When to Splurge and When to Save — Beauty Essentials

Photo posted by @Sephora on Instagram

With the wide array of beauty products on the market it can be hard to know which ones to buy. When can you get away with drugstore products? When is quality a little more important? This is especially important knowledge when you have a limited budget like so many college students do. VALLEY wants to help you spend your money wisely, so here is a list of essential beauty products and whether we think you should splurge or save on them.

Save on Cleanser
Photo posted by @CetaphilUS on Instagram

Cleansers are cleaners. They have one purpose — to remove dirt and other buildup from your skin. The goal with cleaners is to search for one that leaves your skin feeling clean and supple — in other words, avoid cleaners that make your skin feel tight and sensitive.

VALLEY recommends Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($15).

Splurge on Moisturizer
Photo posted by @Olay on Instagram

Moisturizer is a must-have if you want to postpone signs of aging. If you’re going to splurge on any skincare product, it should probably be moisturizer. Spend a little extra on a luxe moisturizer that keeps your skin hydrated with anti-aging properties, such as retinol.

VALLEY recommends Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Moisturizer ($40) for a lower price point and Muray Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream ($82) if you have slightly more to spend.

Save on Sunscreen
Photo posted by @SunBum on Instagram

Sunscreen is the single most important skincare item. UV rays can cause premature aging, skin damage and cancer, so it’s important to protect your skin against them by wearing sunscreen daily. The bottom line is that all sunscreens work the same. The difference comes in how it makes your skin feel — you’ll probably want to select an oil-free option to avoid breakouts and greasy skin, but there’s no reason to break the bank on this product.

VALLEY recommends Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 ($11).

Save on Makeup Remover
Photo posted by @GarnierUSA on Instagram

There are many nice, affordable options available. The goal with makeup remover is to find one that works well enough that you don’t need to tug on your skin, but is gentle enough to not cause irritation.

VALLEY recommends Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water ($7).

Splurge on Foundation
Photo posted by @Sephora on Instagram

Foundation is one of the first makeup items that touches your skin, so it’s important to choose one that won’t cause breakouts or skin irritation. Appearance is also an important factor with any makeup product, and a cheap foundation may look cakey or oxidize to a shade that doesn’t match your skin.

VALLEY recommends Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation ($64).

Splurge on Concealer
Photo posted by @Sephora on Instagram

Similar to foundation, splurging on concealer can make your makeup appear flawless. While there are decent drugstore concealers, it is much easier to find one that matches your skin tone and doesn’t crease if you are willing to spend more.

VALLEY recommends NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30).

Save on Eyeshadow
Photo posted by @UltaBeauty on Instagram

Truthfully, eyeshadow is a bit of a toss up. There are certain benefits to using higher end palettes — colors are more pigmented, blend more easily and stay vibrant longer — however, when it comes down to it, someone with a limited budget would be better off saving on eyeshadow. There are plenty of drugstore and midrange palettes that you can create gorgeous looks with.

VALLEY recommends Morphe 35O Supernatural Glow Artistry Palette ($26).

Save on Mascara
Photo posted by @PixiBeauty on Instagram

Mascara is a staple in any makeup routine and because of this, many of us already have our favorite picked out. If your favorite is high end, consider switching to a drugstore brand. There are countless drugstore mascaras that provide great length and volume, sometimes it just takes a little searching.

VALLEY recommends Pixi Large Lash Mascara ($16).

Save on Lipstick
Photo posted by @Sephora on Instagram

There are some benefits to high end lipstick — perhaps it glides on more easily or looks flawless longer — but there are plenty of nice feeling and looking drugstore lipsticks that will do the job.

VALLEY recommends NYX Butter Lipstick ($7).

Splurge on Blush, Highlighter and Bronzer
Photo posted by @Sephora on Instagram

When it comes to powder products such as blush, highlighter and bronzer, quality and price make a significant difference. Higher end brands tend to have more finely-milled powders, leading to the formulas being softer and more blendable. A low quality blush, highlighter or bronzer can easily make a look cakey.

VALLEY recommends NARS Blush ($30), RMS Beauty Living Luminizer Highlighter ($38) and Benefit Hoola Bronzer ($30)


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