50 Little Beauty Luxuries You Can Actually Afford

The holiday season is officially in full swing, and with it come some not-so-holly-jolly feelings. While this time of year is all about sharing and caring, all that selflessness can really take a toll on your well-being. Not to sound too Goop-y, but you have to remember to take care of yourself amid the hustle and bustle. Treat yo'self, and all that.

Easier said than done, right? What with the money you spend on gifts and what feels like a clock set to fast-forward, it can be nigh impossible to actually stop and get your pampering on. Who has time for a spa visit when there are still presents to be wrapped and parties to be planned?

The good news is that you don’t have to make taking care of yourself a huge, pricey ordeal. There are plenty of little luxuries to be found in the beauty aisle that can rejuvenate, reinvigorate, and make you feel semi-human again without throwing you into a shame spiral every time you check your bank balance.

We scoured the shelves and dug deep into our own personal stashes to bring you the under-$25 beauty treats we turn to when our stress levels hit DEFCON 1. These 50 buys will help you relax, unwind, feel fancy, and — most importantly — cope with all the madness of the holidays.

Click through to discover our best-kept cheap-pampering picks, then go ahead and grab one (or two, or 10 — no judgment) to help make this winter feel a whole lot more manageable. Because nothing ruins the holidays quite like an impromptu psychotic break in front of your nearest and dearest. Consider this our gift to you AND your loved ones.
1 of 51
Besides being ridiculously beautiful, these blooming bath salts are rich in rose oil, a heavenly scent with skin-hydrating properties. Sprinkle a handful of salts in a warm bath, and tune out the world while you enjoy soaking in a floral garden.

Mullein & Sparrow Mini Rose Bath Salts, $24, available at Mullein & Sparrow.
Advertisement
2 of 51
Fluffy poodles on a retro background. We dare you not to make high-pitched squeals over the quirkily adorable makeup bag.

Catseye Mr. & Mrs. Small Bag, $18, available at Shen Beauty.
3 of 51
Think of this as face oil for your lips. It goes on like a gel and gives a sheer tint, while soothing chapped lips and preventing moisture loss with a potent blend of plant oils.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Raspberry, $24, available at Clarins.
4 of 51
Why use hand cream when you can give your fingers a nail mask? Apply this cream with honey, oat, marula oil, equisetum extract (a.k.a. horsetail), and vitamin B12 to your nails and cuticles, and leave on for five minutes. Once your digits have been sufficiently nourished, wipe off the excess with a cloth and then wash with warm water. Gaze in wonder at how hand-model perfect your hands now look.

Eve Snow Super-Food Nail Mask, $22, available at Net-A-Porter.
5 of 51
Upgrade from your washcloth to these infinitely more sophisticated — and effective — cloths. Made of muslin, they delicately exfoliate, getting rid of dead skin without stripping your visage of its natural oils. They work with any cleanser, but for the best effect, try one paired with a balm or rich, cream face wash.

Eve Lom Muslin Cloths, $22, available at SpaceNK.
6 of 51
Photo: Via Sonia Kashuk.
As much as we would all love to have a Mason Pearson (since every hairstylist and their brother raves about them) for creating silky strands, we don't have an extra $100 lying around to drop on a hairbrush. Fortunately, we don't have to: This little detangler from Sonia Kashuk is the next best thing to the pricey brush, delivering the lush, gorgeous mane we crave at a fraction of the cost.

Sonia Kashuk Hair Brush, $15.79, available at Target.
Advertisement
7 of 51
Spray perfumes? Pshaw — mists have nothing on perfume creams. Not to be confused with body lotion, this buttery balm is infused with concentrated scents of water lily, evening lotus, and midnight jasmine. Dab a dot on your wrists or neck for a thoroughly modern way to smell dreamy.

Library of Flowers Moon Shadow Parfum Crema, $21, available at Library of Flowers.
8 of 51
This is quite possibly the most fun-to-use body scrub we've ever encountered. Made from roasted and ground coffee beans, coconut oil, mint, and cinnamon, this caffeine explosion leaves your skin feeling soft and can help minimize the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, according to the brand. Fair warning: It makes a helluva mess in your tub, so be prepared to do some serious rinsing.

Frank Body Original Coffee Body Scrub, $14.95, available at Frank Body.
9 of 51
A face mist is an easy way to feel like a lady of leisure — if we had a fainting couch, we would totally sprawl across it while alternating between delicately spritzing and fanning ourselves. This unassuming bottle takes misting to the next level with a mix of witch hazel, rosewater, and propolis. The result is a pore-purging spray that also delivers a light layer of moisture and sets up your skin for flawless makeup application.

