The Best Beautifiers For EVERY Budget

Is it just us, or does anyone else get ticked off by those articles that tell you what beauty products to splurge on and what to cheap out on? Maybe we're being overly sensitive, but we don't appreciate being made to feel guilty for our love of pricey cleansers. We'll spend our hard-earned cash on whatever we damn well please, thank you very much.
Just as beauty is not one size fits all, so are spending habits unique to each girl. Maybe your skin does just fine with a drugstore moisturizer, but your lashes revolt if you give them anything but that expensive department-store mascara. There's no "right" category to splurge on because everyone values something different in the beauty realm. Nor is every girl working with the same bank balance — what seems exorbitant to one is a justifiable expense to another.
With that in mind, we've gathered up a whopping 90 of the best beauty products for literally every budget. In the following slides, you'll find our picks for the best of the best in each product category, sorted out into the low-, mid-, and luxury-price ranges. What you won't find is us shaming you into using a less fancy shampoo because "you're just washing your cash down the drain." You worked hard for your money, so spend it on whatever makes you happiest.
Click through to see our picks, then tell us in the comments which products you skimp, split, and splurge on.
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Skimp: Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash

This oil-free cleanser clears away dirt and oil without sucking all of the moisture from your skin in the process.

Split: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

A favorite amongst aestheticians, this extra-gentle gel cleanser works wonders to remove even the most stubborn makeup, but leaves your face feeling soft and supple.

Splurge: Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser

All-natural and non-foaming, this luxe cleanser babies sensitive skin with a gentle botanical formula that removes makeup and cleanses without drying out your complexion.
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Skimp: Yes To Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15

This back-to-basics moisturizer gives you everything your skin needs — sunscreen, nourishing ingredients, and lightweight hydration — without the hefty price tag.

Split: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream

The proverbial work horse of the moisturizer world, this unisex hydrator is a perennial favorite around the R29 offices for its skin-smoothing and hydrating benefits.

Splurge: Tatcha Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream

Featuring a gorgeous gel-cream texture and a host of skin-fortifying extracts, this light-as-air moisturizer gives skin a smooth, radiant, and yes, supple appearance while it invigorates and replenishes.
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Skimp: Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10

Featuring 10% benzoyl peroxide, this on-the-spot breakout banisher means serious business.

Split: Sonya Dakar Blemish Buster

Apply this salicylic-and-probiotics fluid at bedtime and watch it pull a disappearing act as it shrinks your worst blemishes and speeds up healing time.

Splurge: Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment

After multiple commenters sang the praises of this retinol-based treatment, we knew we had to try it out for ourselves. While it's billed as an anti-ager, it does indeed work wonders on any breakouts, making pimples look a lot less angry after just one overnight use.
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Skimp: Olay Regenerist Lifting Serum Eye Daily Treatment

A little goes a long way with this serum, which gets our vote for its ability to make our droopy, tired gaze look refreshed and energized.

Split: Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado

Another standout from our favorite East Village-born brand, this creamy treatment moisturizes without feeling greasy.

Splurge: Darphin Wrinkle Corrective Eye Contour Cream

Apply this super-luxe cream to your eye area at night and wake up the next morning to a firmer, brighter, smoother, less sleep-deprived gaze.
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Skimp: Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Treatment Mask

Dry skin is suddenly transformed into a supple and dewy complexion with this clary sage-infused mask.

Split: Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial

Instant is the key word here — in just five minutes, this super-exfoliator dissolves dead skin cells and leaves your skin radiant and soft.

Splurge: May Lindstrom The Problem Solver Correcting Masque

This mask literally does it all: detoxifies the skin, tightens pores, minimizes inflammation, heals blemishes, and promotes a gorgeous radiance by stimulating circulation. We'd be jealous of its overachieving if it didn't make our skin look so damn good.
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Skimp: RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream

It's not just coconut oil — well, okay, technically it is — it's absolute magic for your skin. Use this organic "cream" as a nighttime moisturizer and be ready to wake up to the most hydrated, glowy complexion you've ever seen looking back at you from the mirror.

Split: Neal's Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate

We're always wary of clever marketing gimmicks, but this organic serum lives up to its hyped-up name — we swear we wake up looking five years younger whenever we use it.

