45 Cult-Favorite Beauty Products Under $20 That Work So Freaking Well

Robert Hundley

Over the years, it seems that more and more beauty products have been awarded “cult-favorite” status — and usually, said status comes accompanied by a sky-high price tag. So while there’s no shortage of popular beauty products to choose from, finding cult-favorite products that are affordable and effective is a much more difficult task. It’s not impossible, though, as evidenced by these 45 cult-favorite beauty products under $20 that work so freaking well. From makeup to skin care to hair care, the products on this list have all garnered devoted fan followings thanks to the brilliant way they combine performance, ingenuity, and affordability.

But how, you might be wondering, does one measure cult-favorite status? Well, all of the products on this list boast thousands of reviews on Amazon, but they’re also favorites of makeup artists, YouTube vloggers, skin care Redditors, and more. Others have gone viral on social media at some point or another, and some are personal favorites of The Zoe Report’s very own editors. And yes, everything on this list truly rings up at less than $20 on Amazon — which means no outrageous shipping fees, either.

To shop the most popular and affordable beauty products on Amazon right now, simply keep scrolling.

Table of Contents


This Elegant Hydrating Mist Made With Just 3 Natural Ingredients

Sometimes it’s the simplest products that work the hardest, as is the case with this facial mist. It uses just three ingredients — purified water, glycerin, and rose flower oil — to moisturize, soothe, and balance all skin types, leaving it dewy and radiant in the process. It’s endlessly versatile, too: Use it as a toner, to refresh your complexion mid-day, to dampen your makeup sponge, or to hydrate and lightly perfume dry hair, as just a few ideas.


A Shampoo & Conditioner That Remove Brassy Undertones From Blonde Hair

A purple shampoo is one of those products you don’t really need to splurge on — especially not when L’Oreal’s excellent EverPure line is in the world. This highly rated shampoo and conditioner duo is packed with violet pigments that neutralize brassy undertones in blonde or blonde-highlighted hair. Use either the shampoo, the conditioner, or both once or twice a week to keep your color icy and bright between salon visits.


The All-Purpose Cream With A Serious Cult Following

Although this Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream has a serious following among makeup artists, celebrities, and other folks in-the-know, it’s somehow remained relatively under-the-radar. The textbook definition of a cult-favorite, in other words. Why is it so beloved? Well, it’s made with just six potent ingredients — bee pollen, beeswax, honey, royal jelly, olive oil, and propolis, which contains a pharmacy’s worth of antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant benefits — that work together to create a healing salve with nearly endless uses. In addition to an all-over moisturizer on very dry skin, try it as a makeup remover, after shave, nail and cuticle cream, lip mask… there’s really no wrong way to use this stuff.


One Of The Best Makeup Removers Of All Time

As far as makeup removers are concerned (or skin care products, period), it doesn’t get much better than Bioderma micellar water. It removes every trace of makeup like none other, all without stripping your skin — in fact, it works to actively hydrate and soften skin as it cleanses. This’ll be one of the smartest $15 purchases you’ll ever make, especially since this large-format bottle will last you for ages.


This Exfoliating Mask That Smells Like Pumpkin Pie

With ingredients like pumpkin puree, Manuka honey, cinnamon bark powder, and fruit and sugar extracts, this Andalou Naturals mask sounds (and smells) good enough to eat. In practice, all those delicious ingredients (plus glycolic acid, the powerhouse AHA) work to buff dead cells from the surface of your skin, revealing the softer, brighter skin underneath. This works beautifully as a weekly exfoliant for all skin types, though several Amazon reviewers turn to this mask specifically to even out discoloration or fade unwanted scarring.


A Does-It-All Korean Serum Made With 96{5c5ba01e4f28b4dd64874166358f62106ea5bcda869a94e59d702fa1c9707720} Snail Mucin

COSRX’s entire snail mucin line is quickly ascending to cult status, but this essence is a particularly popular offering; and with its intense concentration of snail mucin (96.3{5c5ba01e4f28b4dd64874166358f62106ea5bcda869a94e59d702fa1c9707720}, to be precise), it’s a surefire way to get that hydrating, firming, and brightening ingredient straight into your skin. The simple formula gets a boost from hyaluronic acid and panthenol, which work to attract and seal moisture into your skin for long-lasting suppleness. Need more convincing? It’s EmRata-approved.


