For skincare, where you skimp? Where you splurge?

In general, anything that doesn’t stay on the skin for long doesn’t need to be expensive to do its job–cleansers and the like! I also tend to look for good, budget-friendly options for makeup wipes and body sunscreen. I tend to splurge on moisturizers, serums, and lip balm.

— Christine
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Explore Temptalia

We're here to help you make better beauty purchases that you'll enjoy and love! We recommend signing up to take advantage of personalized features like tracking products you own, viewing dupes that you already have, and more!

Here are some useful resources for you:

Compare Any Two

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

I tend to purchase Korean skincare products more nowadays and it is way cheaper than anything that I can get at Western department stores! I am finding good, well reviewed products in all different categories in lower prices (<$20), so my moisturizers, treatments, cleansers, essences… are all coming at reasonable prices. I would be more willing to spend more money on actives and cleansers, as actives are the powerhouses of my routine and cleansers are what help to keep my skin clear. I am spending about $15 on my actives right now and my CosRX Good Morning Low pH Cleanser is about $10 (huge bottle will last me for over a year, too!). The most expensive skincare product that I have right now is CeraVe moisturizer in the tub, which runs for about $20 on sale. I don't mind splurging on sunscreen for my face if there are no other alternatives, but since I go through that stuff rather quickly I look for good value and deals.

I am also loving Korean skincare. I do like the COSRX cleanser too, and so many other things. I did just spend $50.00 on a press d serum from Korea. I also use a snail mucin essence. I mix in American skincare here and there, but the majority of my masks and treatments are Korean.

hey JoAnn,
It’s only since recently that I am more into skincare (because of getting older I guess, haha!), and I am very interested in Korean skincare but I hardly know anything about it. Is there a good website you can recommend, or the brand of your serum? How about shipping costs? Thanks a lot!

Ouneque you should try Peach and Lilly to start. They have great customer service and can help you figure out what’s best for your skin or issues etc. After you figure out what you like, you could do Memebox and Sokoglam. If you’re feeling adventurous and have a decent Asian community near you, there should be Asian markets and beauty stores around and they’ll have a lot of beauty products. I live near a huge Korean community, so I tend to go there, but it depends on where you live. My husband is Korean as well, so I have a bit of an advantage there.

Here goes!
Skimp: facial cleanser and cleansing wipes, eye makeup remover (baby oil w/ aloe!), body sunscreens, lotions and body wash.
Splurge: Day moisturizer w/ high SPF, serums, eye cream and serum. My night cream falls into the mid end territory, as does my Retinol serum, both are under $30. So, I guess is that I’m willing to pay a bit more for all my anti-aging stuff.

Hi Nancy….I have been reading Temptalia and questions for a couple years. I don’t know why, but I find myself always looking specifically for your comments….Thank you so much for taking your time to comment!!!!!

I tend to skimp on most skincare because I love a lot of DIY, low-to-mid range brands, and indie stuff, but I occasionally splurge on LUSH, and anytime I can get a sample/mini of L’Occitane or Fresh stuff I jump on the chance.

I don’t know if I ever really splurge, as I’m always looking for value: I sometimes buy rather expensive moisturizers or serums, but only if I know their formula is exactly what my skin needs and the texture is something I’ll want to use. I don’t splurge on department store fancy skincare in general, because when you look at the ingredients list those brands, despite their price tags, often don’t contain much that’s truly effective and beneficial for the skin. When I spend a lot it’s typically on specialty brands, so at least I know I’m not paying for the packaging or celebrity endorsement…

That’s easy, I tend to splurge on more expensive Serums & more expensive Moisturizers. I have found that the more expensive, the more benefits long term. You all heard that old saying, “you get what you pay for……is absolutely true! I also splurge on all make up, just not brushes.Like foundations that are costly because they behave better and the colors are more clear. I would rather buy an inexpensive brush and throw them out, rather that spending money on expensive brushes. I see no differences at all in the less costly versions of face and eye brushes. Lipsticks and glosses vary a lot. I will buy a lipstick or gloss based upon reviews, then trying them out the more expensive the lipstick though the more staying power. Before I purchase any cosmetic, I look at many reviews based upon age and website. I budget wisely and will not have too many lipsticks. I fall in love with just one lipstick and stick to it, unless I find another color in the same maker., I have just a couple lipsticks that I just love. Foundations are the hardest to purchase on line. The colors on my monitor vary greatly from manufacturer to store presentation. I read lots of Blog sites, like this one and then make up my mind to purchase.

