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College Beauty Awards: The Best Products of the Year Under $15

Open thread: what’s your favorite drugstore beauty product? There are miles of aisles, and for about $15 it’s easy to replenish the most critical aspects of your cosmetic bag. Plus, nothing hits like wandering a store that sells serums and M&M’s in the same place. But that’s just us!

So, you bored? Need makeup? Want to do some impulse shopping? Our College Beauty Awards guide has the best inexpensive beauty products to choose from. With the prices of this year’s winners, you’re going to want to be restocking on seconds (and probably thirds too).

Photo Focus Foundation

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wet n wild, walmart.com, $5; shop now

Your laptop camera (and by extension, the folks in your Zoom classes) are not ready for the looks that are about to happen while you wear this foundation. Just like the name implies, the Photo Focus Foundation helps highlight all your good angles, with a formula that’s easily buildable and stays put all day. Redefining the word #nofilter? Check.

Murumuru Butter Butter Bronzer

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Physicians Formula, walmart.com, $12; shop now

This is the perfect everyday bronzer, hands down. It combines both cream and powder elements, so you can’t lose. When you open the compact, it smells like being at the beach, and all the little pearl pigments blink at you. If it’s so pretty in the packaging, just imagine how beautiful this bronze finish will look on your cheekbones.  

Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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L'Oreal Paris, walmart.com, $10; shop now

Back for more College Beauty Awards wins, this mascara shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With many mascaras, how the product performs during application is alllll in the bristle. Well, this wand has 200+ bristles, giving lashes a fringe effect, if that makes sense? It’s a big win in our book. The best part is that it doesn't give you racoon eyes by the end of the day.

Wow Brow Gel

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e.l.f., walmart.com, $4; shop now

If you're used to clumpy brow gels that flake off or melt onto your eyelids, you'll be shocked when you try this. e.l.f.’s products are simple, but so excellent for enhancing the micro details of your face — which in this case, is shaping esthetician-approved brows. For $4, you just can’t beat this.

Skin Protectant Lip Balm, Original

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ChapStick, walmart.com, $3; shop now

If you hoard lip balms like no one's business, let us introduce you to the most glorious three-pack. Now, you can keep a tube in your purse, car, nightstand, etc. ChapStick is the biggest name in moisturizing lip care — but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fan favorite flavors include Cool Mint and Black Cherry, though we honestly love the Original flavor to wear under lipstick and drive in that hardy SPF feel.

HydraFresh Toner

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L'Oreal Paris, walmart.com, $5; shop now

Toner is one of those “obvious” products that actually holds the power to change the texture of your whole face. For instance, this toner is basically glow in a bottle. You can use it to cleanse, condition and brighten your skin, all for the price of a coffee. Seriously, what’s her @?

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, For Waterproof Makeup

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Garnier, walmart.com, $7; shop now

Dare we say that makeup wipes are *whispers* cancelled? But really, how could you continue tugging, pulling, and harshly rubbing away at your face every day when gentle micellar water is here to remove makeup in the softest way? Micellar water essentially lifts debris away your face like a magnet, and it’s effective on even the most potent waterproof formulas. The best part about this one by Garnier is how gentle and cooling it feels.

Dry Skin Cream

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Pond’s, walmart.com, $5; shop now

In most cases, moisturizer is a product worth splurging on. However, there’s nothing else on the market — drugstore or high-end — that can nourish your skin quite like a classic pot of Pond’s. This formula wears seamlessly under makeup, and it repairs dry skin at night too. Get ready to fall in love with this a.m./p.m. beauty routine BFF.

Super Volcanic Clusters Pore Clearing Clay Mask

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Innisfree, sephora.com, $15; shop now

Clay masks are like little vacuums for your pores. They suck the yuck up out of them, and then seal your skin tight. Innisfree, one of our most-loved K-beauty brands, makes this incredible mask packed with fine volcanic clusters (so cool!!!) that dive deep into your pores and exfoliate your whole face. There’s no crunchy flaking as it dries, which tends to happen a lot with clay masks. A miracle? Absolutely.

Dry Shampoo, Original

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Batiste, walmart.com, $6; shop now

Return your hair to just-washed status with this cult-favorite dry shampoo. It comes in a huge variety of fragrances and specifications, so there’s a little something for everyone. Mainly, it sinks right into your roots so you can extend that wash by another day or two (or four, if we’re being honest). Greasy scalp club, this one’s for you.

Daily Moisture Renewal Set

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Pantene, walmart.com, $6; shop now

Excuse me, ma’am, who gave you the right to have shiny healthy hair for just $6? Oh right, we did. This duo is the best in its category for lather, and it smells way more expensive than it actually is. Even when you finally get the monthly budget to buy salon shampoos, you’ll find yourself coming back to this set again and again.

Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Oat

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Aveeno, walmart.com, $9; shop now

Some facts: this formula doesn't irritate even the most highly reactive skin. Actually, it’s good for your skin’s health. And you know how some unfortune lotions leave you feeling kind of hot and sticky for no reason? This doesn’t; instead it sinks all the way in so you can slip on jeans after without them getting caught on your lotion-legs.

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Gina was formerly the Beauty & Culture Editor at Her Campus, where she oversaw content and strategy for the site's key verticals. She was also the person behind @HerCampusBeauty, and all those other glowy selfies you faved. She got her start in digital media as a Campus Correspondent at HC Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she graduated in 2017 with degrees in English and Theater. Now, Gina is an LA-based writer and editor, and you can regularly find her wearing a face mask in bed and scrolling through TikTok.
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