If someone asked me if I was completely loyal to my favorite beauty products, the answer would be yes and no. I love the results they give me but am open to other products that claim to give the same results, especially if they can be found easily and at a lower price. For example, I love Sunday Riley Good Genes, but will I try other lactic acid treatments that promise similar results? Sure. Does that mean I'll never use the original cult favorite again? Not necessarily. But these are great alternatives to try if you're on a budget and don't want to neglect your skin.
As you're probably aware, Amazon is a treasure trove of affordable skincare products, both somewhat random and not. Many of these skincare products have thousands (or at least hundreds) of positive reviews, making them cult sensations in their own right. Below, I've listed popular skincare products with a huge following, along with Amazon alternatives that also have tons of amazing reviews. So depending on your budget, you can choose to splurge or save. Either way, your skin will thank you.
Luxury Clearing Mask
I don't use this mask very regularly, but whenever my skin looks particularly congested, it clears it right up after a couple of applications. I've also used it as a spot treatment when the rest of my face is feeling dry.
Affordable Clearing Mask
This all-natural clay mask actually has a variety of uses (from insect bite healing to hair mask), but most of the reviews speak to the pore-declogging powers of it. Unlike the Glamglow mask, you mix this one with water or apple cider vinegar to create a paste.
Standout Review: "This mask had been such a lifesaver. I'm not sure words can describe how impressed I am with this healing clay mask. Since my skin has been through hell and I've literally tried everything, it's pretty resilient so I've been using this mask every night for the last 4 days. It's not nearly as drying as I thought it would be so that hasn't been an issue. But the mask has dried up everything and I have no new breakouts. I was so happy that I cried. If I could give this product a million stars, I would!"
Luxury Retinol Serum
My skin can only tolerate a gentle retinol serum, and this one is great because it contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid and works for all skin types. No scary retinol side effects here.
Affordable Retinol Serum
While the packaging isn't quite as chic as Biossance's, but it's double the size for a fraction of the price and also contains hyaluronic acid (along with vitamin E, witch hazel, jojoba oil, and green tea).
Standout Review: "This is my second time ordering this product, so of course I love it. I was using a really expensive retinoid cream from my dermatologist. I couldn't even use it every day, only once a week. I love this not only because I can use it every night but I also can spot treat for daytime, I just mix it with my argan oil and I'm good."
Luxury Vitamin C Serum
There are a lot of good Vitamin C serums on the market, but not many of them are very wallet-friendly. I regularly pay the prices, though, as it's an important part of a skincare routine. This one brightens, fights wrinkles, minimizes pores, and more.
Affordable Vitamin C Serum
I was so impressed by the review for this serum that I wrote an entire story about it recently. It contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid and vitamin E and is free of synthetic color additives, fragrance, and stabilizers. And speaking of reviews, there are more than 15,000 of them.
Standout Review: "The results are unbelievable. Was a bit skeptical because all the reviews were from Caucasian women. I was slightly worried that my skin would not respond as well but I was quite mistaken. With or without makeup, my skin is bright, smooth and my spots are disappearing."
Luxury Sugar Scrub
You can't talk about the best body scrubs without listing Fresh's. People are obsessed with everything from the incredible scent to the cocktail of moisturizing oils that it's packed with. Your skin will feel incredibly soft post-application.
Affordable Sugar Scrub
The beauty of this affordable alternative is that it's gentle enough to also be used on the face. (Fresh also sells a separate sugar scrub for the face.) It's moisturizing, 100% natural, and safe for even sensitive skin.
Standout Review: "This stuff is absolutely amazing. We use it in the shower as a face & lip scrub. It smells absolutely heavenly, like warm cookies. The scrub is not too harsh on your skin and the oil is light as well. It makes the dead skin slough off in the most pleasant way possible."
Luxury Face Primer
This lightweight smoothing balm mattifies the skin and complements all skin tones. It's a great product to invest in if you want a flawless finish without caking on tons of makeup.
Affordable Face Primer
This mattifying, pore minimizing, waterproof primer claims to brighten and balance skin tones, and over 7000 happy reviewers seem to agree.
Standout Review: "I was amazed at how well this face primer worked! I didn't notice any shininess for the first 5 hours of the day and after the day was over (9+ hours), I was just beginning to see some shininess. I am floored and I am sold. All I can say is there is a good reason this product is called "Thank Me Later"!"
Luxury Eye Gel
This eye cream does it all: combats dark circles, puffiness, and crow's feet while also protecting skin from free radical damage via pollution, blue light, and UVA light.
Affordable Eye Gel
This Amazon find promises similar skin-tightening, dark circle–combatting results to the Dr. Loretta eye gel and is packed with natural ingredients like vitamin C and aloe.
