Beauty, Makeup, Skincare
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Affordable beauty products that feel like a million bucks!

We all like pretty things – that is why a $35 mini diptyque candle with a golden unicorn sticking to container would make us click add to bag so quickly that we don’t even think about the fact that the sticker probably accounts for half the price of that candle but cost only $1 because it’s a STICKER BUT IT LOOKS PRETTY.

Don’t take me wrong, packaging is an important part of the whole experience. But if for some reason, maybe you splurged on too many diptyque candle like I have, you might need some bank-friendly options, a.k.a, products with less marketing budget, but are just as good, I assure you. I keep a list of alternatives to my favorite products (makeup & skincare) that I go to whenever I am guilty of spending too much money. I found the products themselves are just as good (if not better) than the pricier options.

For some categories, I have not found affordable ones that rise to the same level of my favorites. I swear by my MV Organic face oils. The IT Cosmetics & Tarte Clay stick foundation also have no close competitors. If you have some good finds. Please let me know!


Cleansing Oil

One Love Organics Enzyme Cleansing Oil – $42

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil – $12.6 (on sale)

This is a hard one. If you can skip 4 cups of medium vanilla latte, you should get the One Love Organics cleansing oil. It’s cruelty free, organic, eco-friendly. And the oil is just beautiful! It’s so gentle on the skin, smells like tropical fruit (fruit enzyme) and my skin always feels more hydrated and plumper after using this.  I also saw a significant improvement in my skin texture since I started using this oil. My facialist at Heyday also swears by this product.


But if you need all the coffee you can get, the body shop camomile cleansing oil is the best affordable option I’ve tried,  even better than some expensive ones (the Sunday Riley cleansing oil), It’s gentle, remove all your makeup and does not sting your eyes. What more do you need?


Hydrating Serum

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Serum – $52

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5 Serum – $6.8

The price point of The Ordinary products is so not ordinary it makes one doubt its validity. This hyaluronic acid serum though is truly amazing. I put it on  to prep and hydrate the top layer of my skin before my facial oils. It is what is is, it does what it says, but for $6.8. While the Drunk Elephant serum basically does the same thing and you have to pay 9x the price.



Creme de la Mer – $170 (1oz)

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – $30 (6oz)

I used to spend all my money on Lamer. Because word on the street is that it is THE moisturizer to have and it does wonders to your skin. Then I tried the First Aid Beauty’s ultra repair cream and could not tell a difference. The ultra repair cream is actually lighter and easier to apply.


90% of a moisturizer’s functionality (in my opinion) is to prevent skin from losing water, you don’t necessarily need a fancy $100+ moisturize unless you have money to spare. And you know Lamer’s ingredients are just: seaweed extract, mineral oil, Vaseline, glycerin, wax-like thickening agents, lime extract, plant oils, plant seeds, minerals, vitamins, more thickeners, and preservatives.


Brow Pencil

Anastasia Brow Wiz – $21

Colourpop Brow Boss Pencil – $5

A recent find – Colourpop’s Brow Boss Pencil – a 1/4 of the price of the classic & everyone’s favorite Anastasia Brow Wiz but the product is better in my opinion.  The tip is thinner and less waxy, you can draw on some real-looking brow hair with this pencil.


Eye Liner

Stila Smudge Proof Eyeliner – $22

Physicians Formula Eye Liners – $12 ( for 3)

My super oily & watery eyes filter out any eyeliner that does not stay put all day and there are only a few. So it is pretty amazing I was able to find a drug store option that rise to the standard. The physician’s formula liners are the same if not better than my old-favorites – Stila pencil liners, they both go on smoothly but stay put against oil, water, rubbing (not too hard lol).


Eye Shadow

All Shadows


If you have never tried colourpop‘s shadows you are missing out. If you ask me to describe colourpop’s shadows, I would only use the good words & phrases: creamy, pigmented, long-lasting, really affordable, endless options.


Lip Stain 

Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick – $20

Sephora Lip Stain – $14

Sephora has some great products of its own. Their lip stains are one of those incredible products. If you always walk around Sephora collection’s counter to go look at the “cool brands” like Kat Von D, you should really stop and try. Sephora’s lip stain are just as beautiful as Kat Von D’s and even better than YSL, Lancome’s, because it’s not as drying but just as pigmented.


Filed under: Beauty, Makeup, Skincare


Born and raised in China; came to NYU for university and Columbia for grad school. Now I am officially a woman in tech:) I have worked in the beauty industry for a year after graduating from college. But my obsession with beauty starts since high school, when I suffered from acnes. That being said, I have tried out a lot of skincare products as well as makeup and I have a lot of opinions on them (also high standards). I hope this is the place you can visit from time to time to find beauty inspirations, some fashion finds or even just to kill time. For general queries and chit-chat, you can reach me via email at .