This is a question that goes through everyone’s mind when they’re purchasing a beauty product for the first time: should I purchase the inexpensive, drugstore brand or the upscale, expensive brand? After years of trying out both high-end and low-end skincare products, I’m going to breakdown for you which are splurge-worthy, and which aren’t. This is the scale I’ll be using:
- – totally splurge-worthy, you get what you pay for
- – if you can afford it, you should go with an upscale brand
- – splurge-neutral, it’s your call
- – go with the cheaper brand, or buy the upscale brand when on sale
- – totally splurge-unworthy, there’s no reason to pay more
I’ve tried Lancome, Clinique, Neutrogena, Almay, Pond’s, Biore, and CVS’s makeup removers. Do the high-end brands work well? Absolutely! What about the drugstore brands? They get the job done just as well. There are some slight differences still (packaging, ingredients, etc), but performance wise there is no significant difference.
After trying out several high end face washes, I’ve concluded that there’s absolutely no difference between those and the drugstore products. First of all, realize that a lot of the high-end brands and drugstore brands are owned by the same company (e.g. Lancome & L’oreal), which means that the difference between their 2 product lines is that the high-end one includes better ingredients and newer technology – none of which really matter when it comes to face washes. Why? The anti-aging/firming/brightening/moisturizing ingredients don’t stay on your skin long enough to do squat. The only ingredient that really matters is the BHA[1. Beta hydroxy acid, aka salicylic acid] and/or AHA[2. Alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic and lactic acids], which helps get rid of dead skin cells, and can be found in a myriad of drugstore cleansers.
If you’re concerned with harsh ingredients in drugstore products, you’ll be happy to know that there are now plenty of brands that use gentle ingredients. Cetaphil and Simple are two that come to mind.
Exfoliants & scrubs
This is a tricky one, depending on the nature of the scrub. For physical scrubs (the grainy kind), there’s really no strong reason why you need to splurge for a high-end product. I say strong because while this Elizabeth Arden scrub made my face amazingly soft (more so than St. Ives ever made it), I didn’t think the difference in results = the difference in cost.
Chemical peels & exfoliants, on the other hand, just might be splurge worthy. The advanced technology and ingredients of upscale brands tend to produce more noticeable results. That and chemical exfoliants tend to be rarer in the drugstore.
First of all, the variety of facial masks you can find in the drugstore are rather limited. The only ones I can think of are from Queen Helene, which I’ve tried. Now they’re good for the price, but I like my Borghese mask 1000 times better. Even the masks from The Body Shop and H2o+ seemed to deliver better results, but my favorites are still sheet masks. Though you can find sheet masks in drugstores in Asia, for the sake of the argument I’m going to classify them as expensive (which they would be if you bought them from Sasa or Ebay). Now sheet masks are hands down the best masks I’ve tried, delivering nearly instant results, without making a mess. So yes, if you can afford to splurge, splurge!
This is it for part 1, part 2 of the skincare edition and the makeup edition will be coming soon! And for those of you who haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to enter my makeup + skincare giveaway! :D