So, here’s the thing. We’ve all done it before. We buy that luxury skincare product we’ve been saving up for only to find that it’s lackluster at best. Or we try out that luxury skincare “dupe” our favorite Youtuber suggests is a perfect ringer for the real thing, only to find out it wasn’t worth the effort either. Skincare products are a fickle thing. With so much out there on the market and skin types that are more unique than we might think, it can be tough to make the choice between luxury skincare products or drugstore dupes; especially when we’ve been burned by them before.
However, there are some clear rules to which one you might decide to choose on your next trip to Sephora or Ulta. There are certain products that you should definitely pay more attention to (and ultimately more hard-earned money on) and others that are more acceptable to take the lower-cost risk on. What’s what in the beauty world? Let’s find out!
When In Doubt, Let Branding Be Your Guide
Ever wonder why you’re more inclined to pick up a range of products that have great branding? There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a style for a brand. It’s no wonder that the perfect style guide—whether on the company’s website or on their packaging—can make or break the products on the shelves. Although it’s not an absolute rule that better style guiding and marketing make for a better product, your eye can often lead you in the right direction. What “speaks” to you? Pick it up and check it out! Which leads me too…
Double-Check That Ingredients List
It’s not always the case, but great packaging doesn’t always mean great products. Sure, your eye can be a great way to lead you to products you’ll love using, but use your common sense as well. If the ingredients in a product aren’t something that will work for you—it doesn’t matter if it’s the top luxury brand or your favorite drugstore brand—if the formula isn’t right, you can’t change that.
Higher Price Tags Don’t Automatically Mean Great Products
If you’ve looked at that ingredient list and are more than underwhelmed, there’s a reason for it. When it comes to luxury brands, a luxury price tag doesn’t always translate to better ingredients, refined formulas, and in turn, happy and healthy skin. That’s why the obsession with finding great dupes continues to take over the beauty influencers industry. It’s fun to find products that are half the price as their luxury brand counterparts, but act and work with striking similarities.
Here’s the thing I’ve noticed, however. When it comes to makeup, it’s more likely that you can find a great drugstore brand dupe. That’s not to say there’s no value in luxury makeup, but with the sheer volume of products, and the fact that formulas for makeup products are repackaged all the time (for both high-end products and giant box brands), there’s a greater chance that you can pay less for a product that works just as well. When it comes to your skincare routine, the story often changes.
When Should You Invest?
Not every product is made with the same ingredients or quality, this much is true. I tend to save up for those luxury brands only when I know there’s clear evidence that backs up their quality. Brands that put forth actual efforts to create clinical tests, or have decades of experience tinkering with their signature formulas. I want to know that if I’m spending my money on something that I’m putting on my skin every day, that I’m investing in ingredients that make a difference.
That’s why I don’t spend $60 on my waterproof mascara, but do spend that much on a daily moisturizer. Sure, I use both daily (and let’s be honest, I’d cry if you told me I couldn’t use either in my daily routine), but one is doing directly onto my freshly cleansed skin for the purpose of protecting and naturally enhancing it. The other is just a cosmetic marvel that makes my blonde lashes look a little less abrasive.
Of course, you should decide what’s right for your budget when it comes to spending money. However, when in doubt, know that investing in quality skincare is worth it with the proper research, and having fun with drugstore dupe makeup can safe you hundreds of dollars on your products a year.