Is this worth it? Skincare edition part 1

May 30, 2012• 17 Comments

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’tThis is the scale I’ll be using:

  • [rating=5] – totally splurge-worthy, you get what you pay for
  • [rating=4] – if you can afford it, you should go with an upscale brand
  • [rating=3] – splurge-neutral, it’s your call
  • [rating=2] – go with the cheaper brand, or buy the upscale brand when on sale
  • [rating=1] – totally splurge-unworthy, there’s no reason to pay more

Makeup removers [rating=2]

Credit: A Girl’s Gotta Spa

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.

Face wash [rating=1]

Credit: Skinkissed Naturals

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 technologynone 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 [rating=3]

Credit: classydeamor

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.

Facial masks [rating=4]

Credit: Lush USA

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

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  1. Amber says:

    I really like this entry. Make-up removal is always a difficult choice for me. I was currently using Almay, but that felt way too oily on my eyes. I switched to Neutrogena and felt the same but not as much. I finally found one in St. Ivy which made my skin soft and removed my make-up.

    I don’t usually do anything else. I wonder if I am missing anything from doing that. I look forward to your next entry. I like your reviews on facial items and make-up.

    1. Jenny says:

      I guess it depends on skin type, but since my skin gets oily in the summer, scrubs/exfoliants and masks are necessary. Glad to hear that you like my reviews :D

  2. Carol says:

    A new post! ;D I use Avene’s Gel make up remover! Not too bad!
    I totally agree with you! I love Beauty Diary’s sheet mask! I am lucky enough to have friends to buy them for me in taiwan! Or when I go back to Singapore! Which brands of sheet mask do you use? I tasted one from Faceshop, but it didn’t work as well as Beauty diary’s one.

    1. Jenny says:

      I love My Beauty Diary’s sheet masks, they’re my favorite so far :D I’ve also tried Dr. Morita, Shinning Way, and a various of other miscellaneous brands. Shinning Way isn’t bad (I think you can only buy them online or through the shopping channel in Taiwan, haha), but the rest were so-so. I’m sticking with My Beauty Diary from now on :D

  3. Bonnie L says:

    I agree with this post! Ahhh that lush image makes me wish I had a pot of face mask in my fridge right now! Motivates me to do a face mask tonight though :P

    1. Jenny says:

      Reading your comment makes me want to put my sheet masks in the fridge! A cool mask is perfect for the summer time ;)

  4. Stephanie says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for doing this post! Finally =] I completely agree with you on everything! It makes me feel so much better knowing that I’m not wasting more money than necessary =]

    1. Jenny says:

      Yay, I’m glad I could help :P I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views, but I honestly believe in only spending as much money as necessary, even when it comes to my beloved beauty products!

  5. Cat says:

    I thought this was really useful! I’m in need of a new make up remover, and it’s good to know that the drugstore brands are just as good. I haven’t tried many peels, but I really like the one I have now (which is the Olay Regenerist one). I look forward to part 2!

  6. nyuu says:

    Very informative! I like how you get to the point :) 
    I agree with everything you’ve said so far except for the mask, but that’s because I haven’t tried enough mask to say whether high end or low end. I look forward to part 2!

  7. tiff says:

    Thanks for writing such an informative review! I really don’t take good care of my skin, but really I should start caring. Your post is a good place to start. ;)

  8. Latrina says:

    I love great reviews. Thanks for this! I know very little when it comes to stuff like this… so this helped me a lot. I rarely ever use facial masks — and that’s only because I never know which ones to get. So thanks! I am going to look for those & try them out. :D

  9. Mija says:

    Great reviews!

  10. Charlie says:

    I get the cheapest makeup removal wipes the supermarket sells, and they work just as well, as you say.  In the case of the ones I use, they smell nicer too.  Thank you for writing an objective review!

  11. Hannah? says:

    Great points!
    So can the same be said for facial washes? I’ve tried some of the more expensive brands like Lancome, and while they smell and feel fabulous, I figured that since you’re washing it off anyway (and not leaving on overnight like a cream), it would be more economical to just purchase cheaper alternatives. :P Very informative post.

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