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    52 Cheap Alternatives To Expensive Products You’ll Feel Like A Genius For Buying

    Psst — most of your favorite beauty products and Lululemon pieces come in much, much more affordable versions if you know where to look. 👀

    1. Essence's Lash Princess mascara, because TBH, we've all wasted too many years and too much money looking for the ~holy grail~ mascara. This one is less than $5, gives you instant length, and is DELIGHTFULLY sweatproof — reviewers call it out as an excellent comparison for Too Faced's "Better Than Sex" and Benefit's "They're Real." 

    Before shot of a Buzzfeed editor without mascara
    After shot of BuzzFeed editor with long lashes
    Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

    Hello, that is my face above, because I bought into the hype of all the 5-star reviews and now I will never look back!! Putting it on is like giving my eyelashes butterfly wings. It doesn't get clumpy, it stays put ALL the livelong day no matter how much you sweat, and you can apply it on very lightly if you don't want it to look so dramatic, or continue applying for longer lashes each time.

    Promising review: "AWESOME. I’ve always bought overpriced mascara. I’m very picky and was extremely hesitant, but I saw some reviews saying how awesome this was. I’ll never go back to 'Better Than Sex' mascara because that’s what I always use, and I compare it to that. This is the best mascara!! I’ll never go back." —patrick hauk

    Get it from Amazon for $4.99.

    2. A "flossing toothbrush" with two layers of bristles so effective it might have you breaking up with your electric toothbrush. This includes regular firm bristles, and longer ones that are 10 times thinner to clean in between your teeth and gums to mimic flossing. Reviewers love how deep the clean feels, and also how soft it is on sensitive teeth! 

    A toothbrush with two layers of bristles, one long and thin and one shorter and thicker
    Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

    Mouthwatchers is a small business established by Ronald Plotka, DDS, that specializes in antimicrobial toothbrushes designed to get deeper cleans even patients with "great" dental hygiene might miss with traditional brush and floss routines. 

    I personally bought this and love it! I use an electric toothbrush usually, but I feel like I'm getting a much more satisfying clean from these?? Especially because I tend to get yellow stains between my teeth no matter *how* much I floss, and these bristles seem to actually target that a lot more effectively. I've switched to using this in the morning and the electric one at night and definitely see a difference in that area in particular. 

    Promising review: "A thorough cleaning. This toothbrush cleans my teeth better than my expensive electric one. You actually feel the bristles scrubbing between your gums!" —Shiva H. 

    Get a two-pack from Amazon for $8.91

    3. Mega popular high-waisted leggings made with performance fabric that has a *lot* of reviewers swapping their more expensive brand name pairs out — these are comfortable, squat-proof, and also come with a *MEGA* secure pocket for your phone and a teensy *secret* pocket in the waistband for your keys. 

    Reviewer in green leggings and workout gear
    Reviewer in black version showing side pocket with a phone in it

    No joke, I checked my Amazon history and I own three pairs of these now because I just keep buying them every time I need a reliable pair of black leggings. They're compressive, squatproof, slide on very easily, and are quite comfy — and this is speaking as someone who uses them for everything from leisurely walks around the city to 10-mile runs. The pockets are perfectly-sized for phones and accessories with a nice depth to them, and don't stretch out over time like other ones do. They also wash up beautifully — I haven't noticed any wear in them, I just keep buying more because I was sick of waiting until laundry day to wear them when they got sweaty. 

    Promising review: "These are the best yoga pants, giving Lululemon a run for their money (at a quarter of the price). NOT EXAGGERATING! I first bought the capris and loved them so much I bought an extra pair and the long ones as well. So very comfortable. Pockets are perfectly placed and inconspicuous. I have washed many times, hanging to dry, and they hold up, with no fading. Perfect fit, and true to size. I have recommended to so many, who also now rave about these yoga pants...and thank me." —P. Bauman

    Psst — if you have Amazon Prime Wardrobe, you can try this piece out before you buy it! 

    Get them from Amazon for $21.99+ (available in women's sizes XS–3X and 23 colors).

    4. Plus, a pair of popular cross-waist leggings heralded as the perfect comp for the Aerie leggings that went viral on TikTok — reviewers love this version for the streamlined look, the soft four-way stretch, and of course, the hidden pocket in the waistband. 👀 

    Reviewer in navy blue cross waist leggings
    Reviewer wearing white leggings with black dots

    Promising review: "I bought these leggings because I saw a plus-size woman on TikTok raving about them and thought they were cute! I read reviews, and 90% of them were great, so I ordered them. When I got them the next day I immediately put them on, and I LOVE THEM! They are soooo soft and comfy, and not see-through at all! Definitely recommend these!" —Taylor

    Psst — if you have Amazon Prime Wardrobe, you can try this piece out before you buy it! 

    Get it from Amazon for $19.90+ (available in women's sizes XS–3X, three inseams, with or without pockets, and dozens of colors). 

    5. A lil' polar bear hydrating eye stick for some sweet, sweet relief when you wake up with puffy, aching eyes. This formula is blended with Iceland glacial water to help tighten skin and tackle dark circles so you look and feel more ~refreshed~. Bonus: it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the other TikTok fave, the Tula version. 

