Like many of you, I spent my 20s being reckless, my 30s not thinking too deeply about skincare, and the first three years of my 40s figuring out how to undo the previous 20. O.K., it's not that bad. I was blessed with good genes, I don't smoke or drink and I do a moderately respectable job at staying hydrated. That said, there are always things you can do to improve your hair, skin, teeth, and nails whether you're 24 or 44 ... which leads me to this list.
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The things contained here will whiten your teeth, add a swipe of color to your lips or even cure your crusty heels. You'll find products to restore your skin's moisture, beauty chews packed with collagen and vitamin C, and even "unicorn fruit" at No. 11 that you'll just have to wait to read about. What are the things these products have in common? They're inexpensive and — holy hyaluronic acid – they're so good you're going to want to buy them in bulk. Clean out your storage and get to shopping; these beauty finds aren't going to buy themselves!
Clean Up With Charcoal
I was anti-charcoal powder for the longest. How could black powder possibly make your teeth whiter? Now, I have seen the error of my ways. This natural activated charcoal powder with bamboo brush is more effective at whitening teeth than most of the strips and paint-on gel that I've tried. This product has a minty taste and the black bristles keep your brush from looking dingy.
Aloe? It's Me
Aloe ... is it me you're looking for? Sorry, just a little Lionel Richie action to spice up this list. Anyway, this aloe vera gel is straight from an organic aloe plant, turned into this gel that has myriad uses. Soothe your sunburn, treat your cuts, clear up your rashes, take the sting out of bites, calm your shaving burn, and more with one bottle. This is definitely one you'll want to buy extras of.
A Different Kind Of Mask
We've talked a lot about masks over the past 18 months, but these masks are a lot less controversial. A set of 12 sheet masks, ranging from nourishing shea butter to refreshing peppermint, will deliver brightening, hydrating, calming and moisturizing effects for your face. These masks are never tested on animals and are a cheap investment — just $10 for the whole shebang.
Clear The Calluses
I'm in the midst of a callus clean-up myself ... and I wish I had stumbled upon this callus remover gel sooner. But, no, I get to deal with peeling skin for the next week. I digress. This gel works simply by soaking your feet, applying the gel, and then letting it sit for five to 10 minutes. To remove dead skin, use a pumice stone or scrubber and then wash the residual gel away.
This Tinted Balm Is The Bomb
Honest Beauty, that skincare and makeup line from Jessica Alba, only launched in 2015, but it's already a heavy hitter in the beauty industry. One of my favorite products is this tinted lip balm. I don't love the look or feel of regular lipstick so I lean toward glosses and balms, which deliver just a hint of color in a moisturizing formula. Try it in plum drop for the fall or march to the beat of your own drum with its six other shade options.
First Aid Moisturizer
My first introduction to First Aid Beauty was in one of those monthly subscription boxes. Since then, I've been a loyal devotee, including this Ultra Repair Cream, which promises intense hydration for dry skin and itchy conditions like eczema and others. Suitable for all skin types and for skin from head to toe, you'll see what all the fuss is about from its nearly 8,000 reviews.
On A Roll...er
In years past, if someone had told you to buy a device that had hundreds of tiny needles and then roll it all over your face, you'd call them crazy. Today, we not only have derma rollers for micro-needling available, but we can also have one at our doorstep in two days thanks to Prime. This one boasts 540 titanium needles at a size recommended by estheticians to massage and exfoliate your skin.
If you're looking for the fountain of youth, look no further than this trio of serums from Tree Of Life. Vitamin C makes your skin look smooth and refreshed while retinol softens and rejuvenates and hyaluronic acid reduces fine line. Think of it as the fearsome threesome of skin care. What's not fearsome is the price: You'll get all three bottles for less than $20.
Brown Sugar, Baby
D'Angelo was singing about "Brown Sugar" before it was even popular, though I don't think it was a scrub he had in mind. Nevertheless, this brown sugar scrub from Brooklyn Botany will have you high off of its exfoliating and nourishing properties. (O.K., not really, but bear with me.) This company also creates scrubs in coffee, lavender, orange, and blueberry fragrances.
Go For The Gold
Amazon / Sara
The family that uses under-eye collagen patches together, stays together? I'm also so intrigued by these golden crescent-shaped pads, but I'm even more intrigued at this buy which gives you 30 pairs for less than $12. Packed with collagen and hyaluronic acid, these eye masks eliminate the look of tired eyes, fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, under-eye puffiness, and loss of firmness. All you have to do is decide whether you're going to share them.
Try This Unicorn Fruit
Unicorn fruit could be so many things, couldn't it? Some type of magical, edible pudding, maybe, or a colorful whipped cream. This unicorn fruit is whipped body butter, though, so don't eat it, even though it may smell good enough to. This jar contains acai, chia seeds, matcha, rose water, and collagen to deliver a dewy, youthful glow. Reviewers say it smells good and a little goes a long way.