Splurge: DDF Restoring Night Serum

Strengthen your skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with the dermatologist-formulated, anti-aging serum.

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Skimp: Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water

Spritz some of this fancy French water to add lightweight hydration, soothe redness, and strengthen your skin's moisture barrier.

Split: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Billed as "part toner and part serum-mist," (yeah, we don't know either), you'll find a bottle of this skin-smoothing, radiance-enhancing elixir on multiple desks around the R29 office.

Splurge: Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist

A blend of orange blossom, rose, sage water, and apple pectin gives this toner mist its skin-softening and refreshing powers.
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Skimp: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair

We dig this wrinkle-correcting serum because it features anti-aging powerhouse retinol, but in a gentle formula that won't irritate or dry out sensitive skin.

Split: Renée Rouleau Skin Correcting Serum

Never has a product name been more fitting — one use of this does-it-all serum and our skin immediately felt softer and looked more even, plus our blemishes were suddenly much less noticeable.

Splurge: Joanna Vargas Daily Serum

Like a "green juice for your face," this everyday serum from the famed celebrity aesthetician features all the essential nutrients your skin needs to look soft, smooth, and glowy.
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Skimp: Smith's Rosebud Salve

We're hard-pressed to find a girl that doesn't swear by this cheapie hydrator. While it works well on everything from dehydrated cuticles to chapped skin, we like to slather this multitasker on dry lips to help un-parch our puckers in a flash.

Split: Bite Beauty Superfruit Butter

Made with a nourishing blend of superfruits — açai, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate — this heavy-duty butter is the one we turn to when our lips have passed the point of no return. Pile it on, rub it in, let it sit for a few minutes, and be amazed at how quickly your pout goes from cracked to crazy-soft.

Splurge: Eminence Organic Skin Care Citrus Lip Balm

We never thought a lip balm could be life-changing, but that was until our pouts came in contact with this little wonder. Petroleum-free and made with organic shea butter and sunflower-seed oil, it soothes flaky, cracked lips on contact, adding a sexy sheen and subtle plumping effect in the process.
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Skimp: Love + Toast Gin Blossom Handcreme

Proof positive that pretty and cheap really can go hand in hand (har har), this beautifully packaged hand hydrator is vegan and packed with natural moisturizers like shea butter and a blend of natural oils. The gin-blossom fragrance is intoxicating without being cloying, and the cream itself leaves hands soft, not greasy.

Split: Diptyque Velvet Hand Lotion

When a manicurist applied this gorgeous skin softener to our mitts, we almost hugged her — that's how amazing this hand lotion felt on our chapped, red, and dried-out paws. True to its name, it instantly soothed, hydrated, and left our hands feeling, you guessed it, velvety.

Splurge: Rodin Crema

A ritzy hand cream may seem superfluous, but try as we might, we just can't quit this fabulous one from girl-crush/life-inspiration Linda Rodin. The combination of antioxidants, moisturizers, healing agents, and that intoxicating aroma makes it downright impossible to resist.
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Skimp: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30

Waterproof, sweatproof, non-greasy, and it won't leave behind a chalky white residue means this drugstore skin protector is tops in our books.

Split: Supergoop! Sunscreen Mist With Vitamin C SPF 50

We were initially drawn to this spray-on sunscreen for its easy-peasy application, but it clinched a spot in our regular SPF rotation thanks to its grease-free finish and skin-softening effects.

Splurge: Hampton Sun SPF 30 Lotion

More like a skin treatment than a sunscreen, this SPF lotion softens, rejuvenates, and protects your skin all at once.
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Skimp: Curel Ultra Healing Lotion for Extra Dry Skin

One bottle of this budget moisturizer will get you through the entire winter with nary a dry flake nor scaly patch to be seen.

Split: Red Flower Spanish Gardenia Moisturizing Body Lotion

The lush, floral scent alone is enough to earn this lotion a place in our hydrator hall of fame, but its deep-moisturizing powers are what makes it a true must-have for those with dry skin.

Splurge: Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Body Crème

Conditioning oils of jojoba seed, cocoa seed, and sweet almond nourish, while the luxurious scent of peonies and soft suede make for a truly decadent experience.
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Skimp: Lumene Vitamin C+ Illuminating Anti-Age BB Cream

We've had our struggles with drugstore BB creams — most of the ones we've tried in the past have had some pretty abysmal textures, caused us to break out, or just had shades that looked really weird on human skin. We encountered none of those issues with this BB, which left our skin looking and feeling fantastic.

