Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Are you a drugstore bargain hunter or high-end addict?

Either way, it’s important to recognize we can’t always splurge on all of the things we’d like to. The key to everything–including beauty–in life is moderation, balance. If you’ve been following Only In A Woman’s World campaign along with me, you’d notice balance is a concept that comes through. Every so often, I go through some checklists and reminders to make sure I’m not overindulging.

I ask myself…

  • Am I buying just to buy? I’ve been known to buy something just because I want to acquire something new. This is a bad habit, because it doesn’t always mean you make good purchases or worthwhile acquisitions that you’ll actually use.
  • Will I still want it next week? If I’m not totally sure, then I’ll put it back and sit on it for a week. (Or a few days… at least!) If I’m still jonesin’ for it, then I know I can keep it on my list.
  • How often will I use it? If it’s something *so* specific or tailored, I might not use it more than once. Since I am a full-fledged, self-admitted beauty addict, I’ve made more than one mistake in this department. I distinctly remember Dior’s Electric Lights quint being purchased and never used… Bad, bad, bad! Buy it to use it. (Unless, of course, you are blessed to have the disposable income to simply admire.)

Here are some ways to cut-back on beauty spending when you’re on a tight budget or need to save up for something (e.g. school — hey, it’s almost time for fall semester/quarter to start!)…

  • Go drugstore for body care products. Seriously, I’ve yet to encounter any $70 body product that really outdoes (and is, thus, totally worth the price tag) a $20 or less body product–that goes for shower gel, body wash, body lotion/moisturizer/cream, and body scrubs. You can always make your own body scrub, too – use sugar or salt for the scrub part and then mix with oil or honey to be able to smooth onto skin.
  • Don’t start hunting around for new skincare staples–no matter how pricey. So many of us spend too much time and way too much money looking for the best products, particularly in the skincare department. I actually recommend not sacrificing a pricey moisturizer if it’s your holy grail product. In the long run, you may end up spending more money on poor substitutes or risk your skin’s balance.
  • Look for a lower price-point on mascara. Watch for deals! Mascara is a product we use often and throw out often, which means we’re constantly replacing this little gem of a product. Pricey mascaras like Chanel Exceptionnel, while amazing, are not so phenomenal as to be worth that price. Drugstore mascaras like CoverGirl Lash Blast, Maybelline Full ‘n Soft, and L’Oreal Telescopic are all proven, well-formulated mascaras that deliver consistent, reliable results.
  • Take advantage of return policies and sampling programs. If available to you, ask a counter for a sample before you commit to buy. Perhaps it’s just a fancy scrub or the thrill of trying something new, and a sample will help grant you satisfaction without breaking the bank. If you don’t like a product, return it if the store allows. (I know in the U.S., most retailers have generous return policies for beauty and cosmetics.) There is no reason to keep a product you dislike (or worse yet, breaks you out!) when you can return it. If you dislike returning, try exchanging–no harm in it!

The bottom line: don’t overindulge, but don’t be afraid of pampering yourself from time to time. Save up for items you can’t be without, but look for bargains on products you haven’t found favorites for yet. It’s not about whether you love or only buy high-end, it’s about what works for your budget and lifestyle!

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34 thoughts on “Are you a drugstore bargain hunter or high-end addict?

  1. Bridgette

    This is really great the you posted this up Christine. Before I was just buying stuff without even thinking and now as I am getting short on money. I ask myself if I really need this and if I will really use it.

    And now I have returned some items at Sephora that I havent used in over 9 months and got my money back!

    • I’m all for buying whatever you want within reason/budget, but when you’re on a budget, there are definitely some easy ways to cut back in areas you’re likely not to miss!

      Glad you were able to return unused items!

  2. well said! I think it’s the thrill of buying something high end and telling yourself you’ll use it later in the future more often when the time comes but I find myself with some barely touched products or some that are brand new high end stuff! I’m way overloaded with high end/low end mascaras an have yet to use up the ones I have so I don’t bother opening any until I’m sure I’m done with my current one :)

  3. I hate to say it, but Im a high end addict. I know pretty much all the prices to the Dior beauty stuff because I own something in almost all the lines. I no longer shop drugstore after being able to afford Dior, which is a very very expensive addiction…

    • But there’s nothing wrong with it, Sheila! Because you’re able to afford it :) I’m all about buying what you love AND can afford.

    • karla

      Well Done Shelia,

      I love Dior Cosmetics specially the eyeshadows and lipsticks!
      I dont wear all the time though, coz The Pigments are so beautiful and strong that I attract a lot of attention to my face! WORTH IT 100%

  4. Ebontien

    The funny thing about Canada is that most of the high-end stuff (Lancome, Dior, Guerlain, etc) can be bought in a drug store-Shoppers Drug Mart, which is very bad if you like both high and low ends brands.