I tend to skimp everywhere when it comes to skincare. I will occasionally splurge on a high end moisturizer, but in general, I rarely pay more that $20 on any single skincare item. it just doesn’t seem worth it to me as I can rarely tell a difference in my skin’s appearance when I’m using a posh skincare item instead of a cheaper one. High end skincare may feel more luxurious going on, but after an hour or two, the difference is indiscernible to me. I have pretty good skin though that’s not at all sensitive, dry or acne prone so I can afford to be less particular than some people can with their skincare routine.

I mostly spend more $$ on things that need to be formulated carefully, like vitamin C, face sunscreen and retinol and I usually buy all my skincare from well-known drugstore or mid-end brands/companies that have products for sensitive skin, like Olay, Cerave, Elta MD and Paulas Choice. I never buy high-end or luxury skincare–as anything that can actually do “miracles” are usually prescription or a medical procedure–either would require a dermatologist.

I tend to skimp more on sunscreen, lip balm, makeup remover, masks, and makeup wipes. I splurge more on firming cream, day and night moisturizers, eye cream, and cleanser.

I generally stick with budget-friendly options when it comes to makeup removers (I like the Garnier micellar water), cleansers (Cetaphil) and pimple creams (Oxy). I’m lucky that I get to augment my own purchases with stuff from my mum that doesn’t work for her or what she gets as samples, like Estee Lauder scrubs and eye creams. I tend to splurge on masks, moisturisers and anything with good and minimal ingredients because my skin’s dry, dehydrated and sensitive.

Could you give more suggestions on your skincare items? I have the same skin as you and have trouble finding things that are gentle enough. Thank you Kimberley.

Hey Meredith! Sure, YMMV but here are some of the products I use which work on my skin. I tend to prefer products without fragrance.

Cleansers: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Kiehl’s ultra facial cleanser
Moisturisers: innisfree green tea seed serum (scented but hasn’t broken me out), Physiogel Cream (I put a little on my lips too before I sleep, works better than some lip balms), Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream (light moisturiser, reduces redness)

Masks: The Face Shop Real Nature Mask Sheet Olive (hydrates like nothing else), Herbalife NouriFusion Multivitamin Moisture Mask, innisfree Skin Clinic Mask BHA

Misc: Estee Lauder Idealist Micro-D Thermal Refinisher (discontinued but I like how it feels as you buff it in – it actually warms up as it exfoliates!), Origins Clear Improvementâ„¢ Active Charcoal Mask, Oxy Cover Flesh-tone Pimple Cream

Oooo thanks Kimberley! This list gives me many new products to discover. The only one I am familiar with is Cetaphil which is so soothing. I’m off to go shopping now.

I must admit I do splurge on my Lait confort from Chanel. The best ‘face wash’ I’ve tried. It is a milky texture that becomes oily on the skin. It removes makeup effortlessly and leaves the skin soft and radiant. I do not use it every day so one bottle goes a long way. Skimping: eye makeup remover (local drugstore brand), micelair water (Garnier).

Really not a lot of rhyme or reason. I have high and low end micellar waters that I like equally. I have high and low end eye makeup removers (mind you, the low end one is only available in France, which would make it pricey to replace!) that I like equally. My night time face cream is pretty low end but it works really well (to be honest, I don’t think there is much difference between high and low end face creams….the first ingredient in all of them is water and most of the other ingredients are pretty similar!) But having said that, I use a really alarmingly pricey throat cream, when I remember to use it, which isn’t often. I never believed throat creams were any different from a face cream or body lotion (and that’s what I used) until I tried this one from Clarins. I do spend on eye creams because I don’t want to risk getting milia. I prefer some of my lower and mid priced face washes to some of the more expensive ones I have. It really has no hard and fast rules….if I try it and like it and find it effective and pleasant, I use it. Price isn’t a big deal either way.

The older I get, the less I skimp on skincare, but makeup remover/face wipes and body sunblock (particularly the spray kind in cans – I love the Neutrogena Beach Defense spray) are two things I’ll also head to the drugstore for – I also use tons of both of those things so it makes sense to save on them.

I’ve used the Origins Checks and Balances cleanser for probably 20 years now – at some point I probably considered it a splurge, but its price hasn’t changed that much over the years and it’s such a staple for me that I don’t think much about its cost.

My true splurges will be on a good serum, a good face sunblock, acne treatments and night moisturizer. I think those things have proven to make a true difference for my skin and are worth it.

