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    35 Products That'll Easily Brighten Up Your Look Without Using Your Whole Paycheck

    Sometimes a swipe of highlighter or pulling on an emerald draped skirt can feel like a world of difference.

    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.

    1. A snazzy faux-croc bag that'll serve as the most delectable compliment bait. I should know. I own it and get compliments every time I carry it!

    purple baguette shaped bag with faux croc effect and a chain
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    I snagged this beaut from the JW PEI site on Black Friday last year and have carried it as my purse a few dozen times since. I recently packed it for a trip to Croatia and found that I felt totally OK in a club *not* getting pick-pocketed. The baguette shape lets the zip top sit right underneath your armpit for safe keeping. But the vegan leather and color combo looks SO luxe, like it cost me in the hundreds. Because of this bag, I adore this brand and can't recommend it enough!

    Get it from Amazon for $38.99 (available in eight colors) and the chain strap separately from JW PEI for $29.90.

    2. A jewelry-cleaning pen to remove debris and zhuzh up your dulled jewels in a mere few seconds.

    Reviewer before and after of their cloudy emerald looking brilliant and sparkly after using the pen

    Check out my colleague's review of the Diamond Dazzle Stik to get more deets.

    Promising review: "I used to drop my rings in a bit of watered-down Windex, let them soak, then scrub with a soft toothbrush, rinse, and dry. That process took about 15 minutes, and even then my rings, and particularly the stones, were not flawless looking afterward. I thought it did the job. ENTER DIAMOND DAZZLE STIK! I bought this after reading a BuzzFeed list, and now I literally sound like an infomercial talking about this thing. It’s incredible. First you dispense a little product, and you don’t even have to take your ring off!!! Then you scrub for approximately three seconds, rinse, and BAM!!!! Holy sparkles, Batman. My precious stones have never looked better. Even rings that looked pretty good before, I couldn’t believe how sparkly they were after this. Consider me a lifetime customer." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $6.60.

    3. And speaking of sparkle, glitzy hair pins made for babes with curly natural hair — meaning they won't snag!!!

    Amazon, Swirly Curly

    FYI, this is a Black-owned brand!

    Promising review: "I like the look of decorative pins but avoid them due to fear of breakage. These were designed specifically for curly hair, so there are no worries. They glide smoothly onto hair and can be removed without causing damage. They're also really cute." —Antoinette

    Get them from Amazon for $12.95+ (available in 12 different styles).

    4. A powerful snail repair cream made to brighten dull skin, add plumpness, and fade discoloration. The snail mucin extract is packed in hyaluronic acid (hydrates) and glycolic acid (stimulates collagen production) for some ~dramatic~ skincare results you can see and feel.

    before and after showing the cream reduced the reviewer's wrinkles and made their face look plumper

    Promising review: "I'm 55 years old, and my skin is a bit sensitive. I don't have a lot of wrinkles, but I'm definitely noticing a few more laugh lines and forehead crinkles than I had a few years ago! I've tried several moisturizers and have not been terribly impressed with any of them until now. This stuff really is great — incredibly hydrating without feeling greasy, and it absorbs quickly. It feels great on my skin. In just a few short weeks, I definitely notice an improvement in my skin tone and fewer lines and wrinkles! Plus, the customer service is great. I had questions when I first received the product and got a followup response immediately. I will definitely be ordering this product again. I use it in the evening and morning; no need for two different moisturizers. Very pleased!" —sbakey

    Get it from Amazon for $17.95.

    5. A teeth-whitening pen as a much easier alternative to fooling with white strips. I use a similar one and can vouch that it's *so* user-friendly!

    Reviewer before and after showing the pen noticeably whitened their yellow teeth

    You can use each pen ~20~ times and should expect your teeth to lighten four to eight shades.

    Promising review: "I have only used the two original pens that I purchased and can already see an improvement. I am older than 60 and drink coffee daily and red wine weekly." —vicki houska

    Get a two-pack from Amazon for $19.99.

