56 best affordable beauty products 2023: Shop TODAY Beauty Awards
The number one thing that stops most of us from splurging on popular beauty products is the hefty price tag that’s often attached to them. While the phrase “you pay for what you get” is often muttered when talking about the cost of things in general, it is possible to maintain quality without breaking the bank when it comes to beauty.
To prove it, Shop Today editorial director Adrianna Brach joined TODAY to share some affordable and well-loved finds that recently won our Shop TODAY Beauty Awards, so you can get the most bang for your buck when shopping for all things beauty-related.
From skin care products used to combat acne woes to makeup finds that are perfect to spruce up your look for a night out, all of the following items have been reviewed by our trusty team of TODAY and Shop TODAY staffers (who also love saving money whenever possible!).
Winners of the Shop TODAY Beauty Awards, as seen on the 3rd hour of TODAY
Differin Adapalene Gel Acne Treatment
Award: Best Retinol Serum | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Acne-prone Skin
Reviewers have seen “major improvements” in terms of acne-stricken skin after using this treatment (which is now available without a prescription!). “This product contains the first OTC acne retinoid,” said cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson. “It works by regulating cell turnover to keep pores from clogging therefore preventing future breakouts.”
A little goes a long way according to associate SEO editor, Fran Sales, who noted that “you only need really a tiny, tiny bit in the areas you want to specifically treat, and the next day that area looks a lot more cleared up.”
Best Night Cream
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Award: Best Budget Moisturizer | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Normal to Oily Skin
One of our editors loved this product so much, she applied it in both morning and night for extra hydration. “It’s incredibly moisturizing! I have extremely sensitive skin and this never makes it feel greasy, sets off my rosacea or causes any breakouts,” said News Today producer Melea McCreary.
Don’t hesitate to apply this product liberally, as reviewers noticed it goes on thinner than other moisturizers.
Best Sunscreen for Dark Skin
Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
Award: Best for Darker Skin Tones | Skin Type: Pigmented Skin
Stewart has tried other sunscreens in the past, but always comes back to this lotion from Black Girl Sunscreen. “I have naturally oily skin and it doesn’t leave me feeling greasy at all,” she says. “I love how moisturized it makes my skin feel as well.”
Plus, you receive your bang for your buck, as Stewart notes that the tube lasts a long time, so you don’t have to ration it when reapplying.
Best Overall Body Moisturizer
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Cream
Award: Best Overall | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dry Skin
Considered a triple threat due to its checklist of abilities, this moisturizer works to reset the skin’s microbiome, refresh its lipids and rehabilitate its protective barrier. Today Digital senior entertainment editor Elena Nicolaou admits that this helps her “scabbing and peeling and itchy dry skin,” giving her “normal people skin” for a while. She also notes that it gives her a luxurious feeling without a large price tag — making it all the more better.
Best Multi Stick
Burt’s Bees All Aglow Lip And Cheek Stick
Award: Best Multi Stick Blush
Add a pop of color to your skin while hydrating it with this multi-function product from Burt’s Bees. Acting as both a lip and cheek color, this product looks and feels good on the skin. “The above oils work as emollients that can moisturize the skin,” said cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson.
“It’s the perfect subtle color on both lips and cheeks and I love the way it makes me look nice without looking “made up.” If you like a no-makeup makeup look, try this,” said Rebecca Dube, head of Today Parents.
It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Treatment
Award: Best Leave-In | Hair type: All | Concern: Dry Hair
Stop split ends in their tracks with this quick-fix product. Simply spray as a styling cream before using hair tools and watch frizz disappear and the split ends resolve themselves.
“The thickness of the leave-in feels nourishing to the touch and feels really rich in a non-heavy way once I apply it to my hair,” said paid partnerships editorial assistant Lauren Biggerstaff. “I used to use cheaper drugstore leave-in sprays and the moment I switched to this one, I could really tell the difference in my color-treated hair.”
