When I impulsively decided to purchase a $12 derma roller on Amazon last year, I had no idea that I was getting an incredible bargain on better skin, plumper lips, and an all-around perkier complexion. You don't have to be an industry insider to know that typically, getting such substantial results requires either a hefty investment, a visit to the doctor, or both—so when my fine lines disappeared along with my previously im-poss-ible under-eye bags, all thanks to this dinky little tool, I knew I had some reassessing to do. (My bank account concurred.)
Let's be clear: There are some truly inimitable products and treatments that are absolutely worth the money. But my amazing experience with my derma roller has served as a reminder that there are also some really fabulous cost-efficient ways to transform your beauty regimen—and get the results you've been craving, no extensive budgeting or professional intervention required.
Keep reading to see the $20-and-under tools we swear by.
Don't underestimate the power of this small but mighty sponge: It's the tool that makeup artists rely on most for HD-ready foundation. Our favorite tip to take it to the next level? After soaking the sponge in water, mix it with cream foundation and moisturizer for a dewy, airbrushed-looking finish.
Model-loved esthetician Ling Chan has a wealth of incredible skincare tips to offer, and this pointer is no exception: She once told us to use a jade roller to apply serum or moisturizer, as it helps massage the face and boost circulation while distributing the product deeply into our pores. All that, and the cool stone also really perks us up first thing in the morning.
To avoid the spread of bacteria, breakouts, or even illness, frequently cleaning those makeup brushes is a must. This handy silicone mat has ridges to help get every last bit of gunk out and doubles as a drying "rack"—and the fact that you can simply rinse the mess away makes it all feel like less of a chore.
Micro-needling isn't for the faint of heart, but the results—from diminished acne scars and filled-in fine lines to a bigger pout—definitely don't lie. With monthly use, this amazing little device is as close as you can get to a non-invasive face-lift. At home. For less than $10.
Even makeup artists need to clean up a cat eye every now and then. With makeup remover built in, these cotton swabs get the job done without making a bigger mess. (They're also great for removing stubborn mascara along your lash line that your cleanser just couldn't reach.)
Dry-brushing is probably one of the most underrated pre-shower rituals: Just spending three minutes gently buffing your bod can help you get rid of dead skin, boost circulation, and diminish the appearance of cellulite. Seriously!
Muslin is kinder to your skin than the average washcloth, but the gentle fibers still thoroughly exfoliate and scrub away makeup, oil, and dirt. Try Eve Lom's face-washing method, which transforms the chore into a relaxing ritual: Apply some cleanser to your face, soak a muslin cloth in steaming hot water, and hold it over your face for a few seconds. Scrub the cleanser into your skin with your fingers in circular motions, soak the cloth in water again, and hold it over your face again. Scrub with your fingers, wet the cloth, and wipe away any remaining cleanser and makeup.
You've heard it before, but it's still worth mentioning: There's not an easier or quicker way to look more awake than curling your lashes.
If you don't consistently foam-roll, you should: It helps prevent injuries and soreness, irons out existing kinks, tones your muscles—and just feels so good. Gym equipment that feels like a massage, fits under your bed, and doesn't drain your bank account is hard to come by, so embrace it: Sign up for a foam-rolling class (available at many gyms) to learn the basics.
Chances are you've given or received one of these as a white elephant gift at some point in your lifetime—but don't lie; you love it. It actually has some good beauty benefits, too: Stimulating the scalp encourages hair growth and oil production while exfoliating flakiness away. And don't discount its de-stressing abilities, either.
Don't get skeeved by the fact that this "sponge" is actually a starchy vegetable: It's perfect for gently scrubbing away daily impurities, since its porous texture becomes soft and absorbent upon contact with water. Honest Beauty takes it up a notch, infusing its version with detoxifying clay and soothing chamomile. (Plus, it re-dries after use and can last up to a month.)
Any affordable favorites of your own? Chime in below!