The 12 best beauty and wellness products under $70 I added to my routine this year

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I’ve been lucky this year. I’ve made it through 10 months of a pandemic with my job and my health intact. But, like those of many others, my routines for most of this year have changed. I’m working from home. I’m working out from home. I’m wearing far less makeup and focusing more on skin care. And I had plenty of time to research new products to add to my arsenal.

Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush, $29

In 2016, a friend told me I needed to get a new brush. In 2020, I finally did. And this one is definitely an upgrade, cutting through tangles more efficiently and with less pull.

Dermalogica Redness Relief Essence, $42

Now that I’m skipping makeup most days, the redness in my skin is what makes me most self-conscious. Earlier this year, I tried an apple cider vinegar–based toner, but I found that this works much better.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream, $11

I am very picky about the feel of my lotion, and I strongly prefer gel over thick creams. I originally bought this to cool the heat of sunburns, but it makes my skin feel so good that I put it on almost every day.

Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream Plumping & Hydrating Moisturizer, $68

Completely contradicting myself from the above point, this is a rich cream that I don’t mind. I’ve tried several night moisturizers this year, and I always come back to this one from Tatcha, even though the price tag makes it a bit unsustainable.

Rory Nightly Defense, $25

Earlier this year, I tried an over-the-counter retinol, but I wasn’t seeing results. I wanted to try something prescription strength, but I wasn’t eager to leave my apartment during a pandemic just for skin care. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I tried Rory, and it couldn’t have been easier to get started—all from the comfort of my bed.

Equilibria Balance Bath Bombs, $36

I’ve tried a lot of bath bombs, and while it feels nice to treat yourself, I never really noticed a difference with muscle tension or relaxation until I tried these. Each bath bomb contains 50 mg of CBD, and a set of four is available in two scents: lavender lemongrass and cardamom rose.

Kristin Ess Clarifying Shampoo, $15

I am a big fan of Kristin Ess products as you’ll see from the remainder of this list. I added this clarifying shampoo to my routine when I started to experience the phenomenon known as “quarantine scalp.” If your hair has been more greasy than usual this year, it’s worth looking into.

Billie Razor Starter Kit, $9

This razor gives the closest, smoothest shave I’ve ever experienced, and I love that the automatic shipments give me one less thing to worry about, especially during a year when my brain is maxed out. I recommend adding the travel case to your order for just $5.

Kristin Ess Blow Dry Mist, $14

I have such thick hair that I avoid blow-drying at all costs. But with this mist, I can easily cut drying time in half.

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This Foundation, $44

The Instagram ads have done it again. I was deeply skeptical that I could correctly pick a foundation shade via an online quiz, but after receiving approximately 13,562 social media ads for the company, I gave in and tried it. And through some act of magic, it truly is a perfect match. Il Makiage offers a 14-day trial period for just $5; you’re not charged the full price until after the trial if you decide to keep it.

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, $37

This setting powder works great with many types of foundation. I have the translucent version, which is recommended for fair to medium skin tones, and it works great to set my foundation without adding any additional color that throws off the match.

Kristin Ess Refillable Travel Kit, $20

This is the best travel kit I’ve ever used. It was originally created so the beauty line didn’t have to make travel-size versions of every product. The containers are high-quality, and I love that the labels are reusable so you can switch up products and labels for every trip.

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