Best selling affordable skincare, makeup and personal care


I like doing random household products but I always end up buying more than I intended. Once I know something exists I think about how much I need it like “if I had those produce bags I wouldn’t have to put this wet kale on the grocery belt.” I’m an overbuyer, to use a term I learned on Happier by Gretchen Rubin. I always like being prepared. We were asked about skincare products after the post about Kylie Jenner’s walnut scrub, which is being criticized for causing microtears in the skin. I’ve learned so much about skincare thanks to these posts. I wanted to include some of the best-selling products in makeup and skincare as well as some products I’ve recommended before and like.

A lash and brow enhancer with botanical ingredients
This $30 lash enhancer, which is supposed $70(!) off, is the number one bestseller in makeup on Amazon. It has almost 11,000 reviews and a 4.4 star rating! (Fair warning, you get a free additional bottle if you give it a five star rating, but the adjusted rating is still well over 4 stars.) Reviewers write that this helped bring back their sparse eyebrows from overplucking and that it makes lashes longer and more lush. It’s said to be non-irritating and safe for sensitive eyes. People also say it’s affordable and works as well as pricier brands that retail around $100. One woman writes “In less than a month I have noticed a significant difference in the length and thickness of my lashes.”

Lip gloss you’ll want in so many colors
I love keeping lip gloss in my purse, in my car and at home for frequent application. I bought a $30 set from Bare Minerals on a whim last year and I got just a few tubes which have almost run out. These NYX lip glosses are less than $3 each for over a quarter ounce of product and come in 22 colors! I want at least five of them. These are the #5 best seller in makeup. While the pigments are light and may not provide full coverage, it’s called a great buttery gloss that provides a nice sheen. Reviewers say “it’s not sticky, like so many inexpensive lip glosses” and “will also keep your lips reasonably hydrated.”

An anti-aging retinol cream with hyaluronic acid
This 2.5% retinol cream is said to actually work to help reduce acne and acne scarring as well as improve wrinkles and fine lines. Like prescription retinol it make make your skin worse at first before it gets better. Reviewers share some impressive before and after photos and write that “after having used it for 3 weeks I can truly see the results,” and “it has evened out my skin tone and moisturizes very well.” Some women say they can go without foundation after using this. If you’re looking for a good retinol product you may also want to consider this Tree of Life Retinol Serum, which is another highly rated best seller.

A glycolic acid to even skintone and reduce lines
I’ve recommended this product at least two other times and I love it. I use serums and retinol-based products at night (I have this three serum set we’ve featured before) and this 7% glycolic acid toner in the morning a few times of week and a couple of hours before applying my makeup. (Since I work at home I’m able to wait until the afternoon to apply makeup.) I do think that this makes my skin look brighter, it definitely feels smoother and tighter, and that it helps reduce breakouts. Reviewers call it “amazing,” say it reduces hyperpigmentation and that it’s a great chemical exfoliator. Some warn to go slowly and only use it every other day to give your skin a chance to get used to it.

A microdermabrasion facial scrub and mask with walnut
Yes this has walnut in it just like Kylie’s scrub, but people rave about this product. This facial scrub has almost 1,500 reviews and 4.3 stars. Users call this the “best scrub I’ve bought in a long time,” say that it reduces ingrown hairs and acne and that it leaves skin feeling soft and smooth. It’s also said to not dry out the skin and to be safe for most sensitive skin. One reviewer says her skin “was the cleanest I’ve ever seen it short of having a facial” and that after just two days “my skin was bright, glowing, smooth and clear!”

A light hydrating moisturizer with hyaluronic acid
This moisturizer by Neutrogena is the #19 best seller in skincare on Amazon. Be aware that it does not contain sunscreen so you may want to use it either at night or under a good quality sunscreen during the day. (For sunscreen I recommend Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid.) hnmmom has actually recommended this on an earlier skincare post. Women call this a “fantastic hydration for 60 & over skin,” which is “very soothing and healing” with a “good, light” consistency that “doesn’t leave a sticky or heavy feeling like that of a cream or lotion.”