This $5 Serum That Makes Your Hair Ridiculously Shiny & Smooth

No need to reinvent the wheel here: Garnier Fructis has long been a drugstore staple (you may even have a bottle on your own bathroom shelf), and it’s worth repurchasing again and again. This serum works so well to smooth away unwanted frizz and impart a gorgeous, glossy sheen, all without feeling heavy or gloopy. And it’s hard to resist that iconic fruity scent, or that $5 price tag.


A $15 Face Wash That Works Just As Well As Any Pricey Cleanser On The Market

Unpopular opinion: Nine times out of 10, expensive cleansers are a waste of money. Instead, why not spend less than $20 on this gorgeous, creamy face wash from La Roche-Posay? It’s made with ceramides, glycerin, niacinamide, and the brand’s signature thermal spring water to gently wash away oil and impurities while infusing your skin with soothing hydration and balancing prebiotics. It’s made without harsh surfactants, dyes, fragrance, and other common irritants, to it’s an especially nice choice for dry or sensitive skin.


A 10-Pack Of Sheet Masks From One Of Korea’s Most Popular Brands

The ingredients list for these Mediheal sheet masks is basically a who’s-who of firming, hydrating, and toning ingredients, all delivered via a plush but grippy cotton mask that doesn’t annoyingly slip off your face. The thirst-quenching serum feels especially satisfying on dry and dehydrated skin, or as a cooling salve on sensitized skin, like after getting too much sun or doing an intensive exfoliating treatment.


A Smart Way To Save Money On Cotton Pads — & Prevent Product Waste

Rather than constantly waste money and materials, why not swap out your single-use cotton pads for these reusable ones? They’re made of ultra-soft, 99{5c5ba01e4f28b4dd64874166358f62106ea5bcda869a94e59d702fa1c9707720} organic bamboo and work just as well as regular cotton pads, but you can throw them in the washing machine and reuse them again and again. This pack of 18 comes with a handy drawstring pouch so you don’t lose any loose pads in the wash.


A Hydrating Japanese Sunscreen That Feels Like A Refreshing Gel

This Japanese sunscreen is something of a marvel in the sunscreen world. Unlike most SPFs, the texture is akin to a watery gel, as the name says, so it blends invisibly and weightlessly into skin, while hyaluronic acid gives it a refreshing, hydrating feel. The pump-top vehicle makes application all over your face and body even easier, too.


These Game-Changing Moisturizers For Severely Dry Hands & Feet

Dry, tough hands and feet are no match for this classic moisturizing duo from O’Keeffe’s. Not only do these creams immediately moisturize dry skin, but they work to actively heal and protect compromised skin (including skin that’s cracked or bleeding) for long-lasting relief. “With continued use, my hands and feet became normal,” wrote one Amazon reviewer with chronically dry skin. “I am just so impressed with this stuff. It got to a point where I felt I didn’t need it anymore.”


A Prescription-Strength Acne Treatment That *All* Skin Types Can Benefit From

Thanks to Differin gel, you no longer need to visit your dermatologist to get an effective acne treatment or retinoid — Adapalene, the active ingredient in here, was the first FDA-approved, prescription-strength acne treatment for over-the-counter use. It works to deep-clean your pores of acne-causing bacteria and trigger cellular turnover; so not only does it clear and prevent breakouts, but it makes all skin types stronger, firmer, and brighter, just like a retinoid.


This Deliciously Creamy Leave-In Conditioner For Type 4 Curls

Made with Type 4 hair in mind (though great for all types of curly hair), this rich, creamy leave-in conditioner uses a blend of botanical ingredients rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids — like murumuru seed butter, buriti fruit oil, and babassu oil — to moisturize and define curls without weighing them down. “The first time i used this, i just kept stroking my hair. It was so amazing,” one Amazon shopper gushed. “I literally felt my hair and my hands get softer and smoother with every stroke.” You’ll be obsessed with its divine fruity fragrance, too.


This Velvety-Soft Finishing Powder That’s Been A Fan-Favorite For Decades

Despite (or maybe because of) being on the market since 1935, Coty Airspun is one of the best finishing powders you can get right now. It offers medium-to-high coverage with a velvety, soft-focus finish, but it feels surprisingly lightweight on skin. In addition to a translucent finish (pictured), it’s available in rosy and honey tones that work gorgeously on a range of skin tones.