  5. star

    This is a great post. A few years ago I used to be such a MAC addict. Id be at the store whenever new collections came out and would easily spend a couple hundred. Last year I realized that I needed to cut back. I would look at my makeup collection and feel sick. Nowadays, I only buy products that are truly original and I dont already have similar shades in my collection. Im definitely a believer in retail therapy so to cut my spending, I ask myself how often I will use it before buying anything, regardless of whether its makeup or another product. Im a lot better at deciding how to spend my money now. I usually wait a few days after a new collection comes out before going to the mall to check it out. That way it gives me a chance to read reviews and look at swatches online. If after a few days Im still interested, then Ill buy it.

    For other things, Im definitely a drugstore bargain hunter. I use drugstore mascara and drugstore skincare/body wash products.

    • TT

      Star, I totally agree with you, once you have developed a certain MAC collection, you pretty much have everything and don’t need every new thing that is released. MAC is famous for recycling so it’s a pity that us consumers get suckered out of our money while they laugh all the way to the bank. I will definitely start being more mindful that what I have in my stash is enough for me and unless their is something that I just don’t have, there is no need to make MAC rich while my wallet suffers.

    • That’s really great, Star! I think sometimes we all get caught up in the hype and love new, shiny things, but it’s important to be realistic and know what you can/can’t afford and whether it’s something you really want in the end.

  6. I am definitely a bargain hunter, but I do make my high end splurges. I definitely have a soft spot for Chanel & Dior. Aside, I don’t really consider MAC to be really that high end though, it’s more in the middle if you compare the pricing between high and low. I like to check out the drugstores for possible dupes and comparable items.

    • I have a soft spot for Guerlain. In fact, it’s more like a tough spot… so pretty and hard to resist!

      I do agree MAC is more middle-end, at least in terms of price. I consider MAC the gateway drug to high end, LOL.

      • I haven’t tried Guerlain, the prices kinda scare me. :S But I’m picking up the Glitz & Glam Sampler from Sephora so I can try out the Meteorites.

        It’s odd, that MAC is just a tiny bit more expensive then L’oreal (when its not on sale at least). The quality tends to be so much better at MAC. I still have a lot of L’oreal quads that haven’t been used in a really long time.

        • Let me know if you like the Meteorites! I like them, but they’re quite pricey!

          A lot of drugstore brands are SO pricey (IMO)… unless they’re on sale. I feel like I’m getting ripped off at full price!

          • It’s actually a sample (1/4 of regular size) of it in the Glitz & Glam sampler, just 0.28 oz from what it says online. So yea, I’m not paying full price! =) There are 10 large size samples, so its a pretty good deal at less than $40.

  7. Tami

    Great post Christine. Although I like my MAC, I am quick to shop at Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other discount stores for my body products and makeup items that I find that are too trendy to spend major bucks on:D

    • What are your favorite items to go drugstore on, Tami?

      I love Philosophy shower gels, even if they aren’t really *drugstore* but they’re still pretty affordable relative to some of the pricier ones out there. But I know a Dove body wash works just as well and is probably about 60% less, LOL.

      • Tami

        LOL I know! I use Dave and Caress body washes, love the Degree body sprays and Vaseline Intensive Care will always be an affordable staple for my dry skin. Makeup-wise, my current obsession is Lashblast layered with the new Lashblast Length. Maybelline Lash Stilleto will always have a place in my heart3>. And while I’m on the subject of Maybelline, I own a couple of the ColorSensational lipsticks in Red and Plum and they are quite nice and moisturizing. Last but not least, I totally dig the Loreal Hip Line (the chrome eyeliners are amazing!!)

  8. Roberta

    Unfortunately for my wallet I am a high end addict, but everytime I try to buy drugstore items I am always disappointed.

  9. Nicci

    I have not really purchased any skin care or cosmetics from a drug store brand in awhile. The last time I did I was disappointed & it reminded me why I don’t generally buy from drug store brands. I do buy some bath products. But I have been disappointed with high end brands as well – La Mer for one, which I was really surprised with. I have given away most of my La Mer producs to a couple of friends. I felt like I just threw away money from all the hype I heard about La Mer. :-(

    Now, I do a lot more research before I just go out & purchase. If I don’t I will buy & just return it because I didn’t really “need” the product.

    Most of what I have now is high end. I’m slowly getting more interested in MAC even though in one of the posts for 3 brands I don’t like MAC was one of my choices! MAC seems more affordable than a lot of other brands. I am actually really curious about the Volcanic Ash Thermal mask??

    I feel a little guilty though, I have a big make up bag full of products ranging from lipstick, eye shadow, and exfoilators, masks that I stopped using. I wish I still had the receipts! \

    Wow, sorry for the book. So to answer the question, I would consider myself a high-end addict for skin care products and most cosmetics.

    • Hey Nicci,

      Yep, disappointments happen on both ends of the spectrum! I do find that I really LOVE being able to test products, which is just one reason why I always venture high end. I also like the customer service aspect, too.

