On a budget & want to get the best bang for your buck on your beauty products? There are definitely beauty products worth the splurge (and highly recommended), but there are also some that you can cut down spending on and be completely fine 🙂 Let this guide help you shop smart!
WORTH THE SPLURGE: Moisturiser
Even on a tight budget, I never skimp out on a quality moisturiser. Usually, a little bit goes a long way, so I definitely see it more as an investment more than anything. My favourite moisturiser has been Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme — super moisturising for both day and night. The only thing about this one is that it does NOT have SPF, so I use it at night more than anything, and use a moisturiser with SPF during the day. This is not to say that every quality moisturiser has to be expensive — I also like to use extra virgin coconut oil as a moisturiser for both body & face because it is literally my saviour and luckily, my skin loves it! You can get a generous tub for a great price that won’t break your wallet online on Amazon.com or any local grocery store like Trader Joe’s!
SAVE ON: Cleanser
Cleansers more or less all do the job the same — clean your face! Unlike moisturisers that seep through and into the skin overnight or during the hours of the day, cleansers go on your face for a hot minute, and are then immediately washed off in the sink or shower. My favourite cleansers are baby shampoo (to get rid of make-up and initial residues — ideal because I can rub my eyes with it to get rid of mascara/eyeshadow/eyeliner without irritation), and a regular acne-fighting cleanser like the Neutrogena Greatfruit Cleanser to follow up for a thorough cleansing (I usually go to Target for this and they have an Up&Up version that’s more affordable and works the same… yay for savings)!
WORTH THE SPLURGE: Foundation
Similar to a good moisturiser, I’ve always believed in splurging on quality foundations. Recently, I’ve been trying out some drugstore foundations just to see how they differ from “luxury” foundations found at Macy’s and Nordstrom, for example, and have found that while the drugstore ones do the job, the consistency (or lack there of) may show in photos (not ideal for models, fashion bloggers, or people in front of the camera a lot), even if it may look alright in person. Some are also notorious for causing breakouts and other skin problems. This is not to say that EVERY drugstore foundation isn’t good — in fact, I swear by the elf foundation as it’s always been a great foundation for me on my seriously tight budget days. But, for the long run, I definitely recommend investing on a quality foundation. My favourites so far have been Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Liquid Foundation and Bobbi Brown’s stick foundation.
SAVE ON: Blush/Bronzer
There are definitely differences between drugstore blushes/bronzers and “luxury” bronzers sold at specialty make-up stores like MAC or Sephora, but I have not yet gone wrong with using a blush/bronzer set from elf cosmetics (available at Target for less than $10). No breakouts, nice glow, and good consistency! What’s there not to love?
WORTH THE SPLURGE: Eye Cream
A good eye cream is a must if you want to stay looking youthful and wrinkle-free as long as you can! A little bit goes a long way, so the investment should last you a while. 🙂 I’m still testing out my waters with my perfect eye cream, so if you have one that you recommend I try, let me know!
SAVE ON: Lip Balm
I find the lip balms from Target work just as well if not better than the ones from Sephora. If you use coconut oil as an all-around moisturiser, it works really well on the lips too! I’m also a fan of eos & Burt’s Bees lip products.
WORTH THE SPLURGE: Eyeliner & Eyeshadows
A good liquid eyeliner will not flake off and will apply easily. When shopping for an eyeliner, I like to make sure the brush will allow for easy and clean application, and isn’t too thick. I also love an eyeliner with a vinyl finish because it stays on properly without flaking off throughout the day. Eyeshadows are another on my “investment” list. I’ve tried out numerous eyeshadows and definitely find that you get what you pay for in this department. A great eyeshadow will be pigmented without needing to overapply, and will not flake off as the day goes by. I tend to like to buy palettes (especially the neutrals) because then I have several colours to choose from and can mix & match easily without having to go out and buy more colours. They’re more expensive as a one-time payment, but you get so much more!
SAVE ON: Mascaras & Eyelash Curlers
I’ve tested out my waters with both drugstore & “luxury” mascaras, and find that the quality & performance isn’t too different between the two. In fact, I really love the Loreal “Carbon Black” Voluminous mascara ($6-8 at drugstores) — it’s waterproof, holds curl well (with the help of an eyelash curler), and does its job just the same (if not better) than a $50 mascara at a department store! I purchase my eyelash curlers for $1.50 at my local Daiso and it works just as well (if not better!) than the ones sold at Sephora for much more. Many make-up artists I’ve worked with recommend getting eyelash curlers with the spring as it helps to hold curl longer.
WORTH THE SPLURGE: Quality Top Coat
A quality top coat will keep your nails looking fresh for longer. My favourite top coat is the Dry-Fast Top Coat by Seche Vite. Ever since I started using this one, I have never looked elsewhere!
SAVE ON: Nail Polish
I am a sucker for Chanel nail polish (because who isn’t?), but the reality is, I know that the brand name for nail polish isn’t as big of a deal if you use a quality top coat over the nail polish. So, recently, I’ve mostly just been purchasing nail polish colours that I like regardless of brand, and topping it off with my top coat! The colour lasts around a solid week or so!
WORTH THE SPLURGE: Good Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Conditioner
Ever since I turned “bronde,” I’ve learned the importance of investing in a good sulfate-free shampoo & conditioner. I used to just buy shampoo & conditioners that smelled good and were cheap and readily available at my local Target. Lighter hair is definitely more high-maintenance on an Asian, and I find that a good sulfate-free shampoo & conditioner not only helps to keep the hair colour in good condition, it also keeps my hair strong & healthy. There are definitely many “luxury” shampoo & conditioners to choose from that will work really well, but I actually lucked out finding a good set from Costco (purple & white bottles for shampoo & conditioner, respectively) which is rumoured to be very similar (or the same) in quality & performance as the Pureology Hydrate shampoo & conditioner — for a fraction of the price! But, if you don’t have a Costco nearby, I still recommend investing a bit more in shampoo/conditioner (over just picking up any shampoo/conditioner set at your local drugstore). You may be able to find some good deals online, like on Amazon.com.
SAVE ON: Dry Shampoo
Unlike a good shampoo/conditioner to use in the shower, you can save some money on dry shampoo. I find they all more or less work the same, and the difference between them, really, are just the prices. In fact, I bought a bottle of dry shampoo by Suave from Target for just a little over $2 on sale… and it’s worked really well (and smells heavenly)! I’ve gone a good 3-4 days without washing my hair with this saviour — it really does a great job of masking oils on the roots.
What are some things you like to splurge on, and what you like to save on when it comes to shopping for beauty products?