July 13, 2014

Ten of my favourite beauty cheapies under $10

There are many folks the world over who love makeup and beauty products with a fiery passion and who will spend no small sum on them annually. While I share their ardent love of said items, I am not typically the kind to splash out a great deal of money on my beauty staples. Don't get me wrong, I always like quality and appreciate the higher end brands out there immensely - and should anyone want to gift me a product from one of those lines, I will treasure it until the very last drop or swipe - but much like I've heard my friend Brittany from Va Voom Vintage say on her blog over the years, typically, I'd rather spend my the bulk of my "appearance related" budget on clothing, not makeup or beauty products.

Of course there are exceptions to this statement. Case in point, all three of the selections that I discussed in this post about my current favourite lipsticks last January are department store brands, and I use Clinique moisturizer and eye shadow as part of my daily routine, but I balance out these more costly purchases by turning to a number of drugstore brand items as well.

As I chatted about in 2012's My Skin Care Routine Revealed post, and have mentioned here at other times as well, I have very sensitive skin, so that always factors into any cosmetic or beauty choices that I make. Fortunately, unlike with lotions, soaps, fragrances, and laundry products, I tend to have fairly good luck on that front when it comes to makeup. Such isn't always the case however, and I have had some terrible allergic/sensitive skin reactions over the years (on that front, Garnier and Rimmel London's offerings have been two of the biggest offenders for me; I won't buy anything from either brand any more), but at present my skin is happy with all of the items highlighted in this post.

In many instances, I've used markedly similar offerings from pricier brands over the years and have, in every case, found these products to be comparable - or better - in quality than their pricier peers, which is why these particular beauty items made it into today's post.

No matter what your budget and how you choose to spend it, it never hurts to save money where you can, especially if a considerably less costly product can deliver the same kinds of results as a one which a much higher sticker cost. In the spirit of beauty bargain lovers everywhere, I've kept all of the entries on this list to less than $10.00 Canadian (based on the lowest prices I've been able to pay for them here in British Columbia). Depending on where you live in the world, these items may cost a bit more or even a little less, but most should still be very economical options, if they're available in your country.

In addition, all of these products are ones that I not only use on a regular (in some cases, daily) basis, but are options that work fabulously as part of your vintage beauty and makeup routine. (Please note that the prices provided are an average of what I have paid for these items, before taxes, commonly at chains like Walmart or London Drugs, over the past twelve months. They are not exact prices from one specific shop/online source and may differ from what stores in your part of Canada, or the world, retail them for.)

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Maybelline Great Lash Mascara - average price $6.99:
A worldwide best seller for decades now, this is, hands down, my favourite mascara of all time and indeed, the overwhelming majority of the time, the only mascara I use. I prefer either Blackest Black or Black Brown, just depending on what colour eye makeup I'm sporting that day, and aside from the the fact that it has tremendous staying power, separates and defines my lashes like nothing else, and is wallet friend, I adore this mascara because it still used a traditional spoolie brush, instead of a rubber/plastic/silicon one, which I find do not work well for my lashes in the slightest.

Badger Balm Unscented Lip Balm Stick - average price $3.99: I love Badger Balm's products and have yet to try one that troubled my sensitive skin. This is no doubt because they're (to quote Badger Balm's official site) made from 100% natural ingredients obtained through wild harvest, fair trade, or organic practices, and most are USDA Certified Organic. Plus most, if not all (I'm not certain), are gluten-free. I've been using the Unscented Lip Balm for a few years now, both on it's own and also as a light gloss atop matte lipstick and really find it helps my permanently parched lips stay better moisturized the whole year 'round.

Joe Fresh Black Liquid Eyeliner - average price $7.00: Aside from the fact that you can't (or at least, I can't) get mind blowingly thin lines with this, I can't fault Joe Fresh's Black Liquid Eyeliner in any way. It's been my go to choice for achieving my beloved vintage cat's eye look for numerous years now, a tube lasts me for months, the colour is rich and really stays put, and it can be found from coast to coast across Canada at stores that carry the Joe Fresh cosmetics line. If you've been looking for a budget-friendly black liquid liner, this is it for sure.

Dove Beauty Bar Sensitive Skin - average price $4.00 (for two bars): Throughout my entire life, soap (very much including things like dish and laundry detergent) has been one of the beauty products that has most troubled my sensitive skin. Thankfully my soap salvation arrived back when I was a teenager in the form of Dove's Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar, which I not only use as soap, but as my “shaving cream” year after year without the slightest bit of irritation in the world.

