Skincare: What to splurge on and when to save

Sun, 28 August 2011 7:36PM

I’m always being asked what hair, skin, and makeup products are worth investing in and which ones we can afford to skimp on. And considering right now, everyone, from the President to your Nanna are tightening their purse strings, I figured there’s no time like the present to tackle this topic.

Diane Kruger

First up, the SKIMP category: My (very general) way of thinking is this: if it sinks into the skin, like your moisturiser or serum, then it’s worth spending up big, but anything that washes straight down the drain, like body wash, is something that you can afford to skimp on. Here’s why…

The SKIMP category: 

Body wash: Supermarket and chemist-availabie varieties are more than effective when it comes to body wash. Look for ultra moisturising formulas that won’t dry your skin, and if you’re keen to get a little extra lather happening, try using a body brush or loofah.

Face Cleanser: Here’s the thing with face wash, above all things, you want it to be ultra gentle on your skin. Plus, you want to be able to use it liberally (think 10 or 20 cent coin-size) and I can tell you now, that if you’re coughing up 100 big ones on a cleanser, chances are you’ll be far less likely to a) use the recommended amount and b) double cleanse. The same goes for sunscreen, body wipes and makeup remover. Look for gentle formulas, that you can buy in bulk and slather all-over.

Body Lotion: Again, supermarket varieties are the bomb diggity. If it’s relatively inexpensive, you’re more likely to use it more often, and use a reasonable amount of the stuff, without feeling guilty. And, when you work out the the cost per use of a whopper-size bottle like, Nivea Rich Body Moisturising Lotion, $5.40, it’s practically free.

Body Scrub: If you’re looking for a super cheap alternative to body exfoliants, buy a body brush instead. Not only do they last near forever, but they make tackling tricky spots, like the shoulders and your back, that much easier.

The SPLURGE category:

Face moisturiser and serums: Apart from sunscreen, moisturisers and serums are your two greatest weapons against ageing. If you can’t afford to splurge on a day and night cream as well as a serum, opt for a good all-round face mosituriser that you can layer with a souped-up serum at night for added hydration.

Eye Cream: The skin around the eye area is incredibly sensitive, and a heck of a lot of time and money goes in to ensuring that the SPF included in eye cream formulations are gentle enough to use around the eye area. Note the SPF, it’s a must.

Exfoliator/Treatment products: Buffing away the dead surface layers on the skin is essential in ensuring that the moisturiser/serum/treatment that follows sinks in. When it comes to exfoliators, it’s worth paying that little bit extra for a product that is skin-specific that you know won’t irritate your skin. If you prefer scrubs over peels, make sure the formula uses spherical, man-made exfoliating beads, rather than irregular nut, food, or fruit-derived granuals that can scratch the skin.


Where do you spend your money?

What’s the max you’d pay for a skincare product?

How do you decided on what to invest in and what to skimp on?

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  • Posted by: xKMS Master Fan // Sun, 28 August 2011 09:58pm

    i love this sort of list!! :) and completely agree with everything you said – i hate spending too much on moisturiser, coz then i never want to use it!! lol though its nice to use the body shop ones occasionally.. they smell sooo good

  • Posted by: Tina-1291133452 Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 06:17am

    i spend most for face creams/ serums.. because i find thats most important! i love nivea and palmers body moisturises, they are cheap and really really good!

  • Posted by: sumaya Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 09:20am

    I tend to spend a bit on skincare products because as Tina said, they are the products that are important and help me age with grace and confidence.

  • Posted by: NatMon Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 09:37am

    I spend $$$$ on skincare. I think it’s worth it because it will ensure that you age gracefully and look good when you get older.

    I never spend much on body products either – I don’t really see the point.

    Good point about saving on a cleanser. I’ve always spend a bit (never more than $50 though) on cleansers. Great tip :)

  • Posted by: Elmo Enthusiast // Mon, 29 August 2011 10:00am

    I def splurge more on treatment creams etc than cleanser. Having said that though, I don’t really scrimp on much when it comes to my face. There’s no hiding the face, so I want it looking its best! My cleanser is more around the $40 mark generally, rather than the potential $100 I’ll spend on a serum or cream. I def prefer to scrimp on body creams etc, as you can get awesome ones for much fewer clams. I do love having a luxe body butter or something occasionally, but it’s not a must have for me.

