Five Must-Have Beauty Products <$25

Instead of high heels, I buy serums.  Instead of dresses, I purchase sheet masks.  Instead of a new jeans, I pick up a new, must-have beauty tool.  This pandemic has tilted our collective shopping needs away from clothes and toward beauty products.  And here are five fantastic products that I’ve discovered since the pandemic started, all under-$25.

Pixi FortifEYE Patches // For years, my go eye gel have been the gold patches from Amazon.  I still love them, but I found these Pixi patches last year at Ulta and haven’t looked back.

The patches use hydrogel technology to blend botanical collagen, peptides, and caffeine into one toning and revitalizing eye treatment.  I put them on in the mornings and wear them in the shower.  They help me look alive and awake for a 6:30 AM meeting.

OPI Crystal Nail File // Can a nail file change your life?  More appropriately, can it make at-home manicures easier and more enjoyable?  This crystal file from OPI can.

My husband had a smaller crystal file in his dopp kit, and I became obsessed with it, so this one became a must-have.  (Mostly, so I would stop stealing his.) Unlike cardboard or metal files, the abrasive surface never wears off or weakens.  The file does a fantastic job of smoothing and shaping.

Doing manicures at home?  The Essie Couture Gel Kits are your best option under-$20.

Revolution Maskne Sheet Mask // Maskne is the bane of my existence.  Today, I found a blemish blooming under my ear from the mask loops.  So the fun continues.

These Revolution Sheet Masks soothe and treat maskne.  They’re cut to fit just the lower part of the face.  They contain salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and willow tree bark.  And at 2 for $7, I can use them twice per week without busting the bank.

Need a full face acne mask?  These Dr. Jart clarifying sheet masks are my favorite.

Clean It Zero Balm // With high-temps below zero and freezing winds, I cannot wash my face with soap or use makeup removing wipes when I am in Montana.  I purchased the Farmacy Green Clean Balm, and I love it, but it is so spendy.

I found this more affordable Clean It Zero Balm that comes in several formulas from clarifying to nourishing.  It doesn’t take much product or wiping to get all of my makeup removed when using this cleanser, which is better for my skin and cheaper over time.

Makeup Revolution Eye Bright Concealer // Under-eye concealer is essential to life when I’m working for the government.  Sleep is fleeting, salty foods are plentiful, and I never seem to get enough water.  This Eye Bright Concealer does a fantastic job of concealing and brightening.  It had a light, non-cakey formula that glides on, blends seamlessly and minimizes those circles.

What are your favorite finds of the pandemic when it comes to makeup or skincare?



  1. Monica T says:

    Oooh crystal file! I’ve always enjoyed doing my own nails and have been building mani pedi kits for me and my daughter. Lots of colors and glitter in hers and lots of shaping and buffing in mine. I don’t however have a good file for when my nails aren’t quite ready for a manicure, but needs to be cleaned up. I also am on the precipice of trying gel polish, but I am still wondering what the committment level is to the formula. Maybe next time I need to refresh my base and color I will give it a try. As always, thanks for the recommendations! I picked up that Innisfree mask you recommended and it is a GAME CHANGER.

    February 10, 2021/Reply
  2. TheLOOP says:

    This $10 oil I found on Insta has been amazing for my hair quality. It supposedly promotes growth but even if it didn’t I think it’s worth it. I am a regular hair oil user and have tried a bunch of blends but this one leaves my scalp feeling nourished and my hair shinier / less frizzy.

    February 10, 2021/Reply
  3. KaTel says:

    A pre-pandemic find that has been a life saver is LaRoche Posay Baume B5 – great for super dry skin – I used after an acne flare up and Rx medicine dried my skin out.

    February 10, 2021/Reply
    • SC says:

      YES, THIS! Baume B5 saved my skin during a horrible outbreak of…something on my face — rough, red, irritated patches on my chin that would not go away. It feels a bit gross going on because it’s so thick but dayum, it works.

      February 23, 2021/Reply
  4. Nadine says:

    Revolution is a new-to-me brand, but when I saw your haul on IG last week I immediately ordered the maskne masks and a salicylic acid serum. I’m still eagerly awaiting their arrival, but I’m excited to try them!

    February 10, 2021/Reply
  5. M says:

    These recs are good but what I really want to know is: how do you get your hair so shiny? It is radiant! Need to know your secret!

    February 10, 2021/Reply
  6. KLC says:

    The MaeLove Glowmaker Serum is absolutely lifechanging. For what it delivers it is totally worth the price!

    February 11, 2021/Reply
  7. AmandaG says:

    The Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm is my pandemic find. I received it in my Allure box a long time ago and busted it out recently to clean off makeup and wow, was I impressed. I was more impressed by how good my skin looked the next morning. It’s pricey but I recently went to their site and bought one of their holiday gifts that included it that was on sale. I am definitely going to give those eye patches you mentioned a try!

    February 12, 2021/Reply
  8. Ginny says:

    Further to your comment about not being able to use soap and makeup wipes… my eyelids can’t tolerate any kind of rubbing (even a wet microfibre cloth results in eczema patches on my eyelids) so I have switched over to using mascara that “tubes” up – you wet it and it slides off in tubes. Blinc was a big brand for a minute a few years ago. I’ve been using Loreal Double Extend for years. However the last few times the formula has been not great – clumpy, not lengthening as it used to be. I wonder if they are selling old tubes because not many people use it. Anyway, does anyone else use this kind of mascara and have a recommendation for a good one?

    February 12, 2021/Reply