Frugal Beauty: 5 Protect-The-Pretty Products Under $20 That I Can’t Live Without


Few things in my adult life have been as satisfying as finding my personal “it” beauty products that I can’t live without. I realize that might sound a bit shallow, but we all have big goals and little goals and they’re all important so stay with me here. Sometimes my skin/hair  is out to ruin my social life. A zit will appear the day before a big event, stress will make me bite my lips raw, and a winter cold will make the underside of my nose peel for days (I know, it’s glamorous). So I’ve naturally amassed an arsenal against fate in order to protect the pretty. Normally I don’t share my personal secrets, but some of these are just too good to keep. If I was stranded on a desert island and trying to impress a cute boy, this is what I would take.

Protect the Pretty for Under $100:


s683490-main-hero1. Rosebud Salve. I gave up traditional chapsticks a few years ago, when I found things like salicylic acid (to make your lips chap MORE so you use their product MORE) and phenol (which makes me vomit because its the preservative we used on the bodies in my cadaver lab for the anatomy course I took my second year of university. It also causes cancer) are main ingredients. For a long time, I just went without and then my best friend introduced me to Rosebud Salve. This stuff is a miracle balm that’s perfect for everything from dry lips to a raw, over-blown nose during cold season. It’s probably even great for sunburn.

klorane dry shampoo2. Klorane dry shampoo. It’s true that not all dry shampoos are created equal, so when you find the right one, you know not to let go of a good thing. At $16 a bottle, I always wince a little when I purchase this, but being able to go out in public with 2-day-old hair is worth the price.

Tea_tree_oil13. Tea tree oil. Not sure if there’s one brand better than the other, but my cupboard holds Thursday’s Plantation which I picked up at Rexall fro less than $20. Tea tree oil is a miracle potion that will get rid of every blemish, from zits to razor burn, overnight. It’s very potent (like, your-skin-might-feel-like-its-on-fire-the-first-time-you-use-it and please-never-consume-because-you-will-go-blind-kind of potent), so I usually put a few drops in water to dilute before applying. In any case, this is my secret to incredible skin.


Vichy-Calming-Cleansing-3-in-1-Micellar-Solution4. Vichy cleanser. I’ve long been of the only-water camp, never putting any soap or cleansers on my skin when I wash my face. However, this leaves my skin pretty dry in the winters, so while I’m still a water-only subscriber most of the time, I will wash my face at least once per day with Vichy cleansing milk. I would have never even found this but my friend got a sample during a shopping trip and we became instantly addicted. I love it because it’s mild enough not to irritate my sensitive skin, but still leaves my face feeling like I got all the gunk from my make-up off.


s1350263-main-hero5. Sephora Instant Nailpolish Remover. This product itself isn’t unique, but the packaging is genius. Gone are the days when I needed a dozen cotton swabs to remove 4-day-old polish from my nails, now I simply slip them into the sponge inside this bottle, turn once, and out comes a perfectly polish-free nail. I no longer have any excuse to go to work with chipped nails, because it literally takes 5 seconds to remove all evidence that I was experimenting with vomit-colored hues in order to be more of a hipster. No, no one needs to know.


What’s your favorite beauty find under $20?


  1. I’ve heard wonderful things about the Sephora nail polish remover, and I’m just going to have to suck it up and spend the money. Also, dry shampoo is a life saver. Never tried Klorane (I usually use “Not Your Mothers Dry Shampoo”) but maybe I’ll check it out.

    I love Trader Joe’s Enrich face lotion. It’s $4 and better than stuff I spent $15+ on in the past. I’m also a water-only girl sans makeup, but I use Neutrogena’s Makeup Removing Towelettes on days I wear makeup (most days). They don’t dry out my skin and I’ve been using them for years. I buy them at Costco, but I think a regular pack of 25 runs around $6.

  2. So interesting about the tree tea oil! I will have to try that.

  3. bahaha “no. no one needs to know.” I’m loving all of these recommendations, especially one for the dry shampoo. I’ve been the market for one for so long!

    • Bridget (Author)

      Klorane is so good, YOU WILL LOVE <3

      I was using Oscar Blandi for awhile too and that was ok. Bff swears by Batiste.

  4. Great recommendations. Might have to pick up some dry shampoo. I have really sensitive skin. So all face stuff is prescribed. I have a prescription face wash, and creams. Otherwise, I totally break out like crazy. I’m so glad I have insurance because otherwise my creams would be $600 a pop.

  5. For eye makeup remover, I used to use super expensive Lancome and Clinique products but have since then converted to Nivea’s Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover. It’s something like $6 or $7 and so much softer on my skin.

  6. Awesome post! Where do you buy the Tea Tree Oil??? I NEED that.

  7. Where did you find the ingredients for the lip balms? Now I’m a little concerned about my own :s

    • Bridget (Author)

      Packaging and/or website. It’s really scary what’s in there. Like Blistex is basically a numbing agent/anesthetic (phenol) and salicylic acid — so your lips are numbed while the acid eats away at your skin, but then when the anesthetic wears off you notice your lips are raw & painful so you put more on. It’s the most horrible deception ever.

    • Two good sites to use is and They give great details about their rankings, from ethics to environmental concerns.

  8. mochiandmacarons

    Rosebud Salve is pretty much petroleum jelly that’s fragranced.. so if you want something even cheaper, buy Vaseline. 🙂

  9. I really like Cetaphil cleanser. Fantastic product!

  10. I´ve also used tea tree oil before, worked really well!

  11. I just bought the Klorane dry shampoo over Christmas break! It’s a miracle worker, seriously.

    My frugal beauty tip is hydrocortisone cream on a zit with a waterproof bandage on it overnight. Gone in the morning.

    • Bridget (Author)

      only problem I’d have with that is steroids cause thinning of your skin =\ I have eczema and for awhile I was using cortisone creams but then my doctor switched them because he was like, “you probably don’t want your skin to start thinning on your face” and I was like… uh, no.

  12. Nice! I will have to check some of these out. I have been using the same products forever!

  13. I love Wet N Wild’s Natural Blend Lip Shimmer. I had never thought to check out the ingredient list, though – thanks for the heads up. It’s safe, according to this lady:

  14. Melanie

    Costco has a big bottle that also comes with a little information packet that shows you EVERYTHING you can use it for! In my case unfortunately, it was to rid my daughter of head lice 🙁

  15. My favorite facial scrub and face wash is the baking soda to scrub my face (very gentle and leaves it smooth) and Black Soap (it has no harsh chemicals). I can’t see all my products are under $20, but I do have to use a moisturizer and SPF. I use cold-pressed argan oil for me face. The normal size is $28 at Whole Foods, but I found a smaller size for $13. I love it. It doesn’t leave my skin oily and it’s a great anti-aging moisturizer,too

  16. The Asian Pear

    Love this post. I have the rose salve. It totally rocks. You can use it on your hands and cheeks too yknow.

  17. I am a lip gloss addict but I usually use the Cherry Vaseline lipbalm. Where can one find this magical Rosebud Salve?

  18. Jacquie

    Hey Bridget have you ever tried Batiste dry shampoo? They have it at London Drugs and usually Winners for about $10! I’ve used the Klorane one too, but I actually prefer Batiste and it’s a lot cheaper!

    I really like this post, btw 🙂 I’ve been wanting that rose salve for years…

    • Bridget (Author)

      I have! I don’t like it as much as Klorane. I see it at Winners all the time and my friend swears by it, but I’m addicted to Klorane. Thankfully I don’t use it much so it takes me a really long time to empty a bottle!