In the most recent edition of Marie Claire UK there was a very interesting feature about the eternal question for us beauty addicts - Splurge or Steal, which products should you not apologise for investing in and which shouldn't you be embarrassed about scrimping on. So armed with the expert's opinions I decided to have a look in my bathroom cabinet and my makeup drawer for a quick check on whether I have spent my money on the right products and also if I actually agreed with the expert recommendations. The feature split the products into three different categories; Skincare, Haircare and Cosmetics so I'll stick to that and we'll start with the Skincare category.
We all know that expensive creams aren't always necessarily better than more affordable ones, and for a lot of products the main reason is that a lot of premium and high street brands in fact are owned by the same large corporation. E.g. Armani and L'Oréal belong to same happy brand family, which means that if you are prepared to wait a few years, the same technology and formula that is used in some of the Armani products will eventually trickle down to a L'Oréal equivalent. Makes perfect sense when you think about it, but my challenge here is that I am probably THE most impatient person in the entire world, and waiting in any shape or form is definitely not my strongest point. Add to this that I am a firm believer in investing in skincare so let's see where the experts recommend that we for spend our money when it comes to some essential skin care products:
Moisturisers: Expert Advise - Scrimp. I have normal skin but it does tend to get dehydrated, so using a rich and nourishing moisturiser that plumps my skin is essential to me - in fact it's my no 1 priority to make sure that I have a moisturiser that hydrates my skin all day long through drip feed technology. I haven't yet found a budget buy that does this for my skin, which is why I've stuck to my trusted Estée Lauder and Gatineau up until now and I absolutely adore the intense and immediate moisture boost I get from Estée Lauder's Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme (£35). Saying that though, I will definitely try the Nivea Cellular Anti Age Skin Rejuvenating Day Cream (£14.99) that Marie Claire recommended since Nivea and La Prairie - The best high tech skin care brand in the world, belong to the same family, so maybe I just need to learn to be a bit more patient.
Serums: Expert Advise - Splurge. According to the experts the most important products are those that work at a cellular level, like serums, which is why these should be invested in. I've used serums for quite a while and my personal favorites are from Gatineau and Estée Lauder. The trick is to find a serum that works for your skin type and for whatever need it is that you want to address - dullness, deydration, color correcting etc. Earlier this week I talked about a wonderful moisture boosting serum from Gatineau from the Aquamemory range, but another of their serums that I use regularly is the fab Activ Eclat Flash Radiance (£46) which is an energising serum which contains vitamins and other ingredients to add not only an intense boost of moisture, but also instant radiance and plumpness to the skin.
Face oils: Expert Advise - Splurge. The experts advise that you should never scrimp on facial oil since it's only the highest quality of natural essential oils that nourishes the skin properly. For me the best facial oils are from Clarins or Decléor. I absolutely adore Clarins Santal Oil for dry/dehydrated skin (£30) since it makes your skin incredibly smooth and plump and the amazing aromatic scent just makes the experience even more enjoyable.
Eye creams: Expert Advise - Splurge. Since the eye area is so delicate and the area of the face likely to show the first signs of ageing, this again is another product worth splurging on. Both Estée Lauder and Kiehl's have some wonderful rich eye creams, but the one that has taken me through winter without any dryness is Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (£20). It has a very subtle, fresh and clean scent and the the vanilla colored formula is wonderfully rich, heavy and indulgent. It makes the eye area feel protected, nourished and radiant and you can even use it as a masque for the eye area.
One of the main things that I learned from this article is that you don't necessarily need to have shampoo and conditioner from the same range, which is something that I have always done. Apparently you get much better results if you use different products to compliment each other e.g. a volumising shampoo but a repairing conditioner. Again, this makes perfect sense and I can't believe I haven't even thought about this before, but as of now I will definitely look at exactly what my hair needs and not hesitate to get different types of shampoo and conditioners:
Shampoos: Expert Advise - Scrimp. I completely agree for lots of reasons, one of them being a very practical one - affordability. If you go through a lot of shampoo, then personally I don't think it's realistic to spend more than £5-6 on each bottle. Another reason is that there are lots of very good moisturising shampoos available on the high street and one of them, which I always seem to have at least one bottle from is the amazing, gorgeously scented Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo (£5.99) that leaves your hair soft, detangled and very well behaved.
Volumisers: Expert Advise - Scrimp. I don't use a lot of volumising products at the moment mainly because as part of Operation Rapunzel, focusing on making my hair healthy - I've mainly used moisturising, nourishing and repairing products. The only volumising product I use is a styling product for when I occasionally blow dry my hair - John Frieda's Luxurious Volume Blow Out Spray (£6.99) which is great for adding some long lasting volume. I have read some very positive reviews of this range in general and I'll definitely try some of the other products in this range too.