Try A Burst Of Beauty
Do you ever remember hearing your mother or grandmother saying, "Pretty is on the inside?" These collagen soft chews from Neocell will have you pretty from the inside out, delivering two types of collagen, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C in a tasty superfruit punch chewable. One reviewer who had been taking them for a year said she definitely experienced stronger nails after starting these.
Get Every Last Drop
Amazon / Jennifer I.
This one isn't so much a beauty product, I'll say, as a beauty product lifesaver. Made by Every Drop, these beauty spatulas will save you money in the long run because they're designed to go into any beauty container to scrap out every last drop of what you paid for. The spatulas are attached to an eight-inch handle and can even be used as an applicator or on the go.
Soap — No Rope
Have you discovered Dr. Bronner's yet? Let me tell you, these pure-castile soap bars aren't big on pretty packaging, but they are big on results. Not only are they fully biodegradable and use all-natural, vegan ingredients, but they also use organic oils that won't dry out your face, body, or hair. Better yet, they're packaged in 100 percent post-consumer recycled wrappers.
Don't Eat This Cake
I'm starting to think I was hungry when I assembled this list: Fruit punch chews, unicorn fruit body butter, and now this Cake Curl Whip, a totally-to-die-for whipped curl mousse. I first stumbled onto this line at Walgreens, but the drugstore can't beat Amazon's prices (or delivery). Try this curl shaper for less than $7 and experience crazy volume and hold without the crunchiness.
You Need This Miracle Moisture Spray
So far, we've talked about a lot of skincare and makeup items, now I want to throw some hair care magic at you. This miracle moisture leave-in conditioner from Daily Dose promises moisturizing, detangling, and color protection for literally any hair type. 2A hair? No problem. 4C hair? They've got you covered. Daily Dose uses no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or any other type of -ate that that can weigh hair down.
If you wear makeup or maybe even if you don't, you likely have some makeover remover or cotton pads around for your toner, remover, or moisturizers. While they're really efficient, they're also hugely wasteful. These makeup remover pads are eco-friendly and reusable. You'll get a pack of 15 including three black scrubbers for waterproof products and 12 softer pads for more sensitive areas.
Oh, Say Can You Seaweed
I spend most of my time in the water at the beach trying to avoid seaweed and now you tell me they're putting it in beauty products? Unbelievable. This jelly mask features seaweed and hyaluronic acid (there's that thing again) to give you moisturized, hydrated and glowing skin. Unlike other masks that harden, this one stays moisture to double down on that moisture promise.
A Dynamic Hair Duo
I know what you're thinking: Why is this a matching set if the ingredients don't match? Listen, shampoo and conditioner set like this one that pairs apple cider vinegar with coconut and avocado doesn't have to be all matchy-matchy. In fact, the way these ingredients complement one another is reason enough to buy it. ACV clarifies while avocado and coconut moisturize for the perfect balance.
Banish The Brass
Speaking of shampoo, if you're a blondie or a silver-haired fox and you struggle with brassiness, grab this purple shampoo from Matrix. Color-depositing purple shampoo doesn't turn your hair purple (so don't freak out). Rather, it neutralizes brassy hair and corrects yellow tones in blonde and grey hair to maintain your cool blonde hue. Grab it in sizes from travel-ready to full liters.
Root For This Cover Up
Grays got you down? Whether you maintain your color on your own or are in between salon visits, investing in some Magic Root Cover Up is not a bad idea. Available in varying shades from dark brown to red, this product temporarily conceals your gray with just a spray. Each spray lasts until your next wash and it's a lifesaver for less than 10 bucks.
If you get regular manicures and pedicures (or even if you don't), this go-anywhere seven-piece manicure set is going to come in handy more times than you realize. Equipped with scissors, clippers, tweezers, and more, this set closes up into a convenient wallet-sized case for packing or stashing in a bedside table drawer. Just please ... don't clip your toenails on the bus, O.K.?
Make 'Shroom For This Makeup
If you thought you'd never hear the words "mushroom" and "makeup" in the same sentence, surprise! Today is your lucky day because this concealer-and-base makeup features a mushroom head sponge for flawless application. This makeup is also super moisturizing, and helps to balance sebum levels; reduce acne, dry patches, and skin irritation; and, prevent signs of aging.
Raise The Hoof
I know, I know, a beauty product that references "hooves" is going to draw a bit of skepticism ... until you try it. I purchased this Hard As Hoof nail strengthening cream when I ran out of a similar post-manicure product and I have not been disappointed. It has a pleasant coconut scent, helps prevent splits, chips, peels, and cracks, and conditions with jojoba oil, calcium, and vitamins.
A New Type Of Bio-Oil
Drop everything because this is a major announcement: Bio-Oil, that crazy-good skincare oil you've known about for ages, now makes a dry skin gel and it might be even more remarkable than its older "sister." The gel quickly and easily absorbs into your skin and leaves no greasy or sticky residue. I tried this on some super-dry cuticles and after just one application, they looked brand new.