  • Posted by: PrettyPrincess Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 10:10am

    I agree with the list and it definitely reflects my spending habits!
    I use the nivea body lotions and slather myself twice a day with them lol
    The maximum i pay for a skincare product at the moment is around $80 (ASAP vitamin A & C serums)

  • Posted by: Roxymisha // Mon, 29 August 2011 10:51am

    This article is so helpful particularly when the cost of living is going sky high and many of use are needing to spend wisely. I totally agree that spending on face creams/serums is my priority whereas you can get away with the excellent tips you have given for other aspects. Dry body brushing is something that I have recently started doing daily and, in addition to making me feel more energised, it definitely helps with smoothing the skin and getting rid of some pesky ingrown hairs!

  • Posted by: Karen-1298334769 Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 11:14am

    I tend not to spend to much on anything but I do have a couple of pricey prods that were either given to me or that I won that I love and perhaps might have to make room in my budget for.

  • Posted by: GorgeousEmeralds Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 12:03pm

    I don’t like spending too much on anything. If I know that a product costs a lot I’m not likely to use it as I don’t want to waste it. Funny thing is by the time I do get around to using it, it is probably nearly overdue!
    But I do spend a little more on face creams than other beauty products, but then again, I still get relatively cheap products compared to what is out there.

  • Posted by: beautybee1 Master Fan // Mon, 29 August 2011 12:46pm

    Interesting – I never looked at cleansers and body lotions this way before. I do however spend most on moisturisers and serums so it’s good to know it’s been money well spent.

  • Posted by: katiemoo Enthusiast // Mon, 29 August 2011 01:34pm

    Great tip on the cleansing, body wash, lotions etc!! Its a great and easy way to think about it!

  • Posted by: Bridals // Mon, 29 August 2011 07:10pm

    good tip about the facial scrubs, man made beads makes so much more sense. The “natural” scrubs are a little to abrassive at times.

    I totally agree with everything you said, it its down the sink dont splurge.

  • Posted by: Louise-1295043242 Master Fan // Tue, 30 August 2011 09:08am

    great tips!!

    Very true -there are some things that you want to spend up on, like serums and eye creams… but can’t imagine why someone would spend $60 odd on a body wash, when you are just going to wash it off!

    I also like a good old homemade salt scrub for the body -it’s sooooo good and sooooo el cheapo!!

  • Posted by: zoeeangelaa Master Fan // Tue, 30 August 2011 05:26pm

    Thanks for the tips :)

  • Posted by: tegania11 Master Fan // Tue, 30 August 2011 06:45pm

    this is great Eliza, i really like it when everything is easy to read and understand! so true regarding cleaners and washes, its only on your skin for such a short period of time!

  • Posted by: shakethatbeauty Enthusiast // Wed, 31 August 2011 10:50am

    I used to spend alot of money on a day moisturiser but have now I use the Sun Sense tinted moisturier with a high SPF rating which does such a wonderful job and it cost me less than $10!

  • Posted by: Bantam Master Fan // Wed, 31 August 2011 01:17pm

    I definitely splurge on masks and serums – gives a glorious boost to my skin. I also skimp on body lotions but when I need the extra moisture, I just add a few drops of oil to it and voila!

  • Posted by: Laura-1300235498 Enthusiast // Wed, 31 August 2011 03:37pm

    Cheap on body lotion? But Kiehls Creme de Corps is SO good!

  • Posted by: pretty Enthusiast // Thu, 1 September 2011 02:04pm

    The Cetaphil cleanser and body wash are amazing, so gentle on your skin and definatley do not break the bank!
    I also skimp on my “face creams” for my décolletage, because I cleanse and use day/night creams and serums on this area I opt for the $50-$80 creams rather than the $150-$350.

