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We’ve all been seduced by glitzy packaging and a celebrity ambassador’s doe-eyed “look just like me!” promise. While it is true that there are pricey beauty products that are worth every penny, there are also instances when the fancy ingredients you’re buying into aren’t much more than marketing hype. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spending more on a product if it makes you feel good. But when looking your best requires such an arsenal of products and with such a befuddling array of options on the market these days, a girl’s gotta be smart about her choices. Here’s a list of beauty buys worth breaking the bank for, along with those you can totally scrimp on.

 

SAVE: Shampoo

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You spend less than a minute massaging shampoo into your scalp before rinsing it right off. Shelling out big bucks for this would literally be sending your money down the drain. You’ll find plenty of off-the-shelf brands that do the job well. As long as the shampoo doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry, it’s fine.

 

SPLURGE: Conditioner

 

 

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Unlike shampoo, the nourishing stuff in conditioners are designed to stay on the hair, so that your tresses look and feel better. It’s worth spending a little more if soft, silky locks is your goal.

 

SAVE: Facial cleanser

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As with shampoo, facial cleansers are rinsed off after something like 15 seconds. Whatever nourishing ingredients that have been packed into the product aren’t going to be left on the skin long enough to have much of an impact. What you want from a cleanser is simply that it leaves the skin clean and refreshed without any sensation of tightness.

 

SAVE: Sunscreen

 

 

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Sunscreen has to be applied liberally (generally, about half a teaspoon for the face alone) in order for you to get its full SPF protection. You want something affordable that you won’t find too precious to slater on generously.  For daily use, you also want a lightweight formula that doesn’t clog up the skin. Korean and Japanese brands have plenty of affordable options that fulfil both criteria and many work even better than more expensive departmental store brands.

 

SAVE: Mascara

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Mascara formulas aren’t so different that it’s necessary to pay more than 20-odd dollars for a tube, and with so many top performers in the drugstore and off-the-shelf category, there is no real need to shell out for this. Besides, mascara tubes are a breeding ground for bacteria and need to be tossed out and replaced every three months, which means affordable and good is best.

 

SPLURGE: Eye shadow

 

 

Expensive eye shadows go on smoother, adhere better, stay on longer and offer richer, more pigmented colour. That said, if your goal is just to have some fun with colour trends, more affordable brands are great for test-driving how much you like the way a shade looks on you.

 

SAVE: Lip gloss

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It’s going to come off when you have your coffee and you will want to reapply this throughout the day to maintain a glossy pucker. There’s no need to splurge to get this bit of shine.

 

SPLURGE: Lipstick

 

 

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Pricier lipsticks cost more not just because the brand offers more options in terms of colour and formula. The texture is usually creamier and sits better on the lips, and the colour richer and fuller-bodied. Luxe packaging also doesn’t hurt when you have to pull the tube out out for a touch-up.

 

SPLURGE: Eye cream

 

 

To tackle specialised problems like fine lines, dark circles and puffiness around the more delicate eye area, it’s worth splurging on a good eye cream with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol, neuropeptides and vitamins C and E.

 

SPLURGE: Powder

 

 

If you use loose powder as an all-in-one product for foundation, concealer and setting your makeup, spend a bit more to get a well-milled, high quality formula. You’ll find that a perfect, flawless finish is much more easily achieved.

 

This story was originally published in Ezbuy.sg.