Beauty Save v Splurge

I realised recently that when it comes to beauty, there are several items I will quite happily fork out on. Others however I buy on a budget, partly to allow the afore mentioned splurges and partly because they do just as good a job. I guess it comes down to exactly how good I think the product is.

So this afternoon I’m rounding up first my beauty splurges and then the items that I save save save on.

I hope you’ll join in by adding your favourite saves/splurges in the comments box.

1. Shampoo, Kerastase specifically (£11 to £16). Although I think a lot of people think of shampoo as simply for getting their hair clean, since I started using Kerastase I saw an immediate and brilliant difference in my hair. I used it pre-wedding when my hair was longer but recently returned to Kerastase as I felt my hair wasn’t as thick as it used to be. Cue better hair in less than a handful of washes.

2. Eve Lom – £55. I remain evangelical about all things Eve Lom. I’ve tried oil based cleansers, the major competitor Liz Earle and others when I’ve been trying to save money. First I thought it was just the muslin cloth that made the difference but I can’t argue any more. There’s a reason the formula is that expensive. It’s that good.

3. Tinted Moisturiser, Laura Mercier. Although expensive, I’ve been using this product for over 3 years now and couldn’t be without it. I keep trying the BB creams but I just can’t find a formula that is as light weight but with as great coverage. I use probably a pea sized amount, so although expensive, it lasts a long time. Favourite new splurge? The Radiance Primer. Just Lovely.

1. Body Lotion. As far as I’m concerned the basic moisturisers are just as good for everyday pins as any of the more expensive cosmetic brands. I use Nivea (£3.57 at Boots) but Vaseline is great too. Plus, because they’re not expensive I’m more likely to look after my dry skin and slap it on daily.

2. Gradual self tanner. Although I spend money on St Tropez Tanner for instant results, having tried the Dove Summer Glow (£5.69 at Boots) gradual self tanner, I do wonder if I’ll ever go back. I also find it really doesn’t take that many applications to get a decent result. I feel more golden after just one, and a couple of layers give a great even result on my legs. Just make sure you exfoliate first!

3. Exfoliators. Honestly, I really don’t think those shower gel type formulations with a handful of exfoliating ‘beads’ thrown in really make a difference. When I have exfoliated, I like my skin to feel like a baby’s and I dont mind a bit of hard work and rough treatment to get there. Although a fan of The Sanctuary Salt Scrub, it’s a bit messy and not that cheap, so I use exfoliating mits from any decent beauty store for just a few pounds. Pair with your regular shower gel and scrub from top to toe for baby soft skin. Dry them out on the radiator between uses and they will last forever.

Time for your recommendations now – I’m hoping I might find a sneaky new bargain beauty item! 😉


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37 thoughts on “Beauty Save v Splurge

  1. Hmm. I think my best bargain beauty buys would be bourjois la laque nail polish – three times cheaper than chanel and lasts longer before chipping, and 17 peep show mascara – gives brilliantly long 60s style lashes for about a fiver.

    Now, how would you convince me to buy a £55 cleanser?

    • Ha ha… I did blog about Eve Lom a while back, but the facial rather than the moisturiser. To be fair, it lasts about 6-8 months so it’s not as expensive as it seems.

      I’m evangelical about it because it’s the first cleanser I’ve ever used that doesn’t dry my skin out. It feels perfect afterwards and looked different straight away. I feel it’s better for my spot-prone skin and it doesn’t feel taught or tight after using. It’s like a mini-spa at the end of every day 🙂


  2. I have also been a HUGE fan of Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser (ever since you recommended it on RMW!); however, last month I was feeling a tad strapped for cash so tried Garnier’s BB cream (again, after you mentioned it – I am a marketer’s dream!) and LOVED it! I may change my mind during the winter months when I want slightly more coverage but I found that it did a great job and didn’t leave my face feeling a bit “sticky” like the tinted moisturiser does.

    Other fav “saves” would have to be Barry M nail polish and rimmel eyeliner!