  • Posted by: missymoo // Fri, 2 September 2011 05:25pm

    Some products are worth it even if they are just washed down the drain. If you’ve tried philosophy cinnamon buns shower gel you know what im talking about… delicious and no calories!

  • Posted by: SydneyRose Master Fan // Fri, 2 September 2011 09:00pm

    I spend more on a good exfoliant and moisturiser. I love the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.

    As for body skin treatments, my favourite is The Body Shop’s body scrub and body butters.

  • Posted by: laura_ Devotee // Sat, 3 September 2011 09:18pm

    I’m a sucker for thinking if it’s expensive it must be good. I should really re think some of the things i splurg on.
    I just love beauty prods waayyy too much!

  • Posted by: p3charmed Master Fan // Sun, 4 September 2011 12:01pm

    great article and i completely agree with what you say to splurge and save on.i use cetaphil cleanser all over my sensitive face and body and splurge on clarins or lancome moisturiser..when i can that is

  • Posted by: Lilpil // Mon, 5 September 2011 01:31am

    I wholeheartedly agree and mostly buy supermarket brands for body stuff but when it comes to face, i’m much more choosy and will always look for lots of hydration, anti-oxidants and key treatment properties to keep my face looking plump and line-free

  • Posted by: Karin // Mon, 5 September 2011 10:50pm

    thanks for the advice have been looking after my face and body for years and spend up on the my 50’s and people think im in my 40’s. so pays to start early

  • Posted by: lovetoplay Master Fan // Fri, 9 September 2011 10:36am

    My SPF30+ daily face product happens to be a cheapie which is a good thing because I use so much of it! I love to splurge on a moisturiser that suits my skin though and I recently splurged on a sheer foundation because it looked so good on me when I used the sample which was given to me. It made me want it – so I treated myself and I’m glad I did.

  • Posted by: Fashionista8P Master Fan // Mon, 12 September 2011 04:17pm

    i love these tips! and yes defiantly splurge on eye cream :)

  • Posted by: sprinkles37 Master Fan // Mon, 12 September 2011 06:29pm

    hmmmm i see what you’re saying but skincare and make up is the one thing i spend the most on. I dont spend much on clothes and shoes as my daughter will eat my clothes, spit up on them or drool on them and wearing expensive heels is dangerous when your holding a baby, so i only wear flats. Theres no point in having a blow dry as she eats and pulls out my hair.

    So my time in the shower is the only time i get to pamper myself. Actually in the whole 24hrs in a day its the only time i get to myself. I use SK II cleanser, and while its expensive, it makes me feel glamorous and luxurious. I also like more expensive lotions and potions for that reason too. I know im just throwing money down the drain, but that 20 minutes i get to myself is heaven :)

  • Posted by: MissMel Enthusiast // Tue, 13 September 2011 07:20pm

    Thanks for the reminder! I tend to ‘splurge’ on everything! What do you recommend re save v splurge on hair products?

  • Posted by: misschris Master Fan // Sat, 15 October 2011 09:32pm

    I splurge on my face skincare, like cleanser, exfoliator, eye cream, moisturiser and serums.. By bodywash however is budget (dove triple moisturising) and so is my body lotion (nivea and vaseline).

  • Posted by: Ja'mie // Wed, 19 October 2011 06:55pm

    I’ve got to be honest and say the only product I use on my face is Aveeno and water. I’m not cheap, but my skin is ultra sensitive and pretty much goes red with anything else. Even though I don’t spend that much, I’m pretty much the only one of my friends with hardly a hint of a wrinkle. But maybe I’m just lucky 😉 But I always buy an expensive foundation, like Bourjois, which makes your skin look gorgeous.

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Sun, 29 December 2013 08:17pm

    Priceline is my favourite store, I can spend hours walking the aisles looking at all the exciting goodies, they have so much.
    I only buy beauty items when they are on sale, I’m a bargain hunter.

  • Posted by: cottoncandy19 Master Fan // Thu, 5 May 2016 06:43pm

    I like to splurge on items with active ingredients that help with brightening my skin, like glycolic acid, vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin C


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