100% organic jojoba oil for your hair, face, nails and skin
I was reluctant to recommend this product because how do you use it exactly? This jojoba oil is so affordable at $10 for four ounces of product and it has a 4.4 star rating with 1,600 reviews! Women write that they mix it into their face cream and hair conditioner and that it also works wonders on dry hands and chapped lips. It’s called “amazing for skin and hair” and while your results may vary, some reviewers say it calms eczema, dermatitis and is safe for sensitive skin.

Also, I’m not including a photo as I’ve recommended it so many times but this eyeshadow is awesome and so affordable! I love it and have used it every day for years, even more than more expensive palettes.

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63 Responses to “Best selling affordable skincare, makeup and personal care”

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  1. BayTampaBay says:

    I have used the Neutrogena Hydro Booster for years over-top of my serum but beneath my moisture with sunscreen. It is wonderful product. It actually makes my base make-up look better as it helps prevent caking and cracking which is a real problem in the Florida heat.

  2. Amaryis says:

    I have every one of these products except for the lash serum.

    • snappyfish says:

      Just bought the retinol. Arrives tomorrow (thx amazon prime) will report back on how it does

  3. MrsBanjo says:

    I am constantly in need of help with affordable foundations for oily, acne-prone skin that are also medium olive in tone and don’t oxidize the second you put them on. Blergh.

    I really like the YesTo Grapefruit scrub. As far as moisturisers, my favourites are L’Oreal Hydro Genius and Olay daily 30 spf.

    • Harryg says:

      I have oily skin and this Rimmel foundation has been really great:

      (But it’s cheaper at CVS.)

      It stays and doesn’t really “show.” I also bought a Shiseido foundation at TjMaxx and it’s sort of “oily” – I thought it might be too slippery but it’s been amazing.

    • Aggie says:

      NYX has a medium olive in their CSWS foundation, and many folks swear by the Fit Me! Matte and Poreless foundation, in the shades ending in 8. is great for foundation recs and swatches.

    • Ange says:

      Maybelline Fit Me and Colorpop have both been great for my super oily skin.

  4. Busyann says:

    Has anyone purchased and used the butter gloss? I almost pulled the trigger and picked some up this weekend, but I dont like sticky glosses and hate wasting my money almost as much. I regularly wear the clinique chubby sticks but find the color practically transparent. I’ve heard lots of good things about the butter gloss but I’m just not sure.

    • auntiezana says:

      i love the butter glosses. not sticky, moisturizing, very opaque and shiny.

    • Leriel says:

      This gloss is a little bit sticky, but I like them. They’re high pigmented, long-lasting,, leave stain on your lips, so if you eat it or something else, colour will still be here.

    • Lindy says:

      I have one shade of the butter gloss and I’m honestly not a fan. If you think of gloss as somewhat sheer and lightweight, the butter gloss is not gloss. The pigments are very dark and long-lasting. There’s some shine but is halfway between matte and glossy. The shade color is pretty intense and saturated on my lips and comes off when I drink coffee, even after I let it dry.

      Long story short, this is not a product I love, mostly because it isn’t what it says it is. Is not a gloss. If you want more saturation and pigment and less shine, this is the right product. That wasn’t what I was looking for when I bought it.

    • Amaryis says:

      Yes, I’ve been using them for years & I love them!!!!

    • Harryg says:

      These Essence glosses are great:

      ULTA sells them cheaper though.

    • Giddy says:

      I’ve searched for years for a perfect lip gloss/stain and finally found it. I love two by Lipstick Queen. They moisturize beautifully, and are actually lip stains. I wear Morning Sunshine every day. It is a lovely clear pink that lasts hours. If I want slightly darker I wear Frog Prince by Lipstick Queen. They are yellow and green respectively and change color once applied. They moisturize and are never sticky. On Amazon there is a special on a three color set.

    • Erinn says:

      ELF gotta glow lip tint is good too. Definitely not sticky – leaves more the feeling that a lip balm would, but it gives you a tint of color. A low level stain effect, I guess. I think they were trying to go for what the Dior lip glow does.

  5. Clare says:

    Since I know there are so many of you well versed in skin care – help!

    What (if any) chemical exfoliants or acids can I use in conjunction with adapalene/differin?

    Also – any tips for my infuriating and new ‘adult’ acne? It’s just popped up out of nowhere in the past few months (I’m 35), and is quite possibly linked to inflammation elsewhere (high levels of crp in blood work blah blah blah). I have a prescription for Adapelene (its not OTC in the UK), but its juuuust about working in that im still breaking out loads, but its not deep cysts but rather surface spots/bumps.