  3. Oooh, I like this kind of post! I’m with you on Laura Mercier Rebecca and you really don’t need very much! I bought mine pre-holidays in April and I’m no more than a quarter of the way through the tubes (oil free tinted moisturiser and the radiance primer) having used it daily since.
    Bargain beauty buy is Rimmel Kohl Eye Liner. A couple of pounds and stays on just as well as the Dior version I once tried, if not better. I must say having tried Chanel nail polishes I didn’t feel they chipped any less easier than other much cheaper brands so I agree with Kerry!

  4. Great post and great recommendations. I recently tried Bourjois healthy mix serum foundation and for a high street brand its really very good. I’ve always used Chanel foundations but tried this after a recommendation on-line and I love it! Also picked up L’Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream in Boots the other day and was really impressed but its more of a holiday product for me as I don’t find the coverage good enough for everyday use/work.

  5. Splurge – MAC Mineralize Foundation. Honestly didn’t think I could wear foundation at all until I discovered this -all others were chalky and dry on my very dry skin, but this stuff is amazing. I rarely wear foundation anyway so it lasts me ages but even if it didn’t I can’t imagine using anything else. Also splurge – Lee Stafford ‘Poker Straight’ hair products from Boots (OK not outrageously expensive but over a fiver for a pretty small bottle of shampoo isn’t cheap either!) but smell lovely and definitely make my wavy hair less frizzy.

    Save – Body Shop Vitamin E cleanser and toner. Despite having dry skin, I hate hate hate cleansers that feel greasy on my skin (step forward Clinique 😉 ) and these ones just feel fresh and light yet do a good job. In fact I feel that way about most of the Body Shop products. Also, Johnsons baby oil which I use for moisturising my legs after shaving straight out of the shower -the softest, sleekest skin I’ve ever had!

  6. I use Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser as well, and it is definitely worth the money. I’ve tried the Garnier BB cream and (on my skin, anyway) it is nowhere near as good as LM. Chantecaille tinted moisturiser is also excellent. I’m also a fan of the Eve Lom cleanser, though I only use it a few times a week and alternate it with First Aid Beauty Face Wash. Bobbi Brown’s Extra Face Oil is another ‘splurge’ product I love – well worth the money.

    Things I save on are face powder – I only use translucent powder on my T-zone and No. 7’s is just as good for that purpose as any of the more expensive brands. I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s not worth spending loads of money on mascara, as Max Factor False Lash Effect and Maybelline are just as good as any of the more expensive brands. I’ve also used Rimmel’s eyebrow pencil for years and find it does the job really well.

    I’ve also recently started exfoliating with oats and water (on my face) and a mixture of olive oil and sugar (on my body) and though it’s messy, it works really well and is cheaper than the shop bought exfoliators I had been using – even though Lush’s Buffy the Backside Slayer is very effective! 🙂

      • LOL Rebecca! I think you have to make them when you’re using them, but it’s really not time consuming – I have a tub of oats that I’ve whizzed up to a fine consistency in the food processor, then when I’m ready to use them I just wet my face and pat the dry oats on. Rub them in to exfoliate and then leave a coat on your face for 5-10 min and rinse off. Easy! With the exfoliator, I just mix olive oil and sugar in a ramekin and bring it up to the shower. I’ve read on Pinterest that a mixture of lemon juice and honey removes blackheads and brightens skin, so I might try that next!

  7. I love Origin’s Dr Weil Mushroom cleanser, it completly hydrates my dry skin and reduces redness, it’s a little pricey at £22 though, but worth it!

  8. Hi Rebecca!

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time – I’m trying to grow my hair for my wedding, but have just been using Tresemmé (because it’s on offer at Tesco!). Have you used the different Kerastase varieties? I was wondering which to try out – I don’t have any specific hair gripes – tho it certainly doesn’t need any more volume!

