There’s a beauty guideline — whether earned or simply assumed — that expensive products are better than less expensive ones. However, we’ve found some outstanding products that are exceptions to this rule. Being savvy of in-the-news, quality skincare doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. From a best-kept hair secret to high-end makeup dupes to the perfect fall nail color, here are some of our favorite Cheap Thrills found at the drugstore — each for less than $20!

Our Favorite Drugstore Beauty Buys for Less Than $20

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

Get ready for the ultimate SB TIP! Regardless of whether you have kids or not, pick up a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to have at home. The gentle cleanser is the perfect way to clean your makeup brushes — something we all need to do with a little more regularity. Find it

Johnson's Baby Shampoo-cheap thrills

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, $1.99 (50mL), at most drugstores

Miracle Complexion Sponge

The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is cheaper and, some say, wayyy better than the silly-expensive Beautyblender. Plus, there is a new option that includes a plastic sponge carrier, and let’s be honest — we will do anything to keep these little guys clean and away from all the other junk in our makeup bags. Perfect for easy and clean application and blending, find them for $6.99 at most drugstores.

Complexion sponge- cheap thrills

Miracle Complexion Sponge, $6.99, at most drugstores

Essie On Mute Nail Polish

As we welcome crisp fall temps, it’s great to add a new nail color to the mix. This sultry grey color — “On Mute” from Essie — is cool and sophisticated, and it can pair perfectly with most of your fall wardrobe. Now, let’s put our phones on mute, too! Find it for around $9 at your local drugstore.

RELATED: Fall Color Trends & How to Wear Them

Essie nail polish -cheap thrills

Essie On Mute, $9, at most drugstores

Double Extend Mascara

L’Oreal’s Double Extend Mascara is completely waterproof, easy to remove and super voluminous, plus it’s much more wallet-friendly than its Trish McEvoy counterpart. The two-step application means the “tubes,” or the top coat that makes the lashes appear longer, are easily removed with just warm water  — no makeup remover or rubbing necessary! Find this for $8.99.

mascara-cheap thrills drug store beauty

L’Oreal Double Extend Mascara, $8.99, at most drugstores

Neutrogena Lip Gloss Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Shine

Neutrogena Lip Gloss Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Shine fills in fine lines so that lips appear soft, full and silky smooth. It’s got the vibrant color of a lipstick, the shine of a gloss and the conditioning of a balm. What’s not to love? Find it for around $8.99 at your favorite drugstore.

Maybelline Baby Lips

Baby Lips are a classic drugstore favorite that hydrates the lips through the seasons. Plus, there’s a bonus of a little pop of color if you so choose. At less than $5, we’re tempted to stock up and keep a tube at work, at home, in the car and the purse.

cheap thrills Maybelline Baby Lips

Maybelline Baby Lips, $4.49, at most drugstores

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation is widely compared to the insanely expensive Giorgio Armani silk foundation. This medium-coverage, long-wear liquid foundation glides on smoothly with a soft, dewy finish. It’s got SPF 15, too. Find it for an affordable $12.99 at most drugstores.

L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation-cheap thrills

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation, $12.99, at most drugstores

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

This ultra-luxurious, glowy Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is infused with Murumuru butter to give it a creamy and soft texture that combines the best features of a powder and cream bronzer. This one is often compared to the cult favorite Hoola Bronzer from Benefit, but it’s much cheaper! Find it for around $15.99.

cheap thrills-Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer, $15.99, at most drugstores

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Palette

The first-ever all-vegan MegaGlo Highlighting Palette from Wet n Wild includes four fan-favorite powder options that leave skin dewy and radiant without looking too sparkly. Use it to bring a little vibrance to your cheek bones, brow bones or Cupid’s bow. Find it for around $14.99.

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Palette

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Palette, $14.99, at most drugstores

Milani Baked Blush

This Milani blush is widely considered a dupe for Nars Orgasm Blush, a $38 beauty fave that’s been in high demand since its debut in 1999. At just $7.99, this drugstore swap won’t break the bank, and it’s a hue that looks great on lots of different skin tones.

Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink

Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink, $7.99, at most drugstores

RELATED: Here’s What’s in Our Travel Makeup Bag

OGX® Active Beauty Green Tea Fitness Air Dry Cream

Fitting workouts into an on-the-go lifestyle often means moving on to the next errand or meeting without time for a full blowdry. This OGX fitness-inspired Green Tea Fitness Air Dry Cream is infused with rich antioxidant green tea and refreshing lotus. It’s meant to keep strands refreshed and curls frizz-free with no heat so that your hair feels, looks and smells fresh, no sweat. Find it for around $8.99.

