Considering we’re living in the golden age of affordable beauty, we set out to round up 100 (yes, 100!) of the absolute best options under $20. Everyone deserves access to a routine they feel good about, and these products have finally made it possible.
The best beauty products under $20: Skin care
If you’re dealing with breakouts or inflammation of any kind, this non-drying clay mask sucks out debris hiding in your pores to reveal a shockingly more even glow afterwards.
Think of this stuff as a brightening polish for your skin. It’s made with gentle exfoliating beads—which won’t irritate your barrier—along with soy extract for an added level of soothing nourishment.
3. Ayele Sunflower Sweet Serum, $17
“Oil” can be a scary word if you’ve got acne-prone skin, but this one is designed specifically for breakouts in mind. With tea tree, jojoba, and vitamin E oils, it unclogs pores to reduce breakouts and even out texture.
This mask constantly tops Amazon’s best-sellers list, and is known for its detoxifying properties. The clay helps pull out impurities, and has been lauded for its acne-fighting abilities. One caveat worth keeping in mind? If you’ve got dry skin, it may be a bit too drying, so you’ll want to stay away (particularly during the cold-weather months).
5. Base Butter Radiate Face Jelly, $19
Quench thirsty skin with this aloe vera moisturizer, which is light, packed with fatty acids, and perfect for all skin types.
6. Bio-Oil Specialist Skincare Oil, $13
A cult favorite, this multitasking oil helps with dryness, scars, and dullness. Post-pregnancy, many derms suggest applying it to help fade stretch marks.
This French drugstore staple has made its way to the U.S., and beauty lovers here are now just as head-over-heels as their Parisian counterparts. It uses tiny particles called micelles to lift dirt and grime, cleansing your skin without drying it out.
8. Bliss Glow & Hydrate Serum, $20
If you want a single serum that can do it all, look no further than this hydrating, glow-inducing option. It’s made with vitamin E, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid to give you your daily dose of antioxidant protection and hydration.
This Black-owned brand was developed with darker skin tones in mind, and this cream works to fade hyperpigmentation without using hydroquinone.
10. Botanics Simply Calm Hydrating Serum, $18
Made with cannabis sativa oil, Botanics’ product goes on like a milky, luxurious dream that soothes and hydrates the skin.
This product is love at first swipe… and every swipe following. It’s infused with nourishing vitamin E and stimulating peppermint to soothe and plump your lips each time you apply.
This charcoal and tea tree oil-infused soap only recently made its way over to the U.S. from across the pond, but the before-and-after photos of its ability to clear acne left it sold out at Ulta in less than a week.
Multiple dermatologists have called out this moisturizing cream as their go-to for dry skin thanks to its ultra-hydrating formula that taps hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides, which all moisturize and strengthen your skin barrier.
14. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $12
Of all the cleansers out there, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more well-loved than Cetaphil. It’s made with the simple ingredients (glycerin and surfactants) that cleanse your skin, leaving a blank canvas to apply the rest of your products on top of.
The star ingredient in this serum, sea grape caviar, is a type of algae that improves your skin’s ability to hold onto water. It’s loaded with other types of algae for antioxidant protection plus sea buckthorn extract to hydrate and nourish your skin.
16. Differin Gel, $13
If we had a nickel for every dermatologist who recommended this retinoid, we’d be rich enough to buy a lifetime supply of Differin Gel. It was the first ever OTC retinoid, which changed the game for anyone dealing with acne. At $9 a pop, it has made getting an effective acne treatment more accessible—and affordable—than ever.
17. E.L.F. Pore Toner Balm, $8
Using a toner has never been easier: All you need is a few swipes of the e.l.f. Toner Balm to clear out your pores before you apply your serum.
18. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, $9
Cleanse and condition your skin at the same time with this pH-balanced cleanser. It’s got a jelly-yet-creamy texture that makes it perfect for any skin type.
Refresh skin morning, noon, and night with a spritz of rose water. It hydrates and soothes your complexion to leave behind a radiant glow no matter what your skin type (and, bonus, it won’t mess with your makeup).
The green tea line by Innisfree is a godsend for dry skin. The Balancing Emulsion is a super-light, antioxidant-rich moisturizer that feels like a refreshing splash of water on your face.
