8 Beauty Products That Won’t Break the Bank

Maybe I’m hanging in the wrong crowds, but I don’t know a lot of moms with unlimited budgets. Like me, their splurges include trips to Target, buying something fun at CVS or the occasional pumpkin spice latte. Now that I think about it, maybe I’m hanging in exactly the right crowds because that sounds like the perfect day.

Things I used to splurge on more in my pre-mom days: massages and highlights. But after three kids, my hair stylist knows that when she sees me she’ll hear two things from me: a) “I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been here … sorry my roots are like two feet long” and b) after highlights have been installed back on my head, “OMG, I look like a new person.” In fact, my highlight trips had become so scarce that once it was exactly a year to the day since I’d been in. This last time I went, I opted for full-color darker hair so I wouldn’t have to worry about the upkeep. (Because as you can see, waiting a year in between highlights, I was very concerned about upkeep.)

My point is this: A lot of us moms don’t have the spare time or money to go for those pricey and time-consuming treatments like highlights and massages and even mani/pedis. But a lot of us still want to feel pampered! That’s why I put together this list of easy and cheap ways to feel pampered. Almost all of these are products I bought myself when I’d run to CVS for something important and end up killing an extra 10 minutes browsing the makeup. Hey, we all get our thrills somewhere!

7th Heaven and Yes to Coconuts Masks

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Facial masks used to be my thang. And then when I got samples of two masks for review, I realized it had been not just a few years since I’d used a mask but probably more like … 10. Which is insane. So I was pumped to get back on the mask train in the name of science. I tested out two review samples, the first of which was this orange and black lava mask from 7th Heaven. It smelled really nice, like oranges as you might guess, and left my skin feeling tingly and super smooth. I also really enjoyed freaking my kids out. It is also mud dirt cheap and retails for just $1.99 at places like Walmart and Ulta.

Target also sent me a goodie box, which included a Yes to Coconuts hydrating paper mask. I’d never used a paper mask before, so it was an interesting experiment. I had a hard time getting the mask cutouts lined up correctly and I felt like the mom version of Jason Voorhees. But it did leave my face nicely hydrated, so for a mere $2.52, I’d do it again!

Maybelline Blushed Nudes Eyeshadow Kit

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I’m a sucker for packaging and eyeshadow kits, so this one called my name when I decided I was bored with all of my usual go-to shadows. With 12 colors in various nude shades, this kit ($8.99) is far from boring. You can layer and mix and match to create so many looks, and I often use the darker shades as eyeliner. The rose gold pigments add a bit of dazzle, and there are seriously so many ways to use the colors. With just one kit, my eyeshadow game was instantly updated.

Maybelline Instant Cheek Flush

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I don’t think I’ve ever used a non-powder blush, so when I saw this cute packaging, I couldn’t resist. Plus, I liked the idea of a flush without the usual sweat that typically accompanies it when I come from the gym. This Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush blush ($5.99) is almost like a balm for the cheeks. Simply apply it to the apples of your cheeks and in a swipe up your cheekbones and rub it in for instant flush. It feels slightly tacky like balm for awhile, but I do like that it’s moisturizing, particularly as my face gets super dry in the winter months. Plus, I’ve even used it as a quick lip balm when I didn’t have any handy. #innovator

Revlon Colorburst Matte Lip Balm

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Kristen introduced me to these Revlon lip balms ($5.88) when I saw her last. She had them in several colors and instead of stealing them from her, I bought a couple myself immediately after returning home. I’ve never done well with lipstick. I don’t know what my problem is but no matter what kind I try, my lips get cracked and flaky so I typically just skip it. But this applies easily like a balm and has enough moisture to keep my lips hydrated without feeling sticky. It’s got a great pop of color without feeling like lipstick. A quick and easy way to make it look like I made some effort in my appearance.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Nail Polish

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I said I was obsessed.

I’ve been obsessed with the Sally Hansen Insta-Dry nail polishes ever since I decided I needed something fast-drying for my infant daughter six years ago. They’re not perfect in quality and can be a little thick, but they dry in just 60 seconds — for real — which is perfect when you or your kiddo needs a quick polish. There are tons of fun colors to choose from, and they’re just about $4 a pop so it’s way too easy to collect a lot of them. I recently got a gold metallic one that is really fun.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser

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I’m not kidding when I say that each night when I go to brush my teeth, I kick myself for applying makeup earlier in the day. It’s just such a pain to take it off, and I’m lazy. But Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser ($4.29) makes a huge difference in my bedtime routine. It takes off all of my makeup with just a quick wash, and I don’t need anything extra to take off my eye makeup. It’s a cinch and it’s super affordable, too.

Rebecca Atwood Method Pumpkin Clove Soap

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This pumpkin clove soap by Method ($3.49) will get you your pumpkin fix every time you wash your hands. The Rebecca Atwood Method line has other spa-like options if pumpkin’s not your jam, like sandalwood, blue sage and wild violet.

What is your beauty vice? I’ll admit, it’s hard for me to a drugstore and not buy a nail polish. I also buy nail clippers a lot because where do they go? —Erin

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