    6. A strapless romper that'll be a ~wild~ option you'll want to wear multiple times a week. And *I* wouldn't blame you. Animal print is always a good idea.

    reviewer wearing the leopard romper

    Promising review: "If you live in a hot state like Florida, you will LOVE this! Its beauty is not done justice by the pictures. I wear this to the beach over my bathing suit; that way when I go to one of the side restaurants, I look stylish." —Theresa Wagoner

    Get it from Amazon for $21.99+ (available in sizes XS–XL and in 32 colors).

    7. A six-pack of scarf scrunchies for a one-and-done task of putting up your hair and adding a glam touch even if you have to do some REAL math to figure out the last time you washed it., Amazon

    Promising review: "I wear ponytails a lot as I transition to a natural gray with my curly hair. Using 'unique' hair accessories helps with making a plain, boring, and simple haircare routine way more interesting, and the material is a welcomed safety to help reduce breakage when wearing ponytail scrunchies. I plan on ordering other colors in the near future. You can't go wrong with this purchase!" —Tru

    Get them from Amazon for $9.99.

    8. Or a 45-pack(!!!) of velvet scrunchies. They're on trend right now AND won't dent hair as much as other hair ties.


    Get them from Amazon for $8.99.

    9. A box of pore-tightening, skin-lifting face masks can give you a zombie-like visage (time to FaceTime mom!) and then wow you with its effectiveness at making your skin look like a better version of itself.

    Reviewer before and after showing the mask made their skin look tighter and reduced the appearance of some wrinkles

    Promising review: "I have never written a review before, but I am compelled to do so now. Let’s start with what my 41-year-old face looked like. I had bumps, tiny bumps all over my skin, especially my forehead. My skin NEVER felt smooth even with the prescriptions I was given to help with these tiny bumps. Rosacea = bad bad bad. So bad that it was actually causing my cheeks to have what appeared to be thickening skin. Wrinkles, some that were quite deep. My pores were friggin' huge and getting bigger day by day it seemed like. I know that it says to use this product every three days. I chose to go with every single day for the first box of eight. The results were so amazing, I decided on everyday for the second box. Even more amazing results. EVERY SINGLE ISSUE LISTED ABOVE NO LONGER EXISTS!!!! I moisturize deeply after rinsing, and my face looks absolutely amazing. My face did not even look like this at 30. I am hooked, and I will be buying no less than three packs every single payday so I can stock up on this stuff in case they ever decide to quit selling it. If I had 10 stars available to rate, I would use them and more!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a box of eight masks from Amazon for $20.88.

    10. A magnificent tiered dress that'll make you look like you paid an extra digit for it. But you and I know that's not the case. We shan't tell your nemesis.

    reviewer in the maxi four-tier dress

    Promising review: "OMG! Awesome!!!!! I plan to wear it on my shoulders, and the elastic seems strong enough to hold. I bought the white, and it’s light and airy — not see-through at all. I'm so thrilled. I will buy it in black ASAP!" —LB

    Get it from Amazon for $34.98+ (available in sizes S–XL and 20 colors).

    11. Bright braided sandals you can basically rely on to dress up any ol' outfit you keep on repeat. (Hey, it's probably a great outfit!) Let these beauts do the talking for ya.

    model wearing flat sandals with chunky braided straps
    Macarena Collection / Etsy

    Macarena Collection is a Buena Park, California–based shop that specializes in Mexican-made shoes and embroidered clothing. I have these huaraches from the shop, and, I swear, they are the comfiest shoes I've ever worn straight out of the box. On my first day of wearing them, I walked about 40 city blocks with no pain, blistering, or rubbing. Zilch! I basically live in them now. 

    Get them from Macarena Collection on Etsy for $26.94 (available in sizes 5–10).

    12. Cheerful crew socks that'll bring a smile to your face every time you wear them.


    Promising review: "I recently went on an Amazon sock binge where I purchased $100+ of socks. These are by far the best ones. They are soft, fit perfectly, and hold their shape after many washes. They were also the most well priced out of all the others I've purchased. I've worn these the most." —Technology needs consultant

    Get a pack of five from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in seven sets).

