Beauty editors…we’re a thrifty bunch. Yes, we’ll drool over exquisite packaging and luxurious creams, but we also fully embrace our frugal side. In fact, our beauty routines would be greatly lacking if it weren’t for the help of some budget beauty essentials. Where would we be without our $1 cotton rounds or trusty $5 makeup-remover wipes? We shudder to think of the possibilities.
Luckily, we live in a world where our dirt-cheap beauty gems can nestle in right at home among our slightly more cringe-inducing purchases. Got five dollars? Because that’s all you’ll need to snatch up these Byrdie editor–approved steals. Go ahead—go all-out. Keep scrolling for our favorite under-$5 buys!
"Why is it randomly so difficult to find cotton pads that don't pill and disintegrate upon use? These are one of the few varieties that don't, and they get bonus points for being eco-friendly." — Victoria Hoff, associate editor
What's your favorite $5 beauty product? Tell us below!
"I've used these for years—they're amazing for dissolving blackheads and drying up pimples in a pinch, or removing my makeup when I'm feeling very lazy." — Victoria Hoff, associate editor
"This is the ideal deep-conditioner for those with ultra-fine, color-damaged hair, as it's hydrating yet lightweight, so it doesn't weight hair down or make it look like Grease Town USA. When my hair's looking dry and dull, this stuff is the answer. Plus, it's $3. Hello." — Amanda Montell, associate features editor
"These shimmery eye shadows are impressively pigmented and pretty for how affordable they are. Plus, I love how small and convenient the packaging is. It's like every part of an eye shadow palette I want to use, all in one teensy compact." — Amanda Montell, associate features editor
"I first discovered these lipsticks while studying abroad in London, and I couldn't get over the rich color payoff, addictingly sweet smell, and wide range of colors. I snatched up two, one in a tawny nude and one in a pale-pink nude (I wore and raved about it for a story here). I’ve since worn both down to the bottom of the bullet and plan on stocking up, lest they disappear for good." — Faith Xue, managing editor
"When I'm feeling like a cat eye, I love this liner. It works just as well as other more expensive brands, IMO. It also glides on really easily for a seamless line (it's virtually foolproof)." — Lindsey Metrus, associate editor
"Baby Lips are still the bomb.com in my book. I pick one up every time I'm in CVS. I'm never without the original clear, but I also love Peach Kiss." — Deven Hopp, senior editor
"I really love using Dickson's toner every now and then for a nice refresher. It's 100% natural and doesn't dry out my skin. It actually feels more moisturized and replenished when I'm done using it." — Lindsey Metrus, associate editor
"I use Q-Tips for so many more things than just cleaning my ears. The ones with precision tips are really great for cleaning up stray eyeliner or feathered lipstick. Just apply makeup remover to the tip (or concealer), and you can clean up any midday smudges. Any time I have a breakout or one of those underground (but painful) cysts, I use the swab to apply a spot treatment. It’s helpful to keep your hands away from any breakouts so as to keep bacteria at bay." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I’ve mentioned these towelettes before, but they’re still my absolute favorite makeup-removing product. They don’t dry out my skin or cause my face to feel tight immediately after use. They really remove every trace of makeup—whether it’s stubborn mascara, long-wear lipstick, or foundation." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"Anyone who tries this little tin of lip balm will fall in love—I guarantee it. The size and shape make it so easy to throw in your bag on the go, and the formula makes your lips feel silky-smooth. I’m partial to the Rosy Lips one, since it’s slightly tinted and gives your lips just a hint of color. Another U.K. find that I’m so glad has made it stateside!" — Faith Xue, managing editor