40 Cult-Favorite Beauty Products Under $25 That Work So Well

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Written by Caroline Goldstein and Adeline Duff

So often, “cult-favorite” is synonymous with expensive. But when it comes to skin care and makeup, that certainly doesn’t have to be the case. Just check out the 40 cult-favorite beauty products featured here, which work just as well as their much-pricier counterparts, despite costing less than $25. From French pharmacy staples to clever Korean innovations, these are some of the most exciting and hard-working products on the market right now — though you’d never guess it by their price tags.

A Rinse-Out Treatment That Gives You Soft, Silky Hair In 8 Seconds

The hair treatment our BDG Commerce Editors can’t stop raving about, L’Oreal Wonder Water works exactly as promised: It leaves all hair types smooth, silky, and ridiculously soft in under 10 seconds, and since it’s water-light, it won’t weigh down fine hair or leave behind a filmy residue. Use it in place of your conditioner after you shampoo.

An In-Shower Exfoliating Cloth From Japan

Made in Gunma, Japan, a prefecture known for their silk textiles, the Goshi towel is woven with two specially designed threads: a “lathering” thread to whip cleansers up into a sudsy lather; and an “exfoliating” thread to buff away rough, bumpy patches, revealing the softer, smoother skin underneath. The towel is longer than most other exfoliating washcloths on the market, so you can target hard-to-reach places, like your back and shoulders, without too much awkward contorting. Fans rave about this towel for making their skin feel “baby soft,” and many say it’s the only thing that effectively gets rid of keratosis pilaris.

A Weightless Japanese Sunscreen That’s Completely Invisible

This cult Japanese sunscreen is the best-known secret among beauty insiders. Why? It’s completely weightless, it’s invisible on all skin tones, and it feels as refreshing as water. While it protects your skin with SPF 35, it also infuses it with grease-free hydration thanks to hyaluronic acid.

A French Dry Shampoo Made With Oil-Absorbing Nettle Extract

Francophiles can’t get enough of Klorane’s dry shampoo, as much for its scalp-refreshing effects as that sexy, Brigitte Bardot-esque volume it injects into limp hair. A staple in French pharmacies, the formula is infused with nettle extract, corn and rice starches, and silica to absorb excess oil, odors, and itch. Your hair will feel nearly as clean as if you’d washed it with real shampoo, and you’ll be able to eke a few more days out of your blowout.

A Multipurpose Cream Made With Ancient Egyptian Ingredients

Legend has it that the formula for Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream was discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs; and whether that’s true or merely legend, that air of mysticism has likely contributed to the cream’s cult status (it’s beloved by the likes of Kate Hudson and Cara Delevingne). More importantly, it works incredibly well. That storied formula (a blend of olive oil, beeswax, bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis) can be put to work as a nail and cuticle cream, a salve for burns and rashes, a lip mask, a makeup remover, a body cream, and so much more. A 1-ounce jar will set you back just $16.

A Set Of 10 Oval Makeup Brushes That Rival Prestige Brands

Oval makeup brushes are a calling card of a professional-caliber makeup kit; and at just under $13, this set of 10 costs a fraction of the price of a single brush from prestige brands. The fine yet densely packed bristles blend liquid and cream products down to an airbrushed-like finish, and feel impossibly soft against your face.

The Quintessential Cleansing Balm From Korea

A longtime favorite among K-beauty devotees, Banila Co.’s cleansing balm starts out with a dense, sherbet-like texture, but melts into a silky oil when you warm it up between your palms — then, it breaks down every last bit of sunscreen, makeup, and daily grime when you massage it onto your skin. The perfect first step in your double-cleansing routine, follow this up with your water- or gel-based cleanser of choice.

An Award-Winning Mascara & Lash Primer Duo

This mascara from Honest Beauty, Jessica Alba’s beauty brand, is the rare “clean” mascara that doesn’t sacrifice performance for its formula — it offers beautiful separation, definition, and a hint of volume, but it’s made without ingredients that can potentially be irritating. Jojoba esters keep your lashes feeling soft and supple, not crunchy. A coat with the primer, conveniently tucked into the other end of the tube, will boost its longevity and definition even more.

A Retinol Serum That’s Gentle On Skin

Great for retinol beginners, CeraVe’s Resurfacing Retinol Serum contains a relatively low concentration of retinol, as well as barrier-building ceramides, licorice, and niacinamide to counteract any potentially irritating or drying effects. But your skin will still reap the ingredient’s does-it-all effects, which include clearing out congested pores, treating and preventing breakouts, and promoting a clearer, brighter complexion overall.