NYC Grand Central Station Quick Dry Clear Nail Polish - average price: $2.49: While this clear polish certainly works well as such, and I frequently wear it on its own (I have brittle nails and find that keeping polish on them helps to strength them and reduce breakage considerable), I've actually hit upon the fact that this quick dry polish makes for a stellar top coat that helps speed of the drying time of every single polish, from a wide array of drug store and department store brands alike, that I've tried it with. In fact, it works better in this regard then products targeted as quick dry top coats from other brands that I've experimented with. If you've been looking for a really budget friendly way to speed up your nail polish drying time, this is it!

Almay Oil-Free Makeup Eraser Sticks - average price $6.00: These babies are staple on many a budget beauty product list and for good reason. They're super useful, can be taken with you anywhere, and really do the job - plus they're seriously handy to have around when you're trying to get the flick on your cat eye liner just right! If you live in Canada and can't find them in your area, Well.ca currently stocks them for $5.99, which is comparable to what I usually pay in person.

Ban Unscented Deodorant - average price $4.00: For years I went from one brand of deodorant (including several organic/all natural ones purchased at health food stores) to another, constantly finding that after a few days (or sometimes even one application), they would trouble my sensitive skin to no end (even dye and perfume-free varieties). Then a few years ago, probably about six or seven now, I hit on Ban Unscented and finally found a deodorant that I can wear most of the time. I say "most of the time" because if I apply it for too many days in row, usually more than four or five, I do still sometimes run into issues, but they pale compare to those from any other brand of deodorant or antiperspirant I've tried and as, thankfully, I'm not a big sweater usually. I don't need to wear it every day, so the skin on my underarms is usually a very happy camper regardless of if I've got this one or not. I find that it goes on sale at various grocery stores sometimes at deeply discounted rates and just stocked up on three sticks last spring for all of $1.79 each, if memory serves me right, when they did at Save On Foods.

Tom's of Maine Baking Soda Cleansing Mouthwash - average price $9.00: My sensitive skin extends to the inside of my mouth, so alcohol based mouth washes are out for me. It took me sometime to find one that both alcohol-free and gluten-free (gluten is not a common mouth wash ingredient, but I do always prefer it when a brand clearly states a product is GF, as Tom's of Maine does with this mouthwash), but I did just that with this one and thoroughly love it. I find it to be effective, very pleasant tasting (I've been using Tom's of Maine's toothpastes for several years now, so I was already familiar with what their mint flavours were like and I think that made me enjoy the taste here all the more), and that despite its somewhat small size (for the price), a bottle will last me for at least three months even when used every day. (If you're having a hard time finding it in Canada, I've been able to do so at the Choices Market chain of health food stores here in B.C., and suspect, though cannot say for sure, that Nature's Fair and Whole Foods may carry it as well.)

Annabelle Lip Liners - average price $3.00 (I just paid this each for two at Walmart a couple of months ago): Annabelle Cosmetics is a budget-friendly Canadian makeup line that I flat out love. Not only are most of their products hypo-allergenic and gluten-free (interestingly, this point used to be mentioned on their website, but I can't find it there anymore; nevertheless, I'm ultra gluten sensitive due to my celiac disease and have not yet, thankfully, had any problems with the products I've used from them), they're also easy to find, very affordable, good quality, and available in a number of really wearable colours that partner well, I find, with the lipsticks and glosses I frequently use from other brands such as MAC and Clinique.

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Cover Girl Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Shadows - average price $5.00: While there is merit to multi-colour eye shadow palettes for sure, especially if the hues coordinate and can be used to create a cohesive Smokey eye, I generally prefer to buy my shadows one shade at the time and for years I've been turning to Cover Girl's Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Shadows on that front. They're available in a fairly large range of shades, includes some really lovely neutrals, last for ages, deliver a good wash of pigment, don't "flake" too much, and are quite easy to find at most any drugstore or supermarket with a beauty section. In particular, I'm quite fond of the French Vanilla, Snow Blossom, Patina and Shimmering Onyx shades in this range.

♥ ♥ ♥

In putting together this list, I came up with easily double the number of items shown here today, so a second edition might just have to pop up at some point. Though Canada does not have quite the same range of beauty products available to those in the US (and perhaps the UK - though there I'm not sure if it's as much a matter of different brands or a larger overall number of available items), we are fortunate to have a good many, with more hitting the shelves (online and off) every year.

I tend to be very devoted to my beauty and cosmetics products and rarely switch once I've hit on one that I really like, especially when its as well priced as these, so chances are I'll continue to use most, or all, of these items for as long as their respective manufactures keep producing them and stores continue to retail them for such reasonable rates.

Are you a fan of any of the lovely items listed here today yourself? What are some of your favourite vintage appropriate (or otherwise) beauty cheapies? Loyal to my faves as I am, and while, yes, I may not splash out a ton on makeup every month, beauty loving girly-girl that I am, I'm always keen to discover new brands and products, so by all means share away!