Honey Girl Facial Toner, $22, available at CAP Beauty.
10 of 51
Hand sanitizer may seem mundane, but that's only because you haven't tried this little beauty. It blows plain old Purell out of the water, thanks to a scent reminiscent of fresh-baked goods and a decidedly un-sticky feel post-sanitizing.

Barr-Co. Hand Sanitizer, $8, available at Barr-Co.
11 of 51
This lipstick case looks chic in your makeup bag, so you can feel posh every time you whip it out for a touch-up. Even better, it's refillable so once you start scraping the tube, you can pop out the old one and insert a fresh one. Virtuous primping always makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.

Paul & Joe Limited Edition Lipstick Case, $5.60, available at Beautyhabit.
Advertisement
12 of 51
Okay, this one is 55 cents more than our $25 budget, but we think it's worth it. The silk mask is infused with the brand's signature Cupron copper-oxide technology, which claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. We can't attest to that, but we can tell you it feels heavenly on the skin and helps us wake up feeling refreshed and pampered. If our wrinkles look smoother in the process, well, then that's just an added bonus.

Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Eye Mask, $25.55, available at LovelySkin.
13 of 51
Just because it's a basic necessity doesn't mean it can't feel like a treat.

Marvis Jasmin Mint Toothpaste, $10.50, available at Beauty.com.
14 of 51
This fizzy little wonder works wonders on tired, achy feet. Plop it into a basin of warm water, stick your feet in, and let the epsom, sea salt, and Irish moss soften those rough calluses while French-lavender oil and jasmine absolute delicately scent your tired toes. Because flowery feet are definitely better than stinky-cheese feet.

Lush Foot Soak and Fancy Free, $6.95, available at Lush.
15 of 51
Add a few drops of water to this finely milled powder to unlock its dirt-dissolving superpowers. It foams up as you rub your hands together, clearing away impurities while leaving skin baby's-butt soft. Kind of makes your usual cleansing routine seem a little pedestrian, huh?

Dr. Oracle The Snow Queen Enzyme Powder Wash, $25, available at Birchbox.
16 of 51
Photo: Via Tatcha.
One application of these cooling, refreshing eye patches is all it takes to immediately hit the reset button for our undereyes. Pop them on, lay down on the couch and close your eyes for 15 minutes. When you peel them off, you'll see the potent blend of red algae and peony extract has worked to de-puff and brighten tired, sleep-deprived eyes. It's the next best thing to actually getting a good night's sleep.
17 of 51
Photo: Via Dr. Singha.
Sure, it may not sound fancy, but this age-old bath sure does the trick when your body is feeling beat down from all the running around you seem to be doing this time of year. Mustard seed, essential oils, wintergreen, and eucalyptus will help soothe a weary body, invigorate the senses, and help keep budding colds at bay.

Dr. Singha's Mustard Bath, $11.25, available at Dr. Singha's.
18 of 51
What can we say other than this is a hydrating lip balm with a gorgeously silky texture that works wonders on dry, flaky lips? And it smells like lavender. So, yeah.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Lip Treatment: Lavender, $20, available at Laurel Whole Plant Organics.
19 of 51
Photo: Via Olivine Atelier.
We truly believe that there is nothing that makes our skin feel more pampered than a quick spritz of rosewater. There's just something so delightfully feminine and luxurious about the whole ritual. Olivine's newest, Love + Roses, is made with a rare rose oil that helps skin feel hydrated, soft, and reenergized. Best of all, it can also be used on your hair and body, for head-to-toe fancy-lady pampering.
20 of 51
Everyone needs an eyelash curler — it does, after all, make your eyes look perky. So why not add some glitz to your glam routine with this rose-gold one by celebrity makeup artist extraordinaire Charlotte Tilbury? Bonus: It really does make your lashes look instantly defined, lifting and separating in one simple squeeze. If there's indeed a life-changing eyelash curler, then this is it.

Charlotte Tilbury Life Changing Lashes Eyelash Curler, $22, available at Nordstrom.
21 of 51
If we say "bubble massage," we're pretty sure your response would be "hell, yeah." What's not to love about that entire concept? A powder cleanser made with sparkling thermal water from Jeju Island — Korea's botanical utopia — the two-part treatment promises to clear out pore gunk and eradicate oils and dirt. Sprinkle the contents of the blue packet into a basin or big bowl of warm water, then stir in the powder of the white packet. Dip your face into the mixture and use your hands to splash the product on your face, à la every skin-care commercial ever made. Leave the concoction on your face for two to three minutes, then rinse off. Giant cheesy grin and face-stroking optional.

Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Powder, $4, available at Glow Recipe.
22 of 51
We don't know about you, but drawing a cat-eye makes us feel oddly zen. There's something about tracing that precise flick that brings us a kind of joy that no other part of our makeup routine can. This new gel liner from MAC is one of the coolest, easiest to use gel liners we've come across yet. It's basically a calligraphy pen for your lids.

MAC Rebeleyes Gel Eyeliner, $22, available at Nordstrom.
23 of 51
Whenever we look at this, we imagine ourselves in a claw-footed tub in the middle of an airy, sunlit room, slowly rubbing hot, sudsy water on our body. Okay, that came across way more erotic than we meant it to, but you have to admit that scenario sounds pretty dreamy. And while not everyone has a giant tub at their disposal — more like a dingy, shallow tub in a narrow, windowless cube — at least we can feel fancy as we scrub.

Natural Sea Sponges Sustainable Sea Sponge for Bath & Body, $14, available at Spirit Beauty Lounge.
24 of 51
There's something about a facial oil that's so much more luxurious than a plain old lotion. This cult-favorite one by Tarte is full of vitamin C and essential amino acids to hydrate, brighten, and even out skin. Try massaging it in for a spa-like treatment. And don't let that tiny size fool you — a few drops are all you need to get maximum benefits (even for the driest of skin), so this half-ounce bottle will last you a lot longer than you think.

Tarte Maracuja Oil, $15, available at Sephora.
25 of 51
Spritz your pillow and your bod with a bit of this aromatherapy mist — it features Melissa and lemon-myrtle essential oils, along with extracts of St. John's wort and lady's mantle — and you'll be whisked away to dreamland faster than you can say, "Ryan Gosling holding Nutella and frolicking in a field with puppies." Hey girl, you look so well-rested.

Cowshed Sleepy Cow Body & Pillow Mist, $25, available at Shen Beauty.
26 of 51
Photo: Via Laura Mercier.
Sure, a powder puff may not seem like much, but using this velvety little pad to apply our powders makes our skin feel like it's being caressed by cuddly kittens with angel wings made of cashmere. So, that's nice.
27 of 51
Photo: Via Lather.
Made with sea kelp and ginseng, this gel mask can be used on your face, body, and hair. It's a total one-and-done treatment that draws out impurities and restores lost moisture to your skin and strands. Pretty much the only thing this mask doesn't do is wash your dishes for you.

Lather Sea Kelp & Ginseng All-Over Mask, $18, available at Lather.
28 of 51
Photo: Via Boscia.
Why settle for one mask when you can have four? This gift set from Boscia features four of the brand's cult-favorite peel-off masks: Green Tea Oil-Control, Luminizing Black, Cool Blue Calming, and Anti-Aging Bright White. Smooth one on, kick your feet up while it dries, and then peel it off to reveal a brighter, less shiny, more hydrated complexion.

Boscia Multi-Masking Medley, $18, available at Sephora.
29 of 51
Photo: Via Voluspa.
We love nothing more than a wonderfully scented candle — except maybe a wonderfully scented candle that also comes in an equally gorgeous container. Keep 'em coming, Voluspa — we dig it.
30 of 51
Rubber masks do not necessarily sound like a beauty indulgence, but we've found the process to be oddly calming to our souls. For those not in the know, rubber masks are a thick gel that, once spread on the face and left to dry, transforms into a rubbery texture (hence the name). This is then peeled off, taking off skin gunk and infusing skin with moisture and clarity.

Add that this opulent complexion perfector features "gold gel" (whatever the hell that is), and you've got a truly luxe facial experience. And, if nothing else, at least you get to walk around with a 24K face. Richie Rich would be so jealous.

Shangpree Gold Premium Modeling Mask, $20, available at Peach & Lily.
31 of 51
We've said it before and we'll say it again — Nyx just gets what budget beauty products should be. We see no reason to settle for less just because we're working with less dough, and this brand does a fine job of delivering richly pigmented, beautifully formulated products that don't make us feel like we are sacrificing something by going drugstore.

These eye pencils are a prime example: Available in 30 inventive shades, they go on smoothly, won't smear, and look just as vibrant on your skin as they do in the package.

Nyx Cosmetics Slide On Eye Pencil, $8, available at Nyx Cosmetics.
32 of 51
Photo: Via Koh Gen Do.
We realize the concept of paying $12 for "luxury" cotton may seem a bit bonkers, but just hear us out on this one. In addition to helping you get the most out of your beauty products and feeling dreamy on the skin, these can also be used to create a really effective DIY mask.

