Top 10 Bargain Beauty Buys

Confession: Ever since Sephora opened three locations in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland last year, I've started buying more of my makeup from it and the bill for my skincare and beauty regimen has crept upward as a result. In the pursuit of the latest and greatest, sometimes it's easy to forget the affordable products that perform just as well, if not better, than their more expensive counterparts. This post is dedicated to my favourite bargain beauty buys. And yes, a Sephora product did sneak its way on to the list, but a lot of these are available at your local drug store (unless otherwise mentioned), and no product on this list exceeds $15 Cdn. Enjoy!

1. Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with pomegranate oil (under $5). Chock full of natural ingredients, moisturizing without being waxy, and with just a hint of tint, this balm is the bee's knees.

2. Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara ($9-10). The non-waterproof version stays put and doesn't smudge but still comes off easily with some cleanser and warm water at the end of the day, plus it gives you dramatic volume and length. It's everything you're looking for in a Holy Grail mascara, minus the hefty price tag.

3. Joe Fresh retractable lip brush ($8 Cdn at Superstore). With one pull, the fine-tipped brush shoots out; push both ends together to make the brush retract again. If ninjas wore lipstick, they'd use the Joe Fresh lip brush.

Image from beautygeeks

4. Sephora waterproof eye makeup remover ($13). Online reviews swear that this eye makeup remover works as well as the legendary Lancome Bi-Facil remover but costs about a third of the price. Having never tried Lancome's version I can't confirm that, but it does do a good job of melting away my eyeliner and mascara in seconds at the end of the day.

5. Daiso blotting papers ($2 Cdn at Daiso or Yoko Yaya). Straightforward, no-nonsense, non-scented, non-powdered, and at a price that can't be beat.

6. Sally Hansen Ultimate Shield Fortifying Base and Top Coat ($7-9 Cdn at drugstores). Save money (and space on your dresser top) with a product that does double duty on your nails.

7. Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Concealer Stick ($7-9). This creamy and blendable formula comes in a convenient stick form for quick touch-ups and provides natural-looking coverage for light-medium skin tones.

8. Lubriderm SPF 15 lotion ($7-9 Cdn). Moisturize and protect your skin from the sun in one step with this lightweight, fast-absorbing lotion. I find it a bit too light for the winter, but it's great in spring and summer.

9. Dove Beauty Bar (under $5). I think I've said all there is to say in my glowing review here.

10. Garnier Pure Daily Cleansing Gel (under $10). A little of this gel cleanser goes a long way. The formula lathers well, sweeps away every trace of my makeup, rinses away cleanly, and purifies my pores to prevent breakouts.

Next week I'm going to post my top 10 splurge-worthy beauty buys. But in the meantime, have you tried any of these products? Do you have any inexpensive but effective beauty and skincare products in your arsenal that you swear by? Please do share!


  1. Great list!! I'm not a huge fan of the Sephora makeup remover, though I am of the price. I found it didn't remove my gel eyeliner as easily as the Maybelline one. Thx for the concealer tip though, I'm on the hunt for a replacement!

  2. the tinted burts bees, polysporin lip chap, Clinique thirt quenching moisturizer, St. Ives Apricot Scrub. :-)

  3. I love Lash Blast!

    I use Lancome's Bi-Facil when it's free gift time. It's awesome but honestly Clinique's oil-free eye makeup remover is nearly as good and just about $6. I'm currently using a Bi-Facil bottle and I don't know if they rejiggered the formula or what, because on this bottle I keep getting this weird sticky residue that keeps growing. It has to be the eye makeup remover, not something that's just on my hands when I use it or something, because the residue isn't on anything else I use at the same time right before bed (toothbrush, comb, lotion bottle, etc.)

  4. I said "Clinique" but I mean "Neutrogena." Don't know how I mixed that up!

  5. thanks for the bargain list! i use that lip balm every night!


  6. I totally agree with you on the Lashblast! Definitely one of my favourite mascaras, I always stock up on it when it goes on sale.

    I've tried one of Sephora's eye makeup removers and it worked so poorly, I was really disappointed!!! I actually really like Clean and Clear's one that comes in the purple bottle. Another one that I find works really well is Target brand...I don't remember the exact name, but it was like $4. The only drawback is that I have to be in the States to get it!

  7. I've tried the LashBlast (waterproof version) but I didn't like the brush because it was so big and it was so easy to mess up. The formula was good though. Now I'm loving Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptuous, it gives both length and volume to my thin lashes!

    I also swear by Daiso's blotting sheets, so cheap! And lastly, for makeup remover, I use a MUCH cheaper alternative for Bifacil, which is the Clean & Clear dual phase makeup remover (ranges from $5-8 in drugstores). I've tried the Neutrogena waterproof remover too, which is just as good, but slightly more expensive for the exact same amount you get and pretty much the same ingredients! The only thing I noticed with Clean & Clear is it's more drying for my skin.

  8. I use the legendary Lancome Bi-Facil remover but I am down to the last few drops. I am going to take your advice and try the Sephora brand. Thanks for the tip.

    I am so jealous about Daiso. I wish we had it here in Toronto. My friend in Vancouver took me there before my flight and I had to contain myself because I had very little room in my luggage. There are just so many cute things to buy. You Vancouver people are very lucky.

    Kelly - I hear ya on the sticky residue on the eye makeup remover. It bothered me so much, I tried to wipe it with tissue but it got worse.

  9. Awesome post! Love stuff like this! And I totally agree with #6 and 7.

  10. I also love CoverGirl mascara. I've been using the Lash Length mascara (the long yellow tube) and it works wonders on lengthening my short lashes. If I have anything negative to say about their mascaras though is that I find that their formula tends to dry up faster than other formulas. I also love Revlon's Colorstay Eyeshadow Quad in Blushed Wines, Quo's Gentle Eyemakeup Remover, and of course Burt's Bees!! :)

  11. Great list I don't leave home without my Lash Blast mascara on.

  12. I've been using that Lubriderm for years!!

  13. I've looked at Burt's Bees almost every time I'm in the store wondering if it was any good. I will have to try it!!!

  14. cover girl lash blast mascara is sooooooo good. no great! i love it.

  15. I like LashBlast. it looks nice. I sometimes use NYC lengthening mascara for boring days -- is not very lengthening but with the brush from a Maybelline Greatlast (pink & green) it goes on really easy. Not dramatic at all, but that's fair nuff cause it's like 2 bucks. Have not had probs with smudging.

    You should do a feature on some eyeshadow! I would love to see reviews of some pigments -- they always fall off my face (although I think I should be using a product to apply them but I use water). Also, I would appreciate reviews of colourful makeup, especially drug-store brands. I use theatre colourful makeup or MAC pigments but I'd like to know what the new colourful stuff from drugstore brands is like.

    Also. baby oil. My legs are smooth no matter how much I shave them because I oil after showering.

  16. Kath, have you tried eye primer? I find that it's great for making shadows stay put. I use Mary Kay eye primer, although I've also heard wonderful things about the Urban Decay primer. As for reviews of drugstore eyeshadows, stay tuned--I have one post that's kind of along those lines planned for the future.


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