  1. Thanks for this post. I just bought that nail polish but haven't used it yet. Since it was so cheap, I was wondering if it would work well. I'm glad I didn't waste my 2 bucks.

  2. I love Annabelle products too! I use their eyebrow pencil with the brush on the lid (I have to stock up though, my local Walmart can't seem keep my colour on the shelf) and I love their liquid eyeliner. Although I'm very tempted to try the Joe brand now. Annabelle's liner doesn't always stay put it my eyes get really watery. I'm curious to see how the Joe brand compares.

    Hope you're having a great weekend! (It's cold here today! 16 degrees Celsius! Yeesh...I thought this was supposed to be summer!!)


  3. Dove beauty bar is my saviour too! The only product that I can use on my face and body without getting spots, it's so gentle on skin.

  4. You know, I must be the only person in the world who doesn't like Great Lash mascara!!!
    I'm very interested in those Almay makeup eraser sticks! I'm going to look out for them!
    I don't spend much on beauty products; my lipliner is $2, my skin care is self made or Sukin, an Australian brand free from nasties, and any other makeup is whatever I've got on sale/drugstore brand-except my Mac lipstick! That Ruby Woo is wonderful, but I only buy it duty free, as it's quite pricey in NZ.
    Great post! XXX

  5. Loving this post! I wish I could find more beauty cheapies myself. I use the joe fresh make-up remover and it is fantastic as well as their blushes in melon and rose. My favorite drug store mascara got discontinued so I have been a bit of a tizzy from that. I will have to check out the Tom's mouthwash I try to keep my cleansing/skin routine as green as possible:)

  6. Great Lash is such a fantastic product I always end up returning to. I don't know why I bother with anything else, when it works so well.

    Thanks for the tip about Ban-underarm deodourant is tricky territory, so having something to try when the current one starts getting irritating is good to know.

    I don't know if you like Coty Airspun powder, but if you do they are changing over to new packaging and the old ones are being seriously discounted. I found them for .49 cents at K Mart last week. Anyway, a good thing to stock up on before they're gone if you can use it.

  7. Hello Jessica
    That;s a great list, I actually use the Annabelle products and love them!
    Don't laugh now but I use the maybelline mascara, to illustrate- love it. I never tried this lipbalm! I will look for it- specially with this winter weather in Queensland. I know you, dear Jessica LOL about our winter!
    Happy Monday!

  8. Annabelle liners are amazing! And those Almay makeup eraser sticks look like a great find; can't wait to try them out.

  9. Good post my dear! Like you, I tend to stick to the products I love and Clinique is a favourite non-offending gem! I have difficulty finding the right products, especially when it comes to mascara as I am allergic to black dye (though ironically having black hair) and have to use purely brown mascara....which can be a tad difficult to find. I definitely understand the pain of skin allergies....wishing you an allergy free and fabulous week!
    May x

  10. I was thinking whilst reading this that it must be very hard to find gluten free make up and skin products that also work well on sensitive skin as just having sensitive skin alone can make things difficult. I have very sensitive eyes and have found that Maybelline mascara doesn't irritate them in the slightest. I once treated myself to a Dior mascara and much preferred the Maybelline one and was horrified with myself for spending so much money!

  11. Hi there! I have always loved Cover Girl and Tom's of Maine products! I shop on the Vitacost website a lot and have found several budget friendly products that are also more natural. I recommend Honeybee Gardens black pencil eyeliner, as well as Reviva Labs mascara in black. In the deodorant line, I like Alvera almond scent. Thanks for sharing...I'm going to try some of your other picks. <3

  12. I knew its lovers had to exist but I'd not found one until now..... Hahahahaha please *please* excuse my hopping and pointing descent into what may very well appear to be insanity, but...... it's you! It's you!!!!! It's people like YOU who keep that darn mascara in its cult-status year after year and cause me to scratch my head in wonder and amazement! I've determined that for Great Lash you're either destined to love it (as sales figures would have me believe, and now knowing how fab it looks on you) ooooooorrrrrrrrrrrr you're going to loathe it with a fiery passion. And oh man I am so definitively entrenched in camp hatred, LOL. On me that stuff clumps and flakes and smudges and runs (how is that scientifically possible to do all at once?!?) and I look like a diseased raccoon within minutes. It's actually quite funny. Well it would be more droll if it didn't mean I had to redo my makeup in its entirety, but yeah.... And that's why I don't use it and leave it on the shelf for other makeup-loving people to buy! Other makeup-loving people being you. Consider my mind blown. :P

    Badger Balm has some nice stuff. I haven't picked up anything lately though, so maybe I'll take another look the next time I spot a display. One of my favourite cheap thrills over the last year has been the Almay Colour+Care liquid lip balm line. I don't remember right off if they're gluten-free, but if they are then they might be worth trying. :)

  13. I love Great Lash - it's the only mascara that I've used for a couple of years now. I've tried a lot of different, expensive stuff, like DiorShow and whatever, but nothing beats it for the price. I accidentally bought the version recently with the jumbo sized brush, and I can't wait to use it up so I can get back to my regular version. It just coats every lash so perfectly and never clumps.