As Diane Nakauchi, the CEO of Koh Gen Do, taught us, simply peel apart the cotton, saturate each piece in your favorite toning lotion, and press the pieces on your face to cover it. The result — a make-your-own sheet mask that makes skin feel crazy soft and supple.
33 of 51
This aloe-water-and-apricot scent from Caldrea is so pure and fresh that we just want to immerse ourselves in it, head to toe. Thanks to this handy gift set, you can do just that, too. Suds up with the body wash, make your legs glisten with the silky oil, and then finish off the whole shebang with a healthy layer of lotion. Heaven.

Caldrea Aloe Water Apricot Little Luxuries Set, $20, available at Birchbox.
34 of 51
Photo: Via Aveda.
Aveda's calming blend of essential aromatherapy oils is an R29 beauty-department fave for when freak-outs and meltdowns are brewing. The blend of French lavender, lavandin, and clary sage is so calming and pleasant, and it helps center and soothe whoever is sniffing it. There may or may not have been some custody battles over who got to keep the communal rollerball on their desk — it's that good.
35 of 51
Photo: VIa Overtone.
A new hair color can make anyone feel refreshed, but oftentimes a salon visit (and all that color upkeep) is just not in the cards. We love this range of color-depositing conditioners from Overtones — they tint hair a beautiful unicorn hue. Available in six colors and three vibrancies (Pastel, Vibrant, Extreme), they can be used on all hair colors to add a little extra special something to your mane.

Overtone Pastel Purple Daily Conditioner, $17, available at Overtone.
36 of 51
Photo: Via Farmaesthetics.
This lovely little gem from Farmaesthetics is equal parts functional and decadent. It uses chamomile, almond oil, and the eyebright herb, which — as its name suggests — is known for relieving redness and eye strain. Use a few drops to remove eye makeup, and then pat some into the skin to soften fine lines, reduce puffiness, and soothe tired eyes.
37 of 51
Photo: Via Dr. Jart+.
We love a good sheet mask, and this one by Korean import Dr. Jart+ is one of our all-time faves. It's divided into two halves — one for your nose, eyes, and forehead and one for your cheeks and chin — which means you won't run into that awkward, droopy, too-big mask issue you may have encountered with the full-face versions.

Put it on just before bed, let it go to work, then remove and press any excess serum into your skin. We've been known to scoop out the leftover serum in the bottom of the pouch and spread it all over our neck and décolleté. When you wake up in the morning, your skin will be dewy, plumped-up, and soft to the touch. Hesitant to commit? Instead of springing for the $42 pack, snag one for $9 and see if you're into it enough to dole out more moolah.
38 of 51
Photo: Via Stewart & Claire.
People who say lip balms are all the same have never tried a Stewart & Claire lip balm. The brand uses a blend of organic safflower oil, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil, organic shea butter, and vitamin E to create a creamy balm that hydrates chapped pouts as soon as it touches them, without feeling waxy or sticky.

We're also head-over-heels for the scents. They include everything from tarragon to our personal favorite, the Old Fashioned — which uses cedar, vanilla, bitter orange, black pepper, and cinnamon to get that classic cocktail's heady aroma.
39 of 51
Photo: Via Evo.
Is there anything that feels as luxurious on your hair as a good conditioning hair mask? This one from Evo may look a bit suspect at first — it comes out of the tube looking a bit like petroleum jelly — but run some through your hair and we promise you won't be disappointed. It can make even the driest, frizziest of manes feel soft and smooth without weighing your hair down.
40 of 51
Photo: Via & Other Stories.
Take a not-so-sexy task — sloughing off dead skin — and make it feel decadent with this body scrub from & Other Stories. Its frosting-like consistency means you don't have to deal with messy, slippery oils coating your tub while you scrub, and the intoxicating scent of spearmint, lemon, cedarwood, cardamom, and orange flower will instantly make you feel relaxed and calm. Your skin will look, feel, and smell divine.
41 of 51
Here's the thing: This is an $18 nail polish. We totally understand that that seems nuts to recommend when there are plenty of drugstore versions out there for way cheaper that do a great job of polishing up your nails. But, RGB's stunning line of polishes are worth it. Unlike many high-priced lacquers, which are infamous for chipping or being streaky, RGB polishes go on like a dream and stays on your nails way longer than most.

We're not saying you need to throw out everything and restock with these pricy polishes. Rather, we think picking up one really unique, innovative shade (like the knockout one shown here) as a special treat is a totally healthy way to get your cheap thrills. We promise every time you pull it out for an at-home paint job, you'll feel special and pampered. And, your nails will look crazy good.

