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Post in Beauty Confidential

save or splurge?

I was going thru my stash last night and discovered I had a wide range of price points for my products.  So I thought I'd make a question thread:  Which products do you save your money and which do you spend (an obsene) amount on?  


I used to save on shampoo and conditioner, but now that is a total splurge for me.  It really makes a difference for my hair.   I also splurge on eye and night cream as I think this is the most important part for me.  I also will splurge on foundations, and eyeshadows/liners.  


I tend to save on soaps and body washes, lotions, and lip gloss and chap stick.    I also save on shaving cream, nail polish remover, makeup remover wipes, and cotton balls.  (Although I just threw in a Sheseido cotton pack when at Ulta because I had to see what the hype was about.)  I also save on sunscreens and hair oils- although I'm all over the Macademia oil from Ulta tomorrow- love that stuff!)


I plan to edit this as I think of more items...


Edit:  I also save on mascara, micellar water, face masks, and skincare from The Ordinary (lately).

Re: save or splurge?

Splurge: skincare, all face makeup (foundation, concealer, blush, highlight, contour) eyeshadow, lipstick, shampoo, hair masks, Shiseido cotton rounds ( also use these to clean the gunk out of my dogs eyes, he's so spoiled) 


Save: mascara (I find longer handles on FS too hard to control so I use points or promos for minis), conditioner (whichever is on sale because I use buckets of it or prefer to use a deep conditioning mask)

body wash (hubs and I both only use aveeno, it's the best) 

...I think I save on lotions because I never have to buy it, trying to use up everything I currently have and found hoards of body butters, lotions




Re: save or splurge?

Whoa, your dog uses Shiseido? I'm kind of jealous, ha.


Aveeno really is the best.

Re: save or splurge?

Yes.. I didn't have any other brand to use when we first started to clean his eyes, now I'm afraid that cheaper ones will leave fluffs in his eyes. I'm definitely a crazy dog lady though 

Re: save or splurge?

@HaleyhaleAwwww, this is amazing! You're such a nice mums to give him the posh treatment.  Do you use water or anything else? My dog gets CRAZY tear staining and I don't know how to clear it up I pretty much just use warm water, clipping back the hair and soap once in a while because I don't know if doing it more often might irritate him but if anyone has solutions for this I would love to know because I feel like it must be uncomfortable for my little guy...

Re: save or splurge?

What I splurge on:

Haircare, perfume, skin care, lipstick, lipgloss, blush, highlighters, mascara, eyeshadow, primers.

Shiseido cotton squares- I have not found anything cheaper that works as great as they do.


What I save on:

Micellar water from the drugstore- I love the Garnier brand, it effectively removes all of my makeup.

Body lotion- My all time favorite is Lubriderm. It is fragrance free and keeps my skin looking healthy.

Concealer- Maybelline Fit Me is the best I have tried, de-throning all high end ones I have purchased.

Nail polish- I love Sally Hansen, Revlon, and Maybelline.

Lip balm- One of the very best in my arsenal is 99 cents. Smiley Very Happy It is called Natural Ice, and performs as well as some of my high end ones from La Mer and Chanel.

Body wash- Suave has de-throned BBW for me. Great scents, and the price is way cheaper.

Re: save or splurge?

Maybelline fine me concealer is very good in my opinion. It's very pigmented.  It's definitely a must have. 

Re: save or splurge?

@angel7594  Micellar water is a good one to save on!

Re: save or splurge? on nothing and i maybe need to reconsider my approach.


i started buying higher end foundations and concealer because i could not find a light enough shade (with yellow undertones) at the drug store.


before the matte lip craze took off, i couldn't find a good matte lipstick at the drugstore after revlon discontinued their matte lipstick range in 2011 (which was fantastic and i'm still shocked they did this and i've never recovered). i was very into a daily red lip then, and found what i was looking for with NARS red lizard. so that's when my drugstore heavy makeup buying really shifted. 


but where i still save:

  • i still buy generic cotton rounds.
  • my favorite face serum is drugstore and under $40 ! but i feel like i just got lucky there (vichy aqualia thermal serum, for dehydration).
  • eyebrows: i prefer the NYX microbrow pencil to the anastasia brow wiz. hooray !
  • PIXI brand isn't drug store cheap but certainly isn't way expensive. glow tonic is a great acid toner for a wallet friendly price ($15). they have my favorite mud mask ($22) and some amazing cleansers and spritzes too.

my hair stuff is not cheap (devacurl, aveda, reverie, briogeo). my body stuff is somewhere in the middle (you can find great stuff usually at nordie rack or tj maxx etc). i have some lovely body oils that need to be used up before they expire, so they've taken precedent over my soap & glory righteous butter lotion. i'm also just a sucker for kiehl's and aveda body stuff. seeing everyone's list has kind of jolted in me into at least considering being a wiser shopper Smiley Happy

Re: save or splurge?

