10 Great Brand Name Beauty Buys Under $20


As a self-avowed beauty product junkie, I constantly have to watch what I'm spending in order to stick to my monthly budget. Thankfully, these awesome beauty buys are all under $20, helping to stretch my product dollars a little further. Some of the following products are from brands that are staples at department and beauty stores, while others are from lesser-known, but high quality up-and-coming brands.

1. The Original BeautyBlender

The BeautyBlender, a tapered, egg-shaped sponge, will revolutionize your makeup application, allowing for perfect blending and a smooth finish to your foundation or BB cream. The patented sponge material doesn't absorb too much product, and can be used dry or damp to optimize application. The tapered tip is perfect for getting into those hard-to-reach areas such as around the eyes and nose. I've tried other BeautyBlender imitators, and few of them come close to the real thing. They either absorb too much product or just don't feel comfortable in the hand. Retailing around $19.95, it's a reasonably affordable way to get the look of flawless skin.

2. Stila Stay-All-Day Waterproof Liquid Liner

Stila's liquid eyeliner has been a mainstay in the beauty industry and has long been considered one of Stila's highest quality products. Priced at $20, the felt-tip liner pen produces a smooth, precise line, that stays put all day whether you're attending a wedding or off-roading in the desert.

3. Benefit Boi-ing Concealer

Benefit's heavy-duty Boi-ing concealer is effective for concealing dark circles, redness, and pretty much anything else on your face. It has tremendous sticking power with minimal creasing, especially under the eyes. It can go on a little thick, which is both a strength and a weakness — it's great at concealing blemishes, but needs to be blended out well to prevent caking. If you're looking for an industrial-strength concealer, Benefit's Boi-ing might be the one, for $20.

4. Lorac PRO Eyeshadow Palette (Trio)

Lorac's super-pigmented eyeshadows top the list of beauty favorites everywhere. The finely-milled eyeshadows apply smoothly with plenty of color. The Lorac PRO Trio Palette is a great way to try the brand at only $15. It includes three complementary colors so you can build multiple looks, from natural to dramatic smoky eyes.

5. Real Techniques Makeup Brushes

So you love the look of professionally applied makeup but can't afford the cost of professional makeup brushes? Luckily, Real Techniques makeup brushes have a reputation for being excellent quality brushes at reasonable prices. Created by makeup artist and YouTube guru Samantha Chapman, the brushes are a favorite of makeup artists, beauty bloggers, and amateur makeup fans alike. The Core Collection Set or the Starter Set retail at about $18 each, and their other popular brushes, such as the blush brush and powder brush, sell for under $10.

6. Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara is one of eco-beauty brand Tarte's bestselling products. It creates long, lush lashes that last all day without clumping or flaking. Those with sensitive eyes will appreciate the lack of irritating ingredients and harsh chemicals in the formula, and the addition of olive esters which are supposed to condition your lashes. You can find it for around $20.

7. Everyday Minerals Powder Foundation

For sensitive skin, mineral makeup can be a great option, creating a natural finish without irritating the skin. Everyday Minerals is a lesser-known brand that produces an excellent powder mineral foundation, rivaling more expensive brands, but without the markup. I dislike the look of heavy makeup, and the mineral powder effectively covers any flaws but still looks natural. A jar of their mineral foundation costs a mere $14. Order a free sample kit to make sure you get the right shade (you just pay a reasonable shipping fee).

8. Missha All Around Safe Block Sun Milk

I would argue that the most important part of your beauty routine is your sunscreen. Sun damage is the primary cause of premature aging and skin discoloration, not to mention skin cancer. I've always avoided putting sunscreen on my face because most sunscreens made my face sticky and clogged my pores. That is, until I found Missha All Around Safe Block Sun Milk, a sun "essence" that absorbs quickly, doesn't leave a white cast, and is absolutely non-sticky, all while providing SPF 50 broad spectrum coverage. It sits so perfectly under makeup, you won't even know it's there.

Missha is one of the most recognized and popular cosmetic brands in Korea, and luckily for us, they have a stateside web presence where you can pick up this facial sunscreen for $18.

9. Dr Jart+ Water Replenishment Sheet Mask

Have you ever used a sheet mask? These convenient little packets contain a cotton mask soaked in a hydrating serum. You unfold the mask, place it on your face, and let the serum soak into your skin. It's a hydration bomb in 20 minutes, and is perfect for those days that you need a little extra glow. Dr Jart+ makes some of the best sheet masks I have ever tried. If you ever need to rescue dehydrated skin, pick up the Dr Jart+ Water Replenishment Mask. While $7.50 seems a bit pricey for a one-use mask, your skin will thank you (and it's cheaper than a facial!). You can also make it go further by rubbing the excess serum onto your neck, arms, and legs.

10. Amara Organics Vitamin C Serum

Out of all my beauty products, vitamin C has done the most in giving me not just the appearance of, but actual flawless skin. Vitamin C is one of very few ingredients in the cosmetics world that has been proven to help in reducing wrinkles, evening out dark spots, reducing blemishes, and generally producing a brighter and younger-looking complexion. The most potent form of vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid, and its most effective concentration is 20% — and that's what you have in Amara Organics Vitamin C Serum for the affordable price of $17.95.

This serum is chock full of beneficial ingredients, including vitamin E, which helps to moisturize your skin and boosts the effectiveness of the vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, a proven humectant that binds water to your skin. At this price, it's really worth a try.

Do you have a favorite inexpensive beauty product? What under $20 beauty buy would you recommend?

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