Are there any types of beauty products you refuse to splurge on?

I don’t think there’s any category I wouldn’t splurge on! I find it hard to spend a lot on packaging if I can opt out of packaging (e.g. Cle de Peau highlighters, I only purchased them in pan-form because I refused to spend ~$50 on just a compact!

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

Probably not, if a product is really excellent, if the hype isn’t just empty fluff and if it’s a product I can see for myself, in person (the recent discussion about the new Natasha Denona eyeshadow quad and the whole question of swatches on various skin tones just reinforce to me how much being able to see a product “in the flesh” matters to me and is part of my makeup shopping enjoyment). So, yes, I will spend if the product is a good’un and I can see it for myself.

Lauren Avatar

I will go high end, but never luxury prices, for blush, bronzer, and concealer. I will never go high end on highlighters because there are so many lovely options that I get in subscriptions or just from the drug store. I also can’t understand paying luxury prices for a 5 shadow palette that costs the same (or more) as a good 15 pan palette with more variety so I wouldn’t splurge on that type of product no matter how pretty the colors. I like variety and am not the consumer those products are made for anyway! Lip products I can splurge on for sure for my go to shades, but a lot of my more unique colors I’ll go low end because I know I wouldn’t use them very often so I do sacrifice formula or longevity at times.

Lydia Avatar

A couple things! Makeup sponges, for one- I buy mine from ShopMissA and have only gotten a dud once.
Brow products- I have to pluck my eyebrows down so I’m not shelling out for brow pencils! I get the one I have from the same site for a dollar, and it has yet to let me down!
Mascara- I used to buy Definicils from Lancôme and I’m occasionally tempted by a pretty new one that comes out (esp. Pat McGrath!) but i just can’t spend 20-30 dollars on something as disposable as mascara. I stick with L’Oréal and maybelline!

Jen Avatar

Mascara. It goes bad so quickly and there are hundreds of options on the market. I’ll only ever purchase “high end” during Ulta 21 days of beauty when brands like Eyeko and IT are half off. Otherwise my regular budget caps at $15 for a great Korean or Japanese mascara when I replenish my skincare essentials every few months from YesStyle–where there are also so many more options in brown!

Ana Maria Avatar

With mascara most times I don’t even bother with full sizes, I just use a mini for 2-3 months and move to the next one.
There was a point in time were I didn’t even bought mascara for months. I just used whatever mascaras I could get as offer or point redemption from Sephora; and I wasn’t even skimping on quality, I was trying all the new and hyped mascaras (Benefit, Urban Decay, Dior, Lancome, Too Faced, Milk).

Jen Avatar

Not refuse but I do have soft thresholds with some categories where below them it’s easy to hit the purchase button, but above them I’ll hesitate. It might be a while before I get it but if it’s something I really want I will eventually get it.

Wednesday Avatar

Splurge is relative to money and value. I think for me I have found I do not find value for money in super high end skin care. That’s not to say I do not spend higher dollar amounts where I feel there is greater ingredient acceptance or fit for my skin type, but overall, I spend mega less on skin care than I used to. I am tired of the claims and hype and the cram as many hyped ingredients as possible into a single formulation. I have found much less expensive alternatives and enjoy keeping my regimen basic.

For colour products, I position my purchases and splurges more strategically to stash so do not have the same specific dollar for product limitations I used to impose upon myself. I am more likely to treat myself with a higher end product from a label I love on a lesser overall purchase frequency.

kjh Avatar

I agree with you completely; splurge is all relative. I go waaay back and lost the skin lottery. BITD i got what was then HE Dior, Chanel, Lauder, etc. and later PTR and Gross. Then i moved into Paula, which was much more reasonable and transparent. Then a wonderful transformation with inverse psoriasis, which did move to my face. Now it’s centella-based Korean and quite cheap, though Yesstyle is a bear for my cards. I do heavy research and have even ruled out Jart+. Ulta and Amazon meet most of my needs. Bader, La Mer, Barbara Sturm, etc. do not tempt me at all.

