Conserve vs. Splurge: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Beauty

Trying to stay beautiful on a broke gal’s budget isn’t always easy. You heart Sephora, and you’re pretty sure it hearts you back. Plus, you’d probably live in the Nordstrom beauty department if you could. But since that’s illegal and you’re pretty strapped for cash, does the thought of having to buy a few of your makeup and beauty musts at your local CVS really sound that bad? We say, as long as you’re not skimping on quality, why not?! Check out what our experts had to say on the subject (and find out which beauty products you should be conserving on) in our Smart Girl’s Guide to Beauty below.

Woman shopping for makeup

1. SPLURGE: Anti-Aging Serum

According to celebrity makeup artist and the man behind Skinn Cosmetics, Dimitri James, a good anti-aging serum is the most important skin care item to splurge on. “You can save by using a less expensive moisturizer because moisturizers sit on the surface and moisturize,” he notes, “but serums penetrate the skin to give you all of your anti-aging benefits so a higher quality brand is necessary.”  

2. CONSERVE: Lipstick

If you find a great color in the drugstore, no need to splurge at the department store,” notes beauty expert and author of Bonding Over Beauty, Erika Katz. Drugstore brands work just as well as high end brands, if not better.

3. SPLURGE: Foundation

More expensive foundations often use higher quality pigments, look more polished and match human skin tones better, notes James. “Cheap foundations look flat and mask like.” We’d definitely have to agree on that one…

4. CONSERVE: Nail Polish

“Buy OPI minis,” says Gail Sagel, Make Up Artist, President & CEO of FACES Beautiful. “They’re a great value and the perfect size – because, who really finishes a whole bottle of nail polish anyway?” We suppose she’s right!

5. SPLURGE: Fragrances

“Fragrances are unique and can define your own style,” says Lea Black, a Real Housewife of Miami and notable cosmetic industry expert with over 20 years experience. “People often remember you by them, so they’re totally worth splurging on.”

6. CONSERVE: Blush, Mascara, Shadows, Liners

Makeup artist Dimitri James advises you to hang on to your cash when it comes to purchasing these types of products. Why? “Because the less expensive brands work just as well, it’s the application that’s important.”

7. SPLURGE: Overnight Skin Products

“You don’t need to shell out a ton of cash for products that won’t be left on your face for longer than five to ten minutes,” notes Dermatologist, Dr. David Bank. “But you SHOULD splurge on any products that WILL be left on your face for an extended period of time, such as night cream or anti-aging treatments.”

8. CONSERVE: Body Lotion

Try baby oil, says Katz. “It keeps the skin just as smooth and silky as any body lotion.”