Five under $5: My Favorite Super-Affordable Beauty Buys

There’s not much you can buy these days for $5 or less. But I’ve come up with five beauty products that I think are really great buys.

I Bought This


1.  essence gel-look topcoat


You’re probably tired of me singing the praises of this topcoat, but I can’t get over how well it works for me. I used it over essie polish more than 10 days ago. Since then I cleaned the house, washed all the floors, washed a bunch of pots and pans and I wasn’t always wearing gloves. After more than a week, I got a small chip on just 2 nails. I repolished those nails, and my mani is still going strong 12 days later.

essence gel-look topcoat costs $2.49 and is available at Ulta, Fred Meyer, HEB,, and select Wagreen’s. Try it. For that price, you can’t lose. Read my full review: essence gel-look topcoat

2. NYX Slim Pencils

NYX eye pencils  top: Siren; bottom: Charcoal

NYX eye pencils
top: Siren; bottom: Charcoal

NYX is a Korean brand that has a wide, trend-oriented product line. The NYX eye and lip liner pencils are dupes for many of the Urban Decay liners. They come in a million shades: neutrals, trendy, and glitter. They’re highly pigmented. They go on smoothly and last a fairly long time. I have a bunch.

They are often on sale at Ulta, either a percent off or buy one, get one half off. Their regular price is $3.49 for a 5 inch pencil. NYX can be found at Ulta, at Nordstrom in the junior department, Fred Meyer, and a lot of other places. Read my full review: NYX Slim Pencils

3. Onyx Professional 3 • 2 • 1 Nail Dry!


I can’t stand waiting for my nails to dry. It drives me crazy. I get itchy everywhere. I decide there are a zillion things I must do immediately that involve using my hands. I was so happy when I discovered this handy instant nail dry spray. I let my nails air dry for a few minutes and then spray them. The spray does take down the shine just a little bit, but I can live with that in exchange for more nail freedom.

I bought the travel size/2.0 oz. of Onyx Professional 3 • 2 • 1 Nail Dry! at Fred Meyer for $1.99. It’s also available in a larger 8.5 oz. size for about $4.00, and you can also buy it at Wal-Mart. Read my full review of Onyx Professional 3 • 2 • 1 Nail Dry!

4.  essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara


I love this mascara. It’s easy to apply, doesn’t clump, and it makes my lashes super long and thick. It doesn’t flake off or end up giving me raccoon eyes. I love the wand with the bulb at the tip that finds all of my little lashes. It is not waterproof (I’m not a big fan of waterproof mascara), but for me, it stays on very well. And I love the price: $4.99. Read my full review of essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara

5.  Posh Purse Foundation Brush

Poshpurse fndnbrush

I found a great compact foundation brush when I was traveling this spring. It’s terrific for applying liquid foundation or BB cream. Though it’s positioned as a “purse” foundation brush, I prefer the short handle all the time because it gives me more control. Even though this brush was inexpensive, it’s a high quality brush:  the brush head is thick and the bristles are very soft. I love the flat shape that makes blending my foundation or BB cream so easy. In addition, it comes in a great little plastic pouch that keeps it clean in between uses.

I bought the Posh Purse Foundation Brush at Fred Meyer, and I paid $4.99. It’s available at the same price at K-Mart/, though the Posh website sells the same brush for $10.00.

So these are my five favorite beauty products for under $5. What are yours???

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