Lucie Avatar

Might not be what you meant by this question, but for me it would be face cleansers. That isn’t to say I just use the cheapest thing available at the grocery store – I generally use a complexion bar soap from my favorite natural and organic soap etailer that runs about $9 for an almost 6oz. bar that seems to last forever, Cetaphil, and Garnier or Bioderma micellar water – whatever I find on sale. Just something nice and gentle that’s not going to strip my face and make it feel bone dry. I just don’t see the sense in paying exorbitant prices for something I’m going to rinse off or things like $48 for a 5oz bottle of cleansing oil when I can buy a 16oz bottle of almond oil from my co-op for $9 or 4oz of Jojoba for around $10.

Makeup-wise, I wouldn’t say REFUSE to splurge, but I find it harder and harder to splurge on mid-range to high-end brand eyeshadow, especially singles that run about $20+ like Urban Decay, MAC, Marc Jacobs, or larger palettes when there are so many etailers and indie makeup brands putting out really affordable, well-performing quality singles (as long as you’re willing to put them in a magnetized palette yourself). Especially when you see so many middling palettes like most of Too Faced the past few years or those Norvina palettes. I certainly make exceptions, but it’s much rarer for me these days.

nocturnalizzie Avatar

All of them, haha. The most expensive products I have are eye shadow palettes from Too Faced and Urban Decay, but even those were bought on sale. Drugstore stuff works perfectly well for me and I get more satisfaction from low prices and good deals than I do from ~fanciness~ in packaging and brand names. Splurging isn’t something my brain knows how to permit. 😛

polishedhippy Avatar

I’m less willing to spend on things like skincare (I only apply moisturizer in the winter – don’t even need it in the summer), lipgloss (so many good, cheap moisturizing options, mascara (I just use free mini gift with purchase ones). I won’t spend big bucks on western sunscreens – I prefer mid-priced Japanese ones that double as primers and have more up-to-date filters that don’t irritate my skin. I rarely wear concealer so I have only bought two in the last 10 years, but I do admit the Pat McGrath one changed my perception of concealer as something cakey and icky for crepey undereyes since it can be nicely patted and blended in. But I still rarely wear it. Makeup brushes I will spend on – Japanese natural hair brushes are an epiphany for aging skin!

Sue Avatar

This is only after some trial and error! But basically I don’t splurge on luxury color products anymore (eyeshadow, lipstick, blush) because how much I paid doesn’t always correlate with product performance or how much I enjoy the product.

Though I will occasionally buy on sale (at McGrath lipsticks, MJ Air blushes) to see if the formula hype is real. At full price, it’s usually not!

Cameron Avatar

For me it is mascara and skincare. I do toss mascara every three months and I refuse to spend that much on such a short lived product. I often try to get by with samples. I learned that it’s really more the wand than the formula, most mascara seems the same to me. So long as it doesn’t flake or make my lashes fall out I’m good.

I’m not interested in luxury skincare because let’s face it, you are paying for a name with luxury items. Most luxury skincare is packed with fragrance or ingredients you can get cheaper elsewhere, like mineral oil. I don’t perceive the value, but I think I am not the target market.

Lesley Avatar

Lip color. I just don’t like how I look in it and I don’t think that a really expensive one would change anything. I also would not splurge on a blush because I don’t need a lot of pigment on my cheeks and I don’t have a hard time finding flattering finishes or shades at lower price points (or heavily discounted HE ones at TJ Maxx).

Mary Avatar

I wouldn’t splurge on things that have to be replaced relatively often – mascara, makeup sponges, liquid lipstick, lip gloss, pencil eyeliners. Maybe concealer too, but I‘d gladly buy high end if I ever found a spot on match and I wouldn’t have to mix anymore.

I also wouldn’t splurge on skincare because my skin is ridiculously sensitive! I’m not opposed to buying a more expensive product if I had the chance to try a sample size first (I’m thinking Paula’s Choice prices here, not La Mer).

Rach Avatar

All of Natasha Dewhatever. All her stuff has such an ugly lay out that I just can’t with. Even when they have beautiful colors or great reviews. The palettes are so unwieldy or have an ugly layout that I just refuse.

Frozendiva Avatar

Not really. If something works for me and I think it has value, I would buy the item. I would probably not be buying something like a super high-end eye pencil or lip pencil. There are lots of options at a much lower price.

However, I wouldn’t continue to buy a super-cheap product if I have issues with it. It would cost more money to replace it. If something works well and the price difference isn’t significant, I would pay a little more. Some stuff looks like a bargain, but it really isn’t.

