We asked top pros to weigh in on which beauty products are worth the investment, and which your can scrimp on.
|SkinCeuticals Face Cream|
Splurge On: Facial Moisturizer
"Your moisturizer is absorbed into the skin and acts as a base for every other product being applied," says celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. "A great moisturizer can also provide a ton of added benefits to your skin." Think anti-aging properties, antioxidants, and essential oils that match skin tones ranging from very dry to very oily.
"Moisturizer is the best product to spend a little extra money on, especially when you are trying to fight aging and erase damage," says makeup artist Carmindy, makeup host on TLC's hit show What Not to Wear. "Higher-end creams are usually loaded up with clinically tested ingredients that really work. My favorite line is SkinCeuticals."
|Pantene Pro-V NatureFusion |
Moisture Balance Conditioner
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Save On: Shampoo and Conditioner
"If you know what to buy, you can absolutely get a great hair-care product from a drugstore or grocery store," says Angelo David, of The Angelo David Salon in New York City. "A classically good shampoo and conditioner to buy at your drugstore is anything from the Pantene Pro-V line. They come in formulas for every hair type: for normal, oily, or dry hair; for curly, fine, thick hair, or color-treated hair; they’ve got something for everyone!"
Try Pantene Pro-V NatureFusion Moisture Balance Shampoo and Conditioner; $4.99 for shampoo, drugstore.com, and $4.99 for conditioner, drugstore.com
Splurge On: Good Brushes
"You usually get what you pay for with brushes," says makeup artist Marni Giannotti. "The drugstore has your basic brushes, but they're usually made with cheap, synthetic hair, which doesn't lend to a great application.
Cheap brushes also fall apart a lot quicker, leaving you with brush hairs on your skin after application. "I love Trish McEvoy and Stila brushes," she says. "The hair that's used is froms natural bristles and is the best for blending and precision." However, Marni warns, with great brushes comes great responsibility: "Washing your brushes makes for long-lasting brushes."
|Neutrogena Healthy Defense |
Daily Moisturizer SPF 50
Save On: Products with SPF
"Make sure your products have SPF in them," says acclaimed dermatological surgeon Patricia Wexler. "Women tend to not be vigilant about sunscreen during times in which they are indirectly exposed to the sun. I demand that all my patients wear SPF 30 all year, bur it is especially important to be vigilant when you're young by using an SPF of 30 even on cloudy days."
"I love Neutrogena moisturizer with sunblock," says celebrity cosmetic surgeon Amiya Prasad. "It goes on smoothly and doesn't feel heavy or greasy. Sunblock is key to protect yourself from incidental sun exposure."
|Giorgio Armani Luminous |
Splurge On: Foundation
"This is the number-one product I recommend splurging on," says Dedivanovic. "Any beauty product that is going to be applied to the entire face is definitely a product worth spending money on. Just be sure you choose the right formula, color, and texture to match your skin. When your skin looks and feels great, all the other products and colors are just 'extras.'"
"Everyone's skin type, texture, color, and undertones are very different," says Giannotti. "Because of this, there are a ton of different varieties of foundation. Usually at drugstores, you can't test out foundations first, so department stores are usually your best bet. (Watch out for poorly lit stores, though, or you may still end up with the wrong color for your skin tone.) Always ask a product specialist /makeup artist for his or her help with picking out the right foundation for you, and make sure to describe your skin type. My Favorites are Giorgio Armani, Face Atelier, and Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer."
|Neutrogena's Oil-Free |
Eye Makeup Remover
Save On: Eye Makeup Remover
"The ones at the drugstore far exceed any expensive ones out there," says Giannotti, "especially Neutrogena's oil-free eye makeup remover. It takes off everything and is very gentle without leaving an oily residue."
|Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler|
Splurge On: Tweezers and Eyelash Curlers
"I’ve tried to go cheap on these and ended up having to throw them out quickly," says Giannotti. "I know it's hard to comprehend spending $20-$30 on one pair of tweezers, but those will be the ones that actually pull out those tiny, pesky hairs. It will save you a ton of frustration."
The same goes for eyelash curlers, Giannotti says. "I've had nothing good come from using cheap ones. They just don't work! I recommend splurging on Shu Uemura; you'll keep them a lot longer and they'll do what they were meant to do: curl your lashes!"
|GHD Classic Styler |
Ceramic Hair Straightener
Splurge On: Hair Dryers and Flat Irons
"Although these products may seem simple to use, they can finish off a great style or cut, especially when used correctly," says David. "I highly recommend the Elchim blow dryer; it's fast, lightweight, and has settings to cool or heat your hair.
"The GHD Classic Styler Ceramic Iron is something I use, and I've always had great results," he continues. "Flat irons today are, generally, safe and gentle on your hair. They can be used not only to straighten but also to make quick curls and flips. Like any tool, the key is knowing how to use it." Tried it out and still need some pointers? Ask your stylist!
Elchim Uragano Ionic Dryer, $118.95; Yahoo! Shopping
GHD Classic Styler Ceramic Hair Straightener, $185; folica.com
|CVS Alcohol-Free Toner|
Save On: Toners
Toners, while important, aren't the products to break the bank on. "An inexpensive, drugstore-brand toner is great for makeup removal and mild exfoliation," says Prasad.
|Elizabeth Arden Prevage |
Anti-Aging Night Cream
Splurge On: An Anti-Aging Night Cream
"Our skin rebuilds and repairs itself as we sleep," says Wexler. "Without environmental factors to ward off, skin is able to speed up its natural renewal process and absorb ingredients. This is why nighttime is the best time for active treatment."
|Mason Pearson Hair Brush|
Splurge On: A Good Hairbrush
"As a hairstylist, I try to tell my clients that regular brushing plays a very important part in the condition of your hair," says Angelo David. "It is important to stimulate the scalp to increase the blood flow to the roots, which promotes growth. Plus, the natural oils from your scalp help give strength and shine to your hair. I love the Mason Pearson Brush, which is great for all types of hair."
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