“Is it worth it?” has to be one of the top questions anyone asks before buying an expensive product, especially beauty products that tend to carry lofty claims. While some products are full of hype, others are legitimately worth every single penny.
But determining what’s fluff versus facts can be tough. So who better to ask than beauty bloggers and influencers who’ve tried products that range from the drugstore variety to creams that cost $100-plus per ounce?
These are the products that can last for months, work for a range of skin issues and won’t make you regret the splurge.
AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam
“I have a 10-year on-and-off-again relationship with [it],” is how New York City-based beauty expert Carmen Blakely describes her love for AmorePacific’s Treatment Cleansing Foam. “I have found less expensive substitutes, but this one always drags me back. It’s as if it’s delivering a mini spa experience; the texture and foaming is a level of luxury I’ve not experienced in other cleansers.”
Blakely loves that the cleanser removes every bit of makeup without stripping her skin dry. Though $50-plus might seem expensive for a cleanser you’re just going to wash down the drain, Blakely calls it a worthy splurge and says a single bottle of the foamy cleanser can easily last her six months.
It Cosmetics Miracle Water 3-in-1 Micellar Cleanser
If a product has the word “miracle” in the title, it’d better live up to the hype. This no-rinse cleanser is packed with peptides, collagen, vitamin C and other goodness to reduce the appearance of fine lines and prep the skin to absorb other products. Dianna Baros, the blogger behind The Budget Babe , said, “This leaves my skin soft and clean and noticeably brighter after a few days of use. It doesn’t have any annoying fragrances and a little goes a long way.” Baros has tried a cheaper, drugstore micellar water but found she had to use way more product, which in the end didn’t make it all that affordable. “There’s just no comparison, at least not for sensitive skin or for those of us in the 40-plus age group,” she said.
“It’s a one-minute peel pad that makes your skin glow and look refreshed. My skin feels so soft and my texture appears more even,” she said about the peel that helps with her hormonal acne. The peel comes in sets of 10, 30 or 60 pads that act as a one-step exfoliation process to reduce the appearance of pores and tone the skin. The glycolic and salicylic acids are balanced out with chamomile and lavender to reduce any possible irritation. “I’ve tried more inexpensive [peels] but they either made me break out, didn’t work or made my face feel super dry. Nothing has had the same effect,” Zietz said.
“Out of the many that I’ve tried, I found that this eye cream delivered all that it said it would do: brightening, de-puffing and firming fine lines,” she said. Though it’s a cream, the product is lightweight and absorbs super fast, whether you’re wearing it under makeup or on a bare face. It includes black tea extract, kombucha and lychee seed extract to aid in skin’s elasticity. “I’ve tried just [using] a serum or my moisturizer to my under eyes and that has done nothing for my tired mom eyes,” Mack added.
“I’ve tried a bunch of different serums that supposedly exfoliate, but I find this one to be most effective without irritating my skin,” Sydne Summer, founder of the blog Sydne Style, said of SkinCeuticals’ Retexturing Activator. The 1-ounce bottle contains hyaluronic, amino and glycolic acids to improve the skin’s texture without drying it out. One way to extend the life of a product is to use it less frequently, but even in doing so, Summer, who’s been using the serum for over a year, says it still provides results. “They say you can use it twice a day, but I find it to be very effective even just applying it at night,” she added.
Essences became a popular beauty product a few years ago and Blakely has been using the SK-II essence for more than five years. The formula is designed for all skin types, from normal to oily to combination, and is intended to improve skin’s texture and reduce fine lines. Blakely says the liquid, which is applied to the skin after cleansing, has made her skin softer, smoothes out texture and works on dark spots. “A quarter size patted into your skin does the job. I prefer to use this at night, when the body naturally goes through repair, allowing me to get about three months of use per bottle,” Blakely noted.
Mack is just one of the many devotees of Tatcha, particularly The Essence. The liquid is described as a formula containing 98.7% anti-aging foods designed to combat the look of dull skin, fine lines and dryness. Mack says the 5-ounce bottle lasts almost a year and it hydrates, brightens her skin, improves texture and even prepares her skin to absorb other products in her skin care routine. “I’ve tried a few more affordable options which come close, but this always seems to have an edge with the texture smoothing results that I haven’t experienced from other essences,” she said.
La Mer is legendary for its luxury skin care that comes with an extreme price tag attached, but if you ask Heygorjess founder Jessica Franklin, who’s been using the product since the age of 14, she says the price is more than justified. “My aunt used to buy the huge $1,000 tubs of it and I always wondered why anyone would spend that much on a face cream. But she swore by it and I believed her because she was 60 at the time and looked great with barely any wrinkles,” she said. Once Franklin was able to afford her own bottle in her 20s, she didn’t hesitate to splurge. “Even though it’s very rich and creamy, it still works with my acne-prone skin as well,” she said of the thick moisturizer that lasts about three months.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Vitamin C Bright & Plump Moisturizer
Peter Thomas Roth
“It’s heavier than a serum and perfect for the colder months because it helps lock in moisture for hours,” lifestyle and beauty expert Mercedes Sanchez said of Peter Thomas Roth’s Potent-C moisturizer. Sanchez, who says her skin is slightly sensitive, has been using the product for almost a year now, with a single jar lasting a minimum of seven months. She credits it with adding a subtle glow and helping with hyperpigmentation. The cream is packed with vitamins C and E, ferulic acid and collagen.