    Definitely willing to try something different!

    • auntiezana says:

      check under aha and bha exfoliants. bha’s specifically for surface bumps

      • jen says:

        I also recommend beautypedia for information, and paula’s choice products. I use her BHA at night and notice immediate results in the morning.

    • Celebitchy says:

      For adult acne try the La Roche-Posay products, I wrote about them here:

      Also my friend swears the TreeActiv cystic acne spot treatment cleared her adult acne. I bought it for my teen and it’s gentle:
      Wrote about that here:

      • MrsBanjo says:

        I need to try these. The older I get the worse the acne gets. It’s so frustrating.

      • Celebitchy says:

        @MrsBanjo A lot of my friends are going through this too. My ex went to the dermatologist and they put him on antibiotics and gave him an antibiotic cream. It cleared his face entirely. That may be something to consider.

      • Clare says:

        @Celebitchy Thanks! I used La Roche Posay moisturiser and eye cream now and will explore other products.

        I’ve thought about anti biotics but they are SUPER itchy about prescribing ‘unnecessary’ anti biotics in the U.K. I have a prescription for adapelen but it’s just not doing enough.

        So frustrating to be battling acne and aging at the same time!

    • It's A Dry Heave says:

      After years of turning my skin into red angry beef jerky using retin-a to clear up my acne with no luck, I went on birth control pills that are also known to clear acne (ie. Desogen, Demulen, Orthocept, certain kinds of Ortho Novum, etc).

      …..And BOOM! Zero acne in just a couple of weeks. And my skin STAYED clear permanently! Ask your doctor…

      And no zitty spotty kids, either!! Good luck!

    • MissyLynne says:

      Clare: I’m late to this thread so I don’t know if you will even see this, but I started developing adult acne about a year ago, I’m 39. I also have high levels of inflammation in my blood. They only thing that helped was a low dose of Spironolactone. It’s a diuretic used to high blood pressure and used off label for acne. My doctor thought about putting me on a BC pill, but after 35 it gets risky. (The ones that clear up acne can lead to blood clots, etc.) I use the Sephora Collection Vitamin C in the morning and The Ordinary retinol serum and my skin finally looks healthy. Also, dairy seems to be a cause of inflammation and adult acne. I don’t know if you have that in you diet, but cutting back or eliminating it has worked for friend of mine as well. xx

  6. Ai says:

    I use jojoba oil for my very sensitive, adult acne prone skin. After washing face, I put 2 – 3 drops in my palm and rub it together to warm up and then press into my face and certain spots that gets super dry, oily and have marks etc. This oil is gentle because it’s closest to human skin sebum and I recommend it 100%. A little bit goes a long way. I also rub it into my scalp if it gets dry/itchy too.

    • Bailie says:

      I swear by my certified organic jojoba oil.
      I apply it head to toe, right after my shower every single night and I have oily and acne prone skin on my face and dry skin on my body, well not anymore, but used to.
      Works great, doesn’t make me break out and it’s not expensive.
      I also use it to remove mascara and eye shadow and rub a drop of jojoba oil between the palms of my hands after brushing my hair and run my hands over the ends of my hair.
      It’s a wonderful oil.

  7. auntiezana says: disagrees with the Neutrogena product. Nice texture but lacks beneficial ingredients and that packaging doesn’t protect the ingredients anyways.

    I check all my skincare and makeup on that website!

  8. Morrissey says:

    I love the NYX butter glosses but they aren’t that cheap in Australia. The two colours pictured are my two favourites, in fact. They feel so nice on.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @IMorrissey, n the USA the Butter glosses were $5.00 USD a piece or on special with a coupon for 3 for $12,00 USD.

      I bought the bright pink. Thanks for your recommendation.

  9. AnnaKist says:

    Thank you! I’m in Australia but am going to search for the walnut facial scrub for my first-best-friend, and the jojoba oil for myself! Any advice on where I can get these will be much appreciated. 🙏

    • Ange says:

      No lie you can get Jojoba oil super cheap at Kmart, check the beauty section where they have all those new cheap serums and whatnot, I saw a bottle for $1.50 at mine. If you want a scrub and can’t find that one St Ives does an apricot scrub but honestly you’ll get much better results with less potential irritation to your skin if you do a chemical exfoliation with AHA/BHA acid. It’s gentle enough to use regularly but doesn’t scratch the hell out of your skin.

