Beauty: Where to Save and Where to Invest



Beauty: Where to Save and Where to Invest

All that glitters is not gold.

Most high-end beauty products have a few things in common: a hefty price tag, pretty packaging and  the fact that they all come with a promise. A promise that they’ll transform your skin and give pretty much instant results. They don’t always deliver, though, do they?


I’ve had skin problems for as long as I can remember. Acne, hyperpigmentation, being too oily, then being too dry… It took me years to find a dermatologist that I liked and I’ve tried hundreds of different skincare products over the years. Every single time I’d see a beauty magazine feature a new, promising product, I’d buy it. I spent wasted A LOT of money on products that did completely nothing for my skin. Many high-end skincare products not only come in beautiful packaging, they also usually have a strong fragrance and a nice consistency and color. Here’s the thing though: fragrance, consistency, color and pretty packaging will not change/improve your skin. Most of my favorite skincare products that actually improved my skin, are drugstore products. Products like cleansers, moisturizers, micellar waters, cleansing oils is where you can save a lot of money. When it comes to treatment products like peels or serums- that’s where I love to invest. However, the number one thing I look at these days, are the ingredients and I’d advise you guys to do the same. A lot of times products are being advertised as having all these great active ingredients, but when you look at the back of the bottle, their concentration is really low, or they’re just not there.

Favorite drugstore cleansers suitable for all skin types: Cetaphil, Garnier Clean + Gentle, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Favorite drugstore moisturizers: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, Cetaphil Moisturizing LotionCeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Favorite drugstore treatments: Stridex (salicylic acid treatment pads), Alpha Hydrox AHA Treatment, ROC Retinol Correxion Night Treatment

coco-mademoiselle-chanel SPLURGE: PERFUME If there is one beauty item that is 100% worth splurging on, it’s perfume. Body sprays and mists are great, but they aren’t very long-lasting and just don’t compare. A bottle of good perfume can last you for years- depending on how much you use it. SAVE: MASCARA

While my favorite mascara happens to be a Dior mascara, I think that this is where you can really save some money. I love using drugstore mascaras and a lot of them actually perform better than some expensive ones I’ve tried. Covergirl LashBlast and Maybelline Sensational are my solid favorites.


I’ll never forget the very first time I’ve tried a high-end foundation. Having a good, long-lasting base that helps to make your skin look healthy and flawless can make all the difference.   If your skin is healthy and not problematic, you can count on drugstore favorites like L’Oreal True Match. However, if like me, you have picky and problematic skin, splurging on a good foundation that works well with your skin can be really worth it. Investing in a good base also means that you can save in other departments, like mascara or lipstick.

Essie-neutrals polishes


I’ve tried a lot of high-end nail polishes and most of them do not come close to being as good as my Essie polishes. The main problem that I have with high-end brands, is that they chip easily and aren’t very long-lasting. Smith & Cult or Marc Jacobs polishes aren’t as pricy as, let’s say, Tom Ford ($18 as compared to $36) and they’re actually do have a great formula. Tom Ford and Chanel, on the other hand, do not last even 5 days on my nails. Dior is probably one of the very few that I don’t mind splurging on, because their formula is always long-lasting and very easy to work with. So, if you can’t afford to spend $36 on a bottle of nail polish- don’t worry, you’re not missing out.


SAVE: LIPSTICK Lipstick is another department where you can save some of your hard-earned money. I recently talked about some of my favorite affordable options right here. Brands like NYX make amazing lip products that have a great color payoff and staying power and will cost you only around $6. Milani is another drugstore brand that makes nicely pigmented lipsticks.

I also love making my own body scrubs- using oatmeal and coconut oil– so it’s another place where I like to save money. Oats have anti-inflammatory properties, can help calm and soothe skin and treat eczema and skin rashes. They also contain saponins- a mild cleansing agent. I’ll occasionally also use a lip scrub, but moist washcloth works just as well as a tiny, 20-bucks-a-jar lip scrub.

