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We hear this all the time: you’d like to support direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that align with your personal ethos instead of shopping at big box stores, but you’re worried your wallet can’t handle the switch. You’ll be surprised to learn that baby steps will take you further than you think. Investing in high-quality DTC essentials like grooming products, skin care staples and affordable pantry upgrades will elevate your standards while supporting brands that reflect your values.
To jumpstart your budget-friendly DTC shopping trip, here are 20 of the best DTC essentials under $20:
For Your Body And Grooming Needs:
Ditch your stinky loofahs and poufs — they’re probably grimy with bacteria and yeast. Boie USA created this hypoallergenic, antimicrobial silicone body scrubber that exfoliates the skin. Stick the scrubber onto your wall to let it dry, and try the smaller $8 Face Scrub, too, for gentle facial exfoliation.
Flex Menstrual Discs, $14.98 for an 8-pack
Instead of changing a pad or tampon every 4-6 hours, switch to Flex Menstrual Discs. They’re made of antimicrobial medical-grade silicone, which means you can leave them in for longer than bacteria-magnets like pads and tampons. Plus, at $1.87 per Disc for 12 hours of protection, it’s a great bargain. Flex offers the Discs in a 4-pack, 8-pack and 12-pack that ship bimonthly.
Native uses natural ingredients like magnesium hydroxide and sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) to neutralize odors and tapioca starch to keep your armpits feeling dry. Native’s Plastic Free Deodorant ships to you in plastic-free packaging, plus there’s a $2 discount on a subscription.
Instead of squeezing toothpaste from a plastic tube that’s going to end up in the ocean, all you need to do is pop a Bite Toothpaste Bit into your mouth, bite down and let your wet toothbrush do all the lathering. Bite uses a vegan-friendly formula with natural ingredients, including Nano-Hydroxyapatite, aka nHAp, which fights sensitivity and remineralizes your enamel.
Toothpaste Bits are $12 for one-time purchases, and $7.50 with a monthly subscription. Good for your wallet, good for the planet and good for your teeth — a win-win-win all around.
Who Gives A Crap Bamboo Toilet Paper, $1.08 per roll
Who Gives A Crap uses sustainably sourced bamboo to make toilet paper. Bamboo is actually grass (not a tree!) that grows really quickly, which means it’s easier to turn them into new products. It’s a great alternative to chopping down hundred-year-old forests to make toilet paper.
Plus, Who Gives A Crap… actually gives a crap about international hygiene and sanitation. 50% of their profits go directly to charity partners who have built $5.7 million more toilets in underserved areas since Who Gives A Crap launched the initiative. You can buy a 24-pack for $32 ($1.33/roll) or a 48-pack for $52 ($1.08/roll), and sign up for a subscription that automatically refills every 4 months.
With glowing reviews from Nylon, Allure, Glamour and New York Magazine, The Billie Starter Kit is an absolute must-have for people who shave regularly. The Starter Kit comes with the magnetic holder that saves your razor from ending up in a shower puddle, the ergonomic handle with a matte rubber slip-resistant coating, 2 super sharp rust-free blades that are coated with charcoal shave soap for a little extra glide. Bonus points: Free shipping! You can also choose how often you want your four razor blade replacements to arrive at your doorstep: once a month, once every two months, or once every three months.
Waldo Hydra Boost Daily Lenses, $18 for a 30-day pack
Headquartered in the UK, Waldo makes eye care extremely affordable by cutting out middlemen. Waldo’s high-quality Hydra Boost Daily Lenses have a water content of 58% and the lenses are made at internationally-recognized and certified suppliers. You can start with a free 10-day trial, then pay $18 for a month’s supply of lenses. You can change the frequency of your subscription anytime, and postpone your next delivery date if you haven’t used up all of your contacts yet.
For Your Skin:
Cult favorite Balm Dotcom by Glossier is a universal skin salve that works on chapped lips, dry hands and chafed skin. Packed with moisturizing castor oil, beeswax and lanolin, Balm Dotcom is a $12 godsend for people with skin that crackles during the summertime.
This summer, hydrate from the inside out. Golde’s skin hydration ade comes in single-serve pouches that you can pour into a cup of cold water, seltzer water or other liquid elixirs. Made with real amla berry and pomegranate, natural ingredients boost the hydration superpowers of hyaluronic acid and watermelon.
