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Budget beauty: When to splurge and when to save


Money is tight these days, so you need to watch your budget, even when it comes to your beauty buys. Which products can you save money on, and which ones are worth the splurge?

Woman buying shampoo

Today’s tough economy has everyone tightening their purse strings, so it seems frivolous to blow cash in the beauty aisle. It’s easy to assume that the most expensive products are the ones that will work miracles on our look, but that’s not always the case. Find out which products you can spend less on, and where you should spend your money.

1Facial moisturizer

If you’re just looking to keep your face hydrated and healthy, this is an area where you can save big bucks. Many low-cost moisturizers will do a great job of keeping your skin soft for less money. Look for oil-free products so they won’t wreck your complexion, and added SPF so you’ll have protection from the sun’s harmful rays. On the other hand, if you need a facial moisturizer that provides extra treatment, such as for wrinkles or age spots, a splurge is best. The more expensive moisturizers have added ingredients that have been proven to work.

Pick the perfect moisturizer >>

2Shampoo and conditioner

The point of shampoo and conditioner is to get your hair clean, and it doesn’t stay on your hair for long before you wash it away. Less expensive lines of hair care products offer shampoos and conditioners for a variety of hair types and styles that get your hair just as clean as the high-dollar brands.

Clean hair in a hurry: The low-down on dry shampoos >>


Your foundation is an area where you should definitely splurge. It sets the tone for your entire face, and a less than adequate product can leave your skin looking discolored and cakey. Look for products that offer a wide range of shades, go on smooth and blend perfectly for a flawless base for the rest of your make-up.


Spending too much on mascara is a big waste of money. You should replace your mascara every few months to prevent the spread of bacteria – not nearly long enough to go through an entire tube. For this reason, you’re just throwing money away if you spend a lot on this product. Instead, look for a low-cost product with a brush that fits your needs.

5 Best drugstore mascaras >>

5Nail polish

Many women tend to wind up with large collections of nail polish, so this isn’t an area where you should spend big. Buy mid-price brands in colors you love, and cover them with a top coat that costs a little more to keep your nails shiny and chip-free. If you have just one color you love and wear often, it’s OK to spend a little more, since you may use the whole bottle before its shelf life is over.

More beauty advice on sheknows

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