I do spend more on skincare than I probably should and am on the hunt for less expensive options. I have more mature skin and some products do not work.

I also tend to alternate between drugstore shampoo and conditioner and my Aveda ones.

Deborah S. Avatar

There aren’t any that I would refuse to splurge on but there are a few categories where I find that you can find a drugstore brand that offers a really comparable option. Specifically, mascara’s. I think there are several really good mascara’s that rival HE brands at much cheaper prices. I feel the same way about brow products, lip liners and most eyeliners.

Nancy T Avatar

Mascara! And brow products, too. Only because I can find HG mascara (L’Oreal Lash Paradise WP is perfection!) and brow powder in the drugstore that works perfectly fine. Otherwise, I don’t believe that I have any other set categories that don’t or haven’t splurged on, perhaps just some of my skincare. Because The Ordinary, Hada Labo and Inkey List have some amazing products, I don’t currently splurge on my day eye cream, warm weather nighttime moisturizer, retinal serum, Marula oil or Buffet serum, yet I do on other skincare items.

Jamie Avatar

Anything “luxury” or high-end (Tom Ford or Pat McGrath, for example). You’re basically paying for the name & you can almost always get cheaper alternatives that are just as high quality, if not better. Also mascara. There are a lot of good, inexpensive options & why pay a lot for something with such a short shelf life?

Fidan Avatar

In my experience, Natasha Denona eyeshadows have been worth it for me, but I’m happy with the drugstore quality of everything else. As for skincare, I mostly use Asian brands and even though they are not considered “luxury” most of the time, it’s kinda a splurge to me because of my financial situation and the fact that all the products add up, but it’s worth it for me.

Francesca Avatar

Usually mascaras and eyepencils, since I’ve found good drugstore products and/or no significant improvement going up in price. Moreover, in recent times I’ve got big disappointments in high end blushes too. I’ve found famous and so called universal flattering high end blushes that does not show at all on me (light to medium). I don’t know if it is a problem of pigmentation or if high end brands consider only porcelain skin tones in making blush. On the contrary, I’ve been positively surprised by bh cosmetics’ new palettes of blushes. I’ve bought many shades including also both lightest and deepest of the range and every single shades works well on me (of course I have different application tecniques according to the depth of the shades), so it is all a matter of pigmentation. I don’t think I’m going return soon to high end u
Blushes too

Sarah Avatar

There isn’t necessarily a broad category that I refuse to splurge on, but I think for me the most accurate answer is that I will only splurge on things that have proven themselves to be worth it (whether that is through my own experience with a sample or after getting something deeply discounted the first time and then deciding to repurchase full price, or whether it is through reviews). I think I’d pay big bucks for something in almost any category if it seems like it will be a big improvement over a less expensive option. Because of this, it also depends on how happy I am with a current favorite; if I’m still looking for something I’m really satisfied with, I’ll be more willing to invest in a quality product that people with similar tastes to mine seem to love. Really and truly, my makeup collection has a pretty diverse mix of drugstore and high-end products, and I have favorites from every price point.

Maggie Avatar

I basically consider everything not drugstore pricing to be splurging: I remember drugstore products from 20+ years ago when I initially first started spending my own money on beauty products and nearly everything beauty-related has improved dramatically since then. That said, my sensitive skin has developed reactions to all sorts of products that go on my face and I’m willing to spend more to avoid reactions. And by “spend more,” I’m thinking brands like Paula’s Choice or even clinically marketed pharmaceutical brands like Topix. I refuse to splurge on luxury perfumed skincare or even on creams like La Mer (the latter I’m sure is a decent moisturizer but for the pricepoint and all the hyped-up mysteries on the creator(s) and the miracle ingredients, it sounds like snake oil). I think if you’re reaching for luxury priced skincare, you should consider clinical treatments like lasers and prescription retinoids.

disco cats Avatar

Blushes- I have a few higher end options and I like them fine, but I don’t see a difference in quality on my face as compared to say, Milani. The only time I can see myself getting a high end option going forward is if I want a “funky” color that you don’t really find in drugstore/ cheaper offerings at the moment.

Bronzers- I don’t really use it as is, so I definitely wouldn’t splurge.

