We Tested Hundreds of Beauty Products This Year—These Were the Best Under-$20 Drugstore Finds

Photo: Well+Good Creative
With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

One of the best parts of our jobs here at Well+Good is testing tons of beauty products. We've tried everything from tried $300+ creams to $9 foundations and found things we loved on each end of the spectrum. And if all of those skin-slathering sessions and makeup applications have taught us anything, it's that you don't have to spend much to find beauty products that you love.

This year, we tested 20 of the top-selling mascaras, five of the most popular neutral nail polish shades, and... a whole lot more. Here, we're rounding up the best drugstore beauty products under $20 that we've tested since January.

10 best under-$20 drugstore beauty products we tried in 2022

Maybelline Green Edition Superdrop Tinted Oil Makeup
Maybelline Green Edition Superdrop Tinted Oil Makeup — $9.00

Our senior beauty editor Zoë Weiner says this $9 foundation is one of her daily go-to’s. “It starts as an oil but blends seamlessly into the skin, creating what I keep describing to my friends as a ‘dewy, velvety finish,'” she says. “Another thing I love is that the formula is super buildable, which means I can personalize my coverage every time I apply—one drop for light, two drops for medium, and three drops for heavy. I’ve also found that no matter how much product I put on (though I really only need a little bit to even out my discoloration and hide my blemishes), it never gets cake-y or looks overdone.”

A bottle of L'Oreal Lumi Glotion foundation makeup.
L'Oréal Paris, Makeup True Match Lumi Glotion — $13.00

Our editorial assistant Amelia McBride says this $13 “glotion” is a perfect affordable dupe for the always-sold-out Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter (which, it’s worth noting, costs $47). “The Lumi Glotion can either be worn under your favorite foundation to add a boost of radiance or alone for maximum luminosity,” she says. “The OG Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter can’t be replaced, but I have to give L’Oréal some serious kudos—the Lumi Glotion made my skin look just as radiant, and for $34 less, I’d say that’s a win.”

Avène Cold Cream Nutrition Nourishing Lip Balm
Avène, Cold Cream Nutrition Nourishing Lip Balm — $14.00

“When I tell you I buy these in bulk, I’m not joking,” says W+G contributor Dominique Michelle Astorino. “They’ve got the silkiest, meltiest, non-sticky, non-greasy, non-waxy formula I’ve ever tried… and I’ve tried a lot. The balm is made with shea butter, jojoba oil, and bisabolol, and nourishes your lips while also protecting them from damage. It’s no wonder derms love it as much as I do.”

Essence Lash Princess Waterproof, winter makeup routine
Essence, Lash Princess Waterproof False Lash Effect — $5.00

Astorino also tested 20 of the top-selling mascaras and found this budget buy to be among the best. “A $5, 5-star mascara is hard to beat on paper. And yes, this ultimate bargain find offered enough to hang with the best of ‘em on this list of all-stars,” she says. “I tested this at an Elton John concert in which I knew I’d be crying, and it absolutely lasted all night.” Plus, she says it provides perfect definition and separation, the right amount of volume before it gets clumpy or spidery, and length.

LA Girl Shady Slim Brow Pencil
LA Girl, Shady Slim Brow Pencil — $6.00

“The ultra-slim tip on this pencil ensures fine, hairlike strokes that will look so convincing, no one will know you once went overboard with your tweezers back in the day,” says W+G contributor Marie Lodi. She loves that it features a thin pencil and a spoolie, comes in five shades, and that the pencil lasts a long time. Just note that you have to press hard to get color, which can be a benefit if you’re worried about going overboard.

Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50, Tinted — $16.00

“Not only is this an incredible tinted (physical) SPF that acts as a high-protection BB cream, but for roughly $16 (for three ounces) this is also an unbelievable value,” says Astorino, who tested 50 super-popular sunscreens and said this was one of the top 12. “The feel on skin is delightful, it’s cruelty-free, and it comes in shades from fair to deep, comprising a spectrum of skin tones. Formulated with antioxidant-rich ‘Australian botanicals,’ it nourishes while it protects.”

Olive & June, CCT
Olive & June, CCT — $9.00

“Here we have the most beautiful neutral nail polish I’ve tried to date,” says contributor Rebecca Norris, who tried five of the most popular neutral nail polish shades. “Designed with a wide brush, this sheer milky pale pink polish glides on more evenly than any other polish of the bunch and looks picture-perfect in just two coats. If you do want more color, you can get it, but I find two coats to be *Chef’s kiss.* After five days, it chipped at the top edge.”


Foligain Triple Action Shampoo & Conditioner for Thinning Hair
Foligain, Triple Action Shampoo For Thinning Hair — $16.00

W+G contributor Dory Zayas tried 20 growth-inducing shampoos on her thinning hair and enjoyed this one from Foligain. “In my testing phase, I noticed that this isn’t a super bubbly shampoo, instead, it’s a rich, creamy lather,” she says. “Since it’s not very sudsy, I did have to use more shampoo than I normally do. However, despite the 2 percent Trioxidil, which has been clinically proven to slow hair loss, it doesn’t have a harsh chemical smell. Additionally, there are no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. Since the instructions are to massage the shampoo on your head for a few minutes to stimulate growth, you’re basically forced to give yourself some self-care, something that I appreciated.”

Byoma Moisturizing Gel Cream
Byoma Moisturizing Gel Cream — $14.00

Our associate commerce editor Francesca Krempa tested out this moisturizer along with other Byoma products for a week and was genuinely impressed. She says it was super lightweight and didn’t pill under makeup. “Byoma swaps the sterile, run-of-the-mill packaging so many brands have adopted with bright, pop-y colors, stackable shapes, and recyclable bottles,” says Krempa. “But the simplicity and fast results are what keep me coming back.”



The Orly Nail Rescue Kit, how to fix a broken nail
Orly Nail Rescue Kit — $17.00

If you break a nail but don’t wanna part with your length, I found that this kit is incredibly effective. It includes nail glue, repair powder, and a file, and allows me to seamlessly fix a broken nail in seconds for less than a cost of a New York City manicure.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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