A Luxe French Eye Serum That Feels Practically Weightless

A delightfully refreshing alternative to rich, heavy eye creams, this best-selling eye serum from Vichy is made with all the ingredients your under-eye area could benefit from, like caffeine (for de-puffing), hyaluronic acid (for hydrating), and the brand’s signature volcanic water, which is rich in skin-strengthening minerals. Because it’s so light, it wears beautifully under makeup during the daytime; and at nighttime, it’s less likely to seep into your eyes and cause morning puffiness like some greasy eye creams can.

The Japanese Cleansing Oil That Dissolves Stubborn Makeup

DHC’s cult-classic cleansing oil should be a staple on any makeup-wearer’s bathroom shelf. The olive oil cleanser breaks down all types of makeup and oil-based skin care products (like sunscreen) with ease — just be sure to massage it onto dry skin, not wet. Follow up with a water-based cleanser to finish off your double-cleansing routine; your skin will be left feeling its softest and cleanest ever.

An Elegant Facial Mist From A Beloved French Brand

You’ll find so many uses for this Caudalie face mist. Try it as a toner to prep your face for your skin care routine; use it to set your makeup or refresh your skin throughout the day; or, dampen your makeup sponge with it, for just a few ideas. Made with 100% naturally derived ingredients, like radiance-boosting rose oil and the brand’s signature grape extract, this mist is a relatively inexpensive way to infuse your daily routine with a touch of French elegance.

A Pack Of Pimple Patches That Help Heal Breakouts Overnight

These revolutionary pimple patches alleviate breakouts in two ways: The hydrocolloid patches actively absorb oil and bacteria from pimples, and they create an airtight seal that protects spots from exterior oils and bacteria that can worsen breakouts (and it keeps you from picking or popping them). These work best overnight, but the edges are ultra thin and blend invisibly into your skin, so you can also wear them discreetly during the day.

An Electric Facial Razor Plated In 18-Karat Gold

If you choose to remove your facial hair, this pocket-sized electric razor is one of the un-fussiest ways to do it — and it’s certainly the least painful. The rotary blade offers a close, smooth shave while preventing irritation and ingrown hairs, and as the circular shape naturally fits the contours of your face, you can target smaller areas like your chin, upper lip, and between your brows. The lipstick bullet-inspired shape and 18-karat gold plating render this typically utilitarian tool a downright glamorous accessory.

A Snail Mucin Essence That Instantly Smooths & Hydrates Skin

Packed with 96% snail mucin, this highly concentrated Korean essence works myriad wonders upon your skin. In addition to that key ingredient, hyaluronic acid and panthenol help replenish dry, dull skin, leaving it dewy and plump. Smooth this on in the morning and at night before you apply your moisturizer, and you’ll see — and feel — your skin transform instantly.

A Revolutionary Hairbrush That Painlessly Unravels Knots

Unique, cone-shaped bristles stippling this Crave Naturals brush glide through hair horizontally, rather than straight downwards, to effectively unravel knots without tugging or breaking the hair. Meanwhile, the ergonomic grip offers more control than your standard long-handled brush, so you can work through knots with greater precision (and gentleness). It’s available in six chic colors, like mint green and peach, which will look pretty sitting on your vanity.

10 Korean Face Masks Made With Skin-Brightening Diamond Powder

SNP is one of Korea’s most popular sheet mask brands, and these diamond sheet masks take things to the next level. They’re made with real diamond powder that leaves your skin looking illuminated and radiant, so they’re best reserved for special occasions. Each box comes with 10 masks that are drenched in enough essence to have plenty leftover for your décolletage.

The Makeup Remover That Belongs On Every Top Shelf

As far as makeup removers go, Bioderma micellar water is the industry standard, but even those who don’t wear makeup can benefit from this lovely, lightweight cleanser — a swipe with a soaked cotton pad leaves your skin noticeably calmer, cleaner, and softer to the touch. But don’t be fooled by its gentleness. It’s potent enough to remove all traces of makeup, including waterproof mascara, as well as 98% of pollutant particles. A large, 16.7-ounce bottle costs just $15, so there’s no reason not to stock up.

A Set Of Microfiber Towels That Remove Your Makeup With Just Water

When you can’t bear the thought of washing your face after a long night out, reach for this brilliant makeup removing cloth. The soft microfiber cloth takes off all your makeup, including long-wear formulas and mascara, using only water — no cleanser necessary — so as long as you have a bowl of water on hand, you don’t even need to leave your bed to get your skin squeaky-clean. These convenient, travel-friendly cloths also come in handy for refreshing your skin mid-flight.