Basically I give my body nothing fancy because my face and hair take all the money. I consider myself a balanced mixed bag, what I am willing to splurge on has more to do with the actual product itself than the category of product. I do a lot of research before buying.



- Bath and Body Products

- Cotton pads/puffs

- eyeliner

- Lip balm

- Nail polish (EXCEPT for unique colors - I will pay more for those)

- all basic daily toiletries

- hair spray/heat protector/conditioner/oil

- Body sunscreen



- LE products

- foundation/base products 

- blush/highlighter

- Eyeshadow 

- Specialty hair products (leave in conditioner, volumizing sprays, mousse)

- most skincare (I've become snobby)

- mascara

- setting powders

- facial sunscreen

Re: save or splurge?

Hi All and @makeupobesessed,


I will splurge-ish (is that word?) on body wash lotions, and candles. Like, I love to smell good, but I also don't want my wallet to hate me for buying a $30 bottle of lotion when I already have 10 that are unopened. 


I like to save when it comes to shampoo and conditioner but I will splurge when it comes to getting my hair actually done. 


I will splurge on foundation and foundation. When it comes to skincare, I splurge-ish as well. 


At the end of the day, if I can save, I will most likely do it unless it's a limited edition item or something I truly must have. I think most of us feel this way. 


Best Wishes,






Re: save or splurge?

I am a cheapskate! I grew up on drugstore-everything, and then doubled-down on the cheapness by getting into couponing many years ago, so pretty much anything from Sephora is a splurge for me lol. But, in the last year I have indeed started splurging a bit and opening up my horizons to the world of non-drugstore items. Splurges for me still involve sales and coupon codes and free shipping and cash back and discount gift cards and lots of GWP's (I will not pay full price, nope, no way, sorry), but I'm slowly spending more on both makeup and skin care. 



Body wash/lotion: I have a large stash of BBW. Combining sales with coupons, I don't think I paid more than $3-4/bottle. I don't anticipate ever spending much on this category.

Deodorant/toothpaste/bath tissue, etc: Secret/Colgate/Charmin. Always name brand goods for me in this type of stuff, but always couponed. 

Shampoo/conditioner: I was a Nexxus girl for many many years until they changed their formulas a year or two ago. I have settled on Pura D'Or hair loss, which is a huge step up in price point for me, but it's deal-able at Ulta. I have no interest in spending much on this category as long as I can find low-cost items that work.

Cleansers/moisturizers: Skincare has never been a focus for me until the last year or so, but I am starting to dabble and play; this may become a splurge category at some point. Right now I'm mostly working through massive piles of samples, looking for my HG items, so while I'm spending next to nothing, the right item(s) might change that.

Cotton pads: Ulta brand is just fine. I'm actually tired of spending money on them though, especially just to throw them out. I got a few of the Eve Lom cleanser samples from Sephora, and sent the cloths to my mother to be cut into 12, stacked 3 high, and sewn together. Hoping it works well for some reusable "cotton pads" for my toner and BHA liquid. 

Nail polish: I was a nail polish junkie before becoming a makeup junkie. I have tons of mid-range stuff (Zoya, Butter London, CND, OPI, MAC, etc), but all of it was purchased on sale/clearance/etc. I won't spend much on polish, but when there's a deal, I load up. My current hobby is stalking Formula X clearance lol.

Makeup brushes: I only wear lip/eye products, so face brushes aren't a necessity for me. I recently bought a few Sephora Pro eye brushes on clearance and I'm quite happy with them.

Lip balm: quite happy with Burt's Bees Pomegranate


I guess I'll call these SPLURGES even though I still try to minimize costs here:

Eyeshadow: I guess I splurge a bit more than needed here as evidenced by the fact that I have WAY TOO MANY to ever finish in my lifetime lol...but I just can't help it when it comes to bright colors. All are "that's a good deal" purchases though; I never go for the latest and greatest.

