Awhile ago, Real Simple did a great overview of whether it's best to splurge or spend when buying particular beauty products. Here's what they recommend:
- Facial Cleaners: Save--it's only on your face for a few seconds and more expensive cleaners are virtually the same as their cheaper counterparts.
- Day Cream (moisturizer): Save--just make sure your moisturizer contains sunscreen!
- Anti-Aging/Night Cream: Spend--the more expensive brands are able to afford better research and typically contain superior ingredients.
- Eye Shadow: Spend--more expensive brands have richer color and go on better. But, if you are trying out a new color, or are opting for something trendy, go with the cheaper stuff.
- Foundation: Spend--it's best to have a make-up consultant help find the right color for you, or, better yet, to mix a color just for you and your skin type. Again, be sure your foundation contains some sort of sunscreen.
- Blush: Spend--for the same reasons as the eye shadow.
- Lipstick/Lip Gloss: Both--spend on a great everyday lipstick. More expensive brands are creamier and often contain vitamins. Save money on the gloss because you're going for shine, not color density.
- Mascara: Save--again, there is almost no difference between the budget brands and the spendy ones.
- Powder: Spend--for the same reasons as foundations.
- Shampoo: Save--all the fancy-schmancy ingredients in expensive brands just go down the drain, so don't bother.
- Conditioner: Spend--high end products have advanced delivery systems that penetrate the hair shaft in order to protect and restore hair.
Splurge on: Professional brow-shaping. The pros can work magic on shabby brows but you can keep costs down by plucking stray hairs that pop up between visits.
Scrimp on: Brow products. You can use your inexpensive eyeliner to lightly fill in your brows or find a drugstore-brand brow pencil to give your brows a better shape.
Skip: Brow gel. You can use Vaseline to keep crazy brows in place. Or pick up some cheap clear mascara to coat your brows. One word of caution: the mascara may flake a bit, so be prepared!
Splurge on: Anti-aging creams if you need the help. Try to get something containing retinoids to help reduce wrinkles and increase firmness. If you really want the most bang for your buck, visit a dermatologist and get a prescription-strength treatment.
Scrimp on: Expensive treatments. Instead of a professional peel at a doctor's office, try an at-home microderm abrasion kit. Just be sure to use the product regularly to achieve the maximum benefit.
Skip: Facials. They don't do much any way. Just be sure to wash your face regularly, use your daily moisturizer, and don't forget the SPF!
Splurge on: Highlights. You cannot achieve the same rich, high-definition highlight at home that you get in the salon. If you need to save a few bucks, opt for a partial foil rather than a full color/foil. Just having the highlights around your face will brighten up your look.
Scrimp on: Shampoo. Really cheap shampoos only contain cleaning agents that may strip your hair of moisture and shine. But shampoos in the $5 range are all you really need: they clean and moisturize perfectly. The same goes for hair products. Stay in the middle of the price range and you should be a-okay!
Skip: Salon blowouts. Unless you have a special occasion to go to, you don't need to have a pro do your hair for you. When your in the salon getting your highlights and cut, ask your stylist to show you how to blowout your own hair. Try out a few things like flatirons and large Velcro rollers to add volume to your hair.
No matter what resolutions your made this year (if any), I hope you have a happy, healthy, and beautiful 2010!