Split: Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm

This was the BB that started it all for us. It was the first one we tried, and after just one application, we were ready to throw our tinted moisturizers to the curb — it's that good.

Splurge: Dior Hydra Life BB Creme

While many BBs can feel too thick and hard to spread, this moisturizing one blends like a dream and makes our complexions look out of this world. Our only complaint — as with the other BBs in this category and most BBs in general — is that we wish they all came with a more diverse range of shades. Let's work on that, okay, guys?
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Skimp: Nyx Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Perfect Red

This matte lipstick glides on like butter, stays in place for hours on end, and delivers the most vibrant pigments we've seen this side of a drugstore aisle.

Split: MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger

Our love of Lady Danger runs deep — it's the absolute most perfect orange-red that, like all of MAC's lipsticks, is insanely pigmented with color that lasts for days (or, at least it feels that way).

Splurge: Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Wild Ginger

We always gets endless amounts of rants and price-shaming whenever we recommend it, but we don't care: Tom Ford's exorbitantly priced lipsticks really are the categorical best. They never fail to get us compliments, come in the most amazing colors, and feel like heaven on our lips. So, sticker-shock be damned, we will continue to love and proudly recommend these luxe lipsticks to anyone in earshot.
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Skimp: L'Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara

We've tried to love other drugstore mascaras as much as we adore this one, but no dice. There's just no comparison to its plumping power and true obsidian hue.

Split: Kevyn Aucoin The Curling Mascara

Long, flirty lashes are just a swipe of this magic wand away. It has special proteins which lock lashes into a curl, plus nylon fibers to build up thickness.

Splurge: Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara

If you like your lashes long and lush (um, who doesn't?), then this fringe-enhancer is for you. Two coats of this and you will be giving Zooey Deschanel a run for her doe-eyed money.
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Skimp: Revlon Nail Enamel

A bajillion (that's an exact number) colors to choose from, a nice and spreadable formula, and decent wear time are just a few reasons why we love this cheapie lacquer.

Split: Sephora Formula X

With over 200 different shades and 12 unique and innovative finishes, Sephora's new lineup of polishes truly offers the best bang for your buck — not to mention some of the most jaw-droppingly rad hues we've ever laid eyes on.

Splurge: Rescue Beauty Lounge Nail Polish

When it comes to gorgeous colors that have traffic-stopping potential, Rescue Beauty Lounge has it on lockdown. Whenever we wear one of Ji Baek's out-of-the-box hues, we get everyone from our deskmates to random girls on the subway commenting on how much they love our manis.
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Skimp: E.L.F. HD Lifting Concealer

Unlike other budget cover-ups, this soft and silky concealer won't cake into fine lines or dry out your skin. It works gangbusters at covering up everything from redness to hyperpigmentation and blemishes, and at that price it's worth it to stock up on a few, so you're never without its concealing magic.

Split: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

We saw the incredible powers of this makeup artist-beloved concealer backstage at NYFW, and ever since then we've been hooked. It glides on skin like satin, provides a luminous finish, and has buildable coverage that all but guarantees a flawless visage.

Splurge: Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer

After hearing the umpteenth makeup artist rave about this concealer, we finally decided to try it. Not only were their claims of concealing superiority not exaggerated, we think they might have even undersold it. The stick applicator makes it easy to apply, it goes on beyond smooth, will not cake, and we're pretty confident it can erase practically any skin imperfection we throw at it.
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Skimp: Nyx Cosmetics Stick Blush

While it's not quite on par with our beloved, discontinued Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tint (#neverforget), this is the next best thing. Easy to apply, super-blendable, and providing a dewy flush, this is our blush placeholder until Bobbi comes to her senses and brings the Cheek Tints back.

Split: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

We usually prefer cream blushes to powder (see above), but this long-wearing version is the exception — it feels so soft and silky and is beyond easy to blend, not to mention its longwear capability.

