Facial Sponge

Dr. Michelle Henry, founder of Skin & Aesthetics Surgery of Manhattan, often recommends this sponge to her patients. “They effectively exfoliate without damaging the skin,” she shares. And it’s great for all skin types, she adds, even if you have sensitive skin.

This specific sponge is actually designed to be gentler than the brand’s standard sponge. Use it with your favorite everyday soap or cleanser, and your skin will be left perfectly prepped for skin care and makeup.

Olay Regenerist Facial Cleansing Brush ($24.44, originally $26.19;

Olay Regenerist Facial Cleansing Brush

“Harsh bristles and aggressive scrubbing are never good for skin,” shares Wolinsky. “An electronic brush can help control the pressure applied to the skin while still cleansing sufficiently.”

This soft, gentle cleansing brush is perfect for removing makeup and residue from your skin, which will also help to combat clogged pores and prep your skin for various skin care products like serums and anti-aging products.

Paula’s Choice Reusable Makeup Remover Pads ($15;

Paula's Choice Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

“I love using reusable cotton pads,” shares Blunder. “They’re so much better for the environment — each round can be used to remove makeup without the waste.”

These reusable pads that Blunder recommends are made from 70% bamboo and 30% cotton, and each set of 10 rounds replaces up to 2,000 traditional, disposable cotton rounds. Once you’re done with them, they’re also 100% compostable.

Tweezerman Slant Tweezer ($23;

Tweezerman Slant Tweezer

“I cannot live without my tweezers,” shares Hayag, who recommends Tweezerman tweezers specifically. “These tweezers are great for touching up out-of-line brow hairs, plucking those gray hairs and any miscellaneous age-related hairs you might find on your chin.”

CoMiracle Facial Massager Cryo Sticks ($20.99;

CoMiracle Facial Massager Cryo Sticks

Hayag recommends these cryo sticks as an “essential tool for anyone to keep on hand.” They’re great for massaging under your eyes after a night out, and the cold helps to de-puff your face almost instantly. “Cold also constricts blood vessels,” explains Hayag, “so massaging these over red, reactive skin will cool, soothe and reduce redness from flushing.”

These are a particularly great option for melasma patients, as “heat and inflammation under the skin can trigger new dark patches,” shares Hayag. All the more reason to stock up on a refreshing, cooling device.

Esarora Ice Roller ($12.99;

Esarora Ice Roller

Another cooling skin tool, this ice roller from Amazon is an absolute fan favorite (and celeb favorite), with a nearly perfect rating from over 11,000 reviews. It’ll achieve similar results to the cryo sticks Hayag recommends, but it might be a bit easier for some folks to use, thanks to the intuitive handle and roller head.

Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops ($17.13, originally $18.85;

Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops

“Our eyes are a direct reflection on how well rested we are,” shares Frank. One of the easiest beauty tools, in his opinion, is a redness relief drop like this option from Lumify. It’ll help brighten the whites of your eyes, no matter how many cocktails you had the night before. “It’s a simple, quick trick to look like you’ve had eight-plus hours of sleep,” he shares.

Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder Ring ($9.99;

Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder Ring

Doing your own manicure can be a challenge — so why not take advantage of all the tools out there? This slightly silly-looking but super-practical nail polish holder ring features a patented design that makes it easier to paint your nails without spills. It’s particularly useful for when you have to touch up on the go — whether in the car, at the airport or just lounging outside. And with a nearly 5-star rating from over 16,000 reviews, it’s pretty clear that most people agree.

Baimei Jade Roller & Gua Sha Set ($12.99, originally $14.99;

Baimei Jade Roller & Gua Sha Set

Hayag loves and recommends face rollers for a variety of reasons. They can help improve blood flow to the face, which can result in brighter and firmer skin. They’ll also help reduce under-eye puffiness, help ease tension in facial muscles and help your skin care products penetrate your skin better. This set includes a roller and gua sha tool, both of which can be used to massage various sections of your face.

Wet Brush Original Detangler for Thick Hair ($8.55, originally $11.99;

Wet Brush Original Detangler for Thick Hair

Wolinksy urges people against brushing their hair while it’s wet. But if you absolutely have to, opt for this brush. Its built-in flexibility means you won’t “put undue stress on the hair follicle,” she shares, which means less risk of hair breakage. In short, if you brush your hair while it’s wet, you’ll do less damage to your hair with this option.

Sally Hansen Hair Remover Wax Strip Kit ($4.99;

Sally Hansen Hair Remover Wax Strip Kit

“These precut wax strips are very safe and easy to use,” Wolinsky explains. “Since they don’t require any heating of a wax ingredient, there’s no risk of a burn and less risk of irritation for sensitive skin.”

Simply rub the strips together in your hands, apply to your skin and peel off to remove any unwanted hair. This kit also comes with a small bottle of oil that helps to remove any leftover sticky residue and moisturize your skin after you apply the wax strips.