Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not one of those girls that thinks that if a beauty product is more expensive, that automatically means that it’s a better product. I’ve used more than enough super-cheap, super-awesome products (hello, $3 NYC Liquid Eyeliner), as well as products that were both expensive and disappointing, to know that you don’t always necessarily get what you pay for in the beauty world.
That being said, one of the best things about being a beauty editor is having the opportunity to test super-luxe products that would have normally be (way) out of my budget. Not all of the pricey picks win my heart, but I must admit that there are some more splurge-y primpers out there that are totally worth their hefty price tags.
At a time of year when you’re busy gifting everyone on your list, sometimes it can feel dang good to buy something small but luxurious for yourself — especially when those small somethings are as pretty and effective as the products on the following pages. Click through to scope out my favorite spendy beauty thrills — and let me know in the comments which products you deem worthy of a splurge!
By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Balm
I’m just going to go ahead and start with one of the most ridiculous items on this list. Yes, this is a $60 lip balm. But man, is it the best lip balm I have EVER tried. This stuff is super-thick, super-smooth, and scented with the most delightful and realistic hint of rose scent. For dry winter lips, there’s simply nothing like it. A necessary luxury, for sure.
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
Another everyday luxury, this non-greasy and heavenly-scented hand cream is the absolute highlight of my evening bedtime routine. There’s something about Aesop’s scents that are totally relaxing and rejuvenating. Plus, as a new friend and I were discussing the other day, the presence of Aesop products in your home simply makes you appear to be the coolest person ever. Oh, the power of super-on-point packaging.
Dior DiorShow Fusion Mono Eyeshadow
When it comes to splurge vs. spend, eyeshadow is one category where you often get what you pay for. More expensive shadows simply tend to have smoother formulas, higher pigmentation, and better staying power than their cheaper counterparts — and, these lovely little pots of color from Dior are no exception.
Tom Ford Lip Color
This lipstick simply sets the standard, and is an absolute essential if you’re a red-lipstick person like I am. Everyone’s abuzz about the new Matte formula, but I have to admit that I find the original formula to be smooth, velvet-y, and simply perfect. If you can’t decide on a shade, I recommend choosing the just-darker-than-cherry Scarlet Rouge — it’ll flatter most skin tones perfectly.
Restorsea Renormalizing Serum
Strange, but true: as I’ve gotten older, my skin has gotten more sensitive. Last winter, I got a terrible case of eczema on my face, and sadly, it’s returned this year. I spent most of last winter rubbing cortisone cream on my face and worrying that I’d never be cured — so, you can imagine my shock and awe when I got a Restorsea facial at an Equinox spa and woke up the next day with my skin looking about 95% better. Restorsea’s serum uses a special enzyme that (I kid you not) is found in salmon eggs. This is the enzyme that eats away at the dead skin cells of salmon eggs when baby salmon hatch. Because the enzyme eats only dead skin cells, not live ones, you end up with perfectly exfoliated skin that’s not at all irritated.
Weird? Yes. But, I’d take Restorsea’s whole line over way-more-pricey La Mer any day.
Le Labo Jasmin 17 Perfume
I’ve mentioned this before around these parts, but this scent has been my signature (especially in cold weather) since my husband bought me my first bottle around eight(!) years ago. If you’re in the market for a new fragrance and get a headache from the preservatives and other chemicals in most perfumes, I can’t recommend Le Labo enough. (Plus, since each bottle is blended to order, you get a customized label with your name on it!)
Clarins Instant Concealer
Now, this isn’t a crazy-expensive item, per se, but I’m guessing that many women would gawk at spending $30 on an item as basic as concealer. But, like eyeshadow, undereye concealer is one item that is worth a splurge, in my honest opinion. This pick from Clarins is smooth and hydrating, yet light as air — considering how much it transforms my face every day, I’d have to say that this might be one of the most worthwhile investments in my makeup bag.
NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder
No shimmer, glitter, or proverbial bells and whistles; this is simply a perfectly matte, perfectly toasty bronzer in the most gorgeous packaging ever. Calling all pale girls like me: this powder will be your lifeline until May.
Kevyn Aucoin The Eye Pencil Primatif in Black
When an eyeliner is named The Eye Pencil Primatif, you just know it’s going to be good. This inky kohl liner can create almost any eye makeup look, from a sooty smudge to a sharp line — and the built-in blending tip makes it a total winner in my book.
Diptyque Cleansing Balm
When Diptyque’s skin care line arrived on the scene, every beauty maven I knew was abuzz, and for good reason. These products provide a crazy-luxurious experience, thanks to nourishing formulas and a light rose scent (what is it about expensive products that smell like rose petals? They get me every time). This cleansing balm is perfect for the dry winter months — it removes dirt and makeup and leaves skin smooth and hydrated.
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