    My bargain beauty item is definitely Vaseline – I know some people think it’s a bit greasy, but I love the Rose lip pots – soft lips with a bit of colour, perfect 🙂


    • Just choose what works for your hair type – it’s usually sold in salons so they can often talk you through it. They do a conditioner called Bain oleo relax you might like if you wnat less volume, but not sure which shampoo goes with it…

  9. I don’t buy many products, I don’t buy make up or body products on a whim so I justify a few splurges – I’m with you on the Eve Lom and I know it is a lot to pay for a cleanser, but it does last me a long time. I also splurge on shower gel and buy Molton Brown black pepperbody wash, its quite a masculine smell but I love it, and you can still smell it hours after I’ve used it and it seems to last a long time too. And I spend on blusher I always use Dandellion by benefit, I can’t find anything I like as much. I don’t spend much at all on shampoo and conditioner and often get what smells nice from poundland – although you may now have persuaded me otherwise!!

  10. Vaseline as under eye cream, I’ve tried various things to stop my sleep deprived eyes being puffy and the wrinkly…recently I’ve been dabbing a dear bit on with my pinky everynignt and I swear to god the difference is unbelievable, I wake up in the morning with plum not puffy and moisturised not greasey under eye skin MAGIC and 99p!!
    I’ve yet to splurge on a luxe item but if I did it would be Laura mercier as per Rebecca, I’ve had it on as a tester before and it was beautiful!

  11. Spend: Nars Blush – pricey in my eyes but my current one has lasted over a year so works out ok. Smashbox oil free primer keeps my make-up on all day without me turning into a greaseblob. Macadamia oil for my hair (ok not hugely expensive but I’m not a fan of spending more than about £5 on hair products). And Olay Regenerist night serum and SPF 30 day cream – I’ve been wearing anti-ageing creams since I was about 18 and I really love these (although I usually get them a bit cheaper from Costco!)
    Save: elf is brilliant for cheap make-up, and if you’re not impressed by something you’ve bought you’ve only wasted a couple of pounds. I love their studio eyebrow kits and again mine has lasted over a year, and their mineral eyeshadows. Not as keen on their nail polishes though. Collection 2000 under eye highlighter thingy, and their eye liner pens are brilliant. Maybelline for mascara, everytime! I’ve tried others but just keep going back to Maybelline.


  12. Great post I’m trying to work out what I can save on make up wise. As some of the above big summer fan of Garnier BB, if I want a lite thicker coverage then I mix it with my foundation. Unless given as a gift I can’t be doing with shower gel just use aqueous cream. My big splurge would be Guerlin Midnight Secret – it really does plump up the skin.

  13. Excellent post and loving the comments!

    Splurge: Do you know, I can’t think of anything! That’s not great…

    Save: Everything! Boots sensitive range cleanser and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter body lotion are favourites.

  14. Save: Collection 2000 extreme felt liner is amazing and only a couple of pounds. So easy to apply and stays put.
    Splurge: YSL nail polishes – no chips for days!

  15. I really enjoyed this post! Like you, I’m so AOK with splurging on Kerastase products. They are so good!

    I made the really dumb mistake of purchasing a full line of Dermalogica products after trying a few samples, and they have done NOTHING for my skin. Worst splurge ever.

  16. This is my first post on here, so hi!

    Now then… spend/splurge products – this is where I feel my career in communications is wasted and wonder whether I should go into the beauty industry, as I could ramble on all day…

    – Another fan of LM tinted moisturiser – fab matte coverage with the SPF too – and that’s coming from someone with quite an oily t-zone (is the primer as good?? Looking for one of those at the moment…)
    – Chanel eyeshadow palettes – I bought my first one this weekend having never spent more than a tenner on eyeshadow palettes in the past. £37, yes – but really worth it. Silky smooth and strong colours – and it lasts all day.
    – Gelish manicures/pedicures – if you’re off on holiday this is so worth it. Lasts two weeks or more. I bought my own set off ebay, I love it so much – saves on salon treatments too.

    – Rimmel concealer – thick, blends and lasts well – a good range of colours to match all skin tones.
    – Garnier caffeine tinted under eye concealer roller ball thing – I’m not a huge fan of Garnier skincare but this really works for me and and the coverage is good.
    – Maybelline gel eyeliner – bought it to try as I was thinking about splashing out on the Bobbi Brown one. No complaints, and way less than 1/2 the price.
    – Max factor false lash mascara – love this, perfect mascara – curls, adds volume and lasts like a dream. Have been tempted to try Dior/Lancome but I really don’t need to as this little beauty does what I need for less than a tenner. (BUT a word of warning – the 24 hour special edition one was crap when I tried it – took it back to Boots for a refund – it’s just not the same formula).
    – Shower gels (I buy Original Source ones on Savers/Bodycare for £1 a pop – fab).
    – Nail polish remover – the cheaper the better. I’m not interested in posh moisturising nail polish; the more acetone the better (is that really bad?!)