    The small polar bear shaped eye stick in a reviewer's hands
    Before and after pic of reviewer with dark under eyes that are gone in the second pic

    Promising review: "I have always had serious dark circles and bags under my eyes and this has really changed this for me. The results are incredible. The puffiness is gone. The dark circles are hardly noticeable. My sensitive skin has not broken out. I never write reviews, but this was so good that I had to write a review. This actually works." —Ben

    "Better than Tula! I love this cooling stick!! It’s super easy, affordable and smells lovely." —Heather

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99

    6. An affordable cult-favorite luxury-scented candle with a scent reminiscent of Le Labo's Santal 33, and a throw so satisfying that reviewers can't stop gushing about it. If you're in the market for a signature scent for your space, look no further than this jasmine, oud, and sandalwood blend. 

    Lulu Candles is a US-based small business that specializes in scented candles and perfumes. 

    Promising review: "This is such a great candle that fills the room quickly with a really nice strong smell that is soothing and relaxing. I was looking for a less expensive Le Labo Santal 33 scent candle and this one is very very close! It's a bit stronger but I love it! The shipment arrived fast and I just love how fast it fills up the room without being lit for so long!" —Cristina Bertolotto

    Get it from Amazon for $19.95+ (available in three sizes, in gift box options, in packs of two, and in a variety of scents).  

    7. A bottle of Elizavecca Hair Treatment, an Olaplex-like repairing mask infused with collagen ingredients and protein extracts that will help restore hair health and reduce shedding. All you gotta do is apply it on wet hair after a shampoo, wait five minutes, and rinse it out.

    Reviewer with curly hair holding a strand of it out
    Reviewer with straight blow dried hair

    This is designed to work on all hair types, with reviewers with 2b to 4c curls mentioning it worked for them! 

    Promising review: "Like many others, I tried this as a replacement for Olaplex. Honestly, Olaplex never had a great effect on my hair and certainly wasn’t worth the price. This did an unreal job on my hair!! I was skeptical (tried a little bit first because I was petrified it would burn off my hair and I would end up bald!) but, lo and behold, it was magic! My hair is so strong, silky, and healthy looking after just one use. Plus you can’t beat the price! Have already ordered another box. I should also add I have curly/wavy hair that’s been colored to a light brown. Buy it!!" —BB

    Check out BuzzFeed's full review of the Elizavecca hair treatment for more deets!

    Get a bottle from Amazon for $6.80.

    8. A set of satin pillowcases that not only have a cooling effect, but are soft on your skin and create less friction for your hair so it won't get as tangled while you sleep. Reviewers especially love these because they're an affordable alternative to ones that typically run $18 per case! 

    A model hugging a pillow with a black satin case
    The gray satin cases on pillows on a bed
    Amazon

    Promising review: "My hair has never been better! I got this because of TikTok and it has done wonders for my hair. My hair isn’t frizzy or dull-looking when I get up in the morning." —Aaron Key

    "These are really nice — perfect price point too. There's no difference between these and the same pillowcases from Kitsch at three times the price." —Keri

    Get a set of two from Amazon for $9.99 (available in 22 colors and four sizes).

    9. A trio of hydrating lip sleeping masks for three Laneige-like masks in *one* — this even comes in four different flavor combos so you can split them among friends, if you're feeling generous. ✨

    reviewer holding three small containers of lip mask in berry, pomegranate, and lime
    reviewer with glossy lips

    Promising review: "This is the most moisturizing lip treatment in the market. When my lips started getting dry due to the cold season I was thinking of buying the Laneige lip mask, but it’s soooo expensive. This is a fraction of the cost and feels just the same. Very good product." —Riya

    Get it from Amazon for $9.90 (available in four combos). 

    10. A buildable Electric Glow Stick lipstick with a sheer, subtle glitter and a unique rosy tint formulated with ~pH technology~ so it will adapt to your own personalized shade. Bonus: reviewers *love* this as a subtle, rosy blush — a cheaper alternative to expensive pH adaptive versions! 

    Model with pink lip stain
    Reviewer holding pink glittery lipstick

    Check out a TikTok of the Electric Glow lipstick in action. 

    Promising review: "Beautiful color lipstick that looks great with my skin tone. Not too bright but a rosy color that I love." —Faloli

    Get it from Amazon for $4.99

    11. A set of chic, highly popular wireless Bluetooth earbuds reviewers compare to AirPods, except arguably better — these are completely waterproof (as in, you can sweat in them and then FULLY take them in the shower) and come with several silicone earbuds to get the best fit possible.

    Reviewer holding pale pink earbud charging case with matching earbuds in them
    Model wearing discrete black earbuds in ear

    These come with a wireless charging case that provides up to 14 hours of charge (with the earbuds able to play for four-plus hours with each full charge). 

    Promising review: "I previously had Beats headphones that broke within three months. I bought these to replace my Beats headphones and will never turn back. These headphones are amazing. They have a very long battery life. I love the case they come with. I use them in the gym four days a week and they have not become waterlogged. If you're looking for reliable headphones I would highly recommend these!" —Tiffany

    Get it from Amazon $19.99+ (clip the $5 off coupon on the product page for this price; available in five colors).