More winners under $25
Moisturizers | Cleansers | Exfoliators | Face masks | Retinol | Lip care | Makeup remover | Body wash | Body moisturizer | Body exfoliant | Heat protectant | Dry shampoo | Curl cream | Hair spray | Hair serum | Hair treatment | Concealer | Brow product | Eyeliner | Eyeshadow | Lip color | Makeup tools | Mascara
CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30
Award: Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Oily Skin
This sunscreen left reviewers feeling non-greasy, a trait that’s hard to come by with facial moisturizing sunscreens nowadays. Commerce SEO associate editor Kamari Stewart noted no cons with this product, adding that it’s “very light.”
With this multi-tasking moisturizer, you can keep your skin both hydrated and protected at the same time.
Mario Badescu Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Award: Best Overall Cleanser | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dry and Oily Skin
For those looking for a cleanser free of fragrance, turn to this foaming option from Mario Badescu. Reviewers love it because it lathers easily, leaves your skin feeling clean and does so at an amazing price.
“I like how this cleanser softly lathers and foams when you apply it on your face,” said News Today researcher Kayiu Wong. “It does a great job leaving your face clean without being too stripping or drying. I have sensitive skin and can easily be irritated by products, but this cleanser is so gentle and effective.”
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Award: Best Cleanser for Dry Skin | Skin Type: All Skin | Concern: Dryness
All reviewers of this product noted nothing to dislike about it and that it is mild on skin (and your bank account.) For less than $20, our editors love it, simply because “it’s gentle, non-stripping and hydrating,” according to Today Digital SEO lifestyle editor, Amanda Garrity.
CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
Award: Best Cleanser for acne-prone skin | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Acne
Our editors saw immediate results when using this cleanser, that works to diminish acne and prevent further breakouts. “This cleared up my acne while not feeling like I was using something harsh on my skin,” said producer Erika Glass.
Even better, it can remove makeup with one quick lather, leaving your skin feeling clean. Reviewers recommend following up with a moisturizer, as this product might leave skin slightly dry after use.
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Award: Best Cleanser for Oily Skin | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Oiliness
Gentle proves to be a key word for reviewers when describing this product, as it lathers on and leaves skin feeling clean, “without feeling stripped or overly dry.” News Today producer Melea McCreary loves this product because she has “acne-prone skin and some rosacea – this has never caused a flare-up,” making it perfect for those with sensitive skin. Unlike the CeraVe cleanser above, this one does not work to remove makeup, however.
Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub
Award: Best Budget Face Scrub | Skin Type: Sensitive Skin | Concern: Oiliness
SEO commerce writer Jannely Espinal loves the texture of this scrub, noting that it goes on gentle and doesn’t leave skin feeling irritated. For less than $15, you can rub off the dirt and grime of the day, while also brightening skin, thanks to Vitamin C in the ingredient list.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Exfoliant
Award: Best Liquid Exfoliator | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Blackheads, Pores & Fine lines
Heals acne scars? Check. Brightens skin? Check. Free of fragrance? Check. This product is a triple threat, earning high praise from reviewers. “This product did not irritate my skin like other chemical exfoliants have in the past,” said Shop Today associate social media editor Dani Musacchio. “I love how it has zero fragrance. I applied this product using a cotton pad and it helps pick up extra dirt and oil that collects on my face throughout the day”
Reviewers did note that you may want to follow up with a moisturizer after using this product, as depending on your skin type, it can dry it out.
Best Face Masks
Aveeno Oat Soothing Face Mask
Award: Best Overall Face Mask | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness & Uneven Texture
Stock up on this mask for your next night in and wake up with smooth skin, thanks to oatmeal, that acts as its main ingredient, along with pumpkin. “It smells nice — I was worried it would smell very “pumpkin spice” but it doesn’t, it’s a light and pleasant smell,” said Rebecca Dube, head of Today Parents.
Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Mask
Award: Best Face Mask for Acne-Prone Skin | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Acne-prone Skin
Our staffers were giddy about this product — and not just because it left their skin feeling silky smooth, or because the included applicator stick that makes it easy to apply, or because of the relaxing benefits that come with doing face masks. This product legitimately works to refine pores.
“I always feel a tad skeptical of “pore refining” claims since mine are pretty prominent, but this clay mask did a great job cleaning mine out of the natural buildup that happens just from existing in NYC,” said Shop Today senior SEO editor, Jess Bender. “I also noticed that it evened out my skin texture to make it smooth in a way that I haven’t felt since I was a kid and void of any skin problems.”
TonyMoly Facial Sheet Mask
Award: Best Sheet Mask | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Inflammation & Dryness
Most commonly seen at slumber parties and bachelorette parties, these masks remain a favorite for a reason. “I liked that my face felt very moisturized & refreshed afterwards, but it seemed standard with any other types of masks like this,” said Natalie Redington, a News Today researcher.
Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask
Award: Best Overnight Face Mask | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dry Skin & Pores
This sleeping mask takes the word “glow” literally, according to commerce art director Andrew Ward. “It really did make my skin glow the next morning,” he said. Ward seamlessly implemented this product into his nighttime routine, applying it right before moisturizer each evening.
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Award: Best Budget Anti-Aging Serum | Skin Type: Anti-aging | Concern: Fine lines & Wrinkles
For less than $25, your skin will look new again after using this retinol serum. “I was nervous it would make me break out and purge, but that didn’t happen,” said commerce photo editor, Vivian Le. “I did feel like my dryness around my nose went away and my skin looks a little glowier.”
Best Lip Care
Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Balm
Award: Best Lip Balm
All three reviewers are “tried and true” fans of this lip balm from Burt’s Bees, noting that it’s a favorite because “as always, the product left my lips feeling smooth and hydrated,” said Today trending editor Nicoletta Richardson.
From peppermint to pomegranate, these lip balms come in a variety of flavors, and even come in two- or three-packs as well. Commerce art director Andrew Ward noted that the only drawback is how badly he wants to try other flavors after reviewing only one.
Aquaphor Lip Protecant with SPF 30
Award: Best Lip Balm with SPF
If you’re on TikTok or have a dedicated Aquaphor fan in your life, you know that this product is a must-have for those with chapped lips in need of a rescue. Today SEO manager Sarah Anderson now understands the “Aquaphor hype,” as this product “went on smooth and creamy and kept my lips hydrated,” she said.
e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator
Award: Best Lip Exfoliator
According to the brand, this lip exfoliator works to condition the lips — and reviewers agree. Producer Mirjam Lablans notes that you “instantly feel like your lips are smooth and well-moisturized.” One thing that each of the reviewers agree on is the smell (“[it’s] so good I almost want to eat it!,” said Shop Today production associate Jill Ortiz). It comes in four different flavor and smell options, from brown sugar to mint, sweet cherry and coconut.
Best Makeup Remover
Bioderma Sensible- H2O Micellar Water
Award: Best Micellar Water | Skin Types: All Skin Types
For full faces of makeup or pesky to reach areas such as the eyelids, turn to micellar water since it’ll serve as a quick and easy fix for those trouble spots.
Reviewers love this product simply for its gentle formula, also noting that one small dab on a cotton swab will go a long way, giving you more bang for your buck.
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Stick
Award: Best Budget Makeup Remover | Skin Types: All Skin Types
Portable, affordable and ready whenever you are for a touch-up, this makeup removing stick from Neutrogena is every busy bee’s dream come true.
“This product worked really well and I love how compact it is,” said commerce photo editor Kara Birnbaum. “I started carrying this product whenever I knew I would need to transition my look. I often spend weekends out of my apartment at my boyfriend’s house and have to lug my makeup bag but with products like this it makes it so much easier than clunky makeup removing pads and doesn’t spill like liquid remover.”