  14. i love the mascara, it's cheap and works well. i'll have to try the dove soap, i too suffer from sensitive skin and am looking for a new soap. just in time! to remove eye make up, i use coconut oil. its fast and easy and removes my other makeup, too. i just put it all over my entire face and rub it into my eyes and wipe away.

  15. Love the mascara.... Don't laugh now dear Jessica, but I use it perfectly fine for my illustrations!

  16. Interesting to read about your favourite beauty products. We don't have all those brands in the UK, but I can't complain as we are spoilt for choice really. I have to agree that generally skin creams cause more reactions than make up, although I have had a mascara I can't use reactions are generally much less common. I think they must have less active ingredients. The eyeliner looks particularly good. Applying liquid eyeliner can be so tricky!

  17. This is such a delightful (and useful!) post! I love Almay's oil-free makeup remover pads -- same formula, I'm pretty sure. I've always kind of awkwardly rubbed a q-tip into the stack of pads when I need a finer point, and I can't believe I never tried the sticks! I'm strangely looking forward to my next drug store visit. :)

    I do hope you do another post with your next batch of affordable goodies. This one was awesome.


  18. I love that mascara, too! Always go back to it. It's not under $10 here, unfortunately, but still cheaper than a lot of others.

  19. The great lash is pretty great except because I live in the "tropics" waterproof is the only way to go and so I bought the great lash in waterproof and I can not get it off. My almighty powerful neutrogenia make-up remover is useless against this mascara. oh well. At the moment I'm just using my makeup remover to take the fallout off my lashes and then using a clear mascara

  20. These are some great beauty staples! Thanks for all the great reviews on them, the mascara looks great! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

  21. great list of cheap staples

    retro rover

  22. Wow, what a great list - and the additions posted here are great too! :)

    I use NYC's "Sky High" lengthening mascara (around $4.00 Canadian - I may have that wrong, Rexall / Pharma Plus and Shopper's Drug Mart tends to put the NYC products on sale fairly often). No clumps until the product ages about 4 months, long wear yet easy to remove - even with my oily skin). Thanks a million for the tip about Annabelle lip liners probably being gluten-free, will certainly be checking those out!

    Nail polishes can hae gluten in them too :( I was told by a MAC salesperson to stay away from their nail polishes. I've tried many brands, and still experimenting, but I've found that my nails prefer 3-free or even 5-free polishes if I canfind them. My nails split and peel or flake away in layers, so while I research and figure out what my diet is missing I'm taking Jameson Biotin and trying to keep my hands and nails moisturised as much as I can - I work with paper all day which can suck the moisture out of your hands, and I wash my hands a lot (about at least 10 times a day).

    Looking forward to a possible second posting of your fave budget products!

  23. love lists like this!! i adore my lip balm and winged eyeliner pen.

    1. Add in some mascara and I'd be good to go anywhere. Sure, I like a bit more on my face, too, but those are the bare minimums for me and what I often wear when taking the dog out early in the AM.

      ♥ Jessica

  24. Oh, the pink and green mascara was my in my mid teens and that's 35 years ago, ahem. ;) My all time favourite mascara is Max Factor's 2000 Calories, I keep returning to it, when I have tried another brand. It also has the classic brush instead of all those silly inventions, which are most often annoying. I will try the NYC top coat. Thank you for making this post and please make the second one, since I love posts like these. :)

  25. Your wish is my command, dear Sanne! :) It might not be for a while, as I've got a pretty jam packed blogging schedule coming up in the next while, but one day, I will certainly write part two of this post and credit you for suggesting it when I do. The more budget-friendly beauty finds we can share with each other, the better!

    It's good to know that I'm not alone in my dislike of many modern types of mascara wands. I'm sure they work great for some folks, but for me in the slightest. I'd (almost) rather not wear mascara at all than have to use a non-spoolie brush to apply mine.

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

  26. Oh I am just starting to catch up on your blog :)
    Working with the perfumes and cosmetics for almost 10 years, I have become really skimpy on what I buy. I don't spend much on these items as I now know how much things really cost and how much goes really into making the product.
    Of the products you list, I have only tried the mascara and the Dove soap - both of which I liked.