A Protein Treatment That Rebuilds Damaged Hair From The Inside Out

Few hair treatments work better — or are more affordable — than this Elizavecca protein treatment. A power-packed combination of ceramides and proteins work to repair damage, resulting in stronger, softer, and overall healthier hair. Try it out for yourself, and you’ll soon see why it’s earned over 17,000 perfect ratings on Amazon, and counting.


An Exfoliating Face Wash That Won’t Irritate Sensitive Skin

If you’re in the market for a gentle exfoliant, try this face wash from under-the-radar Korean brand Dr Song. It’s made with an impressive concentration of 10{5c5ba01e4f28b4dd64874166358f62106ea5bcda869a94e59d702fa1c9707720} glycolic acid to exfoliate, but since you wash it off immediately, rather than leave it on, it’s a bit gentler and less irritating than something like a mask or serum. Fans on Amazon rave about its myriad effects, from balancing excess oil production to evening out discoloration to minimizing the appearance of enlarged pores, among others.


The French Moisturizer That Professional Makeup Artists Swear By

French pharmacies are brimming with incredible products, but among all those riches, Embryollise Lait-Crème Concentré — a decadent all-purpose moisturizer — is a consistent best-seller. It’s a particular favorite among professional makeup artists, since it’s gentle and effective on all skin types, and works double-duty as a nourishing primer for makeup.


A Must-Have Korean Moisturizer That All Skin Types Will Love

An ideal final step in your Korean skin care routine, COSRX’s Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream is made with 92{5c5ba01e4f28b4dd64874166358f62106ea5bcda869a94e59d702fa1c9707720} snail mucin and hyaluronic acid to plump, moisturize, and protect your skin. Even though it’s such a powerhouse moisturizer, it boasts a refreshing, gel-like texture that oily skin types will absolutely love, though it’s an amazing choice for all skin types, including acne-prone.


A Cult-Classic Hair Brush That Painlessly Unravels Knots

Tangle Teezers are essentially synonymous with detangling hair brushes at this point. These game-changing brushes use two types of teeth — one longer to tackle knots, and one shorter to seal and smooth the cuticle — made of a flexible material that’s gentle on all hair types, and work on both wet and dry hair. Another selling point? They come in five chic colors, like mint green and millennial pink.


This Sugar & Coconut Lip Scrub For Plush, Plump Lips

Prepping your lips with a scrub is crucial for smooth lipstick application, or simply as a once- or twice-weekly treatment to maintain soft, flake-free lips. Happily, scrubs are another product you definitely don’t need to spend a lot of money on, as this one from Handmade Heroes proves. It’s made with just a handful of natural ingredients, like sugar, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, which leave your lips feeling plush and looking naturally plumper. If you don’t love coconut-scented products, you might prefer the matcha latte version listed on the same page.


A Smaller (& Cheaper) Version Of The Iconic Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant

You’ve likely heard of this Paula’s Choice salicylic acid exfoliant, whether through Instagram, beauty influencers, or celebs, like Kaia Gerber, who swear by it for everything from clearing up blackheads to promoting a smooth, clear complexion. So if you’re curious to try the “miracle worker” (as many shoppers have dubbed it) but don’t want to spring for the full-sized bottle, pick up this smaller, 1-ounce version for just $10.


This Collagen Sleeping Mask For Dewy, Plump Skin In The Morning

Slather on this sleeping pack as the final step in your nighttime skin care routine, and you’ll wake up to your smoothest, dewiest skin ever. It’s made with collagen, hyaluronic acid, and baobab water that work to attract and retain moisture and plump up your skin. Plus, it acts as a protective seal over all the serums, oils, and/or moisturizers you applied first, thereby preventing those products — and all their beneficial ingredients — from evaporating overnight.


A Japanese Oil Cleanser That Effortlessly Breaks Down Makeup

This Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil is a staple in its native Japan, and a cult-favorite among skin care obsessives everywhere else in the world. It has a slightly runnier consistency than most other oil cleansers, and a lighter-weight feel as a result. And it’s just as effective (if not more so) than cleansers double its price — one reviewer on Amazon wrote that it “miraculously lifts and pulls on the dirt and debris trapped inside my […] pores and made my blackheads nearly invisible for most of the time after cleansing,” then added that it’s an “amazing pore-shrinker.” When you run out, you can pick up a refill on Amazon rather than buying a whole new bottle.