How about you guys? Where do you like to save and where do you like to splurge when it comes to beauty products?


  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I agree with you about a lot of these, I would definitely save on the nail polishes. Someone once bought me Coach nail polishes and it was horrible. Essie is my favorite nail polish brand.

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Cetaphil and Essie are two of my favorite brands as well. I love the Essie gel polish. It’s such a great way to get a shellac-like manicure at home! I totally agree with you about the foundation though. That is one thing that I don’t think I could ever stop splurging on.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Paula, let me just say that I love your pictures and you’re probably the one blogger I would like to be as good as, I recently looked at your Instagram page and I think you should have more followers. I’m honest.
    Onto your post, I totally agree on nail polishes, mascaras and for a small part on skincare. There are amazing great products that are very affordable and paying a lot for something doesn’t always mean getting higher quality, i think that when someone pays a lot for a product it gives the feeling that it will work well, even when the performance is as good as that of a cheaper product. I splurge on foundations just because they are the base of any make-up and they can make such a difference to everything that comes after. For me my foundation has to be like a loyal friend that i can trust in any situation an that I could even potencially put on without a mirror, knowing that it will be fine for me. I think I said everything, have a lovely day xx


    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Aw thank you so much Silvia! I definitely used to think that expensive means better, but had to learn the hard way that it’s not the case. I totally agree with you on the foundation- I need one I can trust!!

  • Reply
    Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic
    August 8, 2016 at 3:46 am

    I used to spend tons of money on my shampoo, conditioner etc. – like tons. My hair is very long and very tangled, so it is a pain to live with. I tried everything around, and nope, nothing quite worked. But then some time ago I went to visit my parents and forgot to take my hair stuff with me… So I started using the shampoo my dad uses (he’s never heard of conditioners or oils ofc). It costs less than $2 a bottle, nothing fancy or organic, or anything. Yet my hair just LOVES IT. It doesn’t want anything else, just this one. Sometimes it is just a matter of luck, isn’t it?

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2016 at 7:39 am

      oh yes, haircare is another thing I usually save money on. Thankfully my hair is pretty healthy and not very picky so it doesn’t really matter what I use. My favorite shampoo & conditioner are like $3 each.

  • Reply
    Kelsey Rose
    August 8, 2016 at 5:39 am

    I’ve wasted SO much money in the past on half of these things!

    I completely agree with your list now though, you’ve summed it up perfectly :)

    Kelsey x

  • Reply
    Kiss & Make-up
    August 8, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I personally see skincare as an investment so I don’t mind splurging on that. I do save on other things though. I buy very little hair products. And I try to not buy any (or not too many) dupes for make-up products.

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2016 at 7:42 am

      As I said in the post, I like investing in skincare treatments, too. I’m not too picky with my hair products either.

  • Reply
    Katie S.
    August 8, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Oh, the Chanel nail polish. Thank goodness it isn’t just me!! I bought one bottle a couple years ago and it was awful! I thought I was doing something wrong. I just ended up keeping it for the packaging lol I’ve become such a drug store convert the past couple years since they’ve been stepping up their game. I have been a big fan of perfume for me though, which is new! That’s definitely my splurge!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 9:21 am

    One exception to the nail polish rule in my opinion are the Sephora FormulaX polishes, and those aren’t even that expensive. Such pretty colors and they do last a long time. Do you have any recs for high end foundation for combo skin that gets super dry in the winter time?
    Danielle @ afloat on a full sea

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 9, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Haven’t tried the FormulaX yet! Have you tried the HD foundation from MUFE? I use it when my skin feels dry, but powder is definitely a must with that one, if you have any oily spots. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua is also one I reach for when I feel dry, it has a very nice, natural finish.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I usually save on lipsticks, nail polishes and really colourful eyeshadows which I’m going to use just once in a while. When it comes to really classic eyeshadows, I like to buy high-end ones, because they just last forever :) I never save on frangrance, cremes (although some of my favourites are drugstore cosmetics, I just choose what is good for my skin), foundation (great base is everything) and mascaras (I don’t want to ruin my eyelashes with cheap products). I save on scin care like washing gels, toners etc.

