The 12 Beauty Splurges We'll Happily Eat Ramen For
Even if you're on a budget—like, a Can I split this takeout salad into two meals? kind of budget—is there a pricy beauty product or habit you simply can't quit? Your weekly manicure, perhaps? Maybe your must-have serum or root touch-ups at the salon? We get it—even when you're working to save cash, there are certain beauty-related expenses that might seem frivolous to others, but to you, they're about as essential as toilet paper and rent. From luxury lipstick to candles (they're important, okay?), we're confessing our own indispensable splurges here.
Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules ($110)
"I am obsessed with this product because, let's face it, I put my skin through a lot. I love skincare—but late nights, cocktails, and generally living my best life sometimes allows my skin to have a mind of its own. These little capsules house precious oil from Tanzania blended with rose (for the morning) and lavender (for bedtime) to stimulate microcirculation, improve visible signs of aging, and counteract the damaging effects of pollution, stress, and harmful toxins that clog up your pores. It'll de-party your face with just a few drops and a facial massage."
SkinMedica Rejuvenating Hydrator ($178)
"I can't recommend this product enough. Yes, it's expensive, but seriously, it’s utterly life-changing. I use it as a primer right before I apply a face of makeup because most primers feel strange to me. To each his or her own, but I don’t love the feeling of yet another layer between my face and makeup. This formula is a blend of five forms of hyaluronic acid—the good stuff—and feels so, so silky. It smoothes your skin, visibly blurs fine lines, and makes foundation go on like a cloud. Plus, that feeling lasts for hours. You can put it directly under your eyes to help your concealer go on without a hitch (no awful cakiness, no crêpe-y creases)."
Sisley Eye Contour Mask ($145)
"The fact that this tiny tube is $145 is almost obscene—until you use it for the first time, that is. I've recently noticed a fresh crop of fine lines creeping up around my eye area, and being the calm, rational person I am, I subsequently freaked out and started slathering my eyes with every eye cream that came my way. Some of them helped decrease puffiness, others just irritated my eyes, but only this 'contour mask' truly erased my lines. You're supposed to apply a thick layer then wipe away the excess after 10 minutes, but I like to apply a layer around my under-eyes before bed and let all the goodness sink in. In the morning, I wake up with a nary a fine line in sight. It's magic, or witchcraft, or something—whatever it is, I'm not complaining."
La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Transforming Cream ($195)
"The price tag on this product is balk-worthy, but considering it's actually three products in one, it somehow evens out (in my mind, at least). Picture your standard BB cream—a tinted moisturizer with some active ingredients—and multiply that 10, nay 100, and you'll get this creamy all-in-one product from La Prairie. Featuring potent ingredients from the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal line, as well as a self-adjusting tint (it comes in four shades), it blends beautifully and leaves my skin looking airbrushed—plus, I like knowing that it's improving my skin over time, too. And did I mention it has SPF 30? It's a life-saver for busy mornings because it replaces my serum, sunscreen, and tinted moisturizer, which also makes it perfect for traveling."
Maison Margiela Beach Walk Candle ($60)
"Priorities, amirite? Some people insist on spending on skincare and hair, but I'd happily give all that up for just a jar of coconut oil and my favorite luxury candles. My fragrance addiction is real—I have to be surrounded by good-smelling things at all times. Then again, never underestimate your environment! I function, think, and sleep better when my atmosphere is clean and relaxing, and scent is a really good way to heighten those vibes. That being said, I am pretty picky about the candles I like—they can't be artificial, cloying, or remotely food-related. I love realistic scents that evoke scenes and memories, which is why I'm drawn to Maison Martin Margiela's entire Replica collection. Right now, I'm smitten with Beach Walk, a creamy, sandy scent that smells like summer and nostalgia."
"I hate generic fragrances, which is why I'm consistently impressed with Byredo—Ben Gorham has a very special talent for crafting scents that are so interesting and different, they're almost polarizing. I love toeing that line, and have several Byredo bottles in my (embarrassingly large) fragrance collection. Accord Oud is one of my very favorites—it's leathery, earthy, and just vaguely sweet, which makes it perfect for fall."
"I have gushed to an embarrassing degree about Tatcha's Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick, but that's only because when you stand by a lipstick that costs $55, you really have to commit. I would buy the rest of my makeup from the drugstore if I meant I could have this. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a red lipstick more perfectly pigmented and wearable."
Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Treatment ($68)
"My colorist recommends this treatment to EVERYONE with color-treated hair (and his salon doesn't even carry this, so you know it's legit.) When your hair is as bleached as mine is, intense conditioning treatments are essential, but so many of them weigh down my fine strands. This one binds the cuticle and cortex of each hair, strengthening and repairing it better than almost any other mask on the market—and magically my hair still feels light and soft every time I use it. Yes, the product is $68, but there's truly nothing else like it."
"Admittedly, I wear a lot of makeup. Foundation, powder, eyeshadow, bronzer—the whole nine yards. As a result, I need a cleanser that's really going to get everything off. Using a 'cheap' cleanser either dries out my skin or warrants a double- (or sometimes triple-cleanse), and oil cleansers or cleansing balms just don't seem to do the trick either. When I started using The Cleansing Gel, my life was changed. Everything comes off with one pump and my skin feels soft and supple when I'm done. At $85, it's pretty steep, but it lasts a long time, so I feel justified."
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask ($135)
"Seventeen dollars might not seem like much for a beauty product, but considering how often I use sheet masks, these really add up. A set of 10 is $135. However, these masks are the real deal. My skin feels ah-mazing when I take it off and literally gleams. Considering the price, it's worth preserving the extra 'juice' at the bottom of the packet and using it on your hands, neck, and anywhere else that needs some extra love."
Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloths ($39)
"I must admit I did feel silly at first removing my makeup with wipes that cost over $1 per wipe, but I'll truly never go back to anything else. They just work better than anything else I've tried. They don't leave a greasy residue, nor do leave my skin dry and tight. They're simply the best."
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Refine and Polish Miracle Balm ($98)
"There are a lot of scrubs out there, but some for reason my skin loves this one. It's so gentle and nourishing (that would be the balm part) while also exfoliating with both fruit enzymes and refining beads. I apply it in the morning, get in the shower to let the steam activate it for a few minutes, then wash away. It's my favorite part of my morning routine (minus the shower part)."
What about you? What's the one beauty splurge you could never give up? Sound off below!