21. Iyoba Matcha Green Tea Face Scrub, $15
Matcha is just as effective in your morning skin-care routine as it is in your morning coffee. Scrub skin with this green tea-based exfoliant, which will physically slough away dead skin cells to leave your complexion radiant.
22. Kaike Marshmallow Mask + Scrub, $20
Leave skin marshmallow soft-and-smooth with this exfoliating mask, which cleanses your complexion and boosts circulation (while also doing away with dead skin cells) in five minutes flat.
Crack one of these open to deliver potent hyaluronic acid—of multiple molecular weights for varied-level penetration—straight onto your skin.
Derm-beloved brand La Roche-Posay has an SPF win with this oil-free, antioxidant-spiked, broad-spectrum sunscreen. It’s gentle for those who have acne-prone skin, and has a smooth, matte finish so it won’t leave you feeling shiny.
25. Naturium Vitamin C Serum Plus, $20
For a powerhouse serum that does it all, this is it. Besides vitamin C to even out skin tone, it’s got hyaluronic acid and vitamin E for moisture along with tropical fruit extracts for added antioxidant protection.
We could write an entire love letter to this moisturizer (and actually, we have), but it’s top of its class thanks to the fact that it’s jam-packed with hyaluronic acid. It’s got a cooling, jelly texture that makes it perfect for use in the warmer months, and won’t leave any stickiness or greasiness behind.
27. Nivea Shine Lip Care, $2
Can’t decide between a lip gloss and a lip balm? This stuff will give you all of the benefits of both, nourishing your lips while leaving behind a subtle shine.
There’s a reason why board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, recommends this mask as a part of the ultimate drugstore skin-care routine. It’s made with skin-similar lipids that instantly replenish moisture to keep the barrier and complexion healthy and happy.
Salicylic acid is the MVP for treating whiteheads and blackheads. This exfoliant, which is made with a two percent concentration of the stuff, is a wizard for clearing pores so that congestion stays far, far away.
30. Pholk Glow Replenishing Face Wash, $20
We love a cleanser that doubles as a treatment, and this face wash will leave skin clean, while also giving it a vitamin-C induced glow. It hydrates and plumps your complexion, which may make your usual arsenal of multi-step serums a thing of the past.
31. Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic, $18
Exfoliating toners have been having a major moment, and this is the best of the best for under $20. It’s made with five percent glycolic acid to get rid of dead skin cells, leaving behind a smooth and radiant complexion.
32. POND’S Cold Cream Makeup Remover, $5
You may recognize this cold cream from your grandmother’s dresser, but there’s a reason it continues to stand the test of time. Unlike your usual makeup-removing products, which tend to be drying, it’s 50-percent moisturizer, which means it will hydrate your skin while melting away every last trace of mascara and foundation.
33. RoC Daily Resurfacing Disks, $8
Cleanse and exfoliate your skin in two swipes of one of the double-sided RoC Resurfacing Disks. The textured side sloughs off debris while the smooth side washes makeup and grime away.
These $7 razors are the ultimate quick fix. They can be used to de-fuzz your face (we’re fans of using them on our mustaches and brows), and also offer the same skin-exfoliating properties as a professional dermaplaning session.
Last year, the best makeup removing wipes in the drugstore aisle got a biodegradable upgrade, solidifying their place as a forever favorite. They’re compostable, kind to skin, and strong enough to remove even the toughest waterproof mascara.
Fair warning: This lip scrub tastes so good you’ll be tempted to lick it off of your lips every time you apply (but, don’t). It’s made with natural sugars to polish away dullness and dead skin, leaving lips so smooth you won’t even need to top them off with gloss.
37. Starface Space Wash, $16
Designed specifically with acneic skin in mind, this gentle cleanser will wash away dirt and bacteria without causing irritation. And to make things even easier? You can sign up to have it delivered to your door once a month.
Refresh your complexion in a single spritz with a combo of witch hazel leaves, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils, which work together as a two-for-one cleanser and toner to clean and disinfect the skin.
39. Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, $10
A toner is meant to be like a light, refreshing spritz for your skin, and Thayer’s has that down pat. It has antioxidant and astringent properties, making it beloved by all skin types.
