Beauty companies know just what to say on those fancy ingredient lists to sucker us in. Don’t worry. We, too, have been victims of spending a little too much (okay, a lot too much) on a shampoo just because the bottle promised to turn our locks into Kim Kardashian’s luscious mane, only for it to fail. Miserably.
There are many luxury products that just aren’t worth the extra dough. But on the flip side, many others are worth every penny! If you’re willing to splurge on certain products, we want you to hang on to this list. We’ve applied our same cost-per-wear philosophy that we use in fashion and narrowed down the list of makeup, skin, and hair-fixers that are worth the hype. Feel confident knowing these products are going to last you a long time, produce awesome results, and most importantly… they are worth the splurge!
Think beyond the washcloth because that traditional method of cleansing doesn’t get your skin as clean as you think. A Clarisonic uses sonicare technology to gently remove impurities from your skin—six times better than your hands alone! This will also allow serums and moisturizers to absorb into your skin much better. We noticed brighter, more even-toned skin in just a few weeks of regular use. The Mia is perfect and compact for travel, but if you really want to jumpstart your quest for healthy skin, try the Clarisonic Plus. In addition to the sensitive face brush head, it also includes a spot therapy brush head made specifically for problem areas on your body, like rough elbows and feet!
Where to save? Cleansers. They are only on your skin for a couple minutes at the most, then washed down the drain.
2. Hot Tools
If you’re going to succumb your hair to incredibly high temperatures, we insist you use good tools. Flat irons and curling wands should not be metal but made with ceramic plates, as it’s less damaging on your hair and will give it a more polished look. We love the Chi Ceramic Hairstyling Iron because it has negative ions that reduce frizz and add plenty of shine to the hair shaft. The Sultra “Bombshell” Curling Wand uses Japanese Kyocera Ceramic Technology to mend and defend hair while styling. High end hair dryers, although slightly less splurge-worthy than irons and curling wands, will dry your hair in record time due to ionic technology. This will reduce the exposure your hair has to heat, allowing your hair to be less damaged than by using a cheapo dryer. Don’t go crazy, though! You can find a great dryer for less than $40. We recommend the Hot Tools Ionic Anti-Static Dryer.
Where to save? Shampoo and Conditioner. There are plenty of sulfate-free (non-stripping) options available at the drugstore now, so you’re sure to find one that suits your locks. Just like face cleansers, shampoo and conditioner are washed down the drain, so invest in tools and products instead!
3. Makeup Brushes
Know those little applicator wands that come with blushes and eyeshadows? Throw them out immediately. A high quality makeup brush will make a substantial difference in how your makeup applies and also, how it looks. Like with most things, quality is better than quantity when it comes to makeup brushes. Invest in the basics first. You should have a great foundation applicator (like the bareMinerals bareSkin Perfecting Brush), a powder brush (like the Sephora Pro Allover Powder Brush), a blush brush (like the NARS Yachiyo Brush), and an eyeshadow blending brush (like the Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush). We’re also crazy about The One Perfecting Brush by Becca, which replaces 10 other brushes and tools! When washed and taken care of regularly, these brushes will keep your makeup looking flawless for years to come.
Where to save? Mascara! The most valuable part of a high end mascara is its brush, so when the product is used up, why not reuse the wand with a drugstore mascara?
4. Foundation and Concealer
If you use foundation or concealer, wearing the correct shade for your skin tone is, by far, the most important part of your makeup routine. The last thing you should do is grab foundation from the drugstore, only to realize that it’s two shades too dark and a little too pink-tone for your coloring. Having a great base will make your skin look flawless and will make the rest of your makeup look better, too. Summary? High-end foundations and concealers are certainly splurge-worthy! We are currently loving the bareMinerals bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation and the It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation.
Head straight to your closest beauty counter and have a makeup artist match your exact shade. Or try out Sephora’s Color IQ, which pinpoints your exact skin color and recommends a plethora of identical foundation matches. The products may cost a little more than drugustore foundations and concealers, but the shade will be spot on, the formulation will almost always be better for your skin, and the best part? You can try the makeup before buying it, all with the guidance of a skilled professional.
Where to save? Eyeshadow and eyeliner
If you’re going to invest in any skincare product, make it a serum. Serums are made up of teeny tiny molecules that will penetrate deep into your skin’s layers, an area that even moisturizers can’t reach due to their larger molecules. You can find serums in many different formulations. Some are moisturizing, some are created for anti-aging, some are acne preventing, and there are even skin-brightening serums. One we love with a multitude of these skin-fixing services is Dr. Colbert’s Stimulate Serum. Although the price tag is hefty, a tiny pea-sized amount will cover your whole face, neck, and chest. Typically, the more expensive a serum is, the more research has been done to create it. Dr. Colbert’s serum is no exception. Using QuSome™Technology, healing herbs, antioxidants, and glycolic acid, it promotes cellular growth and instantly boosts collagen production by working deep within the dermis to restore skin’s vibrancy and youthful radiance. Looking for a less expensive option? Try the Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum, which targets uneven skin tone, lines, and wrinkles for firmer, more radiant skin.
Where to save? Moisturizers and SPF
While in the package, drugstore bronzers may give off that just-back-from-vacation look, but when applied on the face, they might lean more towards that of the clown variety. Sad, but true. Since bronzers deposit such a rich shade of color onto the skin, it’s worth the splurge to own a nice one. High quality bronzers have been pulverized into the finest powders and developed with perfect coloring, so you can layer them; they won’t look orange or muddy on your face. A natural, lit-from-within glow 365 days a year? That’s always a yes (and worth the extra bucks, in our opinion). Some of our favorites are NARS Laguna, bareMinerals Ready Bronzer, and Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder.
Where to save? Blush
7. Mason Pearson Hair Brush
Inexpensive hair brushes with plastic bristles can pull, break, and damage your hair. If you’re going to invest, look no further than the ever-popular Mason Pearson hair brush. It’s on just about every celebrity hair stylist “must-have” list and for good reason. The luxurious boar bristles have been meticulously placed to provide optimum shine, while its nylon bristles are spaced just far apart to make detangling a breeze. The patented rubber cushion, in combination with its good-for-your-hair bristles, allows the brush to adjust to the contour of the scalp, providing maximum stimulation without breakage or scalp irritation. The price tag? Yeah, it’s going to sting a little. But your hair will be happier and healthier with every brush stroke and it will last you for the rest of your life (really, it will!). Trust us.
Where to save? When detangling wet hair, skip those high-end, fancy combs and try The Wet Brush. It’s like magic.