A Long-Lasting Concealer That Never Creases

This e.l.f. concealer boasts ample coverage and a natural-matte finish, but it defies creasing or settling throughout its promised 16-hour wear time — an altogether coveted combination in a concealer. Fans of this concealer (and there are many of them) love the big, soft, doe-foot applicator that allows you to cover larger swaths of skin in one pass, and that its thicker consistency completely masks unwanted spots.

  • Available shades: 19
A Korean Eyebrow Pencil That Creates Fuller-Looking Brows

This Etude House brow pencil is a staple in Korean beauty emporiums; but, as evidenced by its thousands of perfect ratings on Amazon, it’s gaining cult status around the world, too. It has a narrow, angled tip that mimics the shape of your natural brow hairs, and the slightly waxy formula stays in place all day long. Available in 10 shades, it’s the rare brow pencil that doesn’t read too warm or red — in fact, it comes in several cool-gray tones, including gray brown and true gray.

  • Available shades: 10
A Heat Protectant That Smooths & Fortifies Damaged Hair

With a near-perfect, 4.8-star overall rating earned from over 20,000 shoppers, the CHI Silk Infusion is the definition of a cult-favorite. A game-changer for damaged hair, this heat-activated treatment is packed with silk, wheat, and soy proteins to actively fortify brittle hair while protecting it from hot styling tools, leaving your hair silky and smooth with each pass. All three sizes cost less than $20 on Amazon, so it’s a great value, too.

A Best-Selling Shaving Cream That Leaves Your Skin Velvety-Soft

You may have seen this eos shaving cream go viral on TikTok. It boasts a rich, decadent consistency that actively hydrates your skin while vitamin E protects from razor burn and ingrown hairs, so you’ll step out of the shower feeling as though you’d just slathered it in moisturizer. It’s been notoriously hard to get your hands on since its rise to digital fame, so we’d recommend stocking up a few bottles before it inevitably sells out again.

A Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick In An Assortment Of Daring Shades

This matte liquid lipstick from The Lip Bar is one of the best lip products on the market right now, so its under-$15 price tag is merely a bonus. The vegan formula is intensely long-lasting (even through several meals and cups of coffee), completely opaque, and feels soft and comfortable on your lips. The complex shades on offer, like orchid, fuchsia, and dusty taupe, are all equally gorgeous.

  • Available shades: 7
The Iconic Pink Balm With Endless Uses

Really, what can’t Elizabeth Arden’s iconic Eight Hour Cream do? It’s an amazing lip balm and cuticle salve; it can be used to spot-treat dry areas anywhere on your body or face; it can double as brow gel in a pinch; it’s great for wind burn; and, you can dab it onto your cheekbones for a shimmer-free alternative to highlighter. No wonder it’s a staple in every pro makeup artists’ kit.

The French Pharmacy Lotion That You Can Use From Head To Toe

This heavy-duty body balm from La Roche-Posay is a godsend for extremely rough, dry, itchy skin, and it can be used on your face and body. Made with the brand’s signature thermal spring water, which is rich in prebiotics, this lotion can help keep your skin stronger in the long term by supporting a healthy protective barrier. At just $20 for a massive, 13.5-ounce bottle, it’s a pretty great value, too.

The Best & Most Effective Purifying Mask On The Market

No need to mess with gimmicky face masks when you can buy a giant tub of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay for just $15. The 100% natural bentonite clay is the most effective and gentle way to deep-clean your pores, purify your skin, and promote a clearer, more refreshed complexion overall. All you do is mix a spoonful or two with some water or apple cider vinegar, and voila — you’ve got a heavy-duty, completely natural clay mask for your face or body.

A Clever Way To Get Fluffy Brows Without Any Added Pigment

If you already have great brows but would like them to be a little fluffier, you need to try the soap brow trend. Without adding any pigment, brow soap can be used to mold, shape, and fluff up your brows so they look fuller and more feathery, but in a natural-looking way. This kit comes with two tins of soap and four spoolies, so you’ll be set for a while.

A Leave-In Conditioner That Makes Your Hair Feel & Smell Amazing

Get smooth, soft hair and detangle knots at the same time with Briogeo’s popular leave-in conditioner. Suitable for use on all hair types, it’s made with deeply nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, argan oil, shea butter, and glycerin, and boasts a delightful coconut scent. It can help keep unwanted flyaways and frizz in check, as well.

