The Beauty Products Our Editors Splurged on and Think Are Actually Worth It

Source: @taraleydon

If you think people occupying luxury beauty lists are only celebrities and those with near-celebrity bank accounts (AKA not us), you’re in for a treat. Luxury beauty isn’t all about the glitz and glamour; there’s something to be said for spending a little extra money on a product with the best ingredients, good packaging, and a brand ethos you can stand behind. Splurging on beauty products every once in a while is a privilege our team is excited to partake in—a little more than we’d like to admit—and we’re here to share all the splurges that ended up being worth the coin. From skincare to makeup to tools, use this as your guide the next time you have a little extra cash.


Mini Facial Toning Device

Of course I want clear skin and a glowy complexion, but my biggest skincare obsession is all things contour. As someone with a very round head, I have been on the quest to look snatched for years. I've tried it all–Gua Sha, facial massage, KKW kontour kit, but nothing works quite as well as NuFace. It's an at-home microcurrent device that stimulates the muscles for more tone/definition, less fine lines, and boosted circulation (so I'm also getting that glow!). While it's pricey, I would purchase it 100x over because of the results. After one use, I see an immediate difference: my cheekbones pop and my face looks more lifted overall. But I've also noticed a longterm shift the more I use it. Oh, and I know what you're thinking: No, you don't feel it at all (no pain–I swear!) if you use the right amount of the gel.

– Josie Santi, Wellness Editor

Pat McGrath Labs

Divine Powder Blush

As I’ve mentioned many times before, my absolute favorite beauty product is blush. It never fails to liven up your complexion, and it honestly turns my entire day around. I ordered the shade Cherish (a bright pink), and when I say it's the most beautiful blush I have ever seen, I mean it. Cream blushes don’t stay well on my skin, so I like to opt for powder, which can look dry—but this is the opposite. Even though it’s a demi-matte formula, it gives you a bit of natural radiance and stays on all day long. I ended up also picking up the shade Desert Orchid, which is one of the shimmer finishes, and it's by far the most natural-looking luminous blush I have ever used. If I could, I’d buy every shade of this—it’s worth every penny.

– Maddie Galassi, Fashion Editor

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Extra Strength Daily Peel

If we’re being honest, these peel pads are so good, I almost wish I never tried them, because now that I know what a difference they make for my skin, I can never go back. With almost 7,000 reviews on Sephora, this product is worth shelling out the money for flawless skin. This genius combo of chemical exfoliants promises to clear skin, even skin tone, reduce hyperpigmentation, limit fine lines, and boost glow. I’ve tried a lot of exfoliants and peels, but this one was so effective—the results were immediate. Within the first couple of weeks of using these peel pads, the pesky blackheads on my nose that I’ve had forever became so much less noticeable, and the small amount of pigmentation I typically have near my mouth and chin was basically gone. The best part? My usual period breakouts didn't even come, and I got more compliments on my skin than ever. I admit it’s a little pricey, but I love having a secret weapon to go to when I need an extra boost.

– Josie Santi, Wellness Editor

Biologique Recherche

Masque Vivant

One of my favorite beauty products is the Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant. It’s a balancing face mask designed to reduce excess oil production, brighten and even skin tone, speed up the healing of blemishes, and soothe and hydrate the skin. Basically, Masque Vivant is designed to do everything, and it does it well. The mask is formulated with yeast extract for its brightening and moisturizing properties, bentonite and kaolin clay to help absorb oil and draw pollutants out of your pores, and vinegar and lactic acid to gently exfoliate. I use it twice a week, and depending on what my skin needs, I might apply some Biologique Recherche P50 underneath it or add a little bit of baking soda to the mask to optimize my results. This mask definitely isn’t cheap, but the way it makes my skin so smooth, even, and glowy in just 15 minutes is exactly why I will continue to repurchase it.

