20 Beauty Products That People Say Work Just As Well As Their Pricier Counterparts
The smartest beauty purchases are the ones that keep more $$$ in your wallet.
We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
3. A L'Oréal *eight-second* lamellar water rinse-out treatment designed to make your hair look shiny, moisturized, and strong — just like the holy grail Olaplex Hair Perfector.
And it's silicone free!
Promising review: "This is the best hair product I have ever purchased. It truly lives up to its claims. I have thinning, coarse hair and was stymied by its proclivity to frizz and its cotton candy texture. After one use of Wonder Water, my hair was shiny and the frizz and flyaways disappeared. Friends even remarked at how great my hair looked — something that has never happened to me. The only product I can compare this to is Olaplex, which is almost as effective, but five times as expensive and much more time consuming to use. Applying Wonder Water is foolproof (the exact amount to use with each application is marked on the container) and it only takes 8 seconds to work. Initially I thought that Wonder Water was too good to be true, but I am already midway through my second bottle and I continue to be delighted." —Maureen Bolton
7. Fanola's purple shampoo to remove any unwanted yellow tones in your blonde hair similar to the Davines purple shampoo. This is a necessity if you spend major $$ at the salon to dye your hair and you want it to keep looking as great as it did on Day One.
Promising review: "I have naturally almost black, thick, Asian hair that is highly processed and toned to high heaven just so I can be blonde. Not just sandy blonde. Platinum blonde. Now, any 'bottle blonde' knows that purple shampoo is the sweet baby Jesus in a manger necessity that they MUST use if they don’t want to end up looking like a wannabe ginger with greasy orange-tinged hair. It’s just that blonde life. I have tried almost every purple shampoo under the sun, ranging in process from $7 to $70 a bottle. The top contenders so far have been Davines Alchemic Shampoo in Silver, L’Oréal Shimmering Lights Purple Shampoo, and now, THIS. Fanola takes the cake and is hands down the winner when it comes to toning even the most stubborn brass out. Seriously. Your granny needs this. You need this. GIRL. I tried it in the shower on wet hair and left it on for about 10 minutes. Great results after just one use! And then, because I love a little lavender tint, I tried it on DRY hair, saturating it until almost black, and left it on for a whopping 30 minutes. Rinse until clear. And guess what? I LOVE IT. The lavender is not at all overpowering but there’s isn’t a hint of yellow/brass in my hair. I swear it even lightened my roots too!" —CatsonCatsonCats
And check out our full writeup of the Fanola No Yellow Shampoo to learn more.
9. An Elizabeth Mott eyeshadow primer because you don't want to spend precious time perfecting your eyeshadow just for it to be faded and creased by lunchtime. It works just as well as the Nars eyeshadow primer, but at almost half the cost.
Promising review: "OK, so I never write reviews. I am lazy. I avidly research and study reviews before buying anything, but never actually take the time to write them myself. I am an AVID Nars eye primer fan, and have been for years. My eyelids are oily and I always had mascara transfer issues until I started using the Nars primer. I have tried every eye primer on the market, and nothing had ever compared to Nars. UNTIL THIS. I am shocked that a product from an unknown-to-me company for only $15 blows Nars out of the water. I love this stuff. It feels good, dries quickly, colorless, only takes a small amount, lasts all day (I work 12-hour shifts, so that's 16 hours in makeup at least!), etc. etc. etc. I don't know what else I can say about this product other than I am shocked and will now be a die-hard fan. I love it." —Bucket
10. LilyAna eye cream that reduces those stubborn dark circles and puffy bags under your eyes just as effectively as those expensive Lancôme creams. Both of these creams contain vitamin C, which can do wonders for your skin, including reducing fine lines and helping with general dullness.
Promising review: "This cream really helped with my dark circles and made the skin around my eyes look healthier and rejuvenated. I wish I had taken before and after pictures because after about a week and a half of use, I can tell a significant difference. It works waaay better than the much more expensive Lancôme cream I'd been using. Will buy again and plan to try out some of their other products after the great experience with this one." —Lynda M.
12. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse because no one actually enjoys getting a professional spray tan (getting naked in front of a literal stranger? Ridiculously expensive? No thanks!) This mousse delivers you that same gorgeous glow without any of the awkwardness or budget-crushing results.
Promising review: "This is, by far, the best and most natural-looking fake tan I have ever used. It is better than the spray tan booth! And so much cheaper. There is a learning curve with the application, but it works really well and looks natural. Works best when you have shaved and exfoliated well. Use moisturizer on knees, ankles and Achilles tendon BEFORE applying tanner. If not, you end up looking very dirty and grubby. I received compliments on my 'fresh from the beach, vacation tan.' hahaha. I didn't go ANYWHERE but the bathroom to apply tanner a couple times a week. I use Jergens daily self-tanning cream in between applications as other reviewers have suggested. I do recommend this, as it helps keep a base tan in between applications of St. Tropez." —Adrianimal
Get the St. Tropez bronzing mousse from Amazon for $35.70.
17. The highly effective Bio-Oil that works wonders to help fade scars (both old and new ones) and moisturize your skin without clogging your pores. And reviewers say it's comparable to Mederma scar gel, a drugstore mainstay.
Psst! Bio-Oil contains retinol, which accelerates skin turnover but can make you more sensitive to the sun — so don't forget your sunscreen!
Promising review: "I bought the oil to use on my scars. I usually use Mederma but it was getting to be very expensive because I was going through those small tubes of gel very quickly. This bottle is really lasting me a long time because I only need a few dabs of oil on my specific scars. My scars have been actually fading. They’re not completely gone but I can tell that they are a lot harder to see than before. The scent is a bit unique. It’s not overpowering but I think I can do without it." —Limmy Lee
18. A pack of PleasingCare bamboo oil-blotting sheets if you tend to catch your forehead looking super shiny by 10 a.m. These affordable sheets have the same great oil-absorbing capabilities as Tatcha's popular blotting sheets.
Promising review: "These are great for oily skin. I normally can get through half the day before my face looks like a grease pit and that's after applying anti-shine under makeup. These wipes are a miracle. They absorb quickly and I love having them in my purse. I normally use two a day — much better than Tatcha." —Leslie R. McCree