The Iconic Hair Oil That Everyone Should Own

Moroccanoil’s iconic Treatment Oil is a staple among professional hairstylists, but it’s worth adding to your at-home styling kit, as well. It’s made mostly of argan oil, which is amazing for dry, damaged hair, but its sultry, spicy-sweet scent is almost as good of a reason to buy it. Because a tiny amount of product goes a long way (seriously — all you need is a pea-sized drop), the travel-sized bottle should be enough to last you for a few months.

A Set Of 4 Pro-Quality Makeup Sponges

Though pro makeup artists swear by Real Techniques beauty tools, the brand’s products are surprisingly affordable. Stock your kit with their best-selling makeup sponges, which, cleverly, have a pointed side and a flat side to cover all your makeup-applying bases. You’ll get four sponges for less than $15, and they can be reused over and over again as long as you keep them clean.

An Eyeshadow Primer With A Surprisingly Devoted Following

Eyeshadow primer may seem like a highly niche product, yet somehow, Elizabeth Mott’s Thank Me Later eye primer has garnered over 20,000 five-star ratings and best-seller status on Amazon. Just a thin coat on your lids will ensure your eye makeup stays on from the morning until it’s time to wash it off at night.

The Cult-Classic Moisturizer That Beauty Experts Swear By

Weleda Skin Food is the German answer to Egyptian Magic and Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream, but it’s perhaps even more popular. Almost everyone in the beauty industry — from professional makeup artists like Katie Jane Hughes to Queen VB herself — swears by this stuff. It can be used to moisturize your face and body, but it’s also a great lip mask, highlighter, nail cream, elbow balm, and more. It’s soothing herbal scent is only the icing on the cake.

A Set Of 5 High-Quality Makeup Brushes For Just $10

EcoTools make some of the best and most eco-friendly beauty tools on the market, and this five-piece set is a great introduction to their products. For just $10, you’ll get two eye brushes, a foundation brush, a blush brush, and a blurring blush (it also comes with a storage tray). The cruelty-free and vegan brushes are made of viscose, which is a renewable material, and recycled aluminum and plastic. Even the packaging is eco-friendly, being completely tree-free.

2 Microfiber Hair Towels To Elevate Your Post-Shower Routine

Walking around with a heavy towel on your head that always manages to slip off is annoying, which is why the Turbie Twist was invented. It stays secure on your head, is a lot more lightweight, and is made of highly absorbent microfiber that can dry your hair faster. It may seem like a simple idea, but it will absolutely revolutionize your post-shower routine.

A Natural Self-Tanning Lotion That Develops Gradually Over Time

Get a professional-quality tan at home with this tanning lotion from Vita Liberata. It’ll give you a golden, not orange glow, and it develops gradually over time, resulting in a far more natural-looking tan. It’s also good for your skin, as it’s made with nourishing ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, and shea butter.

A Mini Hair Dryer That’s Perfect For Travel

Despite its tiny size, this best-selling Conair travel dryer packs a serious punch. It’s a no-brainer investment for anyone who travels a lot, styles their hair at the gym, or stays over at friends’ often. Over 10,000 Amazon reviewers vouch for its excellent quality.

A Pore-Tightening, Skin-Smoothing Toner Made With Watermelon

With its refreshing, gel-like feel and translucent pink color, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow toner makes exfoliating a genuinely enjoyable process. Though it’s called a toner, it’s more of a chemical exfoliant, as it’s rich in both (naturally derived) BHAs and PHAs to deep-clean and resurface your skin. To counteract the effects of the acids, this toner is also infused with deeply hydrating cactus water and skin-soothing cucumber.

A High-Shine Hair Mist For Less Than $10

Get the shiny hair of your dreams with this under-$10 mist from salon brand Giovanni. Not only does it seriously amp up the shine, but it can also smooth back unwanted flyways and frizz. Wearing a skirt or shorts today? Spray some onto your legs to give them a subtle, sexy sheen.

A High-Quality Blush That Gives Your Skin A Radiant Sheen

Drugstore blushes can be hit or miss, but Milani Baked Blush looks and feels truly expensive. Often cited as a drugstore alternative to NARS Orgasm, this richly pigmented blush is infused with finely milled gold shimmer to give your skin a subtle, radiant, sun-kissed sheen. Depending on the shade you choose, it can be used as a bronzer or highlighter, as well. Any color will look gorgeous as an eyeshadow.

  • Available shades: 16