It’s happened to all of us. You buy a bottle of fancy $25 body scrub only to realize it’s no better than the $6.59 version you would buy from Walgreens. Or the supposed “luxe” hand cream that’s actually greasier than the cheapo kind your grandma always used. Rather than learn the hard way, learn from me! Some of my favorite beauty products perform well and are gentle on the wallet. From hand wash to body lotion, I’ve done the testing for you.
1. HAND WASH
Method Hand Wash ($2.99) at Target
Yeah, it’s made by Target, and yeah, it’s only $2.99, but don’t assume it’s not amazing, because it is. I’ve been using and loving Method products for years, and despite having tested out lots of other brands, this is definitely my favorite in the $10-and-under category. The bottles are stylish, and the colors can be chosen to suit your decor because frankly, all Method’s fragrances smell great! This is a nontoxic, naturally derived formula, so it’s perfect for homes with pets and kids.
2. HAND CREAM
Avocado, Olive & Basil Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Therapy ($8) at Crabtree & Evelyn
There’s nothing worse than a greasy residue—and there’s nothing better than a quickly absorbing, rich hand cream. This moisturizer is the latter. Containing avocado, olive oil and basil in addition to macadamia nut oil, shea butter, myrrh extract and vitamin E, it softens even the most dehydrated hands and cuticles. And the scent is super-yummy too. I am equally enamored of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage ($8).
3. BODY WASH
Herbacin Herbal Shower Gel ($7.50) at Drugstore.com
Ready to smell delicious? The Herbal Shower Gel collection of luxurious-feeling gels are available in three scents: Dragon Fruit & Passion Fruit, Camomile & Green Tea and Lemongrass & Ginger, each of which has its own unique aromatherapeutic qualities. Love!
4. BUBBLE BATH
Seaweed Bubble Bath and Shower Gel ($10) at Mario Badescu
Who has time for a bubble bath? I do! At least when I have this Seaweed Bubble Bath on hand. It stands out from the competition because of its wonderful smell and the piles of foam it provides. This is also a great treatment for dry skin, as it contains sesame and carnation oils along with seaweed extracts to soothe and soften.
5. BATH SALTS
Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution ($4.89) at Target
Tired of schlepping to every last store in the mall? Need to soothe those sore muscles? Epsom salts are always good to have on hand, not only for those rare moments in which you can sneak away for a relaxing bath, but also because they are very helpful in soothing away aches and pains while softening the skin. Dr. Teal’s salts are available in two calming formulas: lavender and chamomile. Pick your preference—either one will do the trick! They come in handy resealable bags for easy storage.
6. BODY LOTION
Vitamin E Body Lotion With Wheat Germ ($10) at Mario Badescu
Got alligator skin? With wheat germ oil and peanut oil, plus honey extract to lend a light scent, this lotion will come to your rescue. Despite its richness, the formula absorbs within minutes, so you don’t have to wait to get dressed.
7. BODY SCRUB
Tree Hut Body Scrub: Brazilian Nut ($6.59) at Drugstore.com
I first tried this yummy-smelling body scrub a few years ago and it has become one of my beauty staples for keeping my skin smooth. The chunky sugar granules give the skin a very thorough, but irritation-free scrubbing and the vitamin-rich shea nut oil and organic shea butter nourish and soften. And at $6.59, it’s one of the best beauty buys out there.
8. SHAVE CREAM
First Aid Beauty Smooth Shave Cream to Go ($7.50) at DermStore.com
Want a close, close shave? With argan oil, tea tree oil, aloe and glycerin, this is the perfect blend of shaving cream and shaving soap. It spreads easily on damp skin and foams just slightly, creating a whipped texture that allows for a very close shave without clogging your razor.
9. FOOT CREAM
O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet ($6.49) at Target
Created by a farmer’s daughter who is also a pharmacist, Healthy Feet is a super-intensive treatment for the driest of tootsies. Slather the foot cream on before bed, put on cotton socks and awake to soft and pretty feet! If you’re wearing strappy sandals one day, dab a touch on right before leaving the house to ensure that your feet are ash-free.
10. HAND SANITIZER
Absinthe Purifying Hand Gel ($2 at The Body Shop)
Why endure the chemically smell of hand sanitizers when you can use this one, which smells amazing? The refreshing gel cleans on the go and leaves behind a lovely, subtle scent composed of absinthe, neroli and bergamot.
Target: Save $5 off orders of $50 or more.
Crabtree & Evelyn: Take 15% off your next order.
Mario Badescu: Knock 10% off your order.
DermStore.com: Enjoy a 25% discount, plus get free shipping.
The Body Shop: Get 35% off sitewide.