Best Body Wash
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4-Play Moisturizing Shower Cream
Award: Best Moisturizing Body Wash | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness
This well-loved body wash improved the shower routine of multiple reviewers, who noted that they love this product because of its “silky-smooth” formula and the fact that it leaves their skin more “hydrated” than before.
While the regular-sized bottle boasts a higher price tag, the miniature-sized version rings up at just $10.
Bliss Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds Body Wash
Award: Best Foaming Body Wash | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness
For executive assistant Jacqueline Agnolet, this body wash invoked feelings that reminded her of visiting the spa, thanks to its “abundance of suds” and the “refreshed and clean” feeling you receive afterwards.
Eucerin Advanced Body and Face Cleanser
Award: Best 2-in-1 Face and Body Wash | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness & Sensitivity
Not only does this cleanser work to resolve acne woes on your face, but on the rest of your body as well. Shop Today paid partnerships editorial assistant Lauren Biggerstaff noticed she’s “seen improvement in some of my body acne (especially on my arms) while using, which is a huge plus.”
Reviewers noted that this product is unlike others in its category, as it has a “jelly-like consistency,” rather than foaming, or lathering with suds.
Best Body Moisturizer
Gold Bond Cream for Eczema Relief
Award: Best Eczema Relief | Skin Type: Sensitive & Irritated Skin | Concern: Dryness & Eczema
Resolve dry skin and relieve eczema patches with this lotion from Gold Bond. With oatmeal as its main soothing ingredient, reviewers love it because it goes on non-greasy, even after hopping out of the shower.
“I have both psoriasis and eczema, and it helped soothe and moisturize some of the patches on my legs,” said Lauren Biggerstaff, Shop Today paid partnerships editorial assistant, adding that she “also liked how thick it was without feeling tacky or heavy.”
AmLactin Ultra Smoothing Intensely Hydrating Cream
Award: Best Exfoliating | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness
For a soothing, non-itchy, moisturizing cream, turn to this option from AmLactin, that reviewers noted has a consistency that’s just right-not too heavy, not too light, meaning they didn’t feel a residue after applying. They also noted that while this product is fragrance-free, it doesn’t smell clinical like others tend to.
Best Body Exfoliant
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub
Award: Best Body Scrub | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness & Skin Texture
At first glance, this viral scrub doesn’t look like it could resolve many skin care issues, however, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades notes that it works wonders for those who have eczema. “This is an affordable shea butter-based body scrub which would be good for dry or eczema-prone skin,” they said. “Several of the recipes also contain evening primrose oil which is especially good for eczema.”
Available in a plethora of flavors and scents, from rose to watermelon, blue lagoon and vanilla, reviewers love this product because it “smells incredible,” is a “top notch exfoliator” and doesn’t leave skin feeling oily after using. Plus, it rings in at under $9.
Mario Badescu Coconut Body Scrub
Award: Best Post-Shower Scrub | Skin Type: All Skin Types | Concern: Dryness & Skin Texture
For a hydrating and exfoliating scrub, use this subtly-scented body scrub from Mario Badescu. “It moisturizes just as well as it exfoliates, leaving my skin feeling silky smooth,” said Today Digital lifestyle editor Amanda Garrity.
Best Heat Protectant
OGX Protecting and Silk Blowout Protecting Thermal Spray
Award: Best Heat Protectant | Hair Type: All
Want to shave a couple of minutes off of your morning routine? This heat protectant and thermal spray can help your hair dry faster, with the help of a hair dryer or styling tool.
Shop Today branded commerce editor Francesca Cocchi Zabloudil is really “impressed” with this product, and had lots of great things to say about it. “I have very thick hair, and I definitely think this product helped cut down a bit on my blow dry/styling time with my Dyson Airwrap,” she said. “Usually I give up a bit on that last bit of dampness, but after using this product I found it easier to get my hair to reach that totally dry texture. I also definitely noticed that my hair looked shinier after styling with this product. It had a gorgeous silky texture. I also appreciated that this product did not leave my hair feeling greasy or like it had product buildup.”
