Do you really need a designer lash curler? Is expensive shampoo truly special? Leading beauty experts reveal when bargain beauty buys are just as good, and when spending a few more bucks is actually worth it. By Melissa Goldberg
Higher priced foundations use finer pigments that blend more naturally and allow your skin to breathe. They're also less likely to contain pore-clogging ingredients. Plus, you can find your perfect shade with the help of a professional, says celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose.
Clinique Superbalanced Makeup, $20.50
Sunscreen: Go Cheap
The most important goal is to block both UVA and UVB rays, so specifically look for that protection stated on the box, says Wayne, NJ Plastic Surgeon Dr. Parham Ganchi. Expensive versions provide no extra sun care benefit. "Remember, sunscreen should be a part of your daily routine for anti-aging prevention. If it's not, it doesn't matter how much or how little it cost," adds Ganchi.
Banana Boat Ultra Defense UltraMist SPF 50, $9.99
"It's never a good idea to skimp on fragrance – really, who wants to smell like cheap perfume?" says Franco Wright, owner of LA's Scent Bar. "But you don't have to break the bank to go designer either. Opt for a smaller size bottle, or figure out which note you love so much in the fragrance, and sample less expensive blends of that note," adds Wright.
Payard Bergamot Truffle Eau de Cologne, $48
Hair Dryer: Go Cheap
"I've used expensive dryers that cost hundreds of dollars, and they've burned out faster than my BabyBliss that I've had for two years!" says New York hair stylist Danielle Irene. What to look for in your hair dryer: 1600 watts or higher, changeable heat settings and a cold button. Remember to clean out the dust net regularly to extend the life of your dryer.
BaByliss PRO Porcelain Ceramic 2000 Turbo Dryer, $39.95
Makeup Brushes: Invest
Higher end brushes are made of softer, finer quality bristles that more professionally apply and blend product on your skin, says New York makeup artist Nicole Bryl. Good brushes will last for several years or even longer with proper care; be sure to wash your brushes once a week with gentle baby shampoo and lay flat to air dry.
MAC 217 Blending Brush and MAC 129SH Powder Blush Brush, $22.50-$34
While the hundred dollar plus versions are "rarely worth it," moderately priced moisturizers can contain advanced ingredients that truly make a difference in your skin, and are often more customized to different skin types and specific concerns, Wayne, NJ Plastic Surgeon Dr. Parham Ganchi. "The key to good skincare is to apply regularly and be consistent," adds Ganchi.
Clarins Line Prevention Multi-Active Night Lotion, $72
Nail Polish: Invest
The good news is that high quality nail polishes are just a few dollars more than the cheap kind. "You get a bigger bang for your buck, since the polish lasts longer and chips less," says New York manicurist Jin Soon Choi. If you're craving a cheap thrill, go for fun seasonal pedi colors since toes are less exposed than hands, suggests Choi.
Essie Nail Polishes in Eternal Optimist and Flirty Fuchsia, $8
Mascara: Go Cheap
"Mascara is the makeup product most used on a daily basis. It's messy and dries out fast. Why not buy a great cheap one every six weeks so that it's fresh? That's what I do!" says New York makeup artist Nicole Bryl. "My all-around favorite is L'Oréal. If you're sensitive to mascara, try gentle Almay," adds Bryl.
L'Oréal Voluminous Mascara, $7.50
Body Lotion: Go Cheap
No matter your skin type or concern, the drugstore offers all kinds of highly effective body lotions that offer high performance for very reasonable prices, says New York dermatologist Dr. Marsha Gordon. "My advice is to really understand your skin type and know what it needs in order to select the lotion that will work best for you," says Gordon.
St. Ives Intensive Healing Body Lotion, $5.79