Photo Credit: www.olay.com
VALUE is a very subjective thing, especially when it comes to beauty products, which are so intensely personal. One gal’s good value is another’s splurge.
For example, you may find value in the prestige factor, the emotional lift you get from spritzing yourself with La Prairie Life Threads or the spiritual experience that comes with swirling around a new Chanel Glossimer on your lips. There is also great value is getting yourself a bargain – picking up a L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara when you know it’s a poor relative to Lancôme, or choosing a perfect daytime moisturizer with SPF from Olay Total Effects for around $10.
What budget brands stand out from the pack?
Olay, Neutrogena and ROC are my personal all time fave budget brands. The products work, feel and smell nice, and have the best science among the price point. Some of their creams feel like luxury moisturisers for a fraction of the cost. Clinique, although not really considered a true “budget” brand, is actually priced very affordably and makes terrific cosmeceutical-like skincare products. Olay Micro Sculpting Cream (3 Point Daily Treatment Cream) is still the best cheap anti-aging super cream around and I love the ruby red glass jar! If you love a serum, ROC Retinox in the gold pump bottle looks expensive, and the formula feels beautiful and absorbs quickly on the skin. It also has a high calibre of retinol and antioxidants to target wrinkles and sun damage. When it comes to controlling breakout, Neutrogena Visibly Clear is great and Clinique also offers good and affordable anti-acne products.
What products should you spend more money on because budget brands sometimes fall short?
A decade ago, most of my peers snubbed mass brands as cheap, worthless and indistinguishable. Today that is far from the case. But there are specialty ingredients – patented technologies that are proprietary to individual brands – that no other brands have. The Estée Lauder and Lancôme families of brands spend zillions developing their signature technologies and colours, and although they are often imitated, the copycats are not the same. There are some amazing budget brands these days that work really well – if you are watching your spending and you can subsititute. Buyer beware: not all cheap products are as good as pricey brands, and not all big ticket brands are great either. You have to test and try and read up before investing; the rule holds true for your stock portfolio as well as your makeup bag. In terms of quality, look and feel, fragrance and texture, some luxe products may end up lasting two or three times as long as cheap knockoffs because a little goes a long way. Don’t spend a fortune on a niche product from a new brand you never heard of when you can go to an established brand you already trust like Clinique or Lancôme and get something that has earned its reputation based on the vast science and research behind it.
What about mixing and matching your favourite budget products with more expensive ones?
Most women shop this way now – we mix and match brands from luxury to bargains in fashion, makeup and even skincare . I will spend any amount on a great foundation. I love Diorskin and Bobbi Brown foundations and concealers, but I will also buy L’Ooreal mascara, OPI nail polish, and Olay Daily Facial Cleansing Wipes from the drugstore all the time. Think of your makeup bag or medicine cabinet like your closet. Treat yourself with something you love – like a fabulous lipcolor, eye shadow palette or a fragrance you just can’t live without – and make do with cheaper brands for things that are readily available and work well at a nice price. Sun care is a good place to save, and the same goes for body lotions and bath oils. These can be found from brands like Johnson’s, Dove, and L’Oreal at great prices, and they are lovely and spa-like.
How can you find the best beauty bargains?
Read and ask a lot of questions about brands, and then you have to try products for yourself. I love beautiful packaging (I confess) but I am also interested in what is inside the bottle. I really think we should demand both – nice packaging and good quality products, no matter what we spend. You don’t have to settle for pretty bottles with nothing worthwhile inside – or good stuff that comes in vanilla, so-boring-you-can’t-bear-to-use-them bottles where the labels peel off. I also do not like cute, clever brands with cheery names and frilly boxes that are all fluff and no substance. I want skincare and makeup that work, wear well and make me look good consistently. If I don’t like the texture or fragrance, I won’t put it on my skin. Period.
BEST BARGAIN BEAUTY BETS: We polled all the Bag Ladies and these are some of our all time favorite beauty bargains across all categories!
- JERGENS SELF TANNING CREAM
- ALMAY EYE REMOVER PADS
- BIOSILK SILK THERAPY
- CLINIQUE EVEN BETTER MAKEUP SPF15
- AVON UNGARO FRAGRANCE
- BARE MINERALS MINERAL VEIL
- AVON ANEW CLINICAL EYE LIFT
- OLAY REGENERIST SERUM
- ROC RETINOX SERUM
- L’OREAL EVERPURE SULFATE FREE SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
- L’OREAL DERMO EXPERTISE WRINKLE DECREASE SERUM
- NEUTROGENA VISIBLY CLEAR CLEANSING SCRUB & EXFOLIATING WASH
- CLINIQUE CITY BLOCK SPF 20 OIL FREE
- MAYBELLINE DREAM MOUSSE CONCEALER
- DOVE SUMMER GLOW
- NEUTROGENA NORWEGIAN FORMULA FAST ABSORBING HAND CREAM
- JOHNSON’S MELT AWAY STRESS BODY LOTION
- MAYBELLINE BIG LASH MASCARA
- AVENE MICELLAR LOTION CLEANSER AND MAKE-UP REMOVER
- JOHN FRIEDA FRIZZ EASE SERUM
- YES TO CUCUMBERS SOOTHING EYE GEL
- NEUTROGENA ACNE STRESS CONTROL POWER FOAM WASH
- MAYBELLINE EXPERT WEAR SOFT LINING PENCIL
- MAYBELLINE MINERAL POWER NATURAL PERFECTING CONCEALER
- BLISTEX SILK AND SHINE
- COVERGIRL LASHBLAST MASCARA
- L’OREAL EXTRA VOLUME COLLAGEN MASCARA
- ROC DEEP WRINKLE NIGHT CREAM
- WHOLE FOODS 365 GRAPEFRUIT SHAMPOO