      The thermal mask is nice, though I don’t LOVE it. It heats up quite a bit when it mixes with water, so it’s an interesting feeling on the skin. It’s not burning or tingling, just heat. It reminded me a bit of the heat you get from Prescriptives’ Instant Gratification, but I’d say it’s hotter and the level of grit in this is so, so minor (sometimes I’m not even sure if there is any).

  10. Lorna

    i am a bit of both.

    for straight makeup and cosmetics i prefer high end for e/s, lipstick, mascara, and foundation. i have bought a lot of drug store makeup and a lot of it can be really bad. also, since i tend to see makeup as a luxury/ non-essential product indulgence i tend to get high-end because then it feels like gift to myself. even if a product is good and low end i tend not to use it for some reason. why i do this i can’t really explain but i think it has to do with fetishism of high-end brands.

    my favorite line is NARS followed by MAC. i prefer NARS blushes to MAC. I also like certain kinds of NARS e/s than MACs but i do stay away from the chunky glitter. to me, NARS e/s and blushes just go on over the skin so much easier than most of MACs products. i prefer MAC for foundations, prep and prime items, and powders and have not really tried NARS foundations. MAC’s blot powder is an absolute essential to me. for eyeliners, i have mostly urban decay 24/7 but also some MAC that i got from CCOs. i have one urban decay e/s palette and i was not overly impressed.

    as for other miscellaneous brands: i have bought a lot of stila products but this brand has been mostly neglected in actual use so i don’t plan on buying more of their products. i have their kitten e/s and mini versions of their convertible colors that i hardly use. i am committed to staying far away from guerlain because i don’t even want to start due to the price. i have experimented with some ysl products but again, i don’t want to get too involved because then i could go overboard. i have one ysl rouge volupte which i treasure but i don’t see the need to get any more. (i wish lingerie pink looked better on me because i had wanted to get it- i opted for nude beige instead.) i’d like to try the ysl mascaras but i won’t until i finish my dior mascaras.

    for mascara i tend to stick to Dior- i personally love Diorshow but i am not especially impressed by Dior Iconic. i possess Diorshow Blackout but will not open that until i finish the other two.

    for nail polish, my go-to brand is Chanel. i also like China Glaze but i am not overly impressed with OPI, NARS, and MAC polishes; they just don’t go on as well and to me they chip more easily than Chanel and China Glaze.

    for hair and body products i am more low end. most of my hair products are john frieda items like shampoo/conditioner/hair styling products. i can get those at big lots in san diego for $2.50-4.00 which is a significant discount from wal-mart and target. i like body creams instead of lotions and i would love to buy bath and body works body creams but they are too much for everyday use. also i am trying to stay away from lush because i don’t think the price justifies the product no matter how good it is.

    right now i am on a juicy couture brand fragrance kick. i just sampled and then bought the juicy “couture couture” fragrance which i really love so as soon as that sephora friends and family sale goes up, i am going to stock up. hopefully they get a new shipment of the new releases on juicy couture fragrances because they are all out right at the moment. previously my favorite fragrance was- and still is- the original vera wang.

    so as a whole i think my preferences have been developed over time and use. there are certain items i splurge on but i don’t think i have gone completely over the deep end when it comes to makeup. this year was my most splurges as i got more into youtube gurus and makeup blogs. now i think i have rounded out my collection so that i know what i want and won’t buy an item just because it’s out there. i have made some mistake purchases but as a whole i have a collection that i appreciate.

    sorry i wrote so much. i think though that this post is going to make me take back some duplicates i have from sephora so i can get the NARS mekong e/s which i have been wanting.

    • Lorna

      i just now realized how long my post is- maybe i should start my own blog…. LOL ^_^

    • Hey Lorna,

      I really love how you’ve found your favorites, and you’ve discovered what works (and what doesn’t!) for you. That’s half the fun (and heartache, lol). I hate NARS’ glittery shadows! They disappoint me so much. There are shadows are definitely much better, so I am glad I’m not the only one who isn’t a fan of the glittery shades.

      It’s also not a bad idea to stay away from brands you know are just too pricey to get into! Getting into Guerlain, Chanel, YSL, etc. now… I find it difficult to go back! I still don’t indulge as much as I’d like, and I definitely do hold back, but like Pringles, you just can’t stop, LOL!

      (By the way, YSL’s fall shade Frivolous Pink, is a gorgeous pink shade of Rouge Volupte.)

      Yay for China Glaze fans! They’re one of my favorite polish makers. They have such stunning colors.

      I am very, very lucky that I missed the fragrance boat. I like it, and I appreciate it as much as someone as unsophisticated-in-the-scent-department can, but luckily, I don’t find myself lusting after any. I have a few that I rotate, but I rarely go hunting for new scents.

  11. Beryl

    so helpful! I’ve just spent $20 on a mascara that i think i can totally substitute with a drugstore brand and achieve the same result. saves me $10! thank you thank you =]