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 9, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      That’s true about the eyeshadows! I think that high-end shadows also tend to be A LOT more pigmented and easy to work with.

  • Reply
    Biana Perez
    August 8, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I absolutely agree on splurging on foundation – it’s the base for everything so it should be great!! xo, Biana – BlovedBoston

  • Reply
    Hannah McDonnell
    August 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I totally agree with most high end skin care. They are terrible for your skin. However, I have found a natural brand called Vasseur Skincare that is totally worth the splurge and has transformed my skin. Totally worth the money!

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 9, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      It definitely depends on what you use when it comes to high-end skincare. I love ARCONA- they’re pricy but great. Chanel, on the other hand, is loaded with fragrance and only irritates my skin.

  • Reply
    Liz | Lipstick & Confetti
    August 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Splurging on foundation is always worth it! A good foundation really improves the overall look of your makeup.

    xo, Liz

  • Reply
    Dagmara Klich
    August 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Agree 100%! I don’t usually splurge on cleansers or tonners, mascaras and nail polishes as there are great ones at drugstore. Also, many of my favourite lipsticks are not highend either! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Great tips! I am someone who never spends a lot of money on foundation as I look at it as something you take off at the end of the day whereas skincare is one of those things that sink into your skin. I really should try some more expensive/high end foundations though because there are a few I have been eyeing :)
    Kathy x

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 9, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      All you really need is one good foundation- one that works well with your skin, something you can use for special occasions. There are a lot of really good ones sold at the drugstore, too :)

  • Reply
    The Gossip Darling
    August 8, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I absolutely love this post!! I have serious acne and have seen so many dermatologists. I’m at a loss! I am going to try some of the products you recommended.

    Mel |

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 9, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      I’m still on antibiotics and Tazorac +Retin A Micro for mine. Changing my diet really cleared up my skin, too.

  • Reply
    Rachel Shnayder
    August 8, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Totally agree on splurging on the perfume!! Chanel has my all time favorite perfume and a bottle will last me FOREVER!

  • Reply
    Nicole Merza
    August 8, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Lovely post! I definitely agree with the foundation! Although there are some great drugstore foundations, you usually get what you pay for.

    Nicole | In The Life of NM

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 9, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      Oh yes, they’re definitely some really good ones! But I do like using something “special” for long days or special events ;)

  • Reply
    steff @
    August 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Love this! I did a similar post EXACTLY a year ago this week (ironically). We share almost all of the same opinions :) Feel free to check out my comprehensive list here lol:

  • Reply
    Kelly Stanton
    August 11, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Great post and I agree totally with a lot of your opinions! I feel fragrance should always be a splurge as they can transform how you feel in an instant and its a common gift idea so it should always be luxurious I say! Kelly xx

  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Love this!! I agree with the foundation! Some people think its crazy to spend more money on something that will only last you a couple of months (if you use it every day). But my logic is, if its a good base and is good quality for the price, and you are actually using it all up, I don’t see it as a waste!

    Tash |

  • Reply
    Yolanda N Toni Reischer
    August 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    NEVER, I repeat NEVER try to save on skincare! Get the BEST you can get along withe best consultation possible. Start as early as you can. As soon as puberty hits, would be best. Do not look at the price though. Look out for high quality ingredients, patents, high effectivety backed by Science, money back guarantee, and the best would be if they have their own laboratories and farms. And Most importantly products which will reactivate your skin not take over their natural function and defenses. Oh and cruelty free of course. My brand of choice for over 15 years and counting is ARTISTRY. It delivers all of the above and more. By the way, if you splurge on proper skincare, then you may not even need foundation.

Leave a Reply