  10. Ali says:

    The hydro boost gel face mask works great! I have the hydro boost moisturizer with sunscreen and really like it.

  11. Leriel says:

    TO glycolic acid toner is really good, I have hyperpigmentation after treating breakouts on my chin and cheeks, so I use it twice a day (with SPF for a day obviously) for exfoliating and whitening, this works pretty nice, I already reduced some spots on my cheeks and on my forehead.

    If you just want some good toner with acid for a some time per week using – it really good, it is long-lasting, I used only a quarter of my bottle per two months of regular using, it exfoliates really nice, and doesn’t irritates skin, if you don’t have really sensetive skin of course.

  12. Lindy says:

    Just started experimenting with that Neutrogena cream under my sunscreen. It’s more of a gel consistency. It’s only been a week so I don’t really see any changes so far.

    Oh!! Almost forgot to mention. Two weeks ago I asked for sheer mineral only sunscreen suggestions and ended up going with something recommended by a commenter here: Bare Republic lightly tinted mineral sunscreen for face. I love it!! It’s so lightweight, goes on with no stickiness at all, and stays put. SPF 30. I wish it were more like 45 but I reapply in the afternoon and love it.

    I don’t know how the tint would work for women with darker skin. It’s totally invisible on me but I’m fair. Just wanted to share that I got a winning product from you guys:-)

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Keep using the Neutrogena gel-cream it takes about a month to see results. Put it over your serum. I have used it everyday for 5 years and will not go a day without it.

  13. b says:

    I use jojoba oil to remover my mascara. I haven’t touched a commercial makeup remover in years. It doesn’t work well with cotton balls, so I just put some oil on my fingertips, rub my eyes and wipe away with a warm washcloth. It’s doesn’t hurt/sting my eyes and works beautifully. You can also mix it in with your moisturizer, or use a few drops like a serum.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      That’s a great idea! I have some, but have never used it for that purpose.

  14. OriginalLala says:

    So I LOVE a good acid toner, but the Ordinary’s acid toner make my skin freak out, and I have very stable, un-reactive skin! I prefer Mario Badescu’s glycolic acid toner. it’s milder 4% acid but no irritation and makes my skin glow and even toned.

  15. BayTampaBay says:

    I need a liquid eyeliner in Navy; any recommendations? Lancome discontinued the one I used for 20 years.

    • A says:

      I use the one from Sephora’s in-house line, it’s pretty nice. I’ll add a link when I can find it.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @A, Thanks Girlfriend. There is a Sephora less than two miles from my office so I will pop over at lunch break time.

  16. ChillyWilly says:

    I can vouch for the Lilyana Retinol Cream. I am on my second bottle and really like it. It isn’t greasy on my combination skin, doesn’t break me out and my skin looks glowy.
    I also like the NYX glosses. They are awesome especially for the price.
    I think I need that lash serum next!

  17. Megs says:

    Yes!! The Nyx lip gloss in Maple Blondie is a great peachy-pink for fair colored people, I have one in my car, my purse, and diaper bag, it is that good!

  18. Lila says:

    Love seeing The Ordinary products show up. They’ve got some great stuff for that price point. I love their silicone primer, niacinimide+zinc, and their natural moisturizing factors.

    Thanks for another awesome post! I’m eager to try out the butter gloss.

  19. HeyThere! says:

    Oh thank you for this post!!!!

  20. DiegoInSF says:

    I’m a devoted Paula’s Choice follower; started with her skincare and learning through her articles but branched our to more economic options like The Ordinary. Two things I’m thankful to her for “preaching” hard about are: First, fragrance is not skincare, anything with fragrance will irritate your skin even if irritation is not visible, there’s clinical studies on this and two, avoid jar packaging, it can be the most state of the art powerhouse formula but Jar packaging won’t keep it stable and it isn’t hygienic.
    Wish more brands did this, the perfect packaging is like the retinol product featured here.