Lips: just re-read the eyeshadow blurb here lol

Mascara: I was fine with samples (and have way too many to finish up) until my eyes decided to go sensitive on me lately. Right now I'm using LG Lash Boss and loving it. If I can't find another sample that doesn't bother me, I may have to consider this a splurge category and start spending on it. 

Nail polish remover: I used to go cheap with drugstore acetone, but tried Zoya's Remove+ at some point and swapped immediately. I was shocked at the difference.

Hair styling: Hair is not a big focus for me; I don't enjoy doing much of anything with it other than wash and go (I don't even own a blow dryer!). My only styling product is Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It, and I love it. A tube lasts forever, and I have several samples I can finish up as well. I will absolutely repurchase when needed.

Exfoliant: I use Paula's Choice 2% BHA, and I purchase another bottle every time there's a good deal on her site. I'm also working on a sample of her retinol and it may become another staple.

Devices: I currently have a Clarisonic and Foreo Luna Play. Not sure I'll continue using the Clarisonic once I finish off my current stash of discounted brush heads, but I am considering a full size Foreo once the battery in this travel one dies...if I can find a deal, of course lol.

Re: save or splurge?

This is a great thread idea!


- Body wash

- Body lotion

- Hand/feet lotion

- Lipsticks/lip pencils/lip glosses

- Mascara

- Primer

- Nail polish

- Nail remover


- Foundation

- All things skincare

- All things haircare

- Blush

- Brushes

Re: save or splurge?

I think most of what I use either falls in the middle of the road, price-wise, or is something I'm flexible about going high or low with. But here are the few areas where I tend to be pretty consistent:



  • All hair products, including shampoo/conditioner
  • Really just about anything you'd use in the shower
  • Cotton pads
  • Cleansers
  • BB cream (I keep coming back to Maybelline Dream Fresh no matter what I try)


  • Lipsticks. I'm particularly a sucker for fancy packaging (looking at you, Guerlain and Givenchy)
  • Subtle illuminating powders (Guerlain, Hourglass)
  • Foundation
  • Nail polish

Re: save or splurge?

@TopazBeth part of me regrets not buying the beautiful Givenchy packaging that had the floral theme that came out a few months ago. It was so pretty. ): 


Re: save or splurge?

Is there such a thing as a save splurge? Or a splurge save? Due to subscription boxes, I haven't bought an eyeliner, mascara, highlighter, or hair product in ages. Also, I have a Julep sub, so that's like paying money-saving drugstore prices for polish and nail whatnots.


Things I do buy, but for the least amount of $ possible:

Nail polish remover

Sheet masks

Basic moisturizing eye cream (Secret Key, Korea direct)


Things I spend way too much on:


Body Wash

Body Butter

Cleverly packaged cosmetics (looking at you, Paul&Joe)

Lipstick & Lip Treatments

Designer Eyeshadow & Blush

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels


Wow, that second list got a lot longer than I thought it would. LOL. Sort of.

Re: save or splurge?

Great threa didea!


body washes/lotions- tend to buy drug store or BBW when they are super cheap. 

Hand lotion- freebies or gwp or use body lotion on hands

Cotton balls- target brand 

nail polish remover

skin care- Pixi brand is pretty reasonable! 

Shampoo/ conditioner- used to splurge on bumble bumble but now I'm using amika brand which I stock up on at beauty brand liter sale, sulfate free and no metholisothiazide which makes me itch like crazy! 

Brushes- real techniques brushes are a great value but I have also splurged on expensive sets. 



skin care - will splurge on targeted treatments like retinol eye cream

Shiseido cotton- do use with Paula's choice bha and Pixi glow tonic. 

Mascara/ eyeshadow- I have splurged on eyeshadow palettes/sets, etc. 

highlighter/blush palettes- Becca x Chrissy 



Badcially iill save or splurge on just about anything. If it's good quality I will use! 


Re: save or splurge?


  • Body care
  • Shampoo and conditioner
    • I do want to try better hair products without harmful chemicals even if they're a splurge; please leave suggestions Smiley Very Happy
  • Mascara (I use samples and/or drugstore)
  • Sheet masks ($10 max)
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail stuff (under $15 for nail polish)
  • Korean lip tints
  • Skincare from The Ordinary!