    13. Razzle dazzle door knockers to zhuzh up most anything, including that crumpled-up top you found on your floor before a video happy hour.

    square shape drop earrings covered in rhinestones

    Get them from Amazon for $10.99+ (available in 29 colors).

    14. A cruelty-free vitamin C serum that'll help brighten and soften your skin. *Plus* reviewers say it dramatically fades hyperpigmentation.,

    Promising review: "I never thought that I would find a serum that didn't just irritate my skin. I've spent WAY more money on fancy serums just to have them purge my skin and leave me red and angry-skinned. This stuff is amazing. It isn't sticky or heavy. I used it every day, and it's still lasting me forever. I'm in love. I'd give it 10 stars if I could." —Makayla Fryman

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    15. A one-shoulder cutout top and high-rise bottom that'll help you soak up the late-summer sun and force onlookers to put on their shades...even if it's overcast.

    reviewer wearing pink bikini set

    Promising review: "LOVE LOVE LOVE. The material is very thick and high quality and honestly feels better than some bikinis I have paid over $50 for." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in sizes S–XL and in 15 colors).

    16. A pretty printed scarf in dozens of designs you'll find dozens of ways to wear.,

    Promising review: "Adorable. Multiple ways to style and matches most of my wardrobe! Received super fast as well. Two or three days after ordering! Will surely order more." —Danae Reed

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99 (available in 45 styles).

    17. A ~groovy~ abstract tote that'll be part of a look rather than the bag that just happens to help you haul your groceries home.

    tote bag in green, blue, and beige wavy pattern
    Kierkegaard Design Studio / Society6

    Kierkegaard Design Studio is a designer and academic working in the US and Europe. 

    Get it from Kierkegaard Design Studio on Society6 for $14.94+ (available in three sizes).

    18. Polarized sunnies that, as you can see from the reviewer pics, look great on everyone! But they're cheap enough that you can wear them with abandon while you're living your glam life.,

    Promising review: "Nice sunglasses for the price. They do such a great job of shielding my eyes from brightness that it’s hard to read the speedometer, see my backup camera, and see the radio in my car. I had lots of compliments at the state fair this weekend from guys and girls. I’d recommend them. I really like them as an accessory on the top of my head because I like the color and the way they reflect." —Ednolb

    Get them from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in five colors).

    19. A super-impactful highlighter (at a GREAT price) to help you get some banging shine for your buck.

    Black reviewer with visible gold highlighter on cheekbones

    Promising review: "This highlight is everything!! OMG! Love that you don't even need a lot of product to get your face popping!" —Olajumoke Ayoola

    Get it from Amazon for $5.75 (available in four colors).

    20. Press-on nails that'll give you a gel-like mani in about five minutes. I can vouch because these are my hands, and I've used about five sets of them!

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    I'm quite adept at painting my own nails (the only time I get a professional manicure is when I want gel before going on vacation), but these press-on nails have me feeling super lazy about painting my nails because they're so easy to use! And that's OK! Each set costs you less than 10 bucks, and rather than fool with a bottle of nail glue that ends up anywhere but the nails, each nail has a peel-off plastic that reveals a super-sticky surface you press onto your real nail. I find that all the nails stay on about three days when I do stuff like hand-wash my dishes, pet glorious dogs, and scratch many layers of dry shampoo on my scalp. You'll get 30 nails with each set, which helps you find the right sizes, BUT I've also found that comes in handy when a pointer or middle finger nail pops off (those are the first to go in my experience), so I end up getting about a week's use of wear out of each nail set. Multiple friends have seen me with the nails on, and all have believed they're the real deal!

