Sponge Splurge: Beautyblender
The Original Beautyblender, $20 at Sephora
A cult product for good reason, there’s no better facial sponge. With Beautyblender you can achieve perfectly blended foundation without the need for any real application skills (the mini version is also great for shadow or liner).
Sponge Save: AOA
Wonder Blender, $1 at Miss A
Beautyblender has a serious following of women who not only swear by the sponge but collect the limited-edition shades. The brand also offers different sizes. If you’re not a brand devotee, however, it’s impossible to beat AOA’s price for its version, even if it might not last as long or wash as well.
Body Spray Splurge: Murad
Clarifying Body Spray, $40 at Murad
This is a lifesaver for anyone who works out and is worried about breaking out in those hard-to-reach areas. The scent is also very light and dissipates quickly and it’s fast-drying.
Body Spray Save: AcneFree
Body Clearing Acne Spray, $10.99 at AcneFree
This spray is effective but not as quick-drying as the Murad version. It also drips if you spray too much. That said, it gets the job done and is part of a line of effective, super cheap acne products.
Hair Oil Splurge: Moroccanoil
Treatment Original, $44 at Moroccanoil
This product is the reason you probably know what argan oil is. It continues to be a favorite because it not only works to hydrate, nourish and tame frizz, but smells amazing!
Hair Oil Save: OGX
Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Weightless Healing Dry Oil, $7.99 at Walmart
If you’re willing to sacrifice that intoxicating smell you get with Moroccanoil, this is a great option.
Face Oil Splurge: Drunk Elephant
Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, $72 at Sephora
This is a great product on its own or you can mix it into your daily moisturizer when skin is very dry. It’s made with nothing but 100 percent virgin marula oil.
Face Oil Save: Shea Terra Organics
100% Marula Oil, $21 at Shea Terra Organics
There’s no doubt that Drunk Elephant’s packaging has Instagram appeal and that its products are effective across the board, but you can get the same hydrating effects of marula oil with this buy for nearly a quarter of the price.
Chemical Exfoliant Splurge: M-61
PowerGlow Peel 30 Treatments, $62 at Bluemercury
If you consider how powerful these pads are, you might think of them as a “save” since using them three times a week will cut down on the need for facials. Though the product is called a “peel,” it’s a lot easier to use than you think — just smooth one of the small wipes across your face after cleansing. No moisturizer required.
Chemical Exfoliant Save: First Aid Beauty
Facial Radiance Pads 60 Pads, $30 at Sephora
For an everyday glycolic pad, it doesn’t get better than this. These pads are super gentle yet very effective. They work to whisk away dead skin for brighter skin that’s less likely to break out. They’re also generously soaked with product with no dripping.
Cleansing Device Splurge: Clarisonic
Smart Profile Uplift, $349 at Clarisonic
Clarisonic is constantly innovating. Its latest device can be used on your body as well as face to fight 15 signs of aging.
Cleansing Device Save: Olay
ProX Advanced Cleansing System, $37.49 at Olay
The ProX has significantly fewer features than the aforementioned Clarisonic and it’s only designed for the face but it’s still an upgrade from manual cleansing and a fraction of Clarisonic’s price.
Natural Deodorant Splurge: Lavanila
The Healthy Deodorant, $14 at Sephora
Lavanila may not be effective for as long as nonnatural deodorants, but it’s just as powerful when it comes to keeping you feeling fresh during everyday life as well as workouts.
Natural Deodorant Save: Tom’s of Maine
Long Lasting Deodorant, $4.27 at Walmart
It doesn’t hold up as well to a hardcore workout, but for day-to-day use, you can’t beat this natural pick.
Face Wipe Splurge: Philosophy
Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleansing Cloths 30 Cloths, $15 at Sephora
People often go cheap with wipes, but many drugstore brands require you to use two or three wipes to remove every last bit of makeup. For a clean face with just a single wipe, these will do the trick.
Face Wipe Save: Yes To
Tomatoes Clear Skin Blemish Clearing Facial Wipes 30 Count, $4.27 at Walmart
These wipes are just one of the examples where Yes To shines. Even those with sensitive skin can use these wipes that not only help remove makeup, oil and dirt, but help treat and prevent breakouts with salicylic acid.
Gold Mask Splurge: Mimi Luzon
24K Pure Gold Mask, $349 at Mimi Luzon
Top models may swear by this mask but at $349, they may also be the only ones who can justify the expense.
Gold Mask Save: Oh K!
Gold Foil Sheet Mask, $6.50 at Amazon
Made with gold extracts, this Korean beauty fiber sheet mask is designed to help brighten complexions. While the actual mask isn’t as Instagram-friendly as Mimi Luzon’s, the outside packaging sure is.
Not everyone can or wants to splurge on designer cosmetics, body care or skin care. While there are many cases where a higher price translates into better quality, there are just as many where that higher price just gets you better packaging. It’s also an unfortunate (or not, depending on what side you’re on) truth that once a brand or entrepreneur has spent big bucks and time to develop a truly innovative product (think Beautyblender), other brands benefit from their research and experience by making a comparable product at a fraction of the price.
Here’s a look at some of the best beauty products and their equally worthy affordable counterparts.
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