– Adele Ashley, Contributing Beauty Writer


Medium Hair Shampoo

I don't love spending more than $50 on my shampoo and conditioner regime, but what can I say: My follicles have expensive taste. The newly reformulated Ouai is like liquid gold—it's the only hair system I've ever used that lets me air dry to an actually workable result (rather than a giant frizz puff). I use the set designed specifically for medium hair, and it’s the perfect Goldilocks situation—absolutely just right. My hair is dry and tends to frizz upon immediate contact with air, but I’ve noticed a marked increase in silky smoothness whenever I’m using Ouai. I love everything about it: the slightly cologne-reminiscent scent, the generous lather of the shampoo, and the chicly minimal packaging. I'm a firm believer that if I'm going to splurge, I should be getting something that works better than anything else, and Ouai has yet to disappoint me. Shop the conditioner.

– Kelly Etz, Course Director

Fenty Beauty

Freestyle Cream Bronzer

Although this isn’t a huge splurge, it took a little bit of back and forth in my brain to ultimately decide to purchase this bronzer. $32 may not seem like much, but I'm typically someone who uses a $7 bronzer and calls it a day. However, all of my coworkers were singing praises of this product, so I knew I needed to try it out. And let me tell you, I'm so happy I did. This has now become one of my holy grail beauty products—it's the smoothest cream product I’ve ever used, it blends perfectly, and it gives me the best natural bronzey look. I love to pair this with more minimal-coverage, natural-looking products in the summertime to achieve that perfect “I just got back from a tropical vacation” glow.

– Jessica Welsh, Associate Editor

Sunday Riley

Retinol Sleeping Night Oil

I’m not usually one to splurge on skincare, as I usually love finding those rare gems or even brands similar to The Ordinary that are on the more affordable side. But now that I’m getting older, I really want to preserve my skin and keep it looking young, fresh, and healthy for as long as possible. So I did my research and was swayed by this product's great reviews. So far, so good! I’ve only had this for a few weeks now, but on nights I feel like having a spa day, I turn on my facial steamer, then put on a mask, and finally slab this baby all over my face. The next morning, I’m looking brand new.

– Alex Pizarro, Editorial Assistant


Supersonic Hair Dryer

Way back in 2018, when Dyson first announced the Supersonic Hair Dryer, I knew I was in trouble. Somehow, I managed to refrain from impulse-buying the $400 hair dryer of my dreams for years (By “somehow,” I mean my brain couldn't even begin to justify paying this much money for a hair dryer—my $40 ConAir worked just fine, thank you very much). Today, I'm so glad I finally decided to make this investment. I have very curly hair that, when left alone, takes pretty much a full day to dry completely. Hair dryers with diffusers cut that time down to about an hour and saves me from walking around all day like I just got back from a swim. The Dyson? It fully dries my hair in about 20-30 minutes, depending on the settings I use. The time-saving perks alone are enough to make this purchase worth it. But on top of that, my hair feels softer and is less frizzy, and my washes last longer. It’s truly a 10/10 purchase. If getting a Dyson has ever remotely crossed your mind, just go for it.

– Garri Chaverst, Managing Editor

Pat McGrath Labs

Perfection Foundation

As a Black woman, finding a foundation that worked for me straight out of the bottle (in pre-Fenty Beauty days) was always a struggle, as most major brands would suggest that I mix two or three different shades so that I could custom create my shade or wouldn’t even offer a shade close to my skin tone. There's a moderately priced stick foundation I love that is a perfect match for me, but the liquid foundation that changed everything is this bottle of Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Foundation. It's a long-lasting formula that provides medium coverage and a natural finish that does not dry out or turn cakey on my skin. As it's a medium coverage formula, I was surprised to discover that the foundation is actually quite thin. However, you can build it up quickly while still having your skin look natural. Note that I don’t usually reach for this on the hottest summer days and always make sure to diligently set this foundation as it tends to transfer, but I always have a bottle on hand as the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

– Adele Ashley, Contributing Beauty Writer


Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Never have I ever spent a lot of money on skincare products until this thing. I really liked the idea of a vitamin C serum that would make my skin more lively and radiant, but after giving more affordable options a try and noticing absolutely no difference, I almost lost hope on vitamin C altogether—that is, until I bit the bullet and splurged on this vitamin C, squalane, and rose oil concoction. Putting it on my skin is my favorite part of the day, and even after just one use, my skin is a lot brighter and firmer in appearance. To my surprise, a little bit of this product goes a long way. After having it for about two months, I’ve barely made a dent in the volume, which is so reassuring and makes it 100 percent worth the money for me.