Splurge: By Terry Rose de Rose

This sheer liquid blush is the ultimate complexion perker-upper — it gives your skin a soft, radiant, lit-from-within glow that erases dullness and any signs of fatigue.
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Skimp: Maybelline Color Tattoo by EyeStudio 24 Hr Eyeshadow

Tattoo is not an exaggeration: These creamy, pigmented shadows will. Not. Budge. We don't know why we'd need a shadow to last 24 hours, but we feel better knowing we have the option.

Split: Stila Eye Shadow

With fabulous color payoff, an ultra-blendable formula, and the versatility to wear wet or dry, it's no wonder Stila's cult-classic shadows have won every beauty award under the sun. Add another accolade to the pile...

Splurge: Dior Diorshow Fusion Mono

We don't know what a gel-foam texture actually is, but after trying these shadows, we're not sure how we lived without it. It feels weightless on the skin, but provides breathtaking color and multi-dimensional shine that makes our whole eye area look brightened and refreshed.
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Skimp: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation

With 18 shades, medium coverage, and a lightweight feel, this skin-perfecting fluid also boasts a finish that blends seamlessly into your skin for a flawless, natural complexion.

Split: Estée Lauder Invisible Fluid Makeup

This satiny-skin foundation achieves the heretofore impossible feat of being both full coverage with a light-as-air feel.

Splurge: Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation

The great cosmic joke for blemish-prone ladies is that they usually rely on foundation the most, yet most makeup can exacerbate pimples or greasiness. Not this baby: Its liquid-to-powder formula actually absorbs oils as it seamlessly covers up skin discolorations, without looking flat or dull.
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Skimp: Maybelline EyeStudio Master Duo Glossy Liquid Liner

Props to Maybelline for yet another makeup standout in the drugstore category. This dual-tipped liner allows you to create thick or thin lines with unerring precision, while the glossy finish and smudge-proof formula ensure your handiwork will stay in place as long as you need it to.

Split: Ardency Inn Punker World's Baddest Eyeliner

Our makeup artist BFF James Vincent adores this easy-draw liner pencil. 'Nuff said.

Splurge: Lancôme Artliner

The tug-free foam tip, the amazing array of hues, the smooth application — there are plenty of reasons to love this new liquid liner from Lancôme.
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Skimp: Sonia Kashuk Blusher Brush

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Sonia Kashuk hands down has the best, most affordably priced makeup brushes of all time. OF ALL TIME!

Split: Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush

UD had at us Optical Blurring. This vegan brush is the makeup-tool equivalent of Vaseline on a lens — use it to apply your foundation and it will help "blur" out any uneven tone or texture. Barbara Walters would approve.

Splurge: NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

This kabuki-theater-inspired brush is a work of art in and of itself — it's almost too pretty to use. If you do manage to get past the pretty factor, it's quite versatile, great for everything from blending out blush to highlighting cheekbones and diffusing eyeshadow.
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Skimp: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

This balm-stain is the ultimate two-for-one as it hydrates your lips as it imparts glossy color. It's also way easier to apply than many of the more pigmented liquids, making it an ideal choice for stain novices.

Split: Sephora Cream Lip Stain

We've sung the praises of this amazing liquid lipstick so many times that we really don't have anything left to say, other than: It's a makeup unicorn, buy it immediately in every color under the sun.

Splurge: Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Matte Lacquer

We're not quite sure how those wizards over at Armani did it, but they've managed to transform velvet into a matte lip stain. We must learn their secret — but in the meantime, we'll satisfy ourselves with obsessively applying this heavenly lippie to our pouts.
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Skimp: Acure Organics Shampoo Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell

Dry, damaged hair gets a much-needed shot of moisture with this au naturel coiff cleanser. Made with CoQ10, and organic sea buckthorn, argan, and pumpkin seed oil, the omega-rich formula provides lasting moisture, shine, and manageability.

Split: John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo

Besides smelling like the most amazing thing known to man, this repairing shampoo helps renew, restore, and strengthen damaged strands.

Splurge: Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo

While "oil" is a bit of a misnomer here, the concept behind this luxe cleanser is similar to that of the brand's iconic facial cleansing oil — it gently removes dirt, oil, and build-up without stripping your scalp or hair of its natural moisture, leaving behind improbably soft, supple, well-behaved strands.
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Skimp: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner

For the amount of deep conditioning this coconut-and-orchid hair softener provides, you'd expect it to feel heavy, but it's just the opposite — even our most fine-haired testers said their hair felt soft and airy after using this.