Add Color With Washes
Have you ever thought about getting wild with your hair color? I'm not talking about going from brunette to blonde. I'm talking wild: Blue, purple, teal, even orange. Keracolor Clenditioner is a safe way to add color to your hair at home in a formula that won't result in damaged hair or OMG-what-have-I-done anxiety. This is a color depositor, shampoo, and conditioner in one convenient bottle.
Stop The Rub
Stop the chafe before it starts by applying this anti-chafe balm from BodyGlide before you get dressed — on thighs, neck, arms, or anywhere your skin is rubbed. Available in a stick form in packaging smaller than a stick of deodorant, it's also discreet, which means you can throw this in your gym bag and no one will be the wiser. These are child-safe, vegan and allergen-free.
Differin For A Difference
Amazon / Sarah Dotson
If you don't know about Differin, let me give you a brief history. It used to be available only by prescription, but in 2016-ish it became available over the counter. This acne treatment was one of the only things that worked for me as a teenager and I still find myself turning to it occasionally even as an adult. Being able to buy it on Amazon — for $12, no less — is nothing short of spectacular.
Glow On The Go
Take your vitamins to glow in this travel pack trio with a full-sized Plush Party overnight lip mask and travel sizes of Say You Dew moisturizer and Bright Side Up serum. Plush Party helps you achieve softer, smoother lips; Say You Dew gives you glowy, hydrated skin; and, Bright Side Up is a lightweight, jelly formula that gives skin a plumper look. Get them all for just 25 bucks.
Put Pimples On Pause
Acne pimple patches were the invention we didn't know we needed ... and the one I really could have used as an awkward teenager. Made with hydrocolloid, these patches offer a natural acne spot treatment, absorbing gunk and, um, pimple fluids for up to 24 hours. Place a patch on your problem area just like a sticker; you can even wear it out and about thanks to its near-invisible coloring.
Scare Scars Off
I've never had many scars, but I know they're a huge issue for other people. This medical-grade silicone scar gel from ScarAway works to prevent and treat hypertrophic scars and keloids resulting from surgeries, cosmetic procedures, mole removal, injuries, burns, and more. One reviewer did their homework: "ScarAway doesn't just 'contain' 100% silicone gel: It's ALL 100% silicone gel. And, only 100% silicon gel has been medically shown to soften, flatten, and reduce scar size."
Buy This Bleaching Cream
When a product description says, "Bleach for underarms, elbows, chests, knees, and privates," you kind of sit up and take notice. This dark spot corrector is a whitening cream that works for even your most sensitive areas, without irritation or drying. The reviews are promising, too: "I love how effective it works. Not heavy. Once it absorbs it's never oily or anything! I have been trying to get rid of discoloration under my arms for 15 years. This is the first product that helps."
Aquaphor All Day
I love all things Aquaphor so when I saw this lip repair ointment, I knew I had to try it. Formulated with nourishing vitamins, shea butter, and soothing chamomile essence, this balm seals in moisture and relieves dryness and chapped cracked lips. Of course, you can use a regular Aquaphor in the jar on your lips, but this tiny tube is a lot more portable for on-the-go moisture.
What's The Toppik?
Amazon / Adam Quitanilla
We have to talk about the elephant in the room when hair care comes into play: Thinning hair and baldness. It impacts both men and women. If it makes you self-conscious (and it shouldn't!), you might want to give Toppik hair-building fibers a shot. Whether you're a silver fox or a redhead, Toppik makes a color for you. All you have to do is shake or spray on the area you're trying to cover and then gently pat your hair to disperse the fibers.
Wipe Away The Day
Nearly every trip out in Florida during the summer results in a humid, sweaty mess. I'm seriously considering buying some of these travel-sized Neutrogena facial cleansing towelettes. Individually wrapped for convenience and sanitary-ness (yeah, that's not a word...), these towelettes give you a fresh and effective wipe for complete cleansing and makeup removal wherever you are.
A TikTok Favorite
Amazon / Nina
This product is a new one for me, but not for the more than 3,300 people who have left stellar reviews for it on Amazon. The entire product description for this Mother Pearl Sponge Soap is written in Spanish and I didn't get past learning how to say "apple" on Duolingo, so I'm going with the reviews here. TikTok made a lot of folks buy this and they rave about less acne and reduced dark spots.
Go, Go, Grapefruit
I love the smell of grapefruit in the morning. (That's loosely adapted from the movie, "Good Morning, Vietnam.") Anyway, I do love the smell of grapefruit, especially in the morning. Something about its fresh, citrusy scent helps wake me up and get me moving ... then, coffee takes over. This Amazon brand grapefruit body wash clarifies and cleanses is my pick to toss in your cart when you're ordering anyway.