    That’s quite a list! Gosh I love a bit of beauty chat 🙂


    • Fab comment Fran – welcome to FF!

      My sister rates the Max Factor mascara

      Had to laugh at your nail polish remover comment – I’m exactly the same. Who actually uses acetone free – I don’t think it actually works!!

      • Geeky comment here but if you have Biosculpture gel or similar on your nails you can keep it nice for longer by removing the topcoat with acetone free remover and putting a new topcoat on -but if you use normal remover with acetone it’ll wreck the gels. I can get 3+ weeks out of a Biosculpture gel manicure by doing this and therefore I have both -acetone free and acetone removers!

  17. Splurge – also started on the Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser after your recommendation, also love MAC primers, around £20 so not a proper splurge.

    Save – as a cheap and AMAZING smelling alternative to the sanctuary body scrub, Arora chocolate espresso body scrub is £4 from superdrug and packed with dense granules that actually scrub. My new must-have item!

    • Oh, and should add Too Faced shadow insurance, £16.50 for a teeny tube, but the best shadow primer in the world, I have tried a lot and this one keeps eyeshadow crease free all day with only a tiny, tiny amount. Definitely worth it.

  18. My splurges are…

    Liz Earle’s Superskin Comcentrate. Quite simply, my skin is happy when I use it at night and not when I don’t, so I think it’s worth the £40 bottle (eek)

    Dior Addict Lip Balm. I still can’t believe how much I pay for this, but I love the colour and feel and it seems to last and last so I kid myself £22 is worth it.

    My bargains are…

    BB (oily combination skin). I’m new to this product but I LOVE it. It so light on the skin but gives such even coverage. Happy happy happy. And so much cheaper than regular foundation + moisturiser.

    V05’s hair wax. It lasts forever and costs just a couple of pounds, a real bargain if you have short hair.

  19. My splurge is the same as Becks, the superskin simply = super skin! It comes in a pump bottle and literally one squirt does your whole face and neck so it lasts. I also love MAC eyeliner pencils, I truly they are the best as they are soft and go on so easy. Also love Jo Malone body creme in Grapefruit for a zingy treat, it’s ridiculously expensive so it’s usually on my Christmas list.

    Bargains – a recent discovery is NYC Skyrise mascara (from Superdrug) at only £2.50 I was skeptical but the brush is fab and I’ve been impressed with how good it makes my lashes look. Lush gorilla solid perfumes, anyone who hasn’t tried these needs too. They start at £4.50 and melt into you skin 😀


  20. Splurge……
    Chantecaille future skin foundation- simply the best thing I’ve ever worn.
    Eve Lom eye cream (the newer really thick one) – my first pot has lasted 8 months so actually great vfm.

    Herbal Essences curly hair shampoo & conditioner – results as good as Aveda for me.
    Boots Essentials Curl creme – currently out of stock but apparently due back in very soon. A huge pot of pink goo, costs less than £2 and works better on my curls than Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble and any other expensive product I’ve ever tried.

    I’m about to try the Boots No.7 hot cloth cleanser thanks to previous recommendations on here. Still trying to find the elusive replacement for Eve Lom which I still sadly can’t justify. Fingers crossed!

  21. I use a good serum (Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair) and then cheaper moisturiser over the top. Although sometimes I am seduced away from this sensible plan.

    I tend to have to buy more expensive mascara and eye cream as I often have an allergy to the cheaper stuff. I used the Origins eye cream and was really disappointed though – I would say it made my under eye area worse rather than better.

    I can’t have the Kerastase stuff because it’s got sulphites in (or is it sulphates…). Either way, because I have a brazilian blow-dry, I can’t use mega-foaming stuff. It’s not great for colour either.

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