  21. JanetFerber says:

    Not related to your products, but I just bought Fenty Beauty foundation from Sephora and I love it. I’m especially impressed that she includes everybody in her beauty products, as it should always be.

  22. jen says:

    Beauty products from Amazon are often counterfeit and tampered with. After too many hits and misses, I don’t buy beauty stuff from Amazon anymore. If it goes on my face or body, it needs to be high quality.

  23. amilou says:

    I slather castor oil all over my face, neck and brows when I get out of the shower and then wipe (not wash) it off about 10 minutes later. I feel it’s helping my skin stay softer and smoother, and I know a lot of people recommend it for bulking out brows.

  24. Busyann says:

    I just ordered 4 butter glosses. Thanks ladies!!!

    Also, this is totally random, but years ago I would buy the softsoap body wash in Vanilla. It was the most delicious scent, a combo wash/shave cream, and had exfoliating beads. It was amazing. But they discontinued it. Does anyone know of similar products?

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Thanks Ladies X2.

      I went to ULTA on my lunch break about the NYX butter gloss in bright pink for $5.00!! I have not use something in this price range for years. Will give a testimonial after I have tried it out. Gonna wear over my matte pink lipstick for touch-up at works.

      Thanks for recommendation.

  25. olive says:

    i picked up a serum from the neutrogena hydro boost line the other day and it’s very nice, the gel formula makes it feel weightless and my skin is hydrated without being greasy.

  26. Seeker542 says:

    I have combination, acne-prone skin that becomes dry in winter and more oily in summer. I’ve found that my skin does best exfoliated often, and back in the day I went hardcore with Retin A, until my health insurance changed and the prescription wasn’t covered. In the last few years I’ve been gentler on my skin using a glycolic acid toner several times a week. I had been using Mario Badescu’s toners and gel and I’ve needed to gradually increase the percentage to get the results I want…it seems I’ve built a tolerance. So I recently bought Peter Thomas Roth’s Glycolic Solutions toner on sale from Ulta and I really like it. It’s 8% GA but has a witch hazel base so it’s surprisingly really gentle. We’ll see how it transitions into winter–MB’s 4% dried out my face during the season but was still necessary. I also had a sample bottle of Pixi Glow tonic from Ipsy and that was really nice and gentle too at 5%.

    There is also info online about properly layering or alternating your acids with vitamin c serum and whatnot so they don’t cancel each other out. I’ve been overhauling my skincare lately because I’m officially transitioned from early young adulthood well into young adulthood and my skin still freaks out on me; my pores clog easily yet I’m finding moisturizing is a must. Pain in my ass.

    • jen says:

      Yes, I recommend caroline hirons and paula begoun for info on what to use and how to layer! It can get confusing but they keep it simple.

    • A says:

      Some things I’ve added to my skincare routine that I really like so far have been the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA exfoliant, especially in its gel form (easier to control and apply), and also The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid.

      For sunscreen, I was using Neutrogena’s 45 SPF. It was fine, but when I apply the recommended amount of sunscreen, it does start to pill, even when layered. It helps when I don’t apply too many products before I put on my sunscreen, so now I just stick to applying my hyaluronic acid + my moisturizer before sunscreen. I picked up their Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 50 on a whim, and I honestly love it so far. It doesn’t pill nearly as much, and it doesn’t leave even a minimal white cast as far as I can tell, and it’s left my face feeling soo much smoother and hydrated than before.

      I wanna experiment with some more sunscreens though, so I’m looking to try the La Roche-Posay one next.

      • Seeker542 says:

        That’s the hard part about layering– coordinating textures. I hear you about the pilling! I do all my skincare at night because I don’t like layering products before putting on makeup. Also, mine increase sensitivity or are rendered useless by the sun. I don’t wear sunscreen a lot because I don’t spend a lot of time outside, especially during peak hours, but it takes some strategy to get my mineral powder foundation to sit right over it. I got a bottle of La Roche Posay’s sunscreen fluid the other year and it’s really nice but was for normal-combo skin. I’d do better with their clear face sunscreen that’s supposed to be matte finish, and I’m definitely sticking with the brand for face.

  27. Jo says:

    I like these posts and have found lots of things I never realised I needed.
    If you had UK affiliate links you could be making a killing out of me 🙂