The Best-Selling Pimple Patches Than Even Derms Swear By

It seems that every Instagram-famous dermatologist is a fan of the Mighty Patch pimple patches, but they’re also super popular on Amazon, with over 50,000 five-star ratings and counting. These translucent patches will not only help your blemishes heal faster, but they’ll also prevent you from picking at them while also keeping further bacteria out. They’re a great value, too, at just $13 for 36 patches.


This Mineral Sunscreen That Doubles As A BB Cream

This mineral sunscreen has a subtle tint that’s formulated specifically to blend seamlessly into darker skin tones, so you can wear it in lieu of your BB cream — it works similarly to even and blur your complexion, hydrate your skin, and give it an overall radiance boost. But perhaps more importantly, it offers SPF 50 protection using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both of which are gentle (and even soothing) on sensitive skin.


A Cult-Favorite Tubing Mascara From A Prestige Japanese Brand

Fans of DHC’s mascara include Emma Watson, so you know it’s a good one. It’s a jet-black tubing mascara, so while it won’t smear, melt off, or flake under your eyes throughout the day, it will slide off easily (in little tubes!) when it’s time to wash it off. The thin-bristled wand allows the mascara to coat every little lash hair, even your inner and bottom lashes.


This Classic Treatment For Body Acne & KP

People around the internet (and in real life, too) swear by CeraVe SA Cream to smooth out rough, bumpy patches on their body, whether due to keratosis pilaris or just dry skin. Naturally, this salicylic acid cream is also great for anyone dealing with body acne, as well. Though it contains the exfoliant salicylic acid, it’s also rich in hyaluronic acid and ceramides, so it won’t dry out your skin.


The Iconic German Moisturizer With Endless Uses

Look inside any beauty expert’s cabinet or toiletry bag, and chances are there will be a bottle of Skin Food. This cult German moisturizer is more like a rich ointment than a lotion or cream, and it has so many different uses. You can apply it from head to toe like a classic moisturizer, use it to spot-treat very dry, rough patches, wear it as a lip mask, or even dab it onto your cheekbones for a shimmer-free, highlighted effect. Fans include Victoria Beckham, Stella Maxwell, Katie Jane Hughes, and more.


This Does-It-All Serum That’ll Give You Your Best Skin Yet

Get all the active ingredients your skin probably needs, all in one bottle, with this serum from Naturium. It’s made with niacinamide to promote a more even complexion, hyaluronic acid to hydrate, zinc PCA to absorb oil, and vitamin E for an added nourishing boost. It’s packaged in an airtight bottle to keep the formula fresh, and somehow, this does-it-all-serum costs just $16. No wonder the new-ish product has already garnered over 6,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.


This Cool Primer That Feels Like A Putty, But Makes Your Skin Smooth & Matte

This cool primer starts off in a solid, putty-like form, but it glides over your skin and creates a smooth base for makeup, while simultaneously leaving behind a matte finish. This one is ideal for oily skin, but e.l.f also makes a nearly identical formula for dry skin, which leaves behind more of a silky, luminous effect. But have achieved cult-favorite status in beauty circles.


The Japanese Toning Lotion With Super-Charged Hydrating Powers

Think of this unique Japanese skin care product as a toner/lotion hybrid: You’d put it on your face after cleansing like toner, but unlike toners, which tend to clarify (and sometimes strip) your skin, this is a super-hydrating liquid that’ll create a base layer of moisture for your serums and creams. Because it’s made of hyaluronic acid, it’ll give your skin an immediate plumping and smoothing effect. It’s especially ideal for anyone with a dull, dry, or dehydrated complexion.


The Best-Selling Facial Razors For Brow Grooming & Dermaplaning

Whether you use these to groom your brows or dermaplane your entire face, the Tinkle razors are useful tools to keep in your arsenal. These cult-favorite facial razors have over 60,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, along with best-seller status, and cost just $5 for a pack of six.


