Whether we’re covering expert-recommended beauty tools under $25 or the best Amazon beauty look-alikes under $30, we’re no strangers to the fact that high-quality beauty doesn’t always have to break the bank.
That being said, sometimes a little splurge can make a world of a difference. “Affordable drugstore makeup can be really amazing,” shares London-based makeup artist Jenny Coombs. “But I would definitely invest in high-quality foundations and concealers, considering they’re applied to your entire face.”
Mia Jones, a makeup artist based in New York who’s worked with celebs like Gigi Hadid and Mariah Carey, echoes that sentiment. “Skin care and complexion products are always worth the splurge,” she says. “What you use every day and what comes into direct contact with your skin should be as quality as possible.”
Whether you’re looking to treat yourself to a game-changing skin care tool, gift someone a truly luxurious makeup item or invest in skin care made from only the best ingredients, we’ve rounded up 19 splurge-worthy beauty and skin care goodies for you to choose from. All of these have been recommended by makeup artists, hairstylists and “skinfluencers,” or they’ve been researched and tested by us.
“I love getting microcurrent facials like the one at Joanna Vargas salon,” shares Molly Greenwald, an LA-based makeup artist. She recommends using a handheld device at home to achieve similar results. “They really work in lifting and filling the facial muscles and skin instantly as well as cumulatively over time.”
Greenwald specifically calls out the NuFace Trinity Facial Trainer Device, a microcurrent treatment device that helps to rejuvenate your skin. For a little background on how this actually works, our body’s natural current starts to slow as we age, which leads to many skin concerns associated with aging — like sagging and wrinkles. The microcurrents in this device mimic the natural current of our bodies, which when activated work to tone facial muscles, resulting in bouncier, firmer skin.
iS Clinical Active Serum
“I don’t know a person that has tried it that isn’t in love with this multibeneficial serum,” shares Greenwald. “It helps with wrinkles, acne and the appearance of pores while also soothing and evening the skin tone.”
While many serums boast specific ingredients that help with specific skin concerns like dullness, acne or dryness, this one is a self-proclaimed “multitasking face serum” with benefits that range from anti-aging to brightening and even acne prevention.
Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment
This lactic acid treatment from Sunday Riley is a fan favorite and Underscored editor favorite, particularly when it comes to plumping and brightening. Lactic acid is one of the most hydrating alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which just means that in addition to exfoliating your skin to reveal a smoother complexion (fighting dead skin cells that lead to a range of skin concerns like bumps, dullness and acne), the active ingredient also moisturizes your skin, keeping it luminous and bouncy.
The addition of licorice as an ingredient (and its associated brightening properties) can enhance your skin’s radiance and lead to the reduction of spots and discoloration, something reviewers love about this treatment. One reviewer writes that “active exfoliants have been dismal because most of them irritate my sensitive skin. Good Genes has turned that all around! It hydrates and gently exfoliates without irritating.”
La Mer The Lip Balm
You’re probably thinking what we’re thinking — a lip balm that costs $70? That can’t be serious. But if you’re familiar with the luxury skin care brand La Mer, the price tag may come as less of a surprise. This mint-scented and velvety soft lip balm calms and conditions your lips while supporting their natural moisture barrier and helping to protect against environmental damage.
It’s free of sulfates, parabens and tons of other less than ideal ingredients, and it boasts La Mer’s signature Miracle Broth — a formulation that aims to help restore your skin to its healthiest and most radiant form.
Reviewers acknowledge the steep price tag but are convinced that despite the cost, it’s worth every penny. One person writes that they have “tried every form of lip moisturizer on the planet, and this blows everything else out of the water.”
Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask
Tatcha is known for creating some of the most effective skin care on the market, and this creamy vitamin C mask is no exception. Rios credits this mask for keeping her skin glowing, noting its luxurious texture and super-hydrating benefits.
Formulation-wise, it’s packed with rich, high-quality ingredients, from two different types of vitamin C to an AHA complex derived from seven different fruit extracts, and the brand’s signature Hadasei-3 Complex, a proprietary blend of “double-fermented Uji green tea, Akita rice and Mozuku algae.” All of this works together, resulting in a mask that leaves your skin instantly softer, smoother and more radiant. There are also some more long-term effects — the vitamin C helps to prevent signs of aging, while the AHA complex works to improve overall skin texture over time.