RGB Cosmetics Nail Color in Garnet, $18, available at RGB Cosmetics.
42 of 51
Photo: Via Meow Meow Tweet.
Thanks to their artsy packaging and vegan formulas, Brooklyn brand Meow Meow Tweet has long held a special place in our hearts. It's hard not to feel good when you're unwrapping one of their hand-packaged apothecary goods. This black walnut and sage soap is one of our hands-down favorites. It provides a gentle scrubby sensation as you lather, and the antibacterial and astringent properties of the ingredients means it's fab for those suffering from clogged pores or breakouts, both the face and body variety.
43 of 51
Photo: VIa Antica Farmacista.
It's a hand cream inspired by Prosecco. Doesn't get much more luxe than that. In addition to reminding us of one of our fave bubbly beverages, this velvety cream uses shea butter and vitamin E to nourish and soften even the driest, most winter-ravaged mitts. Take that, Polar Vortex.
44 of 51
Photo: Via Herbivore Botanicals.
Pampering isn't just about dousing yourself in pretty smelling things, it's also about taking care of any issues that might pop up. So, when a miniature volcano sets up camp on your face, treat it with this spot treatment from small-batch brand Herbivore Botanicals. Made from a rare clay found in Siberia, it has a high mineral content that helps to minimize the appearance of the zit as it works to treat it.
45 of 51
Photo: Via Now Foods.
For those of us who partake in it, shaving is kind of a hassle. The razors, the awkward balancing on your tub's ledge — it's not really that relaxing. While this shaving milk can't take shaving to massage levels of tranquility, it can help make the experience feel a little bit less like a pain in the ass.

The milky lotion glides onto legs soothingly and won't gunk up your razor like some of those thick creams can. We've noticed a serious decline in the amount of nicks we get when shaving with this and how soft our legs feel when we're done. Hey, if you've got to do it, you might as well make it as painless and fuss-free as possible, right?
46 of 51
When you think about H&M, the first things that come to mind are probably not "long-lasting" and "high-quality." They don't call it fast fashion for nothing. This liquid lipstick from the retailer's new makeup line is the notable exception to that common perception.

It goes on a bit clunkily (it's a bit too easy to overdo it, and the wand isn't amazing for application) but once you get it on, it's not only gorgeous but it stays put. Like, after three cups of coffee, a Shake Shack Double ShackBurger, and multiple napkin wipes.

Word of warning: Once it's on, you only have about 60 seconds until it locks down on your lips, so be speedy about cleaning up smudges. And be sure to have good lip-color remover on hand; you're going to need it.

H&M Beauty
Velvet Lip Cream, $9.99, available at H&M.
47 of 51
Normally we're not the biggest fans of snow — living in the Northeast, we see our fair share of the cold, wet stuff, and after struggling through the umpteenth storm to get to the subway, the charm kind of wears off. A bubble bath meant to evoke the smell and childlike joy around freshly fallen snow, on the other hand — that we can get behind.

Philosophy's Snow Angel 3-in-1 bath product never ceases to put us in a good mood, which is why you'll find us taking many a snow-scented bubble bath in the hectic days to come.

Philosophy Snow Angel Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath, $18, available at Philosophy.
48 of 51
Others have tried, but there truly is no substitution for this foot-softening miracle. For those of you not familiar with the foot-peel craze, let us enlighten you: Little booties filled with exfoliating acids are attached to your feet and upon removal, you will start to shed dead skin and calluses at a somewhat alarming rate. Sounds gross (it is gross), but the resulting baby-soft skin is so worth it. You get post-pedicure feet without actually having to sit through that ticklish scrub-down.

Baby Foot Exfoliant Peel, $25, available at Beauty.com.
49 of 51
Photo: Via Weleda.
In our minds, body oils are the beauty equivalent of lingerie: Slinky, silky, and they make you feel pretty damn fine in your own skin. Weleda's luscious oils are equal parts pampering and efficacious for your mind and body, thanks to an infusion of potent botanicals. This starter kit is a great introduction to the brand's oil portfolio, to help you find your perfect match. We're partial to the Sea Buckthorn and the Wild Rose ourselves.
50 of 51
Photo: Via Davines.
Beloved by models and follicularly blessed rock stars alike, Italian brand Davines is known for its elegant and proven haircare line-up. It's hard to single out one product, since they're all so amazing, but this moisturizing hair cream is a pretty good entry point for anyone unfamiliar with the brand. It features vitamin E (plus walnut and lupin extract), and restore softness, shine, and health to dry and damaged hair. Use it on damp hair after conditioning — it's basically a spa day for your hair.

Davines Momo Cream, $22.50, available at Davines.
51 of 51
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!