Best Dry Shampoo
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
Award: Best Overall | Hair Type: All | Concern: Oiliness
Reviewers loved how long they were able to go between washes by using this dry shampoo from Amika. This has to do in part of the ingredients, noted hairstylist Kevin Kelly.
“Ingredients like Omega 7 promotes elasticity and provides superior hydration,” he said.
“This kept my hair from getting oily for almost an entire week,” said Shop Today associate commerce editor Danielle Murphy. “It made my hair feel soft, thick and it even helped it keep its volume and style. Plus, it smells really nice.”
Batiste Dry Shampoo
Award: Best Budget Hair | Type: All | Concern: Oiliness
A classic dry shampoo brand, many turn to Batiste not only because of its affordable price tag, but because it truly works against greasy, unwashed hair.
Shop Today paid partnerships editorial assistant Lauren Biggerstaff loves this product because it “does exactly what it’s supposed to — sprays on without too much white residue, blends in well, and the smell is refreshing and not too potent,” she said. “My hair looks visibly cleaner and less oily after use. I also use it to ‘fluff up’ my bangs even after a wash and blow dry since it adds a nice bit of volume.”
For those who want to avoid the white residue altogether, or find that it doesn’t blend well into their hair color, Batiste also has a dry shampoo for brunettes.
Best Curl Cream
Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding
Award: Best For Tight and Textured Curls | Type: Curly Hair | Concern: Definition & Frizz
A trusted brand of one of our reviewers, this curl cream works to rid your hair of frizz while enhancing its natural curl. While the formula is purple, rest assured this product can be used on any and all hair colors.
“Product goes on smoothly, has a fun scent (my niece would always say my hair smelled so good) and it gives great, springy curls,” said Today coordinating producer Alicia Ybarbo.
Best Hair Spray
Got2B Glued Freeze Hair Spray
Award: Best Extra Hold | Hair Type: All | Concern: Hold
If you want hair that stays in place no matter what or if you want to achieve that trendy slicked-back look, turn to this freeze hair spray that places your hair in a hold like no other.
“It delivers on its promise to keep hair in place whether it’s a sleek ponytail or taming flyaways,” said Shop Today editorial director Adrianna Brach. “I loved using it when I had flyaways after a blowout or to tame baby hairs and keep them in place.”
Best Hair Serum
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density
Award: Best for Thinning Hair | Hair Types: All | Concern: Thinning Hair
In short, based on the ingredients, this product works wonders for those looking to resolve hair-thinning woes.
Dr. Michelle Henry names this a “a great option for anyone looking to improve their hair health and promote healthy hair growth. Its blend of peptides, plant-based extracts, and other nourishing ingredients can help to strengthen and protect hair follicles, while also promoting healthy blood flow and reducing inflammation,” she said.
Reviewers love this product because there’s no greasy feeling after use, the easy application process and its low price point.
Davines This is an Invisible Serum
Award: Best For All | Hair Types: All | Concern: Frizz
This product lives up to the “frizz-free” claims in the name, which reviewers noted rings true. Shop Today editor Vivien Moon loves this product because of its scent and “how it provides a bit of hold to the hair style.”
Best Hair Treatment
Sun Bum 3-in-1 Leave In Treatment
Award: Best Multitasker | Hair Type: All | Concern: Dryness
Detangles? Yes. Protects? Yes. Conditions? Yes. There’s a reason this leave-in treatment won best multitasker and its due to all of the things it does while smelling amazing and remaining an inexpensive product.
“Loved how easy it was to apply, how the scent made it feel like summer and how you felt like you got instantaneous results,” said Shop Today senior social media editor Kate McCarthy.
