Cheap Beauty Products That Actually Work

Who says you need to spend a bomb on good makeup and beauty products? Here are drugstore dupes of some popular products.

Daiso Makeup Puff & Sponge Detergent

$2, Available at Daiso outlets.


Honestly speaking here, I’ve always been a bit dubious about Daiso makeup products. I mean, you’re putting that stuff on your face you know? However, Daiso’s Makeup Puff & Sponge Detergent proves that sometimes, price doesn’t matter when it comes to effectiveness.

For a simple little $2 bottle, Daiso’s version of a makeup sponge and brush cleaner is truly quite remarkable. The product is surprisingly effective at removing almost all traces of makeup on your brushes and sponges (yes, including the Beauty Blender). All you need to do is pour a small amount into your palm, rub your brushes in and rinse thoroughly.


The clear gel formula is also more effective than cleansing liquids or sprays, but still gentle enough for delicate brushes. And hey, at only $2 a bottle, you’ve really got no excuse not to wash your brushes regularly.

Dupe for: BeautyBlender liquid blendercleanser® (Or any other expensive makeup brush cleanser. Seriously guys, it’s just soap…don’t spend a bomb on it.)

Original Source Mint & Tea Tree Shower Gel

$6.50, Available at selected Guardian pharmacies, including Somerset@313 and ION Orchard.


If you like your shower gel nice and minty, Original Source’s Mint & Tea Tree Shower Gel is a good bet. The refreshing shower gel leaves a light tingly sensation on your skin, which lingers for awhile even after your shower. Not a bad way to wake yourself up in the morning, eh?


At $6.50 a bottle, Original Source is actually quite a worthy dupe of the popular Malin + Goetz Peppermint Body Scrub, which retails for $56 (omgahd). The main difference between the two is that the Malin + Goetz one is more of a scrub than a shower gel, but they both leave that refreshing tingly sensation on your skin.


Original Source also has other scents in their shower gel range, such as Lemon & Tea Tree and Lavender & Tea Tree. While they mostly all smell quite pleasant, the other scents don’t have the same tingly sensation as the Mint one, so I would stick with the programme if I were you.

Dupe for: Malin + Goetz Peppermint Body Scrub

Acne Clear Pimple Treatment Cream

$4.80, Available at Watsons and Guardian pharmacies.

Everyone should have a tube of Acne Clear Pimple Treatment Cream in their medicine cabinet, because this stuff? It’s powerful. Seriously. All you need is a small dab, and your pimple will be significantly reduced in size the next morning.


There are quite a few other good pimple creams in the market, but the great thing about the Acne Clear Pimple Treatment Cream is that it does the job without drying out your skin. Because if you’ve ever had a flaky, dried out pimple, you’d know that concealing it is somewhat of a disastrous task.

My only gripe about this pimple cream is that it’s flesh coloured – which may actually be a plus point for some – but I don’t quite fancy beige stains on my pillow case so yeah…make sure the cream dries before you head to bed.

Dupe for: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (I know acne cream can be kind of a personal thing, but this stuff is just as effective as the Mario Badescu one if you ask me. Plus it’s only $4.80 a tube, and it lasts for ages.)

Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50

$15.90, Available at leading pharmacies and supermarkets.


Biore’s UV Perfect Face Milk is quite unlike any other sunscreen I’ve tried. It applies as a liquid, but leaves a satin-smooth powder finish on your skin once dry.

Many sunscreens tend to leave a dewy finish – which is great if you’re a Korean actress, but not if you’re a regular plebeian who has to be out and about in our humid climate you know? Because after a few hours, dewy starts to look more like oily…and we all know that that’s not a good look.


The sunscreen has a light scent, but nothing too overpowering. And at $15.90 a bottle (with SPF 50 mind you), it far surpasses many other high-end sunscreens in terms of value. Plus, since you use sunscreen everyday (or at least I hope you do), no harm being economic about it right?

L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray

$11.90, Available at leading pharmacies.


I’ve never been a fan of hairspray because my limp hair absorbs liquid and creams like a sponge, resulting in weighed down hair that looks flat (and generally not as fabulous as I’d hoped it would be).

The L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray though, is the only one that doesn’t seem to weigh down fine hair. And trust me, I’ve tried A LOT of hair products in my quest to get voluminous hair. Even the smell is not as offensive as typical hairspray, so you can go to town with this without passing out in the process.

Batiste Dry Shampoo

$12.90, Available at selected Guardian pharmacies, including Somerset@313 and ION Orchard.


Some days you just can’t be bothered to wash your hair (we all have days like that, admit it) and that’s exactly where a good dry shampoo comes in. Most people would probably think of Oscar Blandi when you mention dry shampoo – and rightfully so, since they were one of the first brands to launch it – but a bottle of their popular Invisible Dry Shampoo Spray doesn’t come cheap.

