Do you notice any differences (on average) between more affordable and more expensive skincare?

For things like thicker moisturizers, I do; I feel like mid-end (not necessarily high-end or luxury-priced) will give me a better texture (creamier but not as heavy or as thick) and dry down, but there are affordable gems to be found everywhere. Luxury skincare usually has an overwhelming scent, IMO.

— Christine


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Kat Avatar

After trying out more Korean and Japanese products, I don’t like neither high or low end of western skincare much. Korean and Japanese products are simply superior and very fairly priced, purito is my everything 😄

kjh Avatar

Purito and Cosrx are my everythings. With an oddball and very very painful form of psoriasis, Purito’s CICA was the only thing i could tolerate on my lower face and neck. And the Purito liquid green whatever Is the ONLY remover that does not hurt in my eyes…the rest ALL do, esp balm formulas. K/J will never be a passing fad for me. I only have to stray when the product has chemical sunscreen. I’ve been liking the Saem concealer. Want to try Pyungkang Yul and Heimish.

Cara Avatar

My routine is almost all French pharmacy and Korean brands as they work best for my crazy sensitive, reactive and acne prone skin. I like a lot of Purito products now that they’ve removed the fragrant essential oils; just thinking about the bergamot oil in their original Deep Sea water cream is enough to cause my skin to flare up!

Cara Avatar

Bioderma Sensibio micellar water, Avene Thermal Water spray and Tolerance Skin Recovery Cream and La-Roche Posay Lipikar AP+ body cream and Embryollise Lait-Creme Concentre moisturizer.

Bioderma Sensibio has been my most repurchased beauty product for years; I go through one 500ml bottle every 4-5 weeks. After showering and if I’m wearing makeup, I spray the thermal water liberally all over my face and let it sit for about 30 seconds before patting most of it off; this reduces redness better than anything else I’ve tried. I then apply the Embryollise moisturizer, which is beautiful under makeup and acts like a primer.

I use the Tolerance moisturizer at night and during the day as well if my skin is irritated, which is usually the result of overdoing it with a chemical exfoliant, trying a new product that caused a reaction or an eczema flare up. This is an intense moisturizer but it repairs the skin barrier and calms the irritation. The Lipikar cream is also very rich but my body is dry all year long, not just in winter.

Like most French pharmacy skincare, these products are designed to be gentle and protect the skin barrier. The formulas haven’t changed much over the years (or decades) – they’re pretty basic without added fragrance or trendy botanical extracts so they don’t irritate my crazy sensitive, reactive and acne prone skin but will help to calm and repair when needed.
**Bioderma has multiple versions of micellar water but Sensibio is the only one without fragrance. Amazon sells a 2pk of the 500ml bottles for around $25 or one bottle for $18. The others are also available on Amazon as it’s an authorized retailer for all of these brands.
Sorry for the novel length response but hope it helps lol!

kjh Avatar

Thank god for the unscented Cica serum. The scented one did not bother me, but it could in the long run. The only neg has been ordering from YesStyle, due to greater selections. Shut down my cards. Considering I had ordered from Zoeva, wth? Citrus oils should be an automatic deselect.

Cara Avatar

I order all my Korean skincare, Purito included, from Amazon because they’re an authorized retailer but I make sure to check that the brand is listed as the seller to avoid counterfeit products sold by 3rd parties. Even the brand’s Amazon storefront can contain items sold by 3rd parties so I’m extra careful but I’ve never had any issues when the brand is the seller.

Some of the worst reactions I’ve had were the result of essential oils, specifically citrus, lavender and eucalyptus and I have to be extra vigilant now bc brands will hide essential oils as just fragrance on ingredients lists. It really annoys me when brands loudly demonize “synthetic” fragrance as bad for skin and add a slew of “natural” essential oils to their products. It’s ridiculous

Cameron Avatar

Yes, mid-end skincare seems to be the sweet spot between price and feel. Things like the Ordinary are great price wise, but I feel like their formulas either smell bad (because they don’t cover it over with anything), or the creams are overly thick and hard to spread. High end skincare I’ve only tried in samples, but every time it felt like applying perfume to my face.

Wednesday Avatar

Prior to the influx of knowledgeable youtubers, I spent quite a lot of money on skincare buying into luxury brand representation and using a slew of products. I’m the reverse at this point and happy with more affordable choices from either Korean lines or LaRoche Posay and a more streamlined approach. The last expensive choice I made, Vivier, nice but not eureka. I still like some of the products, but spending $194 for a C,E, peptide serum doesn’t make sense for me living on a retirement budget. I research and find more affordable alternatives.

liz Avatar

Nah, I use almost exclusively drugstore-range priced products, and my face is looking great lately. I use mostly Cerave and Vanicream, with a little smattering of The Ordinary’s acids if I need a good peel.

Penny Avatar

I also usually stay mid-stream in my skin care products…I’ve tried many samples of very high end (LM?)
products and can actually say I like mine just as well if not better. I think advertising has a lot to do with people being duped into thinking just because it costs more it has to be better….I do like Tatcha water cream before makeup just because my makeup seems to apply better but for the most part Belif aqua cream is pretty much the same to me and half the price…..La Roche Posay has some good ones that seem to be recommended by a lot of dermatologists too….I’m sure a good emolient cream helps but all in all
so much has to do with genetics. Just because a cream is $200+ it doesn’t mean it can perform miracles!

