Usually, I get asked what the cheapest best skincare products you can find at the drugstore are.
Because, sometimes, someone actually wants to know what high-end products are worth splurging on. And, why not?
These days, you can find plenty of awesome, effective products at the drugstore. But, often, there’s a trade-off. They cost less but their textures don’t feel as luxurious. Or the packaging ain’t as pretty.
Sometimes, you just want the whole package. When you feel like that, where do you turn? What makes an outrageously expensive product worth the splurge?
1. Essential Staples
This list only contains serums, moisturizers, leave-in exfoliants and oils. There’s a reason for that.
Cleansers and scrubs end up down the drain. No point splurging on something that stays on your face for less than a minute.
Serums, moisturizers, leave-in exfoliants are a must. They’re the best way to deliver actives into the skin and make it soft and glowy. So, if you want to splurge, splurge on those.
I was unsure whether to add facial oils, but if you have seriously dry skin, you do need one in your skincare routine. So, they made the cut, too.
Everyone has their definition of what’s outrageously expensive (if you ask my mum, she’ll say anything over $10.00).
But, I had to pick a pricing point most people would agree on. So, everything in here is between $100 and $250.
I refused to pick anything over $250 because, even if they worked, that really is asking too much. There’s charging a premium and there’s being a thief. Just saying…
So, what expensive skincare products are really worth their price tags? Here are my picks (in no particular order):
1. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($163.00)
This is one of the most duped skincare products ever. If you don’t fancy forking out $163.00 for it, you have plenty of other options.
What does CEF do?
- Fights the free radicals that cause premature aging
- Increases collagen production, keeping your skin firm
- Boosts sun protection (but, it’s not a sunscreen, so don’t use it that way!)
Basically, it helps your skin stay young and healthy for as long as possible.
And, it’s fragrance-free, so may be suitable even for sensitive skin (as long as it can tolerate the 15% concentration of vitamin C).
Where to buy: Blue Mercury
2. Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment ($105.00)
If you have sensitive skin, lactic acid is probably one of the few exfoliants you can tolerate well. But, where to find it? So few products have it.
This one does. That’s why I recommend it even though it costs an arm and a leg. Sometimes, you just gotta suck it up and give your skin what it wants.
Related: 3 Ways To Exfoliate Sensitive Skin
3. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules ($110.00)
That’s a fancy way of calling a facial oil in capsule form.
Here’s how it works: you twist the top of each capsule (ampoule) and squeeze the oil onto the palm of your hand. Then, you slather it all over your face.
The oil contains kukui and sweet almond oils to moisturize skin and bisabobol to soothe it. If you have dry skin, this will nurse it back to health quickly and keep it soft all winter long.
If you have oily skin, skip this. The last thing your skin needs is even more oil.
By the way, the packaging is translucent. Light may compromise the goodies inside so store it somewhere dark when you’re not using it.
4. SkinMedica Lytera Skin Brightening Complex ($130.00)
Niacinamide. Vitamin C. Retinol. Licorice extract.
Most products that promise to reduce your dark spots contain one of these skin-lightening goodies. This serum has them all.
If this stuff doesn’t work, you need to see your derm and get a prescription treatment.
Plus, it fights wrinkles, too. Vitamin C and retinol also fight free radicals and boost collagen production. Niacinamide hydrates and soothes.
It’s super versatile. It asks a lot of your wallet, but it repays your skin in spades.
Where to buy: Skinstore
5. Peter Thomas Roth Neuroliquid Volufill Youth Serum ($120.00)
You’re right, this doesn’t add volume to the face.
But, it made the list because it’s one of the few products I know that’s full to the brim with amino acids. You know, the building blocks of your skin.
Amino acids moisturize, fix your skin’s protective barrier whenever it breaks down, help skin heal faster and are even involved in the production of collagen and elastin. Your skin needs them, period.
Plus, it has hyaluronic acid, which deeply hydrates and plumps up the skin (maybe that’s why they claim it adds volume?).
Where to buy: Nordstrom
6. 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil ($230.00)
I totally put this in because of the diamonds. I mean, at this price point, shouldn’t they ALL contain diamonds?
I don’t think the diamond powder does anything. Well, it makes you look cool. Tell your friends you’re using diamonds on your face and they’ll die with envy.
Luckily, there’s a more serious reason to use this oil. Retinol. It’s the gold standard of anti-aging. It boosts collagen production, fights free radicals, accelerates cellular turnover… All things that keep wrinkles away from your face.
It’s also chockfull of oils, such as coconut oil and sweet almond oil. So, it’s only for dry skin, ladies. If you’re oily, you’ll have to find another way to make your friends die of envy, sorry!
7. Bakel P-Lipic (£106.00)
I love Bakel because they only put the active ingredients in their products. No bells and whistles here.
I get that, to some of you, that may not be worth such high prices (don’t you need something more special for that, like diamonds?). But, if you have sensitive skin, you’ll appreciate this approach.
This one has sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and plump your skin and lactic acid to gently exfoliate it. If you have dry, sensitive skin, this is a great choice for winter (as long as your wallet agrees, obvs).
Where to buy: SpaceNK
The Bottom Line
You can totally find cheaper dupes for these, but if you decide to go ahead and splurge, they won’t disappoint. And we all deserve a treat every now and then, don’t we?
Do you use high-end products or do you prefer to hunt down their dupes?
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