Oh! And a Clarisonic. Definitely a splurge, although I actually received my Clarisonic as a contest prize (ha) but even though the brush heads are a bit spendy, I consider it in the same category as my face wash – a staple, on automatic delivery. I think it proves itself in cost per use!

Sure – first off, I should say, I have oily, acne-prone skin that clogs easily. It’s also pretty tough, so I figured out long ago that some kind of daily mild exfoliation is key. The Clarisonic provides just that – gentle, daily exfoliation. I find my skin is much smoother and clearer with regular use and I noticed a difference within a day if I don’t use it.

I usually skimp when it comes to makeup wipes, sunscreen and face sprays. Sometimes I’ll pick up a cheap mask or two depending on the reviews. I spend the bulk of my money on cleanser, serum, eye cream and lip balms. I don’t mind spending a few extra bucks on anything that’ll keep my complexion clear

I kind of follow your guidelines. I splurge on serums, eye creams, masks sometimes, and night moisturizers. I’ve been wearing the same Olay moisturizer with SPF for years now, and the Boots cleansing balm from Target, and they work well for me, so if it ain’t broke! I have a ton of face cleansers from samples and subscription boxes, so I almost never have to buy those. As far as lip balms go, I am a Chapstick collector! Chapstick always does the job for me.

Same. Skimp on body sunscreen, cleansers, oils like pure jojoba, makeup remover. Splurge on moisturizers, AHA treatments, retinols, facial sunscreen. My face is a bit finicky and I have some allergies, which rules out a lot of drugstore stuff.

Skimp: cleansers, blotters; and, sometimes toners depending what effect I need. Splurge/pay for best outcomes: sunscreen, lip balm, eye cream. and some toners. Fortunately I don’t need moisturizers so can avoid that broad, potentially costly category.

I like the idea that items that you use quickly can be less expensive. I feel like I go through product so slowly that I don’t mind splurging on any of it. That being said, so many of my skincare items comes from connections like Brandbacker and Influenster that a good percentage of my skincare is free!

I skimp on face washes and eye makeup remover. Right now I’m using Lumene remover, and my go-to is Almay Oil-free. I spend more on creams, serums, eye creams and masks.

Skimp: I use Pacifica Sea Foam Cleaner, Cactus Micellar Water, and Glow Baby Scrub (although they’re very good so I’d buy them anyway). Every Tuesday I use the Tony Moly Eye Patch. It’s actually a pretty solid serum treatment so I’d continue to buy them too. I never, ever, ever use makeup wipes (but I guess that’s a whole other post!)

Splurge: No other eye makeup remover than Lancome Bifacil; I’ve tried others and always went back. Switched my skincare routine to all Estee Lauder: Day – Perfectionist [CP+R} Serum, Advanced Time Zone Eye, Advanced Time Zone Cream SPF 15; Night – Advanced Night repair Serum, Advanced Night Repair Eye, Advanced Time Zone Night Cream

I always try to find a great product no matter what the cost, and it’s satisfying to find one from the drug store. Having said that, I have my favorites, and they’re mostly high end. I’m not a HE snob, but many of my skincare products are HG HE. But, there’s an upside to most of my HE products: A little goes a long, long way. For example, Mercier extra creamy cleanser is not cheap, but it lasts me forever. Because I love it, I continue to buy it. For about 3 years now, I have bought all my HE skincare on sale. It helps a lot.

Splurge on quality and if I’m lucky on price, great, but I want the quality so will spend the money if I have to. I love my fancy cleansers, creams, balms and oils. I have a whole range of price points – Mario Badescu, GloCeuticals, Avene, Decleor, Neova, Sisley, Caudalie, Arcona, SkinCeuticals, Skingenious, Sunday Riley and I buy organic oils from the local farmer’s markets or from Amazon for my homemade treatments. I bought La Mer once but that was too rich/hydrating and I would break out after a few days. I ended up just using the rest for hand cream. I am suspect of anything that is too inexpensive but lately there have been some reasonably priced organic options at Target and vitacost that have worked pretty well (Majestic Pure, Avalon Organics, Yes To).

I like Josie Maran Argan Milk & Argan oil. I have purchased a lot of Clinique in the past but I am lazy so I keep it simple. I have purchased different skin care products but the more expensive and complicated really isn’t for me. So I like to use Thatcha cleansing oil and then Thatcha’s rice scrub. Afterwards Josie Maran’s Argan milk and oil. I have a lot of other products that I spent money on that will probably expire without me using it except once. I probably should be doing a lot more for my age but I find it gets to be overwhelming with how many products are out there and some of the prices are way too high for something that you are not even sure will work.

