Where To Splurge & Where To Save In Your Beauty Routine 

Is that nine-pan palette really worth the $90 price tag? Ashleigh Cometti investigates where to cut costs and where to splash out on haircare, makeup and skincare

When it comes to beauty, don't blow your budget. Read on for our helpful spend or splurge tips. Photo / Instagram

While the benefits of using luxury beauty brands are many, if your goal is to streamline your spending, some of the products gracing your bathroom shelf may not be worth the sacrifice. 

It varies greatly from product to product (or brand to brand), but sometimes, something more affordable does the trick. Yet in other cases it’s crucial to invest in a pricier product. 

From mascara and makeup brushes to hot tools and hairbrushes, it’s important to know where you can be frugal (or not). 

Remember what’s perceived as a “splurge” is relative, and there are still plenty of mid-range brands available that are well worth buying. 

SPLURGE: Serum
As one of the most active products in your skincare routine, serums will always be worth their higher price tag. Many contain ingredients like vitamin A or vitamin C, which require unique delivery systems to ensure deeper penetration into the skin’s epidermal layers. Serums also offer a more targeted approach to addressing specific skin concerns and help to complement any in-clinic treatments.

Dermalogica Smart Response Serum, $255. Photo / Supplied

SAVE: Mascara
A tube of mascara needs to be replaced every three months to ensure hygienic, clump-free application, so why spend a fortune when cheaper options still deliver eye-fluttering results? Their short shelf life also makes for a perfect opportunity to try a few different formulas before settling on your favourite — volumising, lengthening or curling.

Maybelline Snapscara Waterproof Defining Mascara, $23. Photo / Supplied

SPLURGE: Makeup Brushes
High-quality makeup brushes are essential to creating a flawless makeup finish — they blend with minimum effort and pick up product easily. The argument between synthetic versus natural bristled brushes is a longstanding one, so settle the score by running a brush over the back of your hand before buying to check the hairs don’t fall out.

Rae Morris Jishaku #22: Pro Powder, $187. Photo / Supplied

SAVE: Body Lotion
The chichi, sweetly scented ones may come housed in glass bottles bedecked with gold or fancy designs, but there’s no compelling need to splash your cash on a body lotion when supermarket options work just as well. Commonly used body care ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera and sweet almond oil tend to crop up in both.

Glow Lab Body Lotion Cardamom & Oudh, $15. Photo / Supplied

SPLURGE: Foundation and concealer 
If it's a your-skin-but-better finish you’re after, base complexion products like foundations and concealers make for a worthy investment. Especially when formulated with good-for-skin ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Unless you’re well-versed in shade matching, all too often has money been wasted on selecting the wrong shade (especially in lieu of testers).

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint, $95. Photo / Supplied

SAVE: Cleanser
There are two schools of thought when it comes to how much to spend on cleansers. The first is that since it’s only on your skin for a short time it doesn’t have any great effect, so you can be thrifty. The second is that a more expensive cleanser with active ingredients kick-starts your routine and preps skin for the performance of other products to follow.

Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon + C Creamy Cleanser, $24. Photo / Supplied

SPLURGE: Hot Tools
Higher-end hot tools reduce the time during which your hair is in direct contact with the heat, which in turn minimises damage and keeps hair healthier. Look for straighteners with temperature controls maxed out at 180 degrees (the optimal temperature for styling hair without causing unnecessary damage), or devices with multiple attachments to create myriad styles without the need for investing in a few different tools.

Dyson Airwrap Hair Styler, $849. Photo / Supplied

SAVE: Hairbrushes
Plastic bristles have received a bad rep over the years for dragging hair (causing breakage), but thankfully gentler, boar-bristle brushes are cropping up in supermarkets and pharmacies for less than $20.

Mita Natural Brush Grooming Oval Small Brush, $17

SPLURGE: Eyeshadow Palettes
When it comes to eyeshadows, quality is paramount. A great eyeshadow will be comprised of finely milled powdered pigment, stay all day and offer strong colour pay-off. Cheaper options can have a tendency to migrate or fade, and you may end up using more product to achieve the same effect. If a nine-pan palette isn’t in your current budget, pick out a few high-quality single pan eyeshadows instead.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette Pillow Talk, $130. Photo / Supplied

SAVE: Lip Balm
The key difference between a wallet-friendly lip balm and its costlier counterpart? Aesthetics. A more expensive lip balm may come in chic packaging, but often it contains much of the same ingredients as a balm you’ll find in your local supermarket.

Bondi Sands SPF50+ Lip Balm, $10. Photo / Supplied

STOCKISTS: Andalou Naturals from Chemist Warehouse or online at Andalou.com.au; Bondi Sands from Farmers department stores, Life and Unichem pharmacies; Charlotte Tilbury from Sephora or online at Sephora.nz; Dermalogica from Dermalogica skin centres, department stores, Life Pharmacies and online at Dermalogica.co.nz; Dyson.co.nz; Glow Lab from supermarkets nationwide; Hourglass and Rae Morris from Mecca or online at Meccabeauty.co.nz; Maybelline from selected department stores, online retailers, The Warehouse and supermarkets nationwide; Mita from selected Life and Unichem pharmacies. 

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