Lip balms- If I don’t lose them, my cats steal them for a fun new toy.

A lot of skin care- I’m lucky enough to have found cheaper products that work for me. Plus, skin care gets used up too quickly for me to be willing to drop a ton of cash.

TropicalCowgirl Avatar

Colorful eyeliners. I rarely use it as I usually shadow line and it dries out.

Lip masks. Because…Burts bees has been perfection.

Body lotions. I need oils after the shower and almond oil from Amazon is amazing and then follow up with Nivea.

Cutical oil. I use my almond oil.

I also use Ordinary for facial serums. Their acid masks are divine.

Waxing! Thanks to menopause…I have to wax. I broke out horribly every time it was done professionally. I got a melter and hard wax. Not only cheaper…but no more issues.

Regular facials. More of a service. I have my own steamer and mask combos. This was pre COVID.

I’m willing to splurge for one product that can be a dual/triple threat. Example, good eyeshadow doesn’t need primer for me. I haven’t purchased Shadow primer in years.

Rose Avatar

Usually it’s single ‘color’ cosmetics, like eyeliners, eyeshadows, or lipsticks. Sometimes things are really special and I can justify it, but it isn’t often. I’m much more inclined to splurge on palettes or complexion products!

Genevieve Avatar

Yes, there are quite a few beauty products that I refuse to splurge on. These are:
Mascaras – I am not too fussy about mascaras as long as they don’t clump and they are easy to remove of a night time. It was CeeBee from this blog, who suggested that the DB (Australian brand) mascara was pretty good. It is and I will keep purchasing it. It’s a budget brand that does a very good job.

Eyebrow pencils – again I tend to use budget brands in my shade of soft taupe. I tried the Anastasia Brow Whizz and found it to be average. I didn’t like the thin pencil format either.

Lipsticks – there are lots and lots of really good lipstick brands around (CP is one of the best in their Lux lipstick range) that are of excellent value. Maybelline and Milani have some beautiful, long wearing lipsticks too. Even though I may like the more expensive brands’ lipsticks, I generally find I can dupe the shade with the same rating. I was prepared to purchase PMG’s Electra – but that is sold out.

Setting powder: I find Rimmel’s Translucent Matte setting powder to be pretty good too.

Skincare – I generally don’t splurge on cleansers because there are many excellent ones (CeraVe, Swisse, Essano, Nutregena) on the market and on sale that do the same job.
Facial Oils – I love facial oils and use them every single night, but I rotate them. I find The Ordinary’s Pure Moroccan Argon Oil to be excellent; Swisse’s Hemp oil and Argon oil to be as good as any expensive brand.
Body Lotion: As I am a ‘mature’ person, I really need to use a moisturising body lotion on my legs and arms. I find Dermal’s Moisturising Lotion for Very Dry Skin to be excellent. Ditto for Cetaphil, Dermaveen, Aveeno, Dermeze etc.

angela Avatar

Mascara and eyeliner pencil are definitely something I don’t spend much on. There are so many cheap options out there with very good quality.
As I am a subscriber for a few beauty boxes I have a chance to try really luxury skincare products and some makeup and most of them just don’t worth the hype in my opinion.
I spend most on eyeshadows as I really look for quality, but I always go for the best possible deals.

Moxie Avatar

Honestly, all of them.

I try to keep my spending to a minimum and only buy things I really need, but if I find something that works for me through samples (usually from YesStyle) and the full-size product is too expensive then I’ll compare ingredients and find a cheaper dupe/similar product.

I just can’t wrap my head around spending hundreds of dollars on beauty care at once; I’ve never been able to afford to do so and don’t even think I could do it if I was.

Z Avatar

Blush and bronzer. Blush isn’t my jam so I’ve got some really cheap (Essence) items that do the job. I’ve splurged on high end bronzers only to discover they’re too red and muddy on my skin. So physician’s formula butter bronzer it is – and I only buy it on a deep sale. I think I have two or three backups all purchased at $7 or less. Maybe eyebrows too. After discovering LA girl shady brow and colourpop gel, I’m leaving my eternally-dried-out-with-every-new-purchase benefit brow gel in the dust.

I adore my “higher end” mascaras (ie – not drugstore), but I only purchase them on 50% off sales, so it’s $12.50 at the most and that’s not terribly expensive.

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