Give your skin a boost of hydration with this under-$10 serum. It’s made with two percent hyaluronic acid so that skin is hydrated, but never, ever greasy.
41. The Ordinary “Buffet” Serum, $15
This serum is truly a buffet of skin-plumping ingredients. It’s got multiple peptides to stimulate your skin’s collagen production, hyaluronic acid to moisturize, and a probiotic complex that feeds your skin’s protective barrier.
42. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum, $20
Amazon buyers can’t get enough of this serum, which consistently tops the list of the site’s best-selling skin-care products. The reason? It combines vitamin C with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, which could explain the 81,000 (!) positive reviews.
43. Tula Go Away Acne Spot Treatment, $20
Pimples are no match for this spot treatment. Just dab it onto any blemish, and the combo of benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil will help it disappear overnight.
44. Vaseline Lip Therapy, $2
Derms call Vaseline the “Swiss Army Knife of skin care,” because this stuff really can do it all. In addition to hydrating chapped lips, you can use it all over your body (cuticles! elbows! knees!) to seal in hydration and keep dry skin at bay. And one more derm-beloved tip? Dab it under your eyes before bed to nix fine lines and wrinkles come morning.
This toner is enriched with glycerin, making it perfect for balancing sensitive skin, and its water-like texture helps it glide on easily.
46. Weleda Skin Food, $14
It’s not often that we recommend a single moisturizer that can be used on your face and body, but this stuff truly does it all. It’s made with sunflower oil and tansy extract to hydrate skin from head to toe, plus beeswax to lock it all in.
Nothing will wake up your skin quite like this coffee scrub, which is packed with caffeine and coconut oil. Plus, it comes in an easy-to-use stick form, which means you won’t have to spend a single minute of your morning routine cleaning up a mess.
The best beauty products under $20: Bodycare
Made from a centuries-old recipe, Alaffia combines shea butter and orangutan-safe palm oil to create a sudsy formula that leaves skin nourished and clean all at once.
The sunscreen that beauty editors wait all year to slather from head-to-toes, this chemical formula is spiked with aloe vera to guard skin and soothe any inflammation that happens from the rays you catch while you’re out and about.
50. Aquaphor Spray Body Lotion, $4
Forget coating your skin with layer upon layer of goopy cream. Aquaphor’s spray-on lotion goes on gently and evenly (in the same way that spray-on sunscreen does) so that your skin will sip it right up. It’s made with oat extract to soften skin while it hydrates.
Give your skin a tall drink of water (or, really, aloe) post-sun with this gentle lotion that will calm and soothe post-shower.
52. Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $19
Designed specifically with Black skin in mind, this SPF 30 offers broad-spectrum protection from chemical sunscreen filters so that it won’t leave any chalky residue behind (the way that mineral filters like zinc oxide do). Thanks to ingredients like jojoba and avocado oil, it also hydrates skin every time you apply.
53. Bondi Sands Body Wash, $13
Since a trip to Australia to visit Bondi Beach is currently out of the question, we’ll transport ourselves with this sudsy body wash that brings to mind images of golden shores and outdoor showers.
People who “don’t like lotion” can rest easy knowing there’s still a way to moisturize skin without feeling sticky residue for the rest of the day. Slather this stuff on wet skin in the shower, towel off, and be amazed at how soft skin feels.
55. Dove Beauty Bar, $2
The Dove Beauty Bar isn’t like regular bar of soap—it’s cool soap, in that it’s actually not a soap at all. The non-soap cleanser deposits moisture into skin and strengthens the skin barrier as it cleanses. Plus, it only costs about $1. It’s no wonder derms swear by it for keeping the skin on their faces and bodies clean.
56. Drunk Elephant Sili Body Lotion, $20
Yup—you can stock your shelves with a Drunk Elephant product for only $20. The brand’s first ever body lotion is made with sweet almond extract, which smells delicious and will soothe skin all over.
Nothing quite says “luxury” like the scent of eucalyptus in your shower, and if you’re not interested in hanging a shower plant, this soap will surely do the trick. Not only does it smell like a fancy spa, but it will also nourish skin thanks to ingredients like coconut, hemp, and jojoba oils.
58. Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion, $9
This one goes out to all the lazy girls out there who want to put on lotion once a week (or maybe twice). This super-rich formula moisturizes even the driest skin around, so that once you apply it, you’re set for the next 48 hours.
Lotion absorbs better into wet skin, which is why Jergens developed a product that’s meant to be slathered on before you even step out of the shower. It blends with the water on your skin to lock in hydration, leaving a soft, moisturized finish behind for when it’s time to towel off.
60. Love Wellness Do It All Wipes, $10
No time for a full-blown shower after your workout? These single-use wipes will keep you feeling fresh (and pH balanced) in the places you need it the most.
61. Megababe Thigh Rescue, $14
The most genius way to combat chafing? With this Chafe Stick, which is not only easy to apply, but it also makes friction-induced irritation a thing of the past.
Who says hand soap shouldn’t be part of your skin-care routine, too? In addition to actually cleaning your hands, this stuff has got rice water and yuzu to hydrate them in the process. Plus, thanks to its massive, environmentally-friendly packaging, it will last you f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
63. Native Plastic-free Deodorant, $8
Native’s fan- (and editor-) favorite natural deodorants just got a plastic-free upgrade, which makes these odor-banishing sticks environmentally friendly and easy to ditch once you’ve finished a tube.
64. Olay Rinse-Off Body Conditioner, $6
You use a conditioner on your hair every day, so why not use one on your body, too? This stuff is packed with vitamin B3 that will nourish your skin as you cleanse it.
65. Phlur Hanami Body Wash, $18
Your shower routine is the ultimate form of self-care, and this moisturizing body lotion (which smells like fig, white florals, and sandalwood) will turn the experience into an everyday luxury.
The formula of this body wash lives up to the name: Peppermint, rosemary, and geranium uplift and invigorate your shower experience.
A pump of this foam in the shower will make you feel like you’re at the spa. The gel-to-foam wash has notes of sweet almond oil and rose that smell so good as you suds up.
Schmidt’s natural deodorant is extra-gentle thanks to the fact that it’s alcohol and aluminum-free, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it doesn’t work. It’s fortified with charcoal and magnesium to keep odor at bay, and comes in a number of fresh scents like Rose+Vanilla and Jasmine Tea.
When regular deodorant just won’t cut it, Secret Clinical Strength has got you covered. It’s been tested to stand up to particularly stinky stress sweat, absorbing its odor before you even start to smell.
70. Skin Buttr, $7
This intoxicating blend of coffee grounds, sugar, and hydrating oils slough off dead skin cells and flakes to reveal soft-as-butter (literally) skin.
71. Touchland Hand Sanitizer Spray, $12
If you don’t think of hand sanitizer as a “beauty product,” you’ve clearly never gotten your hands on Touchland. The all-natural antibacterial pulverizes germs while also leaving hands hydrated (and never sticky). Plus, it comes in a sleek container and eight different scents you won’t be able to stop spraying.
72. Venus Swirl Flexiball Women’s Razors, $13
Raise your hand if you learned to shave with a Venus razor (and have had the commercial theme song stuck in your head for the better part of the last two decades). In 2001, it was the first razor specifically designed for women, and has been an iconic staple ever since.
From toothpaste to deodorant, Tom’s has all your body’s deep, dark crevices covered. This particular product is a must if you’ve been considering switching to an aluminum-free product underneath your pits.
The best beauty products under $20: Haircare
74. Batiste Original Dry Shampoo, $9
We’ve come a long way since the days when baby powder was the only option for an effective drugstore dry shampoo. This one, from Batiste, soaks up grease without leaving any residue behind.
Treat your scalp to a spa-worthy massage with this device. In addition to feeling like heaven, it will help cleanse your scalp by breaking down oils and leftover product residue.
You’ll never have to deal with a layer of dry shampoo on your scalp again thanks to these wipes, which deposit the product seamlessly into your hair without turning it white. They’re perfect for using on the go, or when you’ve only got a few minutes to refresh your style before running out the door.
Deliver serious moisture to your curls with this hair butter. It’s filled with shea butter and pequi oil to help shape curls and fight frizz.
Cut styling time in half with Garnier Sleek Shot, which you can mix with your shampoo in order to fight frizz and leave strands looking silky, smooth, and—yup—sleek. Your straightening iron will welcome the vacation.