    Get them from Target: marble/glitter set for $8.59 or similar red set for $8.59 (available in lots more styles)

    21. Or some neon-accented fake nails that come with nail glue AND press-on strips so you can apply as you'd like.

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    That's my hand! With this set, I rocked them for a little over a week and only had one thumbnail pop off while doing some really intense hand-washing of sweaty summer clothes. (It was really easy to glue back on.) After that success, I used the glue option again on another set of their nails to wear to an eight-day trip to Croatia that entailed lots of boating, swimming in the sea, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and scaling up a very vertical rock to jump into the bay of Dubrovnik that had me questioning all of my life decisions. With all of that watery action, I had only about four nails pop off throughout the week, which I was able to glue back on with the company's excellent glue that comes with the set. (Plus, the glue tube took up next to nothing in my toiletries bag!) The kit comes with 24 nails of various sizes, a file/buffer, nail glue, adhesive adhesive tabs, and a cuticle stick.

    Get them from Nails of LA for $16.

    22. A draped wrap skirt for pairing with basically any plain top you've got. (Or NOT plain top!) It'll be a showstopper either way.

    reviewer wearing the green skirt

    Promising review: "This was an amazing buy! I love the fit, style, and color. The fabric is soft and still stretchy. It doesn’t wrinkle easily, which I loved. Was the perfect Valentine’s Day outfit piece." —Kim 

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99+ (available in sizes XS–XL and in 36 colors). 

    23. A cute cross-body bag you can feel OK about taking on every single last errand. And if all those grocery store trips where you swore you didn't need a cart take a toll on this bag, replacing it won't be too painful.


    Promising review: "I had been searching for this size bag for a while; it's not too big, but large enough to fit my essentials (wallet, phone, glasses case). I can even fit a medium-size book in there. :) The quality is awesome as well. Perfect cross-body bag for me." —Amanda Hubard

    Get it from Amazon for $23.95 (available in 30 colors).

    24. An Oregon Trail pin to constantly rep the iconic game that taught you all about dysentery. You may want to buy in bulk because your friends are for sure going to ask about it.

    hand holding a pin that looks like the 8-bit style of the Oregon Trail video game with "you have died of dysentery" on it
    PopsicArt / Etsy

    This is from a small biz based out of Kenilworth, New Jersey, with tons of pop culture–inspired pins and wall art.

    Get it from PopsicArt on Etsy for $10.

    25. A shirt with puff sleeves as a casual top that won't feel so casual.


    Promising review: "Love it! Got so many compliments. It is sweater-like material, not T-shirt material. I ordered my regular US size, and it fit perfectly. It's so sexy and feminine." —Cream1970

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in sizes XS–XL and 26 styles/colors).

    26. A science-themed eyeshadow palette called "Sodium Fine" (please tell me you get it) with major color payoff for all your beauty experiments.

    @makeupscientistcosmetics / Via, @makeupscientistcosmetics / Via

    This is made by a small Black woman–owned business based in Greenville, North Carolina. But the fun tie-ins don't stop at the palette name. Eyeshadow shades include beauts like "Comet" (shimmer coppery red shade), "Area 51" (a matte highlight shade), and "Dexter" (a purple glitter).

    Promising review: "This palette is amazing!!!!! It’s so pigmented. The colors pop extremely well. I can’t wait to see what other palettes this brand has to come." —Jasmine

    Get it on Amazon for $45 (Prime two-day shipping) OR directly from Makeup Scientist Cosmetics for $45 (features 12 colors in a mix of shimmers, glitters, and matte shades).

    27. A ruffle-hem romper as a jealousy-inducing option if you're aiming for Main Character energy. (Of course you are.)

    reviewer wearing pink ruffle romper

    Promising review: "This romper is EVERYTHING! So comfortable, and I was so obsessed that I bought another one in a different color the night I wore it. You will not regret this purchase." —Angel A.

    Get it from Amazon for $23.99+ (available in sizes S–XL and in five colors).

    28. A color-depositing conditioner to give you a colorful transformation with some staying power. Psst, it's less messy than at-home box dyes and way cheaper than a salon visit. Just simply use this conditioner every time you wash your hair for even more vibrant color!,

    Promising review: "I love this! Never using traditional home dye again. I ordered pastel pink. It was so easy; I hopped in the shower, got my hair wet, and added several pumps to my palm. Then I used my hands to work it through my strands like conditioner. I waited for the five minutes, finished showering, and then it was time to rinse. That's it. From bleached blonde to pastel pink in less than 10 minutes total. Results were even better than expected. And I didn't need gloves; my hands didn't get dyed." —Tabatha Carpenter

    Get it from Amazon for $14 (available in 11 colors and four sizes).

