I experiment with a lot of beauty products. I try something new every week for my blog or just out of sheer curiosity. I don't discriminate when it comes to price—whether it's from a drugstore or a department store. If it works, it works! However, I have found that some things are worth laying down the big bucks for while others can (and should) be had for a bargain. Here is my list of what to spend on and what to buy on the cheap:
1. Nail polish. Sure you can treat yourself to a Chanel color here and there, but, a gorgeous $8 Essie, OPI or Nicole shade does a lovely job for the day-to-day. Especially if, like me, you pick it off anyway. It's only worth the splurge if you are investing in some of the new, completely nontoxic formulas.
2. Dry shampoo. Believe me, ladies, I have tried about half a dozen brands of dry shampoo that range from expensive to affordable, and I always go back to my $3 bottle of Suave.
3. Body lotion. If I could smother myself in expensive body butters every day, I would. However, since I apply lotion about three times per day in the winter, it's just not practical. Try a drugstore brand such as Olay or the new natural collection from St. Ives (I love their shea butter formula) or try a body oil, which I use for intense moisture. Avene makes a great one that you can find at many drugstores.
4. Mascara. Someday I might kick myself for writing this, but I have been on the search for a great mascara for years, and I always come back to drugstore brands like Almay and Maybelline.
5. Facial cleansing brush. You don't need the $200 one. I use the Olay version, and I love it. It gently exfoliates and allows my cleanser to get deep into my pores.
6. Cleanser. As long as you get a nice, deep clean, you don't need a crazy expensive cleanser. You just wash it off anyway! It's worth a little extra if you want an all-natural or organic formula, but even those can be found at the drugstore these days.
1. Primer. Drugstore brands don't cut it. It's worth the expense to provide a nice, smooth surface for your makeup. A good one will help your foundation stay put all day.
2. Shampoo. I'm a firm believer in sulfate-free shampoo so I pay more for it. In my opinion, quality shampoo is especially important for long hair which can look damaged and stringy when it's not taken care of.
3. Blush. Drugstore brands always rub off. Get a quality brand that stays put and makes you glow.
4. Eye shadow. I really hate that flaky, cheap texture that some drugstore shadows have. If you are buying experimental shades, then you can definitely stock up at the drugstore (try the L'oreal HIP brand). But, for the shades you use daily, go for brands such as MAC and Buxom that have high pigments with flattering shimmer and long-lasting formulas.
5. Foundation. Think about it: you use this on your face every single day. The ingredients are better in more expensive brands. Plus, you can take advantage of return policies and free samples that drugstores don't offer. Buying a drugstore foundation that ends up being the wrong shade is the worst. Plus, did you know if you buy a product at Sephora and hate it, you can return it, even if you've used it! True story; I've done it.
6. Antioxidant serums. The general rule I have observed is the more expensive the serum, the higher concentration of beneficial ingredients. Drugstore brands can't compete with the higher potency of more costly serums.
It's a toss-up:
Facial moisturizers/lotions. I'm not sure on my stance when it comes to facial moisturizers. I have used expensive creams, drugstore brands and all-natural/organic health food store finds. My favorite facial creams and lotions so far are ones that are almost entirely derived from natural ingredients (examples include Lumene, $19, and The Naked Bee, $10). At this point, I use only natural/organic moisturizer and organic argan oil or coconut oil on my face, but I have heard rave reviews from women who use drugstore brand lotions. What do you use? Do you love it?
You may also want to visit HealthyWomen's Skin Health Center and read:
Natural Beauty: Ingredients for Great Skin and Hair May Be in Your Fridge
Bethany Porter is a blogger and beauty junkie. She believes in healthy living and that women have powerful potential for beauty both inside and out.