79. Goody Ouchless Elastics, $8
There’s no such thing as having too many hair ties (if you’re anything like us, you’ve got one in every drawer, purse, and corner) and this pack of 50 will lock any sort of hair texture in place without ripping or breaking it.
80. Hair Biology Argan Oil Taming Serum, $10
If frizz is your arch nemesis in the summertime, consider this the product you’ll want around from June to September.
There’s a reason why Head and Shoulders has stood the test of time as a drugstore (and dermatologist) favorite for fighting flakes. It offers multi-symptom relief for itching and flaking, and has a yeast-fighting ingredient called zinc pyrithone which will make dandruff a thing of the past.
In addition to conditioning hair with coconut and sweet almond oil, this in-shower conditioning cream cleanses your scalp to ensure that grease and grime won’t stick around to mess with your blowout.
Forget squeezing lemon into your hair—this spray is like a highlights treatment in a bottle. It will gradually lighten your hair up to two shades using heat from your styling tools (or, yes, the sun).
Aside from the fact that this bottle will make your shower look seriously chic, the sugar-based scrub inside will rid your scalp of dirt, oil, and product buildup. It uses sugar granules to cut through the gunk and lightly exfoliate your skin, leaving your scalp smelling freshly washed.
Face masks are great and all, but there’s something extra-luxurious about using a hair mask and watching each strand dry to silky perfection.
87. Love Beauty + Planet Coconut Milk & White Jasmine Shampoo and Conditioner, $18
Bang for your buck doesn’t get much better than this combination of products, which are packaged using 100 percent recycled materials to make them as good for the environment as they are for your hair. Shop the shampoo ($9) and the conditioner ($9).
88. Mielle Organics Detangling Co-Wash, $13
For those who find too much shampoo can dry out hair, reach instead for this co-wash. It removes impurities without totally stripping strands of their moisture.
For thinner hair textures that need extra oomph, apply this cream onto wet strands and once hair is dry, notice the added volume that it leaves behind (without feeling sticky).
90. Odele Air-Dry Styler, $12
Apply this air dry cream onto wet lengths and slowly back away from the blow dryer. Hours later, there will be fewer flyaways and you’ll have plenty of time back in your day.
91. OGX Moroccan Sea Salt Spray, $9
Believable beach waves aren’t often an easy thing to achieve, but this salt spray will make it look like you’ve stepped straight out of the ocean.
92. Oyin Handmade Hair Dew, $14
Leave-in hair lotion is exactly what it sounds like: A treatment for hair that’s bone-dry and in need of some serious TLC. It also smells like vanilla cookies, and that can’t possibly be a bad thing,
Give strands some much-needed TLC with these single-use pre-shampoo treatments, which help repair damage and fight split ends. Think of them as your conditioner’s little helper to nourish your hair even further.
94. Pattern Hydrating Mist, $18
Refresh curls with their daily dose of hydration with this mist (developed by superstar Tracee Ellis Ross), which is made with coconut oil, aloe vera, and avocado oil. It’s perfect for tighter curls and coily textures.
This curl-enhancing “smoothie” is made with silk protein and neem oil to define curls while also moisturizing them. It delivers serious shine and smells like a dream.
While it’s technically impossible to repair split ends once they’ve happened, this serum will strengthen hair to keep them from cropping up in the first place.
97. Sun Bum Curls & Waves Hair Detangler, $15
Spritzing Sun Bum’s detangler in your hair will serve double duty in removing knots and restoring hydration.
Cut your shower time in half with The Good Stuff’s no-rinse conditioners. The brand has five different lightweight formulations that you can apply post-shower to treat any hair concern without leaving behind any sort of grease, residue, or heaviness to mess with your finished style.
There’s a reason that Tresemme makes such big bottles: You’ll want to wash your hair every day once you get your hands on this shampoo. This particular formula leaves hair moisturized while doing away with oil and residue from the previous day(s).
100. Verb Ghost Dry Oil, $18
Never has a product been better named: This oil goes onto lengths to moisturize them and then disappears without a trace of residue.
If we still haven’t convinced you to head to your nearest drugstore for a beauty haul, allow dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD to talk about why drugstore skin-care is so good.
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