Gisou Honey-Infused Hair Perfume
A hair perfume may not be in everyone’s beauty rotation, but this option might just convince you that it should be. “This honey-infused perfume is ethically sourced,” shares Yamga, and draws on ingredients from Gisou founder Negin Mirsalehi’s father’s bee gardens. “The combination of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants assist in maintaining your hair’s moisture while also leaving behind a beautiful floral scent.”
Simply spray on your hair after styling for a summer-perfect scent that will linger throughout the day, and of course provide your hair with those benefits Yamga mentions. Just be sure to use a light hand, since a little goes a long way.
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 25
“This tiny little stick is really all you need in a pinch when it comes to complexion,” shares Greenwald. “The high-quality pigments cover and smooth even the most challenging areas and can be buffed out on the entirety of the skin for a soft focus foundation.”
And she acknowledges that while it’s a big price for what seems like a really small product, anyone who has tried it would attest that it’s well worth its price. Not only do reviewers love the full coverage effect of this concealer, they also love how moisturizing it is. Concealers are notorious for looking cakey or emphasizing dryness, especially throughout the day — but not this product. Because a little goes a long way, the small amount actually lasts quite a while (one reviewer notes up to a year). And the formulation includes SPF 25, which is always a big bonus in our book.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil
“I use this lightweight oil at night,” shares Rios, “and wake up with my skin looking fresh and dewy.” The Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil is one of our all-time favorite skin care products as well, because it’s so simple yet so effective. With ingredients like lavender essential oil and evening primrose oil, the formula works to restore your skin overnight so you wake up with visibly brighter, radiant and, of course, moisturized skin.
If you’re wondering how that actually works, it turns out our skin actually repairs itself while we sleep. Targeting our skin with a beneficial, high-quality oil like this one while it’s already going through those natural restorative functions only helps it along that process.
Sabrina Yamani Yamga, an award-winning hairstylist based in Chicago, is a big fan of the Dyson Airwrap, which we’ve reviewed in its entirety here. “This little device comes with so many attachments that work fast,” she shares, “and uses intelligent heat control technology to give you that salon blowout look without having to leave home.”
While the price tag is high, this product truly performs in a way that no other product on the market does. To start, you’re not styling your hair with the same type of heat as a standard iron or hair dryer, which means that you’re doing way less damage to your hair. The other noteworthy feature, and something that Yamga calls out, is the number and variety of attachments. This product isn’t just a fancy hair curler — it comes with two different sized curling barrels, three different brushes for that easy blowout look and a prestyling dryer, an attachment that achieves a similar result to that of the equally if not more popular Dyson Supersonic.
If you consider the price of all those products combined, the cost of this one product seems a bit less daunting. In addition to all those features, the Dyson Airwrap is just a joy to use — you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers, it’s much lighter than other hair dryers and stylist tools, and the process of doing your hair is just way more comfortable overall.
Trish McEvoy Beauty Balm Instant Solutions BB Cream SPF 35
We’re big fans of an all-in-one product, and this BB cream from Trish McEvoy does it all. It primes your skin, evens out its tone and simultaneously hydrates your skin while controlling oil. Like many luxury makeup products, the skin care benefits of this product are built in — peptides in the formulation help to improve your skin’s texture, while SPF coverage helps to prevent skin damage and aging caused by UVA and UVB rays.
Unlike other similar creams, this option provides much more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, and it’s definitely buildable for anywhere from a medium to full coverage.
By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Care
“I’ve been using this for years,” shares Mireya Rios, an actress and content creator with over 3.8 million followers on TikTok, where she shares the best of beauty. “It’s expensive, but it keeps my lips hydrated, and it smells amazing too.”
This rich lip balm features a suite of nourishing and reparative ingredients, from essential rose wax, which works to soothe and restructure your lips, to floral oils that help nourish and moisturize them, to bio-ceramides, which smooth the skin while providing anti-aging benefits. While it’s perfect as an everyday lip balm, its formulation is also aimed at helping your lips bounce back from periods of dryness or damage.
Luzern Laboratories Serum Absolut V15
“Vitamin C is an integral part of skin care,” shares Jones. “It reverses sun damage, brightens [and] reduces pigmentation.”
She recommends this serum specifically, which features pure vitamin C in addition to a ton of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, A, B3, B12 and D3. Marketed as a multivitamin serum, the blend of goodies in this serum helps to address a whole range of skin goals, from assisting in the production of collagen to reducing inflammation and improving skin elasticity.
“It is so worth the
19 beauty splurges that are totally worth their price, according to experts
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