Home > How To Be A Budget Beauty Maven – Beauty Under $40

How To Be A Budget Beauty Maven – Beauty Under $40

So, it’s March and you’ve finally paid off your Christmas bills. You’re broke or getting back to breaking even and itching to get some new beauty products. Sigh – you’re all people after my own heart. Now that your Christmas debt is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to scratch that itch with some great budget beauty finds.

Essie Nail Polishes

I love my favourite high-end brands, but it’s a little tiring paying $45 for a tube of lipstick and $100+ for a good moisturizer. I’m saving hard for some upcoming travel, so I’m tightening the beauty purse strings. Luckily for my wallet, I’ve found some amazing budget beauty finds that are on par with the high-end ones.

Let’s delve into my favourite budget beauty finds that pass the “Dom’s Impossibly High Standards Test”. Read on!

Budget Beauty Besties

Essie Nail Polish

Essie Nail Polishes
From left to right: Going Guru, Oh Behave!, Sunshine State Of Mind, Sand Tropez and Aim To Misbehave

We all know and love Essie polishes. At $9.99 a pop at your local Shoppers Drug Mart, Essie is high-quality, super pigmented and very shiny. Many of the colours are so pigmented that you can get away with just one coat if you are in a rush. With more colours to choose from than a super-sized box of Crayolas, Essie is usually your best bet for an awesome mani.

My current faves which are perfect for spring are Going Guru, Oh Behave!, Sunshine State of Mind, Sand Tropez and Aim To Misbehave – a fun, shimmering gold.

Marcelle CITY Multi-Protection Tinted Cream and Marcelle CITY Concealer

Marcelle City Tinted Moisturizers and Concealers

With the days getting longer (yessss!), you really should be upping your skincare regime. Now, you should be wearing sunscreen daily, and Marcelle has put together the perfect tinted moisturizer combining dewy glowiness and sunscreen protection.

Marcelle City Tinted Moisturizer

Marcelle’s CITY Tinted Cream ($14.95) is a light-weight moisturizer which combines skin correcting benefits with a dewy foundation base. The formulation contains antioxidants to help out with cell turnover and radiance, and green tea to soothe tired skin. The CITY Tinted Cream provides enough coverage for a natural flawless finish while letting your skin shine through. Containing aloe and chamomile, the cream shields your pretty face from environmental stressors and dullness, while tightening pores and delivering a boost of hydration.

Marcelle City Concealer

Marcelle’s CITY Concealer ($4.95!!!!) effectively hides dark circles and imperfections while minimizing puffiness. The creamy formulation is enriched with Vitamins C & E (great antioxidants) and soothing Bisabolol. Easily blendable with your finger or concealer brush, best results are achieved if applied after your foundation or Marcelle CITY Tinted Cream.

Both products are suitable for all skin types and are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested and paraben and oil-free.

Leaves of Trees Orange Blossom Argan Lotion and Moroccan Mint Lip Balm

Leaves of Trees Orange Blossom Argan Lotion

Leaves of Trees, a Toronto-based apothecary speacializing in all-natural, organic goods has hit the beauty scene in a big way. My sister introduced me to this up and coming brand and I have been hooked ever since.

All of their products are made in house at their location in Toronto’s vibrant Queen Street West neighbourhood. When I heard that their products were now being sold in Ottawa, I stocked up.

Their Orange Blossom Argan Lotion ($15) saved my cuticles this winter. In fact, this is the first winter on record where I didn’t have gnarly hang nails and I owe that to this certified organic, argan oil-based lotion. Thick and rich, I’ve been slathering this luxurious lotion on anything: my hands, my poor, neglected feet and my legs that have been so dry due to indoor heating. My skin is now supple and soft, and the winter itchiness is gone. Side note: it smells incredible thanks to its glorious ingredient list: Orange Blossom oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract and shea butter.

Leaves of Trees Moroccan Mint Lip Balm

The Moroccan Mint Lip Balm is for those serious about lip care. It’s on the waxy side, but the owner of Leaves of Trees purposely made it that way to last on lips longer. Highly effective against winter weather, this lip balm will keep your lips moisturized as it’s loaded with shea butter, beeswax, argan oil, mango seed butter, avocado oil and Vitamin E.

What I love most about this lip balm is the light and pleasing mint scent. It doesn’t smell like toothpaste at all like some other popular lip balms out there. A great product made with top quality ingredients for only $10 a pop.