    29. Or a bottle of Fanola purple shampoo that'll strip your locks of any brassiness and bring it closer to the silvery blonde you intended.

    Reviewer before and after showing the shampoo took their hair from orange and brassy to cool and light blonde

    Promising review: "This is a dark blue shampoo, so I did not let it stay on my hair long because I was afraid it would turn the 'old lady blue.' My hair looked more silver, shiny, and had a 'clean' appearance. I am very happy with this shampoo, and will be reordering. My hair was soft and easy to manage, with no flyaways." —CharlieCub

    Get it from Amazon for $10+ (available in three sizes).

    30. A silver holographic waist bag to help free up your hands and store all your essentials like your phone, hand sani, and five lip products you MUST bring with you every time you leave the house. I get it. I truly do.

    fanny pack in silver fabric

    Promising review: "I have been using this as a fun purse, and I cannot tell you how many people have asked me where I got it. It is so much fun for all ages!" —Melissa S.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99 (available in nine colors).

    31. A flared skirt you could wear with your go-to tanks now and get away with wearing with chunky sweaters and boots come fall. What's that? A photo op?


    Promising review: "I loved this skirt! Perfect fit, and really cute dalmatian print. I got my usual size. I will probably buy this in another color. The drawstrings are really long, which I am not a fan of, and for me the skirt rides up just a tad." —Taylor

    Get it from Amazon for $11.39+ (available in sizes S–XXL and 28 colors/patterns).

    32. A short-sleeve maxi dress with POCKETS that'll give you lots of room to contort your legs into the comfiest possible position while you catch up with your favorite YouTubers.

    Reviewer wearing blue dress

    Promising review: "Soft, comfy, and great material. The color is vibrant. It fits true to size. I received a lot of compliments. It has pockets too!! I'm definitely buying more in other colors." —Latoya Santiago

    Get it from Amazon for $31.99+ (available in sizes 14–26 and 23 colors).

    33. A wave barrette or a claw clip to instantly upgrade a meh 'do.

    Chunks, Melanie Aman / BuzzFeed

    Chunks is an Asian woman–owned small business that makes super-creative hair clips. My colleague Melanie Aman (pictured on the right) is a huge fan. Here's what she has to say:

    "I splurged on a bunch of hair clips — five to be exact — because I have no self-control and I'm very into the claw clip trend. I have straight Asian hair that's quite thick, and these clips do a great job of holding it back without ripping out strands every time I remove them. While I definitely wouldn't consider myself to be someone who thrives on attention (I type as I wait for strangers on the internet to validate my writing), these offer a cool and poppy pattern against my normally very neutral-colored outfits."

    Get them from Chunks: the wavy barrette for $6.75 (available in six colors) and the claw clip for $16.50 (available in four colors).

    34. A pair of bike shorts (with color!) for giving the black bike shorts you've had on heavy rotation the past year a bit of a deserved break.,

    Promising review: "These are just about perfect. Top-quality fabric and construction. Sizing is on target. The very wide waistband is ultra comfy and reinforced with a bit of stretch (maybe elastic) inside at the very top. And what a great price! I love that it's mostly cotton too. I also have the bright blue (different fabric), and it's great too. Both have washed well and are perfect for the gym." —PF Moore

    Get them from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in sizes XS–3XL and a variety of colors).

    35. Colorful espadrilles for some just plain FUN. Remember that?

    view down of colorful slipon espadrilles

    Promising review: "True to size, well made, and very pretty. They do not slip off my feet when walking. They don’t feel hot on my feet either. These are the perfect summer shoes." —SMNQ

    Get them from Amazon for $33.99+ (available in sizes 5–11 and eight styles).

    Note: Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.