7 of the Best Drugstore Beauty Products Under $10

Crazy cheap, and they actually WORK—hooray!
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Michelle Villett
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Crazy cheap, and they actually WORK—hooray!
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Confession: Sometimes I feel like a jerk when I pull out my Chanel lip balm. Not that it isn't amazing—it IS—and I am exceptionally grateful to even own a $45 designer lip balm (adorned with the interlocking Cs, natch).

But honestly? It feels so freakin' extravagant, especially when I then realize that I'm carting around an awful lot of fancy schmantzy stuff. (Givenchy lip gloss? Check. Armani eyeshadow? Check. Dior brow pencil? Check. YSL lipstick, eyeliner and blush? Check, check and check.)

Yowza! I love it all—what girl wouldn't?—but I don't want to become the beauty equivalent of those label-obsessed women who feel compelled to adorn every inch of bodily real estate with loud, screaming designer logos. Hells no. The hi-lo approach applies to beauty too, which is why I want to tell you today about a few exciting prodz that I swear are as good or better than their pricey cousins. Because as thrilling as it is when you first swipe/slather/slick that designer beauty product across your bod... it's maybe even more so when you get the same results for a fraction of the price.

INSTEAD OF... Nailtiques Nail Treatment (or any other pricey nail strengthener/hardener)

TRY... Revlon Calcium Gel Nail Hardener

Revlon-Calcium-Gel-Nail-Hardener

Nobody needs weak-nail prodz more than I do. Although many (most?) of my beauty editor friends do Axxium, Shellac, or at least regular manicures, I find that without fail, every single time I get a salon mani, my nails revert to wimpy, peeling suckiness for weeks later. Which is the situation I'm facing right now, even though I WAS doing amazing on my life-changing Nailtiques at-home regimen. Anyway, after misplacing the bottle, I decided, in a pinch, to try this nail hardener from Revlon. You can't beat the price... and surprisingly, it's also free of DBP, toluene and formaldehyde (which is not the case for Nailtiques and many/most other nail hardeners out there). I'm not expecting the same level of results, but it's early days and I'm already impressed at how much harder my nails feel. The formula also goes on a bit shinier than Nailtiques, so you could just wear it alone if you wanted to.

BUY IT NOW...$6.15 at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order)

INSTEAD OF... Kiehl's Super Thick Volumizer

TRY... TRESemmé 24 Hour Body Root Boosting Spray

Tresemme-24hr-Body-Root-Boosting-Spray

I've said it before and I'll say it again: just like the commercials imply, I think TRESemmé offers the best quality prodz from a drugstore hair line. As you may recall, I'm a big fan of the 24 Hour Body line, because it's probably one of the few shampoo and conditioner duos I've ever used that actually delivers on the volumizing promise. (Seriously. Try it and tell me I'm wrong.) Anyway, after a few peeps inquired about root-lifting styling stuff, it reminded me of this fantastic little number, which is a close dupe for the Kiehl's version (and almost $20 cheaper). The key (to both versions) is really the spray-gun type nozzle. It helps you get past all the hair and right at the roots, which is where you want the product to go if you want it to work properly. Just remember to either blow-dry upside down or lifting your hair away from the roots with your fingers or a round brush.

BUY IT NOW... $5.65 at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order)

INSTEAD OF... Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream

TRY... Live Clean Argan Oil Smooth & Shine Cream

Live-Clean-exotic-nectar-argan-oil-smooth-and-shine-cream

I'm not the best candidate for styling creams, since the volume issue is usually a more pressing concern for me than frizz. However, I've dabbled with them here and there on occasion, usually when I'm in need of a haircut and my ends look fried and dry... and I have to say that I've noticed no difference between this one and its close cousin from Moroccanoil (a.k.a. "the miracle worker for any hair type"). Both contain argan oil, and you can either use on damp hair, or as a finishing styling aid (as I did).

BUY IT NOW...$7.77 at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order)

INSTEAD OF... M.A.C Concealer Brush

TRY... EcoTools Bamboo Deluxe Concealer Brush

ecotools-concealer-brush

Concealer really needs to be applied with a brush—on top of your foundation, please—and when my old one started getting a bit mangy a while back, I tossed it and ran to the M.A.C store to buy a replacement. It's great... but then I realized I already HAD a concealer brush (in the archives, of course) from EcoTools. So now I use both—which isn't a bad strategy, actually, since it's really important to keep your concealer brush squeaky clean instead of contaminating the pot and your face with dust and dirt and oil. Anyway, I have to tell you: it's not one of those situations where I can't wait for the M.A.C one to become dry so I can use it. They're both great. And because concealer, like all "wet" makeup, NEEDS to be applied with a synthetic brush instead of animal hair, and synthetics can be had for far cheaper, you really don't have to splurge in this category.

BUY IT NOW... $4.77 at Drugstore.com (also available at Walmart in Canada)

INSTEAD OF... Crabtree & Evelyn Scented Soap

TRY... Yardley Naturally Moisturizing Bar

Yardley-Naturally-Moisturizing-Bar-English-Lavender

Yardley is back! Not that they ever left, really, but they're in the midst of a big revamp where they're ditching the grandma image and going for classic, timeless Englishness. (Obviously smart with the royal wedding happening this year and all of us going gaga over Kate Middleton's hair and other grooming habits. Yardley's an official royal brand, didja know?) Anyway, the brand did a media event here in Toronto about a month or so ago, where I learned that both the packaging and the actual fragrances are being upgraded. But not the price! I love all things lavender, as well as retro packaging, so these soaps tick off many, many boxes for me. Plus, where Crabtree & Evelyn gives you only one soap for $4, Yardley gives you TWO. Booyah!

BUY IT NOW...$3.69 for two bars (!) at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order)

INSTEAD OF... Marc Jacobs Daisy Solid Perfume (or any other solid perfume, eg. Stella McCartney, Juicy Couture, Tocca)

TRY.. Pacifica Solid Perfumes

Pacifica-Solid-Perfumes

How great is the invention of solid perfume? Like I mentioned in my post about what a beauty editor packs in her carry-on luggage, I swear by it for travelling. (In fact, solid EVERYTHING is great when travelling—I have solid hand lotion, face moisturizer, blush... ) Compared to mainstream scents, however, these puppies are a little "greener." (They're 100 percent vegan, gluten-free and made with organic soy, coconut wax and essential and natural oils.) Plus, how adorbs is that floral packaging?

BUY IT NOW... $9.25 each at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order)

INSTEAD OF... Shu Uemura Flare Eyelashes

TRY... Ardell DuraLash Individual Lashes

ardell-duralash-individual-lashes

If it's show-stopping, work-of-art false eyelashes you're after, then Shu is definitely your ticket. But if you're just looking to add a little (not a lot) of drama, Ardell gets the job done on the cheap with these fab individual lashes, which will give you a more natural look when you apply them just at the outside corners of the eyes. Janine at Beautygeeks has a fab vid that will help you apply!

BUY IT NOW...$6.15 at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada with no minimum order)

Have you tried any of these prodz?
Or do you think you'll stick with the more spendy versions?
What are YOUR favourite drugstore beauty finds?