Grab yourself some Leaves of Trees products from The Goods Shop or Viens Avec Moi Boutique in Ottawa. Be sure to check out Leaves of Trees online at www.leavesoftrees.com and on Instagram!

Strawbelline Vegan Petroleum Jelly Alternative ($12.95)

Strawbelline Vegan Petroleum Jelly

While strolling around Terra20 in Westboro, this cute little pink jar caught my eye. A sucker for all things strawberry, I gave it a whiff and I was sold.

Strawbelline is an organic alternative to petroleum jelly and it is pretty much the perfect moisturizer. Smooth and very light, it is head and shoulders above greasy Vaseline. Vaseline, by the way, is a derivative of the oil refining process and was original used to coat the bottoms of oil rigs in the 1800s (yikes).

Strawbelline is made of coconut oil, rice bran wax and honey, and is 100% natural and safe. Lightly scented with strawberry essential oil, I have been using this moisturizer on my lips, hands, feet, entire body. I would swim in it if I could. It’s a highly effective makeup remover (I love it for removing stubborn eye makeup). Once a week you can find me slathering my feet in it before putting on socks and hopping into bed – a look my husband adores (side glance). Best of all, Strawbelline gives your skin a healthy sheen – the perfect companion for all of those off-the-shoulder tops.

Beeseline, Strawbelline’s manufacturer, also makes Mintoline, Vanilline and Vegalline (the vegan option). Please note that this product is best used within one year of opening.

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks

*Correction: Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Sticks are $48 and not $40. I’m terribly sorry for the oversight on my part. That being said, that extra $8 is worth it! PROMISE.

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks
Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Sticks in Moon Beach (left) and Ibiza (right)

I’m a sucker for two-in-one products and Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Sticks deliver. These cheek and lip colours scream “endless summer” with their perfect hint of colour for lips and beautiful flush for cheeks.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Sticks also provide a soft and dewy finish on cheeks which I love. A touch of dewiness always looks more natural and appealing than flat, matte colour.

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick

Shown here is “Moon Beach“, inspired by the Ibiza’s golden sands and bronzed goddesses. It’s a 70s-inspired iridescent peach colour with a hint of lovely rose gold – a personal favourite. On my chocolate-toned skin, Moon Beach is the perfect highlighter. I use it on the tops of my cheekbones and browbones for a golden finish.

Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick

Ibiza – a burnished bronze – is a universal, blendable bronzer that offers a healthy mid-summer tan look for those with fair skin, and provides an amazing contoured look for the darker-skinned. I use it primarily as a blush, as it is the perfect raisin/plum colour for my skin tone. It also provides me with a super flattering, neutral lip on me that I love.

Beach Sticks contain Ceramidone, a proven ingredient that plumps the skin. Thanks to this, the creamy product does not settle in any skin surface imperfections. My Beach Sticks and I laugh in the face of my giant pores! Beach Sticks are also very hydrating, which is perfect for those early spring days that still carry those bitingly cold winds and temperatures. For the price, this two-in-one product is a steal.

That rounds up my favourite budget beauty finds for spring. Let me know what yours are in the comments! Have you tried anything listed here too? Do tell!

*A few press samples shown here were provided for my honest opinion. Strawbelline and Leaves of Trees products are from my own collection.

Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


  1. March 8, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I love affordable beauty products, too! Essie is my favorite nail polish. I haven’t heard of the other products you mentioned, besides Marcelle, but I’m going to check them out. Those Beach Sticks look amazing.

    • Dominique
      March 8, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      Desire – that Ibiza Beach Stick would be beautiful on you! And Moon Beach is a fab highlighter. YES! Check out those other ones!

  2. March 8, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    Oh behave and sand tropez are some of my faves so far ! I love anything CT ! Loving all your favourites Dominique ! ?

  3. March 9, 2017 / 1:50 am

    Ah I want to try those beach sticks so bad! I am the same way – a sucker for a 2 in 1 product and these look so dreamy!

  4. March 9, 2017 / 1:50 am

    I love your favorites, especially Charlotte Tilberry. I would buy anything from her! I’m really interested in the Beach Sticks – must try!!

    Beth || http://www.TheStyleBouquet.com

  5. March 9, 2017 / 8:27 am

    I am dying to try Strawbeline since you mentioned it last night! That price point is too good to say no to.

    • Dominique
      March 9, 2017 / 11:32 am

      Hey Tori!!! It was great meeting you last night! Thanks so much for checking out my blog! Yeah – you should really treat yourself to some Strawbeline. It’s one of the best finds this year!

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