A Unique Shampoo That Starts Out As Water & Lathers Into A Foam

This cool shampoo, which is made with micellar water, has garnered a low-key fan following due to its unique, water-to-foam formulation. Ideal for curly hair, its water-light texture ensures your hair won’t be weighed down by any residue, though it still provides a thorough, refreshing clean (without sulfates). The pointed nozzle applicator makes for convenient application directly onto your scalp, too.


The Cult-Classic Cream That Comes In The Iconic Blue Tin

Not all Nivea creams are created equal — and the best one, by far, is the old-school version that comes in this iconic blue tin. There’s a reason why this moisturizer has been a cult-favorite for decades: it’s rich and nourishing, but not greasy; it has a spreadable, creamy consistency; and it can be used from head to toe. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “It’s funny how many overpriced creams that I’ve purchased but they still don’t measure up to Nivea creme. What my mom and my grandma and probably my grandma’s ma used (this stuff was made back in 1911) is still the best. Listen to your mom!”


This Cheap Face & Body Wash That Derms Swear By For Acne

Derms always seem to recommend PanOxyl’s Acne Foaming Wash for treating body acne at home, and its reputation has garnered it a cult-following on Amazon, too. It’s made with 10{5c5ba01e4f28b4dd64874166358f62106ea5bcda869a94e59d702fa1c9707720} benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient that gets into your pores to wipe out any sort of bacteria that’s causing breakouts. You could use this on your face, as well, but it may be too strong, so start slowly, and be sure to keep your skin type in mind.


An Amazing Brow Pencil That Rivals Its Pricier Counterparts

No need to spend $25+ on a prestige brow pencil — this one, from NYX, is just as good as any luxury version you can buy. On one end is a tiny, precision-tip pencil; on the other, a spoolie to blend and fluff up your brows. The pigment glides on smoothly without skipping, which makes filling in your brows a cinch. Over 25,000 Amazon shoppers are fans.


A Korean Ampoule That’s Rich In Skin-Healing Snail Mucin

Rich in snail mucin, which has all sorts of moisturizing, healing, and repairing properties, this Mizon ampoule makes a solid addition to any skin care routine, but because of its benefits, it’s especially ideal for anyone who has unwanted scarring from past breakouts. It layers nicely under other products and makes your skin look and feel smooth, nourished, and soft. All you need is a tiny drop of product to cover an entire face.


The Iconic Drying Lotion That Has A Cult Following For A Reason

There’s a reason this little pink bottle can be found in the beauty cabinets of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. To put it simply, it really works at drying up unwanted blemishes while you sleep (or while you go about your business at home, if you prefer to use it during the day). All you need is a tiny dab of product via a Q-tip (never shake the bottle), and within no time, your spot will look flatter and less inflamed.


A Salicylic Acid Bar Soap With Over 10,000 5-Star Amazon Ratings

It’s rare for a skin care product on Amazon to get so many rave reviews, let alone a bar of soap. So when that’s the case, it’s worth paying attention. This British-born soap is rich in salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that helps treat acne by deep-cleaning congested pores. It’s an easy, fuss-free way to treat body breakouts in the shower, and it’ll last you months. $7 well spent.


A Soothing Scalp Treatment That Helps Relieve Dryness & Itching

If you have an itchy, dry, or otherwise irritated scalp, try this soothing scalp treatment from Head & Shoulders Royal Oils line, which was created with Black hair in mind (by Black scientists, nonetheless). The nozzle applicator makes it easy to apply to the scalp if you have braids or locs, and the formula provides an immediate cooling effect, which feels amazing on tight, uncomfortable-feeling skin.


This Clever Japanese Makeup Remover That Works On Waterproof Mascara

Stubborn waterproof mascara doesn’t stand a chance again the Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover. You comb it through your lashes to dissolve even the toughest mascara (it was created to be used with the Japanese brand’s iconic, but notoriously hard-to-remove mascara), and then gently wipe or rinse it off. Genius, right?


The Skin-Brightening Face Wash That’s So Satisfying To Use

This cult Korean face wash truly leaves your skin looking brighter and clearer — and with its foaming formula and heavenly scent, it also makes your skin feel so refreshed. The key ingredient in here is rice water, which has all sorts of amazing skin care benefits that date back centuries. It’s amazing at removing makeup, too.

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