Maybelline Fit Me Liquid Concealer
Award: Best Budget
Full coverage could mean covering up everything from dark circles to tattoos, which is what makeup artist Tobi Henney uses this liquid concealer for.
Today producer Melea Mcreary loves this product because it provides “full coverage without being cakey,” she said. “All you needed was a literal dot to cover the entire under eye area. [It] complemented the undertones of my skin so beautifully.”
Best Brow Product
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
Award: Best Pencil
For a pencil with a formula that goes on creamy and dries matte, turn to this product from Anastasia Beverly Hills that left one reviewer’s eyebrows looking the best they ever have. “It doesn’t apply thick like I have found a lot of brow pencils to do,” said Shop Today production associate Jill Ortiz. “It is pretty light and the spoolie disperses the product pretty evenly.”
MoonKong Eyebrow Pen
Award: Best Pen
Been struggling to find an eyebrow pen that matches your exact color? Have no fear — MoonKong Eyebrow Pen is here. Two reviewers noted that this pen was almost an exact match — or at least the closest that they have ever gotten before.
“Because the brow pen provides multiple strokes in one, it gives a natural finish and decreases the amount of time I need to spend on my brows,” said Shop Today editor Vivien Moon. “It’s long-lasting, easy to apply and creates natural-looking brows.”
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner
Award: Best Liquid
Eyeliner novices and advanced users alike enjoyed this product because it’s “super easy to use,” and “definitely waterproof.” One reviewer has used this product before and noted that this process helped her to realize that this is one product that definitely belongs in her beauty routine.
“These liners stay in place all day and night,” said makeup artist Tobi Henney. “You do not have to worry about them smudging. To use, follow the lower lash line to figure out the angle which your liner will look best. Follow that line upward and outward. I like to use this slowly and add bit by bit for precision.”
Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Creme Color
Award: Best Cream
Makeup gurus everywhere will appreciate the new looks they’re able to achieve (or upgrade) with this creme pot and brush combo. “It goes on so smoothly and my wings have never been more on-point,” said Shop Today editorial assistant Shannon Garlin of this truly waterproof eyeliner.
Reviewers also noted that a little will go a long way, meaning it will last you a long time.
One Size by Patrick Starr Gel Eyeliner Pencil
Award: Best Gel Pencil
The number one thing reviewers pointed out about this eyeliner pencil was how easy it was to use and apply. “This gel pencil stays in my waterline and goes on super easily,” Natalie Redington, Today researcher, said. Redington also pointed out that it smudges easily, which can come in handy if you’re attempting a smokey eye look.
Laura Gellar Make It A Double Eyeshadow
Award: Best Stick
While the phrase “make it a double” is usually reserved for espresso shots, it can also be applied to this eyeshadow, that features an eyeshadow stick on one end and a matching powder on the other. This easy-to-use tool and makeup product was well-loved by reviewers, especially those who are constantly on-the-go.
“My favorite part was the velvety-soft applicator which locks the pigment on your eye lid with few swipes,” said Shop Today SEO commerce writer Jannely Espinal. “It stay all days and won’t smudge since it blends smoothly.”
MAC Cosmetics Pro Longer Paint Pot Eyeshadow
Award: Best Cream
With a waterproof and non-flake formula, reviewers loved this eyeshadow because it lasts the entire day. With 10 neutral colors to choose from, the “intensity” will help to give your makeup look the pop it needs.
r.e.m. Beauty Lustrous Liquid Eyeshadow
Award: Best Liquid
From bold colors like purple and teal to neutrals like cream and light brown, choose the eyeshadow color that will suit you (or the occasion) best.
“As someone who does not wear too much makeup my go to look has been a clean girl look with a little shimmer on my eyes,” said commerce photo editor Kara Birnbaum. “Some other brands I find to be a little much for me and I have to put it on super sparingly but this one I felt like blended into my skin super well and was very creamy.” Birnbaum admitted to loving this product so much that she’s already purchased two more.
