How to Stretch Your Beauty Bucks: My Fave Five for Around $5

Please read disclaimer at the bottom of this post before proceeding.*

Whilst compiling a list of my top 5 favorite CHEAP beauty products I realized there is a common theme: MOISTURE! Yes, in addition to possessing a dry, subtle wit I also unfortunately have not-so-subtly dry skin & hair. So this is indeed the post for readers of the parched persuasion.

Without further ado, I give you my most beloved penny-pinching products --all prices quoted are in USD & may vary slightly (less than a buck) depending on where you buy them:

#1 St. Ives Body Wash ($4.49)

I love St. Ives products period, but I especially love St Ives' line of body washes. They feel silky, rinse clean and smell wonderful --not perfumy I might add. They are also paraben-free! While I can't always find what I'm looking for sans-parabens it is a definite plus and I eschew them when I can. In a nutshell, St. Ives is just as good as those washes double the price, if not better. And once again I must mention how great they smell: natural & not over-powering. My favorite is the oh-so-creamy Oatmeal & Shea Butter (pictured).

#2 CVS Fragrance Free Advanced Healing Lotion ($2.99)

I have the following motto regarding store-brand generics: "When you need to cut the grime, buy the store brand every time. But beauty's not the same --so always buy the name." In other words, I have found little to no difference in the store and name brand versions of cleaning products, while generic cosmetics, lotions, etc.  just don't cut it when compared to their name brand counterparts. CVS Advanced Healing Lotion, however, is a store brand product I love. It's the generic equivalent of Vaseline Intensive Care and simply a great moisturizer at an awesome price: it's perfect for those dryness danger zones like elbows, absorbs well and it doesn't irritate my hyper-sensitive skin. In fact, it is one of the few "fragrance free" products I've tried that lives up to its name. Okay, it is not 100% fragrance free (is anything?) but it is as close as it comes. It has a light, well, "non-scent scent". Does that make any sense? (no pun intended). It's sort of like how your skin smells after a shower with a mild soap: just clean! Kudos to CVS.

#3 Palmer's Cocoa Butter ($4.99)

I'll admit it, I used to look down my nose at Palmer's Cocoa Butter. It just seemed cheap and old school, like something your granny would use. Admittedly, Palmer's hasn't exactly kept up with the times marketing-wise. For those who remember the seventies, the jar's no-frills cover art evokes horrors like Sanka and macrame. And, well, do you ever see commercials for it??? Plus most stores relegate it to the lowly bottom shelf --usually right next to the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (another classic I will stand by, though it is pretty strong and I recommend using it to spot treat blemishes rather than apply all over the face). But Palmer's is still in the stores for a reason --it works. When you need more help than the aforementioned Advanced Healing Lotion can deliver, it is just the ticket. I find it works especially well on dry heels: at bedtime, after a good soak and pumice, generously apply then put on a cotton sock. In the morning your tootsies will feel like silk!

#4 TRESemm√© Moisture Rich Conditioner  ($5.19)

I put my hair through a lot. I almost never blow-dry, but have played around with a lot of colors over the years. I recently gave up the reds & browns (hey, the grass is always greener) and grew out my hair to its natural color --only to discover my once-becoming dark ash blonde was more like soot! Thus, I've come home to roost with my old standby: highlights My hair is currently a hodge podge of beigey strawberry and pale champagne. I'm not too crazy about it but I am slowly phasing out the strawberry for the cooler shade. Wait, where was I? Oh yes, TRESemm√© Moisture Rich Conditioner! As you may have gathered, I have a ridiculously large collection of shampoos, conditioners, hair oils, hair masks and sprays. Products for dyed hair, non-dyed hair, products to add shine and to block UV rays, products with violet toner to take out the brass and deep conditioning treatments to save my ass (or rather my hair --must stave off breakage!!!). Several of these products are pricey and in some cases it is worth it, but this conditioner tops them all. TRESemm√© has saved my tresses time and again and no matter what I put my hair through it leaves it feeling soft and manageable. I have also found it to be the absolute best conditioner to put in your hair as a protective coating before swimming in a chlorine-filled pool or the briny sea. So surf's up! 

#5 Lacura Hydrating Facial Toner for Sensitive Skin ($2.49)

Well here we are at the Last But Not Least: I'm a fan of a few Lacura products but the one I cannot do without is the toner. It's hard to get in some areas however, as it sold at ALDI, a German-based discount grocery chain with stores in the UK, continental Europe and certain parts of the United States. That may not sound very posh but the Lacura skincare line holds its own against many other brands that cost far more. In addition to the toner, they make a QTen night cream that is insanely cheap at $3.99!!! It's designed for the face but I swear it significantly faded a stretch mark I had on my tummy (Note: the cream is on the thicker side and I find the fragrance a bit strong when first applied --and yet I've never had any skin reactions/breakouts). But back to the toner! When I say the word toner, what words come to mind? Astringent? Drying? Harsh? Exactly! Face-wise I have combination skin and this product miraculously balances that out, moisturizing the dry bits and drying up the oily bits. It's soft, hydrating indeed, and in hot weather down right refreshing. I am not a toner person at all but I love this stuff. Alas, there is no ALDI store to be had in Haute Hooverville, so every time I visit my parents I go to their local ALDI and stock up. And PS, they also make a toner for "All Skin Types" that I've tried and had no probs with, but I still like to get the Sensitive Skin version.

Now what lesson can we glean from the Fab Five? 
Sometime good things come in small prices!

*Disclaimer: all products reviewed herein work beautifully on Shoestring Sally, a woman with notoriously sensitive problem-prone skin. However, in rare cases, certain individuals may experience all or some of the following symptoms: mild rash, irritation, delirium, scurvy and/or beriberi, rickets, loss of random body parts (on a related note erectile dysfunction), unlucky mojo, defenestration, vampirism or spontaneous transmutation into a brain-eating zombie. This is not an exhaustive list. In other words, use common sense when trying out new products and don't complain to Sally if something doesn't agree with you. Also by breathing oxygen you acknowledge the risks cited (and not cited) in this disclaimer and rescind any right to sue Shoestring Sally and/or Shoestring News. Even if you cease to breathe oxygen due to product-onset vampirism or zombification you still may not sue. That's right, here at Shoestring News we enforce a No Undead-Litigation policy. xoxo Sally 


  1. I loved this article and I am lucky enough to have an Aldi store only a block away from where I live! I am DEFINITELY going to pick up the toner. The lotion from CVS sounds great as well.

    1. Thank you for commenting! Sorry I'm just now getting to the comments... oops! :)



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