Top 12 Inexpensive Beauty Must-Haves

Published: November 20, 2014

You don't have to break out the big bucks to have gorgeous, healthy skin and hair. Your local drugstore is a great resource for affordable and versatile products that you might not know about. In many cases, they're even better for you than the high end products at the makeup counter! Stock up on these inexpensive basics to stretch your beauty budget.

  1. Witch Hazel

    Witch Hazel is an all-natural facial toner that can be found at any drugstore. It also doubles as an amazingly effective makeup remover. It's gentle and refreshing on all skin types and comes in a large bottle for under $5! Great for oily or combination skin, but gentle enough to use on dry skin as well.

  2. Redness Relief Eye Drops

    Did you know that a drop of Visine can take the redness out of a pimple the same way it can clear up red, itchy eyes? Who needs cover-up when you can zap red splotches in seconds with a $2 product? Keep in mind, however,  that it does it's magic by constricting the blood vessels in the area, and may slow down the healing of blemishes. Use sparingly as an emergency fix, not a daily solution.

  3. Shea Butter

    Shea butter can be found in many pricey beauty products, but the raw, organic stuff itself can be found in bulk for under $10. It's well known for it's amazing moisturizing power, and is packed with vitamins that your skin and hair need to stay healthy. Mix it with your favorite lotions or leave-in conditioners, or use it on it's own to revive dry skin, hair, nails and cuticles.

  4. Vegetable Glycerine

    Glycerine is a wonderful beauty multi-tasker. It works as both a moisturizer and as an excellent primer. It's found in many soaps and lotions, but can also be found on it's own at the drugstore for around $5.  A half-and-half solution of water and glycerine can prime your eyelids to intensify the color of your eyeshadows and dramatically increase the wear-time. You can also mix it with any powdery makeup product to transform it into a liquid or cream. 

  5. Baby Powder

    Forget expensive dry shampoos! Baby Powder can do the job for a small fraction of the price. Sprinkle on your scalp and work in with a natural bristled brush to remove any evidence that you haven't shampooed today. Your hair will have renewed body and texture! It also works on fair skin to set foundation and remove shine.

  6. Glue Sticks

    Yes, Glue Sticks. Believe it or not, they're a best-kept secret in the beauty industry for everything from taming wild eyebrows to smoothing over scrapes! They're easy to find, non-toxic, and  super cheap. Just be sure not to get the "purple until dry" kind if you don't want to risk punky-colored brows. They also can help create awesome costume makeup effects for Halloween or costume parties.

  7. Vaseline

    Not the most glamorous product, but there's a reason why no medicine cabinet is complete without it. Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, has many uses from protecting your skin, to taming split ends. It's particularly helpful in the Winter for soothing chapped skin and lips, and can be mixed with matte cosmetics to give them a shiny finish. Beauty pageant contestants have been using it for years on their teeth to prevent dry lips from sticking when they smile.

  8. Homemade Sugar Scrub

    Two parts sugar (your regular brown or white sugars will do) to one part oil (coconut, almond or olive oils work well), and you've got an easy, inexpensive exfoliant that works just as well as the stuff in the bottle. You can even add your own essential oils to blend your own signature scent. It's great to use before and after shaving your legs to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.

  9. Tea Tree Oil

    Tea tree oil has amazing, all-natural healing power. It's antiseptic properties can help blemishes, scrapes and burns heal in no time. Most drugstores carry it for $5-$10, and a 1 oz. bottle can last a long time. Bonus: it smells awesome!

  10. Water

    Above all else, beautiful skin and hair starts with great hydration inside. Proper hydration helps ward off wrinkles and detox your whole body. Drinking plenty of water will do more for you than all the beauty products in the world combined. And the best part...it's free!

  11. Apple Cider Vinegar

    Apple cider vinegar, especially the unpasteurized organic kind, has many uses for health and beauty. It can be ingested to help with weight loss, acid reflux, blood pressure and more, but it can also be used topically to treat dandruff and acne. Dilute it by half with water and apply it with a spray bottle to the affected areas. Leave it on your scalp for 1-2 hours to treat the oily type of dandruff. Apple cider vinegar has also been used for nail fungus and athelete's foot, and aids in many types of fungal and yeast infections.

  12. Hemorrhoid Cream

    It may seem strange to carry hemorrhoid cream in your makeup bag, but it's long been touted as a short-term solution for under-eye puffiness, bags or wrinkles. It's not reccommended for every day use, but can be helpful after a poor night's sleep or for puffiness after too much sodium intake. Stash a small tube in a lipstick case to keep it discreet. 

Remember to take into account which products are best for your particular skin type. Vegetable glycerine, Vaseline and Shea Butter are best for dry skin, while baby powder and Witch Hazel are helpful for oily skin. All of these products have multiple, versatile uses. With a little more time and creativity, you can save hundreds of dollars per year on cosmetics, while also doing a big favor for your health and the environment.

In addition to these and any products, be sure to keep your hands and all your beauty tools (brushes, applicators, tweezers, etc.)  with warm water and antibacterial cleaner. Preventative care is your best defense against blemishes and an important step in preserving your natural beauty.