Beauty Pie Ultralight Daily SPF30 Sunscreen, $15.80 with a Beauty Pie membership
Beauty Pie members’ fave sunscreen Ultralight Daily SPF 30 is super light and protective. The formula is infused with vitamin E, green tea, aloe vera and wrinkle-fighting peptides. Without a membership, Beauty Pie’s sunscreen costs $40. A $10 monthly membership unlocks major savings on this item — from $40 down to $15.80 — plus up to $100 worth of deeply discounted luxury beauty products.
Not ready to make the big switch yet? No worries, Buttah has the perfect solution: a travel-sized version of the signature Skin Kit, including Buttah’s Cleanser, Vitamin C Serum and a choice between CocoShea Revitalizing Cream, Facial Shea Butter and Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer. Proudly Black-owned, Buttah formulates products specifically for melanated skin.
For Your Home:
Reduce plastic and keep a couple of extra coins in your pocket by switching from plastic saran wrap to reusable Bees Wrap. Made without chemical-ridden plastics, the Assorted 3-Pack comes with Bees Wraps in 3 different sizes: a small one that can hold berries and lemons, a medium one for croissants, cheese and avocados, and a large one for a whole loaf of bread, salads or watermelon.
Say goodbye to cloyingly artificial scents from drugstore laundry detergents. Using patented advanced enzyme technology, Dirty Labs created an earth-friendly detergent that’s gentle on skin and tough on stains. No allergens, parabens, preservatives and chlorine. At 75 loads per bottle, you’re looking at 25 cents per load — a small investment for the home that truly pays off.
Reducing single-use plastic waste is as easy as smashing that subscribe button on Blueland’s website. With the Garden Hand Soap Starter Kit, you’ll receive a glass bottle with a foaming pump and three garden-scented soap tablets including Satsuma Mandarin, Bergamot Rose and Lily Mint. Fill the glass bottle with warm water, then add a tablet — it’s that easy to replenish your supply of hand soap. Tablet refills are $2 each, which makes it easy and super cheap to save the planet.
Looking for a quick house-warming gift? An easy way to add greens to your homespace without spending too much money? These starter heart-shaped hoyas from The Sill come in their original planters and will trail slowly as years go by with proper care.
For Your Pantry:
RIND Straw-Peary Skin-On Dried Fruit, $6.33 per pack
Leaving the skin on dried fruit, RIND is able to pack their Straw-Peary snacks with more vitamins, more antioxidants and more fiber. Available in a 3-pack for $18.99, this chewy snack includes dried sweet apples, strawberries and bosc pears — perfect for a beach day, picnic or hiking trail.
Your furry friend gets a shout-out on our 20 Under $20 Essentials list, too! Spoil your four-legged friend with There’s The Beef Dogsgiving Treats for the low low price of $5! Real beef is the star ingredient, treated to perfection for your pup’s enjoyment. You can actually read the ingredient list, which includes beef, flour, chickpeas, potato flour and sunflower oil.
Omsom Pepper Teigen’s Krapow, $4.50 per pack
Omsom’s Krapow flavor pack was developed with the one and only Pepper Teigen with the sweet, spicy and umami Thai flavors of chili basil. It’s the perfect addition to any pantry, especially when you don’t know what to do with assorted veggies before they go bad. One starter pack can season up to 3 servings, which means you can get 12 plates out of an $18 4-pack.
PYM Original Mood Chews, $11.66 per pack
PYM created its Original Mood Chews with amino acids and adaptogens to balance out the body’s hormone levels and help with stress and anxiety. There are 20 chews per tin that boast a natural citrus flavor that you can take in the morning or right before a stressful situation. You can buy a 3-pack for $34.99 (which comes down to $11.66/pack), or subscribe and save 20%.
One of Team TQE’s favorite vegan ice cream makers NadaMoo! created the perfect Rockiest Road. Their all-natural, all-organic ingredients list includes coconut milk, agave, tapioca syrup, cocoa powder and almonds. The marshmallows are chewy and addictive, and the ice cream’s texture is smooth as butter. Build a custom 5-pint or 9-pint pack with any flavors you’d like (personally, I’d just get a 9-pack of Rockiest Road) for $5.99 per pack, and NadaMoo! will ship your order to you directly.
No need to worry about how your budget will handle switching to a DTC product lineup. Switch to these 20 products for your grooming, skincare, home goods and pantry needs. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference these high-quality products make in your everyday life — $20 at a time.