Pssssssst Dry Shampoo

Oh, dry shampoo, how we love you. This Psssst! Dry Shampoo is a crowd favorite, and their original citrus scent will lift and refresh your hair if you’re maximizing time between washes or jumping from meeting to meeting through the day. Find it at your favorite drugstore for around $6.99.

Psssst! Dry Shampoo- drug store beauty

Psssst! Dry Shampoo, $6.99, at most drugstores

scunci Scrunchies

Scrunchies are back, and the original scrunchie maker, scunci, is sold at your neighborhood drugstore! Scrunchies not only hold your pony securely, they also save hair from knots and breakage and can seamlessly fit into any outfit. Find assorted colors, sizes and styles at a retailer near you starting at $6.99.

beauty cheap thrills scunci scrunchies

scunci scrunchies, starting at $6.99, at most drugstores

Kristen Ess Cleansing Conditioner

An SB staff pick, this line is only available at Target — but it’s worth the trip. The Kristen Ess Cleansing Conditioner is perfect for hair types that lack natural moisture — curly, frizzy, humidity-affected or damage-prone. After you wash, natural oils remain intact to moisturize and restore. Find it for $14.

Acne Spot Dots

Korean skincare is working wonders these days, and these Acne Spot Dots by Peach Slices are no exception. If you feel a pesky pimple beginning to rear its head, a spot dot will fight to stop the pimple in its tracks. For $4.49, you’ll get 30 patches in various sizes.

Acne Spot Dots-cheap thrills

Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots, $4.49, at most drugstores

Garnier Micellar Water

This all-in-one Micellar Cleansing Water is surprisingly powerful, yet gentle on skin. The micellar water captures and lifts away dirt, oil and makeup like a magnet and without harsh rubbing — it makes make-up removal a breeze! It’s good for all skin types and will leave you with a matte and natural finish with no greasy residue. We also love that it’s oil-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, sulfate-free and silicone-free. Find it for $8.99.

Garnier Micellar Water-cheap thrills

Garnier Micellar Water, $8.99, at most drugstores

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner

Thayers’ Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner is an alcohol-free toner made from witch hazel (a botanical extract that’s said to be soothing, anti-inflammatory and have antioxidant properties), aloe vera and rosewater. The formula’s natural oils and sugars ramp up the skin’s dewiness, while its vitamin C aids collagen production, strengthens skin and fades blemishes and scars. Plus it has a light and refreshing aroma. Find it for $10.95.

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner, $10.95, at most drugstores

Weleda Skin Food

Skin Food is another top SB staff pick, especially as we look ahead to cooler temps. It’s a universal savior of dry, rough skin on the face, elbows, hands and feet. With extracts of gentle viola tricolor, calendula and chamomile, in a rich, thick base of oils and beeswax, this miracle product leaves you with a healthy-looking glow and serious hydration. Find it for less than $20.

cheap thrills -skin food

Weleda Skin Food, $18.99, at Target and CVS

Shea Moisture Lavender & Wild Orchid Hand & Body Scrub

Once- or twice-weekly use of this hand and body scrub will leave your skin so smooth and smelling delicious. It’s a treat that also has functionality: Each jar is filled with beneficial, earthy ingredients like bits of lavender and orchid flowers mixed in to make a texture like wet sand, but it’s infused with oils that leave you with glowing, immediately hydrated skin. Find it for $9.99.


Bio-Oil has become a cult favorite because it seems to mitigate so many of our skin’s pesky imperfections like stretch marks, roughness, bumps, scars, ingrown hairs and more. It’s a cure-all. Find it for around $14.99.

cheap thrills Bio-Oil

Bio-Oil, starting at $14.99, at most drugstores


Differin gel contains the obsessed-over retinoid adapalene, the first over-the-counter active ingredient for acne in more than 30 years. Daily use can clear acne, blackheads and clogged pores and restore skin tone and texture with the power of a prescription formula. Find it starting at $14.99 at your favorite drugstore.

cheap thrills drug store beauty

Differin, starting at $14.99, at most drugstores

Here’s to working toward healthy skin, nourished hair and a stocked makeup bag — without breaking the bank!


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