Split: Lather Yuzu Bergamot Crème Rinse

Avocado oil gives this natural conditioner its softening powers, while vitamin B5 and wheat protein help protect the hair and scalp.

Splurge: Christophe Robin Antioxidant Conditioner with 4 Oils and Blueberry

Bold statement warning: Christophe Robin's luxe line of hair care has completely changed our manes. The celebrity colorist knows a thing or two about color-treated hair, and this nourishing conditioner is proof of that. It instantly detangles and rejuvenates dyed or sensitized strands, giving them the extra TLC they need to look healthy, strong, and vibrant.
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Skimp: Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner
Kooky name aside, this drugstore treatment is a cult classic for a reason: Give it three minutes and it will take your dry, frazzled, straw-like strands and transform them into a silky smooth 'do.

Split: Evo The Great Hydrator Moisture Mask
At first glance, we were a little put off by this mask — it has the consistency of petroleum jelly, which can be disconcerting when you are about to slather it all over your hair. We're glad we got over our initial hesitation because this moisturizing treatment is amazing. The "jelly" actually absorbs right into the hair, hydrating it from the inside out without leaving behind any sort of heaviness or residue. Our locks have never looked better, or been more manageable, healthy, and strong.

Splurge: Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs de Jasmin
Chock-full of amino acids, this creamy hair mask is unmatched at imparting a glossy, mirror-like shine on even the most parched, damaged manes.

$3.99, available at; $21.25, available at Sleek Hair; $60, available at Birchbox.
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Skimp: Pssssst! Instant Dry Shampoo

You've probably heard or read about this bad boy ad nauseum, so we won't bore you with a long, drawn-out gushfest. It's cheap, it works, end of story.

Split: Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Extract

We quite literally have a bottle of this stuff stashed in every bag, drawer, and cabinet in both our homes and office. It's kind of a necessity for those days when you "forget" (a.k.a. hit the snooze button for the fourth time) to wash your hair.

Splurge: Kérastase Powder Bluff

We thought we didn't have room for another dry shampoo in our lives, but then we saw this versatile spray in action at NYFW and realized our foolishness. It builds volume, sucks up oil, and won't leave behind a color residue, making it the new MVP of our styling line-up.
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Skimp: John Frieda Full Volume Hair Dryer

We're usually pretty wary of cheapie hot tools — we've been burned before, literally — but this one from John Frieda left us pleasantly surprised. It dried our hair lickety-split without burning it, leaving our locks shiny and full.

Split: T3 Veloce Hair Dryer

Always wanted a T3 but not willing to drop the big bucks? This entry-priced version features the brand's much-loved tourmaline technology at half the price. So, you can get the same frizz-busting, fast-drying perks without having to drop a week's paycheck to get them.

Splurge: Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000

Speaking of a week's paycheck...if you're going to drop a lot of dough, you definitely want to feel like you are getting your money's worth. With a powerful motor that cuts drying time in half, a lightweight body that won't give you arm cramps, and completely customizable settings that actually make sense, this high-priced dryer definitely delivers on its cha-ching price tag.
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Skimp: L'Oréal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold

Because, duh. Also, every single celebrity and editorial hairstylist on the planet can't be wrong.

Split: Bumble and bumble Does It All Styling Spray

There pretty much isn't anything this versatile styler can't do. Use it to lock updos in place, or spray it on hair sections prior to heat styling to give hair grip and hold your style.

Splurge: Oribe Superfine Strong Hair Spray

Lock in even the most gravity-defying styles with this strong-hold spray. It holds strands in place without looking dull or sticky, imparting a lustrous shine to your coif as it controls it.
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Skimp: Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Minimize frizz and enhance your curls with this natural coil enhancer. It uses coconut and neem oils, plus silk protein to protect hair from damage, hydrate, smooth, and add shine.

Split: DevaCurl Styling Cream

This styler is a must-have for curly girls — it hydrates, defines, minimizes frizz, and helps shield your curls from 'do-wrecking humidity.

Splurge: Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream

Perfect for wavy and curly hair alike, this luxe styler has heat-activated technology that activates a "curl memory factor" to keep curls bouncy and free of frizz for hours on end.
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