I guess I need a definition of “splurge” when it comes to skincare. I don’t feel like I have anything that is high end (as in creams that cost over $100) but some people may look at the items I use as a splurge compared to what they would spend. Right now my day cream/moisturizer costs around the $50 normally and I believe the night cream would be $52 retail. But I recently got a great deal during the Nordstrom sale where I got my usual cleanser (usually runs for $32 for 16 oz), a large jar of the day cream (4 oz versus the 2 oz I usually buy and would retail for $75) and a 1 oz night version of my day cream (looked up the 2 oz price and it would be $52)….all for $89. Some people would think that’s too much but it was only a couple of dollars more than it would have cost me to buy the cleanser and day cream in the smaller size I usually buy. Once upon a time I would have balked at paying any of those prices but now that my skin needs are different I’ve noticed that the drugstore brands I used to use don’t perform as well as I need them to. When my skin is good though they work fine….so I still have some items in my stash.

I think the biggest cleanser splurge I ever made was on a large bottle of the Shu Uemura cleansing oil…think it may have been $70+. But it has lasted me a long time because I don’t use it daily and a little goes a long way. I’ve tried cheaper cleansing oils but they didn’t work as well…and I’ve tried slightly cheaper, easier to get my hands on oils (such as Dermalogica’s PreCleanse)….and although they work fine I still feel that the SU one works much better and is worth the splurge. Can’t imagine ever paying a couple of hundred dollars on a single item like some of the truly high end brands are…even if I had unlimited disposable cash to spend because I can’t justify spending that much on essentially a disposable item lol.

I skimp on makeup removers and moisture wipes. I go big on face, neck creams and wrinkle fillers, I do an average priced facial wash in the shower (neutrogena). I also start my face and neck treatments with strivectin followed by high end moisturizers. I love my Estée Lauder wrinkle facial filler applied after setting spray and before primer. Don’t skimp on primers for eyes and lips but do use Monistat chafing gel for facial primer. Best I’ve found.

I have to splurge on eyemakeup remover, because most of them burn my eyes. I use Borghese Gel Delicato. Clean & Clear makeup disolving foaming cleanser was cheap & excellent-if course it got discontinued! I use Chapstick, comes in fun flavors, I haven’t found an expensive one that I like. For moisturizer, Olay makes unscented creams that have never given me a rash or breakout, which most of the expensive brands have. I like Fresh exfoliate & serum, Boots Botanics makes good ones too. I try to buy splurges when Sephora does their 20% discount.

I buy everything that works for me no matter if high or low price. But I try to buy it When there is an offer When it is a high Price product. For example my Night cream costs 95 Euro but I used an offer an got it 25% less, ok ist is still pricey but it is really good. On the other Hand my Toner is a drugstore product for 1,65 Euro. Good products Do not have to be pricey, you have to try them. I also buy a lot of mini products from ebay. I think it is the Same in the USA that People sell sample sizes on eBay which they got for free. As far As I Know it is not allowed but you find them a lot on eBay. You can Save a lot of money because buying 5 or 6 samples is still Cheaper than buying the Full size product.

I feel like I say this in like every comment ahah. But I’m in college, and don’t have the money to spend on very expensive skincare/makeup. I only really splurge and stock up on a few Holy Grail makeup items once a year.

I use mostly drug store skin care, with a smattering of LUSH!!

The only skin care product I “splurge” on is my cystic acne cream/medication ahahah.

My skin likes my routine though, my redness is tamed, and ALL of my severe cystic acne is gone (thanks to my dermatologist!) And my acne scarring is healing and fading!!! So I believe drug store skin care can be good!!!

I don’t skimp on ANYTHING when it comes to my skin care….from cleansers to sunblock and everything in between (toners, serums, moisturizers, etc). If I don’t like something in the first three ingredients….I don’t buy it. I will however; splurge on products with Hyaluronic Acid and anything that prevents or take those annoying brown spots or discoloration that can appear on my 41 year old skin.

Mostly I skimp on skincare because I am really happy with the results.
Cleanser and daily moisturiser: QV skincare range – the daily moisturiser has SPF 30, which is essential in the Australian sun.
Exfoliating scrub – Aveeno Sensitive range. A very gentle scrub.
Facial Oil – Isabella Muse reviewed the Physicians Formula Argon Oil and I was so impressed with the product that I decided to try for myself, It is a godsend to my mature, dry skin. Just as good as the Josie Maran one, but without the $$$$.
Serum and Night time moisturiser – lately I have been trying the Neutregena Intensive night serum – it has a pump pack (essential) and you can lock the pump so that the contents are not affected by air. The accompanying night time moisturiser is also great. Very happy with the results.