– Ashley Selleke, Branded Content Editor


OI Oil

For those of us with thick, straight, humidity-sensitive hair, this OI Oil is our new BFF. I’m the queen of wanting an effortless look that truly is effortless, and this oil has my back when I don’t want to do my hair but also don’t want a Monica in Barbados moment. Applying one pump of this oil through my hair in the morning will leave it looking silky all day. Whether I’m styling my hair or leaving it natural, I love to add a bit of oil to increase shine, reduce all signs of frizz, and keep my hair feeling soft. A little goes a long way, meaning I don’t feel so bad spending the money on something that lasts.

– Brett Hayden, Editorial Intern


Vitality Nourishing Facial Oil

Applying facial oil has to be my favorite step in my skincare routine, and this one always leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft! I know there is a lot of hesitation around using facial oil, but this has the perfect finish and does not leave my face feeling like a grease ball. It has extremely hydrating ingredients such as geranium and marula oil, and leaves my skin looking poreless and glowy, especially when I apply makeup!

- Andi Wynter, Social Media Coordinator

Goldie Locks

Ultra Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner

If the smell of this leave-in conditioner doesn't do it for you, I just don't know what will. If you're like me and your hair dries out really fast, this is the product for you! Especially in the summer, my hair needs a little bit more TLC in the hydration department, and this conditioner does not disappoint. I love that the formula is super lightweight and doesn't weigh my hair down and that it significantly minimizes frizziness.

- Andi Wynter, Social Media Coordinator

Charlotte Tilbury

Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Cream Bronzer

I am a cream bronzer girl through and through, and this is hands-down the best one I've ever tried. It looks equally good on my bare skin as it does on foundation, and it just gives me the most naturally glowy, sun-kissed look that a product ever could. While it's definitely on the expensive side, the pan is so big that I can't even imagine a day where I run out of it. I love it so much that I picked up a shade for when I'm fair and when I'm tan—that's how you know it's good.

– Maddie Galassi, Fashion Editor


Lash Enhancing Serum

I first tried this product a few years back as a direct result of reading a review on The Everygirl (go figure) and can attest that it absolutely lives up to the hype. After swiping this serum across my lash line every night for a few weeks, the results I got were bananas. My typically fine lashes were thicker, curlier, and crazy-long. Like, it was uncomfortable to blink while wearing sunglasses because my eyelashes kept bumping against the lenses. Yes, it’s a splurge, but if you want amazing lashes without a salon treatment, this is your product.

- Jessica Bennett, Lifestyle Editor


Hydraboost Eye Concentrate

I'm not one to typically shell out a pretty penny for eye cream, but after sampling this gem and putting up with the dark circles and dullness sitch for far too long, I bit the bullet. Packed with peptides and other natural ingredients, it firms, nourishes, and brightens skin—I'd call that the winning trifecta. What's more, it's vegan and paraben-, phthalate-, and synthetic fragrance-free (I wouldn't have it any other way). After using it for only three weeks, I'm looking more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, so I give the Hydraboost Eye Concentrate all the credit.

- Katherine Chang, Wellness Staff Writer


No. 1 Serum

It's hard for me to find a serum that I truly see a visible difference from, but this one has turned my world upside down. I've been using it for a couple of months now, and my skin looks overall brighter, healthier, and more even. It has a do-it-all formula with Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid that protects, hydrates, and repairs the skin, and feels non-sticky or greasy and just leaves my skin absolutely glowing. It's pricey, but based on the difference in my skin, is an automatic re-purchase from me.

-Maddie, Fashion Editor