Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Is it worth the $$?

Over the years, I have spent A LOT of money on beauty products. I've shopped online, in duty free, in drugstores, department stores, beauty retailers, outlets, home shopping channels, and even from infomercials. Although the grand total over the last 20 or so years is probably some ridiculously embarrassing amount, individually, I have lines in the sand on how much I'm willing to spend on a product. I refuse to spend more than $10 on a nail polish, so there are brands I have never tried. $30+ dollars for a mascara seems ridiculous when there are fantastic options for a third of the price in drugstores. And there is no way in hell I would spend $90 on a lipstick. (Especially considering my ridiculously large existing collection, partially highlighted in the pic below.)

In spite of my line in the sand, thanks to beauty box subscriptions and gifts, I have tried some ridiculously priced items over the years. An unexpected gift card to Bergdorf Goodman, a place that generally feels too rarified for my budget, led to me trying the famous (to those obsessed with cosmetics like I am) ClĂ© de Peau concealer. Is it a great concealer? Yes. Is it worth $70? No. I mean, I have yet to find a concealer that performs as well in covering blemishes/dark spots (it covers but also blends so so well, it doesn't look cakey) but I have found plenty that do a perfectly acceptable job at a fraction of the price. I cannot justify the cost, even with my warped beauty-obsessed logic. Although I have used La Prairie eye caviar essence, it was thanks to the incredible generosity of one of my best friends, who gifted it to me for my birthday one year. I mean, it costs over $100! That's at least 20 bottles of nail polish! No sirree. Yes, it was lovely, and yes, I used every last drop of it, but it was not a miracle product, which is why I haven't been able to bring myself to every purchasing it again - I don't feel it's worth the price.

That said, the older I get, the more I am willing to spend on skincare. I have very much changed my attitude towards it in the past couple of years. Part of it is becoming more educated about effective skin care (thanks in no small part to starting to read Caroline Hirons' blog and becoming a superfan of hers), part of it is getting older and having changing skin concerns. I've been a regular user of eye creams since my late teens/early twenties, but suddenly undereye circles became a daily concern, not just something to worry about after a sleepless night. I still have lines in the sand though. I may be willing to pay more for a moisturizer or a serum, but I refuse to spend a lot for cleanser. Now, if I find something that can keep those dark circles at bay, I might move my land in the sand.

There are quite a few products I've tried that I've decided are worth the extra $$$. The convoluted logic of how I decided that may not stand up to scrutiny, but basically if it is something that literally changes my game, I will happily join the bandwagon.  Here are some of the higher priced products I think are worth the investment.
  • Dr. Dennis Alpha Beta Peel pads. I was first exposed to these miracle pads during a free facial treatment at Sephora, and I noticed the difference in my skin from that first use. Now I'm hooked - the fact that my skin texture has noticeably improved makes them worth the price in my book, particularly when you can get them during a sale event.  So unlike the other pricey items I have tried, I have repurchased these - but I stock up when I can get them at a discounted price. And use them less often than I'd like to make them last as long as possible.
  • NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base remains a holy grail product for me. I know I have mentioned it on this blog many times before, but there is a reason for that. I still haven't found anything, high end or drugstore priced, that works quite as well in terms of keeping my eyeshadows in place all day. It is pretty fabulous at creating a nice canvas for shadows, and keeping them from fading/creasing. It is the only base that works for me in hot weather. I have and will continue to repurchase.
  • Seche Vite dry fast top coat - compared to some of the other products I'm mentioning here this isn't quite as big of a hit on the wallet, but it is pricier than many drugstore-brand polishes. I am addicted to this, my gold standard for polish top coats. It dries in what seems like about a minute, and is super shiny. Unfortunately, because of it's super fast drying formula, it also tends to get thick and goopy before you're done with the bottle - but a little thinner helps with that. I have bought this over and over - and actually buy it and the thinner at a wholesaler in giant sizes.
  • Tweezerman slant tweezers - yes, they cost like double what most generic tweezers do. But they also have perfectly aligned tips that grab every hair, every time, and they offer free sharpening in order to keep them that way. I have a pair of these with me all the time, particularly when the mirror of horrors at work that points out every flaw shows me some random hair I had no idea was there. These tweezers are awesome enough to grab those fine hairs and make them a thing of the past....until the next time you make the mistake of looking up at your reflection.
  • Sunday Riley Luna oil - the pricetag on this stuff kills me. I absolutely cannot believe I'm about to say this, but here it is, on my "worth the price" list. Another dangerous wallet-buster I got hooked on thanks to Sephora, but I blame the aforementioned Caroline Hirons for my desire to try this in the first place. She raved about it, and I have to say, for me, it's been a game changer. This oil with a retinol complex has been designed to use before bed, and I do notice firmer, clearer skin by morning every time I use it. In the morning I wake with skin that looks polished and radiant, and feels softer. It's like I got a facial overnight. I use it like the precious rare oil it is, and have taken advantage of every discount available to me at the time to buy it, but even with that, it cannot be considered affordable. But not having tried anything that has provided me the same results, I will say it's worth all the bottles of polish I cannot buy in it's place.
Is there a ridiculously priced beauty item you've tried you think is worth the investment?

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