I skimp on Cetaphil face wash and daily sunscreen. I splurge on serum and eye cream. Basically, if I think I need to use it every day, I try to find an inexpensive product so that I don’t feel guilty using gobs every time. But for anti-aging or specific issues, I’m willing to pay $$$ for results.

I tend to splurge on “treatment” items such as retinol serum and eye serum. I save on cleanser and moisturizer. My biggest save is DIY Vitamin C serum that I make for pennies.

Skimp- almost anything body related (lotion, cleanser, sunscreen), for the face – cleanser, toner and face oil, exfoliators, makeup remover (oil and then cleansing oil), Korean sheet masks.

Splurge- almost everything else for the face. I have adult acne that makes my skin scar and it’s taken me a while to figure out what will not break me out and keep my skin happy given I love to wear makeup. I use a mix of products from Skinceuticals, Elta MD, Agenist and Arcona.

That’s the one thing I don’t skimp out of. I splurge!
Taking the best care of my skin is more important than makeup and I love makeup! It has to do with being called all kinds of names and made fun of in school. I was that kid with the cystic acne and kids are cruel!!! I learned that the only way to avoid that is by doing whatever it takes to have clear skin and I do. Now I have to use anti ageing skincare products and I don’t look 45. I am in control of my skin and although in life, you can’t stop people from insults or whatever, I can control how I handle any insults and I learned to just be comfortable in my own skin and I am.

I pretty much skimp on everything. I’ve found that hand and body lotions do a pretty good job on my face, too. I clean off my makeup with Garnier cleansing oil (they no longer make it but when it went on clearance I stocked up) and then wash with baby shampoo. For night I use A&D ointment. For day I use hyaluronic acid (inexpensive serum from Piping Rock) followed by a new Curel ceramide lotion. On top of that I use jojoba oil. And that’s it.

Cleansers can be either category for me. Body Moisture is usually a save but probably should be a splurge now that I’m older. Skincare is my biggest beauty related splurge in general. Some of the my items don’t cost a lot but I like having variety.

My Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol is worth every penny. I don’t mind splurging on products that give results! The rest of my skin care is very affordable and can be found in the drugstore. If you know what ingredients work for you, I believe you can find the right product at a great price.

I can’t really say that I skimp on anything that goes on my face. The only thing I can really think of that I’d call a skimp is shaving lotion, which really isn’t meant for shaving. I use Cetaphil moisturizing cleanser and it’s super gentle on legs and the bikini line – so no razor burn, irritation, etc.

I’ve played around with different skin care items over the past year but I have found my golden eggs. I live for Boscia Tsubaki gel cleanser for $28 although when I can’t afford to rebuy, I use Aveeno daily moisturizing kit which for $20 I can get the facial scrub, moisturizer, and foaming face wash. Otherwise in it’s place I’ll use my favorite black African soap.

I rebuy Josie Maran Argan Infinity oil and because I only use it on my face, one tube lasts me for 8 month or more so I get my use out of it. For my face I only skimp with the next best product if I’m on a tight budget but other wise, it’s high priority and thus worth it.

skimp: almost everything! I use Pacifica kale facial cleanser, st Ives apricot face scrub, either physicians formula argan oil or promise organic coconut oil (also use this on my body and hair), derma e body sunscreen (use this on my face), neutrogena SPF 80 on my body, and derma e firming DMAE eye cream (for night, might cut this out of my routine though, I feel like it might be drying out my undereye area)
splurge: my daytime eye cream!!! I got two sample pots from a glossybox but the normal price is so expensive!! it’s the vine Vera vinitris eye cream or something ridiculous like that. a 1oz tub is $140 or something insane like that!! I’m still on my first little sample pot and I’ve been using it for at least 5 months now daily. it’s meant to be a day cream but it’s so rich that it’s too much for my oily skin so I just use it on my (rather dry) undereye area

I’d say my splurges are definitely serums and masks, and sometimes moisturizers. I’m in between with SPFs, as usually I go more drugstore for body sunscreen, but leave a bit more of a price range for face SPF as I have REALLY pale and sensitive skin on my face that burns easily, so I don’t want to burn nor do I want to have some sort of horrid reaction on my face. I mostly go Burt’s Bees for lipbalm as I go through it so fast, which isn’t high end but isn’t the cheapest one at the drugstore either.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!