Batiste Dry Shampoo is a good dupe for those of us who use dry shampoo on a regular basis (read: burning a hole in your pocket). Just like the Oscar Blandi Invisible Dry Shampoo Spray, it doesn’t leave any white residue and works on most hair types and textures. It also comes in a range of scents and sizes, so you know what to try if you’re sick of Oscar Blandi’s signature scent.


Dupe for: Oscar Blandi Invisible Dry Shampoo Spray

Revlon ColorBurst™ Matte Balm

$20.90, Available at Watsons and Guardian pharmacies.


Revlon’s ColorBurst™ range of lip products is pretty impressive for a drugstore brand, and the ColorBurst™ Matte Balm is actually quite a good dupe for the popular NARS Satin Lip Pencil.

Just like the NARS Satin Lip Pencil, Revlon’s ColorBurst™ Matte Balm applies smoothly like a balm, but also has the same colour intensity as a highly pigmented lipstick. It does leave a peculiar tingly sensation on your lips, but that kind of grows on you after awhile.

Revlon-Colorburst-Matte-Balm-4Revlon ColorBurst™ Matte Balm in 250 Standout

The only drawback of Revlon’s ColorBurst™ Matte Balm is that the tip is not as defined as the NARS Satin Lip Pencil, so you have to be a bit more careful when applying it on your lips (because no one wants to look like a clown am I right).

Also, if you want to be an auntie about it – Watsons usually has a Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion on these from time to time, so you just might be able to score a good deal if you’re patient enough.


Dupe for: NARS Satin Lip Pencil

Real Techniques Powder Brush

From $18 to $23 per brush, Available on Luxola and at selected Guardian pharmacies, including Somerset@313 and ION Orchard.


Good makeup brushes are one of those things that only beauty junkies would truly appreciate, especially since a single brush can go for $40 a pop (*cough* Sigma *cough*).

Don’t get me wrong though – I love Sigma Beauty brushes, but you have to admit that they are pretty pricey. Enter drugstore dupe Real Techniques, whose brushes are almost as good – but at half the price.


Real Techniques has a decent selection of brushes – from the bigger powder brushes (as pictured) to more defined brushes for eye makeup. The best part? Most of them range between $18 to $23 per brush (or cheaper, if you get the set), which is almost half the price of Sigma Beauty brushes.


The brushes are soft on the skin, but still dense enough to do a good job with application. In fact, the only difference between the two brands would probably be that the Sigma Beauty brushes are a hair more dense (pun intended, geddit geddit). Also, the Real Techniques brushes are admittedly not as sleek as the Sigma Beauty ones…but then again, who’s going to be judging your makeup brushes right?

Dupe for: Sigma Beauty Brushes

Catrice Cosmetics Liquid Metal Eyeshadow

$7.90, Available at selected Guardian pharmacies, including Somerset@313 and ION Orchard.


Catrice Cosmetics may not be as well-known as the other more popular drugstore beauty brands in Singapore, but it’s actually one of Germany’s biggest cosmetics brands.

Most drugstores in Singapore stock a limited product range from Catrice Cosmetics, but they do usually have a decent selection of eye shadows – and for good reason, too. The Catrice Liquid Metal Eyeshadow is a real winner, with a highly pigmented formula that leaves a pretty metallic finish once applied. In fact, it is – dare we say – quite similar to Urban Decay eyeshadows, except perhaps with less colours in the range.


The only thing I don’t like about the product though, is its weird snakeskin-like pattern. I mean, of ALL the things to mould eyeshadow into, it had to be a snake?? Anyway, at $7.90 a pop I’m still going to be buying it, thank you very much.

Dupe for: Urban Decay Eyeshadow

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor

$19.90, Available at Watsons and Guardian pharmacies.


You know what the problem with most drugstore brand lipsticks is? They either lack in colour or staying power, and/or have a weird chemical taste and smell.

Maybelline, however, has managed to overcome these issues with their new Color Sensational lipstick. The creamy formula glides on like a dream, and the colour can be layered depending on how intense you want your lip colour to be. It also has a buttery scent, which is a nice change from the standard chemical smell.

Maybelline-Color-Sensational-Lip-Color-2Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color in 235 Warm Me Up

There are quite a few colours in the range, spanning from intense reds to lighter pinks, but I prefer the MLBB (My Lips But Better) colours like 235 Warm Me Up (as pictured) and 215 Totally Toffee. These make for a great everyday lip product, especially since it works as both a balm or lipstick.

If you’re a fan of the Marc By Marc Jacobs Sheer Gel Lipstick, this is not a bad dupe for it. The consistency is quite similar, and the colour 235 Warm Me Up is almost the same shade as the popular Roleplay colour from the Marc By Marc Jacobs Sheer Gel Lipstick range.

Dupe for: Marc By Marc Jacobs Sheer Gel Lipstick

Still want more? Check out these other articles:

Best Drugstore Makeup

Weird Beauty Products You Never Knew You Needed

Beauty Hacks Every Girl Should Know

Discount Beauty Shopping Sites (You Need To Know About)

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