Standout Review: "Out of all of the eye creams I am constantly trying to combat my dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines, I have to say that this eye gel has earned its spot as one of my new favorites. As a woman of color, it is common for us to have dark pigmentation around our eyes, and so I am always looking for new eye products to help soothe my eyes as well as heal them both physically and visibly. From the moment I applied this to my eyes I knew it was going to be in love, as the gel consistency and cooling effect it has is incredibly moisturizing."
Luxury Lactic Acid Treatment
As a longtime user of this wildly popular treatment, I can confirm that it effectively brightens, plumps, and smooths. Your skin will glow for days post-use.
Affordable Lactic Acid Treatment
If you want a mild AHA treatment (this also comes in a more highly concentrated version), a favorite among Amazon shoppers is The Ordinary's Lactic Acid 5%. It gently exfoliates the skin for a smoother texture without inflammation.
Standout Review: "It is one of the best skincare products that I own. This is a great product if you are just starting to use AHA/BHA and have sensitive skin. It did not irritate my skin at all but helped brighten my skin and get rid of blackheads."
Luxury Water Cream
Lightweight moisture doesn't get more luxurious than Tathca's popular cream. It's packed with anti-aging properties and controls oil without feeling greasy in the slightest. Consider it the perfect summer moisturizer.
Affordable Water Cream
I constantly see this gel moisturizer among roundups of the best drugstore beauty products, and it lives up to the hype. It's packed with hyaluronic acid (you'll get hydration without the oiliness) and absorbs quickly so you can certainly wear it under makeup.
Standout Review: "I've been using this daily for a few weeks now and I really love it! It doesn't take much to apply to my whole face, dries quickly, and makes my skin feel super soft. It also seems to be balancing out my skin—not super oily/dry anymore. I'd recommend this if you have a similar skin type."
Luxury Facial Essence
This groundbreaking, vitamin-packed treatment brightens dark spots (and improves texture overall), softens, and minimizes pores. It's pricey but it quickly gained such a cult following that it's easy to find something similar at a lower price point.
Affordable Facial Essence
Similar to SK-II's essence, this essence contains yeast extract to "revitalize skin and impart radiance." The high-tech formula is a great first step in a skincare routine, especially if you have dry skin. Reviewers applaud its skin-softening, calming results.
Standout Review: "Honestly it's the first "essence" I have ever used and it has only been in my possession for a week or two, but it is so effective! I put a few drops into my hands and pat it gently over my face after cleansing/toning, and it felt instantly softer and bouncier...my skin looks brighter, too."
Luxury Peel Pads
These AHA/BHA peel pads (which you apply in two steps) are packed with a solution that reduces acne scars, fine lines, and shine. Once you start using it and see the results, it'll be hard to stop.
Affordable Peel Pads
Another great peel pad that's significantly more affordable are these Nip + Fab ones that contain similar ingredients to the previous Dr. Dennis Gross pads. Still not convinced? Just go read some of the 2000-plus reviews for this British beauty brand's AHA/BHA peel pads.
Standout Review: "Many AHA products have a much higher percentage of acid in them, which can be harsh on the delicate skin on your face. This product has just the right percent of acid to be effective, but not too harsh on your skin. Because of this, these pads can be used more frequently, which has helped me to maintain the radiant, fresh skin I've desired."
Luxury Body Cream
I can't say that I'm typically all that eager to spend a lot of money on a body cream, but this one lives up to its solid reputation, eradicating dry skin even after just one application. It contains two of the most skin-soothing ingredients on the market: colloidal oatmeal and shea butter.
Affordable Body Cream
Even doctors love (and constantly recommend) CeraVe products, so you know you're in good hands here, in addition to the 8300 reviews and a nearly 5-star rating. It's gentle, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic. Not only that, but it also strengthens the skin's natural barrier and retains moisture with hyaluronic acid.
Standout Review: "I have extremely dry skin that's also acne-prone and sensitive. That's a tough combination to treat because most products that heavily moisturizer also cause acne. This lotion is by far the best I've used! I can slather it on as much as I want without any irritation or acne and it soaks right in and soothes my dry skin. I'm a lifetime customer for sure."
Luxury Hand Cream
This holy-grail shea butter hand cream is irreplaceable for many, as it provides excellent hydration sans greasiness. It also provides much-needed moisture to nails and cuticles.
Affordable Hand Cream
Almost 2000 Amazon shoppers love this hand cream enough to write a glowing review, so there's that. It's also a mere $4, which is tough to beat. It contains shea butter, in addition to cocoa butter and avocado oil, all combined to combat dryness and aging of the delicate hand skin. Bonus: It comes in four scents to choose from.
Standout Review: "I bought my first J.R. Watkins hand cream over two years ago. My skin is sensitive and dry and I spend a lot of time getting my hands wet from gardening, bathing pets, doing dishes, etc. I first bought the lemon-scented cream and it is divine—not too sweet-smelling, with a genuine fruity lemon aroma. I've gone through 4 tubes. It's long-lasting. A pea-sized dab will do, especially if your hands are slightly damp."