  • Mostly all makeup
    • I noticed that most of my drugstore makeup ends up getting neglected and thrown away because I hardly reach for them.
  • Skincare

Re: save or splurge?

@myumew, I'm not sure how many chemicals you would like left out but I'm really enjoying Drybar's Double Standard! It's a co-wash so it lets me go longer without washing my hair. It doesn't have parabens, sulfates, and phtalates and is cruelty free. I have the thinner asian hair that's also on the flatter side, so if you have similar hair you may like it. Smiley Very Happy 



Re: save or splurge?

Fun thread @makeupobesessed! I had to really think about it. OK, here goes:



  • Body Wash: For the most part, I use Target's Up and Up (generic) of Dove or Oil of Olay because I see no real difference.
  • Deodorant: Die hard Dove user. I don't deviate.
  • Shampoo/Conditioner: I actually use a "drugstore/beauty store" brand that is awesome for my hair and very inexpensive.
  • Hand Lotion: I typically use whatever is free- if I get deluxe samples of something, or gifts.
  • Brow Gel: I have found that Benefit's Gimme Brow is the one I keep going back to. It is pretty affordable to me.


  • Skincare in general. I'm a bit crazed as it relates to ingredients so I spend a lot of time and money on my skincare.
  • Foundation: I'm a creature of habit and my Tom Ford foundation has been a ride of die for almost 2 years. I haven't really deviated at all from it.
  • Mascara: I don't consider $36 for mascara a splurge, but lots of people buy drugstore mascaras, or just use freebies. Again, creature of habit; I love my Givenchy Noir Couture so much. It's perfect for me and doesn't smudge at all.
  • Eyeshadow: I don't like any cheap powder products in general but definitely with eyeshadow. I typically am wearing this for the entire day so I want things that will last. I usually stick with brands I know work. (Tom Ford, Viseart, and MUFE)
  • Brushes: Tools matter. Once I actually used a good brush, I realized what a difference they make.

Re: save or splurge?

Here's my list from what I can remember, I may have to edit as i read people's suggestions. Smiley Very Happy 



Body Lotion (granted I did get some very nice body lotion from Josie Maran and Dr. Jart+ that I am DYING to get to using, but I am insisting and using other products I have first)

Nail Polish Remover



Hand Soap

Body Wash

Shampoo+Conditioner(I have to say I might switch over because I am loving this Christophe Robin deluxe sample I received)

Face Masks (Korean face masks are my holy grail)

Makeup Remover Wipes

Hair Spray 

Heat Protectant 

Nail Polish (I am slowly moving towards splurge since I don't paint my nails often and I've found that Nails Inc. really works well with my nails) 


Mascara (I've been gifted many high end ones so I haven't had to buy one yet!)

Eyebrow Products

Bronzers (in general I don't invest in these, but I do own Benefit Cheekathon. Smiley Very Happy)

Tooth Paste

Nose Strips (ok, I know these are technically not the best for you but I love seeing the stuff come off. I try not to do them often!)





Setting Powder

Setting Spray (oh how I love my UD De-slick, if it is ever discontinued I may melt into a puddle faster than my makeup Smiley Very Happy )

Makeup Applicators (this is both save and splurge, I love some higher end and I love some lower end, but Sephora Pro brushes are amazing and I am in love)


Primer (do you see the theme with all the base makeup?? haha)

Highlighters (Guess who caved and bought the Chrissy Palette on her lunch break?? Whoops!)

Blush (is both save and splurge. I loooove the Marc Jacobs blush I purchased, but there's a very famous one from the drugstore that I really like!)


Toilet Paper

Skincare (in general I've found that more prestige brands work for me better than drugstore brand)



Let's not talk about the splurge I made on my lunch break. Whoops Smiley Very Happy






Re: save or splurge?


Nail polish remover

Sunscreen for body


Cotton balls

Hand soap

Body oil

Body wash

Body lotion- light/summer



Lip care- bite masks, only because I break out to eos/chapsticks etc

Body butter

Cotton applicators -I like the ones with a flat end from ulta- not super expensive but compared to the regular q-tips it's a splurge

Candles- this was totally BT enabled

Most skincare/makeup/hair products although I do have a few save things in those routines



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