Conditioners: Expert Advise - Splurge. The main reason for using a conditioner, is to try and improve the quality of your hair, and you'd be surprised at how much even daily brushing can impact the texture. According to the experts you should avoid budget products since they tend to contain a lot of silicone which will add a wonderful shine to your hair, but it won't add important nourishment. Instead we should be looking for products that contain proteins that can help to repair damaged hair at a cellular level. This is a tricky one for me since I have long hair and use up a lot more conditioner than shampoo, but I do think it's worth spending on a conditioner that is ultra nourishing for your hair. In the long run it'll make it easier to detangle and brush through and save a lot of unnecessary heavy handling, and the Macadamia Natural Oil Moisturising Rinse (£31.95) makes the hair beautifully sleek. After all, your hair is the one accessory you wear every single day and it does deserve some TLC.
Hair Oils: Expert Advise - Splurge. With hair oils, it's exactly the same as with conditioners and the experts advise us to not compromise on these saying that you get what you pay for. Although a lot of the hair oils are very pricy, the good thing is that a little goes a long way and from a price per use point of view you could probably use the same oil for a year, if you stick to the recommendations and only use a drop or two for the ends of your hair. This is exactly what I do with my Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment (£10.35) and not only does it smell beautifully nutty, it's so light weight and lovely on the hair leaving it smooth and nourished.
It may surprise you to hear that when it comes to cosmetics, I'm going to stick my neck out and say that in my experience there are few products that are truly worth splurging on. I do believe in investing in the canvas, i.e. any thing that makes the very most of your skin, but when it comes to eye shadows, mascaras, blushers and nail polish etc - of course I'm sure there are excellent options from premium brands, but there will be equally strong products from affordable high street brands and the absolute majority of the time, that's where I choose to spend my money and it seems that's exactly what the industry experts say too.
Mascaras: Expert Advise - Scrimp. Out of all types of makeup products this is probably the category that I know with 100% certainty that I can get an excellent mascara for about £10. Don't get me wrong I love my YSL mascaras, but L'Oréal and Maybelline for me has the best range overall, and one that I have loved for a good few months now is the L'Oréal False Lash Flutter Mascara, known as the Butterfly mascara, (£10.99). It does it all for me - lengthens, volumises and flares, it's simply perfect!
Blushers: Expert Advise - Scrimp. Having recently spent a ridiculous amount of money on a Dior blusher that completely let me down, I couldn't agree more with this. Most brands on the high street has at least one blusher that is absolutely super, and my favorites are from Bourjois and Sleek. The Bourjois' Little Round Pot Blusher (£7.99) is a classic and there's a lovely range of shades to choose from.
Nails: Expert Advise - Scrimp. According to the experts the difference in quality between most nail polishes is minor and what really makes a difference is the use of a quality top coat. I'm not sure that I agree with that statement since there are several very well known polishes and brands that just don't last well on my nails, even if I wear a great top coat. I do however completely agree that you can really scrimp on nail polish, and with excellent brands like Barry M and Rimmel showering us with affordable beautiful colors, why would you spend almost £20 just for the sake of the brand. unless you absolutely want to... For me Barry M is fabulous not just because of the formula, but because of the variety of effects you can get and the Barry M Magnetic Nail Paint (£4.99) is a great example of that.
Foundations: Expert Advise - Splurge. When it comes to foundation it makes little sense to have a super skin care routine, and then to use a foundation that either clogs up your skin or that doesn't show it off as well as it could, so don't feel guilty for lusting after the premium foundations - just go for it and invest in one. My favorite is the YSL Youth Liberator Foundation (£37) and I have got a fantastic amount of wear out of it and the way I see it - I'm combining skin care with makeup for a beautiful radiant complexion. It's worth every single pence.
Lip Glosses: Expert Advise - Splurge. This is another one that I'm a little bit torn about. I agree with the experts when they say that wearing sticky shiny, pale lip glosses isn't a good look for most of us, and personally I prefer lip glosses with high pigmentation that almost turn into a stain like the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip (£23.50) which is the perfect grown up version of a lip gloss. However there are also more affordable gems like the Tanya Burr Lip glosses, and I absolutely love the ones I've tried so far - more detailed review of the shades I've bought will follow soon...
Brow Pencils: Expert Advise - Splurge. The last product is Brow Pencils - a product that I'm very interested. The experts reckon that this is also a product that should be invested in, not only because getting the eyebrow right is so important for your overall appearance but also to get just the right balance of wax, color and long wear. Up until now I have been very happy with budget options from Collection and Avon, although at the moment I'm using the Rimmel Professional Eye Brow Pencil (£2.99) which I'm less satisfied with since it's just a little bit too hard to work with. I am very glad to see that the experts recommend that we splurge on this, since it gives me an excuse (as if I needed one) to invest in an Anastasia Brow Wiz (£16) which I've been lusting after for aaaaages.
Overall it seems like my splurging and scrimping is somewhat in line with expert advise, but its always useful to rethink what we actually spend money on and I hope you've been inspired to look at the products you use as well, and like me you might even decide to change some things around.