Best Lip Color
Maybelline New York Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick
Award: Best Liquid Lipstick
With 30 colors to choose from, this lip color is the “real deal,” according to Today Digital health reporter Sarah Jacoby. “It goes on with a soft, pigmented, creamy stick formula and dries in a soft matte texture,” she added, noting it was a winner in her book.
This liquid lipstick is also long-lasting, staying on after sipping from water bottles and munching on snacks throughout the day.
Rare Beauty Lip Souffle Matte Cream Lipstick
Award: Best Cream Lipstick
Available in a whopping 15 shades, this cream lipstick from Rare Beauty is long-lasting, leaves lips feeling smooth and velvety and provides the perfect amount of color, according to reviewers.
“This lipstick is super pigmented, which is exactly what I wanted!,” said Shop Today social media editor Kara Quill. “It’s so creamy and goes on very nice and evenly. Plus, it looked pretty much the same at the end of the day as it did when I applied it in the morning.”
Tower 28 Shine On Jelly Gloss
Award: Best Gloss
The ’90s called and lip gloss is back — at least it is according to our reviewers. With a “nice shine, natural looking color,” according to Today social media producer Dana Samuel, this gloss offers a subtle tint and is available in six different colors, from clear to cashew and pistachio to coconut.
The only downside, in true gloss fashion, is getting caught in reviewers hair.
Best Makeup Tools
Kabuki Flat Top Foundation Brush
Award: Best Brush
Reviewers loved this brush for all-over coverage, especially when applying foundation. “I like the softness of the bristles — this was my first time using a brush to apply foundation rather than a sponge, and I expected it to feel a bit rough on my skin especially around my eyes, but it felt very gentle and nice,” said Shop Today branded commerce editor Francesca Cocchi Zabloudil. “I found it easy to evenly apply my foundation with this brush.”
Makeup artist Tobi Henney agrees with reviewers, recommending that you use this brush “for foundation to buff in all over the face,” she said. “Tap foundation on to the face with your finger and blend/buff in circular motions with the kabuki brush starting from the center and moving outward.”
BESTOPE Pro 16 piece Makeup Brush Set
Award: Best Makeup Brush Set
For under $10, you can outfit your entire makeup brush collection with this 16-piece set. Reviewers love the amount of brushes you get, as this set truly lives up to the phrase “more bang for your buck.” However, they do with that there was more variety with the amount of eyeshadow brushes.
The Original Beauty Blender
Award: Best Sponge
Why mess with perfection? Beauty blender-like tools and makeup sponges have been a tried and true go-to for ages now, which is why the Original Beauty Blender taking home the award for best sponge comes as no surprise.
“As someone who used to apply products with just my hands, I’ll probably never go back,” confesses Shop Today associate social media editor Dani Musacchio. “I love using this tool to easily apply and blends products into my skin. I believe that it makes my foundation and concealer application so much better.”
Rare Beauty Universal Strokes Volumizing Mascara
Award: Best Curling Mascara
With a thick tube that allows for easy application, this mascara earned the best curling award for good reason-Shop Today associate social media editor Dani Musacchio has tried dozens of mascaras and rated this one a triple threat. “This mascara both volumizes and lengthens lashes really well,” she said. “I have pretty straight lashes, but when I use this mascara it tends to hold a curl really well.”
Tarte Tartlette Tubing Mascara
Award: Best Tubing
Today Digital lifestyle editor Amanda Garrity loved this mascara so much she ditched her usual “go-to” for this one, simply because it’s a quality product that offers “no flakes, no smudging, just long, black lashes that hold a curl.”
Tarte offers both a full and travel size in this mascara, perfect for long lashes on-the-go!
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
Award: Best Budget
For body and fullness on a budget, opt for this waterproof mascara from L’Oréal Paris, that left reviewers “surprised and impressed.” The only downside is that it doesn’t come off as easily as others, meaning you have to put some elbow grease into your makeup removal routine.
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