BrandiD Avatar

My allergy-prone skin really prefers the minimal fuss of drugstore products. However, I have had some success with Asian style brands like Peach & Lily and Tatcha. So I think this is less about price point and more about ingredients — although I agree with others that pricy skincare has too many obnoxious smells.

Nancy T Avatar

That would depend on both the ingredient profile and whether or not I’ve seen results on my own skin. I use several holy grail pricier skincare products that have made noticeable differences and do not contain any fragrance, like Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Creme, Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol & Ferulic Triple Concentration Eye Serum, and Youth To The People Eye Dream eye cream. However, I also have either lower end products that are also extremely effective from The Ordinary and Inkey List, plus a few mid range day moisturizers with SPF that I love using.

Mariella Avatar

With a few exceptions (Tatcha, Clarins and a few others) most of my skin care is mid-range, price-wise. Some of my favourites are Embryolisse, Jouviance, Avene. But I do have 2 really budget priced face creams that are excellent and so affordable that I can be lavish with them on my face and body – Astral Cream and the pink Jergens cream with the 3 vintage looking women on the label. I don’t know that I find a huge difference in any of them though I do like the indulgence of my more luxury brands.

Maggie Avatar

Expensive luxurious branded skincare tends to have a LONG ingredients list and fragrance. Fragrance is NOT beneficial for skin and frankly, the shorter the ingredients list, the less variables in unfavorable ingredient interaction.

Skincare brands backed by pharmaceuticals can be worth it: for example, L’Oreal umbrella has LRP, Skinceuticals and Cerave. These brands make products with tricky ingredients like 15% L-ascorbic acid or newer sunscreen filters in very effective and/or elegant formulas. Depending on individual skincare concerns, such products might be worth it.

I am fond of mid-end sunscreens made with newer filters outside of the USA.

For effective skincare, it’s best to go with a minimalist approach bc too many ingredients increases the risk of unfavorable ingredient interactions. Any moderate to severe skin concerns should be money saved toward a dermatologist and/or clinical procedures for the best skin CARE.

Swoozy Avatar

I find high-end, but not luxury, is generally the sweet spot for me. I want a bit of scent, but not too much; a nice presentation so I feel like my morning and evening application is a little bit of a ritual. Of course, the wonderful thing about the internet is finding out you can buy things direct from other countries at lower imports so that some brands are not completely ridiculous (buying Sisley from a French store, for eg, or Omorovicza from English stores).

Gina Avatar

i use a mix of low/mid/high end products– cerave or cetaphil gentle cleanser, la roche posay and drunk elephant moisturizer (DE isn’t scented, importantly!), and some DE and ordinary serums/oils/retinols. no reason to spend a lot of money on cleansers imo and la roche posay toleraine line is great for sensitive skin like mine without breaking the bank; though I do like the DE moisturizers for winter bc they’re thicker. oh, and supergoop mineral sunscreen bc it doesn’t irritate my skin or leave it oily! the only face sunscreen i can bear to wear everyday.

Leo Avatar

I can’t believe there are so many companies that put fragrance in their skincare products, and that there are so many people who still buy fragranced products! Fragrance is SO BAD for the skin, even the more “natural” kinds like rose water and EOs. This is the main thing I am picky about, and it can lead to both high- and low-end products… though I don’t consider it “low-end” if the ingredients are great. Then it’s just “wallet friendly”!

Genevieve Avatar

I never, ever buy expensive skincare products any more – since the rise of more affordable and excellent skincare brands over the past decade. I have found, like you Christine, that a lot of HE skincare contains perfume – which is a no-no for my sensitive skin.
Everything I now purchase can often be found on sale at our budget beauty shops – even here in Aus – where beauty items are extremely expensive.
The brands I use the most include: The Ordinary, Inkey List, A’kin, Neutragena, Olay, CeraVe and sometimes a little more pricier brands such as Antipodes, Skin Physics, Avene, La Roche Posay.

Cara Avatar

Most of my skincare is from French pharmacy and Korean brands and they work better for my ultra sensitive, reactive and acne prone skin than many of the high end American products I’ve tried over the years.

Stacey Avatar

For a longtime I believed the amount of $ I spent on skincare was in direct correlation to performance or quality of ingredients. I have learned that to not be entirety true these days, with such a flooded market, including overrated celebrity skincare lines. Yes, there are a few brands that may be worth the $, bc of the entire “experience”. But for me, the fragrance in luxury lines aggravates my acne prone skin & my nose, and it seems to dry me out. I am loving all the more affordable Korean skin care lines now, or your basic, to the point, effective brands like LaRoche Posay, Good Molecules or even Cerave. Would I love to swoon over containers of Augustinus Bader? Sure. Who wouldn’t? Do I NEED it for performance? Absolutely not.

Elizabeth Avatar

Medical grade skincare, like PCA and Elta MD, have the best active ingredients in my experience. I love using PCA’s retinol for sensitive skin, and I’m starting to add other serums from their line. For steps like cleanser and moisturizer, I shop around and use brands like Cerave and Clinique when I can find them on sale.

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