Summer Beauty

The Most (and Least!) Expensive Beauty Products We Swear By

14 absolute must-haves from $399 down to free.

By: Katie Becker

One of our favorite things about peering into the closets and medicine cabinets of amazing people is that even among the fanciest of clothes and creams, in the dreamiest of luxury apartments, there’s always some cheap gem our subjects can’t live without. We’re the same way. When we asked each editor to comb through her beauty stash, we found that our all-time favorites range wildly in price: from free spoolies to a smudge-proof drugstore eyeliner that costs pocket change, to a Dyson hair dryer with all the bells and whistles–and a $399 price tag. Here we go, high and low:



Laurel Pantin

Editorial & Fashion Director

HIGH: Vintner’s Daughter Serum, $185

Vintner’s Daughter Serum is hands-down one of the best products I’ve ever tried. Ever. My skin looks about a million times better and three years younger after using it consistently. It’s also entirely green, which makes me love it even more. However, it’s insanely expensive! But still, it’s worth it.

LOW: Schmidt’s Deodorant, $9

On the low-end, I love Schmidt’s organic deodorant, and it’s just $9. It’s the only organic one I’ve ever found that actually works, and every person I recommend it to also falls in love. My favorite is the rose scent.


Caryn Prime

Managing Editor


HIGH: Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree, $215

I love a sort of masculine-soapy-citrus-scented anything, and when I found Bigarade Concentree by Frederic Malle, it was the perfect mix of all those things. Though it's the opposite of affordable, I just couldn't not get it! I could go without any makeup, have third-day curls and still feel like my best/most presentable self with just a few spritzes.

LOW: Revlon Lip Stain, $9

I am the biggest lip product junkie—it could be a lipstick, a traditional stain, balm, gloss—you name it, I've tried it, and I carry them all around with me at all times. But if I’m going out and can't have an entire pouch filled with lip products, then I just bring Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Adore or Romantic with me. You don't need a mirror, you barely need to reapply, you can easily control the intensity of color, and it costs less than $10.


Tara Gonzalez

Assistant Editor

HIGH: SK-II Facial Essence, $229

Don’t lie! There are certain products you constantly hear about that you secretly want to find out are terrible because the price tag isn’t ideal. For those of you who want to hear that about SK-II’s Facial Essence—I’m terribly sorry because this stuff is magic. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Cate Blanchett has used SK-II for 13 years and really, have you seen that woman’s perfect face?

LOW: Rimmel Volume Accelerator Mascara, $7

For the longest time I was incredibly jealous of my younger sister, who was born with blue eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder how she got so lucky and how I got stuck with my brown ones instead. But I think this tinge of jealousy is what made me obsessed with accentuating my eyes, and it’s hard not to appreciate the way they look with this mascara on. Not only does it make my eyelashes incredibly long and doesn’t clump, but it also makes my sister a *little* jealous herself because she says I actually have the longer lashes.


Noah Lehava

Senior Editor: Health and Wellness


HIGH: Fueguia Agua Magnoliana, $335

I first discovered this delicate floral fragrance in Buenos Aires and it quickly became my signature. I have been stocking up on bottles every time I return for family visits, sometimes buying two at a time. It’s expensive, but to me, totally worth it! Luckily, they just opened their first North American boutique right around the corner from our offices in Soho, so I won’t have to wait all year to restock.

LOW: L’Oreal Paris Liquid Liner, $10

This is not the first time I’ve gushed about L’Oreal Paris Lineur Intense Brush Tip Liquid Liner . It also happens to be my longest-standing relationship with any beauty product. It’s usually relegated to the bottom row of the drugstore aisle, being outranked in placement to its newer, jazzier iterations, but I have yet to find a liner that gives me smudge-free high color payoff quite like it.


Jodi Taylor

Assistant Editor

HIGH: Clarisonic Smart Profile, $349

Not entirely sure how I survived pre-Clarisonic—this device has truly changed my skin. I use the exfoliating brush head twice a week, typically at night, and it cleans my skin like nothing I’ve used before. The body brush is a miracle worker for shaving, and in regards to the massage head? A dream for applying moisturizer on a daily basis. So worth the investment.

LOW: Glossier Boy Brow, $19

I’m all for a natural looking brow, so pencils and powders aren’t really my thing. A few swipes of Boy Brow is all I use on my brows to give them a little more oomph. Can’t really complain since each bottle is only $19, although I do wish they were slightly bigger. It’s tough being a Canadian girl addicted to an American product.


Hannah Baxter

Assistant Editor

HIGH: La Mer Creme de la Mer, $310

This cream was my longtime unicorn of beauty products, and now that I’ve finally gotten my hands on it, I can confidently say it’s worth all the hype. Sure, it’s decadent times a million to even have it in my bathroom, much less slather it all over my face, but I always wake up looking rested, glowy, and hydrated. Beauty products should always make you feel extra special, even if they drain your bank account in the process.

LOW: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $5

I would trade every single one of my many, MANY lip colors for a lifetime supply of this Burt’s Bees tinted balm. The rose color is the perfect post-makeout flushed red, and it’s honestly the most moisturizing lip product I’ve ever used. I have one in every bag, every makeup pouch, and two in my desk, just in case. I’m not obsessed—I’m just extremely loyal!


Katie Becker

Contributing Beauty Editor

HIGH: Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, $399

Blowing out my hair is usually a total pain. I’m terrible at it. But this dryer–like all Dyson inventions–makes it so much faster and easier. Its motor goes so fast, most of the sound it generates can’t be heard by the human ear (that is true!), a thermometer inside measures 20 times a second to keep the air at a steady temp, and all the heaviest components are in the handle, so it doesn’t get uncomfortable to hold. But what I like most is that neither the air nor the casing ever gets super hot, so you can hold it however you want or get it as close to your head as you want and not hurt yourself. Which is something I somehow otherwise always manage to do.

LOW: Spoolies from Sephora, $0

Confession: I’ve walked out with a few Sephora tester spoolies in my pocket. (Sephora, is this allowed? If not, I promise I will start buying your pack of cute red ones here for 7 bucks!) But they are so handy for my crazy curly eyebrows that always seem to go haywire. I keep one stashed in my purse, one in my “to go” beauty bag when I stay at my boyfriend’s place, and another with all my travel beauty products for when I hit the road.