Skincare can really start to eke up the price of your monthly expenses—that we know—and not all of it is worth it. In fact, there are tons of drugstore alternatives that are effective and far less costly (like this sheet mask and these moisturizers). But, every so often, those prestige products are really worth their salt, and they actually make a huge difference in your skin, be it in regard to wrinkles, plumpness, hydration, or the like.
So, in order to offer the best possible options for when you're willing to make the splurge, we rounded up the investment beauty products that are really worth it. From serums and night creams to eye balms and toners, here are the skincare investment pieces worth turning over your credit card.
Erin Jahns, assistant editor
"According to the brand (and, with correct usage, roughly two pumps applied to dry, clean skin morning and night), you'll notice positive differences in the skin both immediately and in the long term. So, obviously, Editorial Director Faith Xue; my 70-year-old makeup artist mother, Elise; and I all had to try the cream to see how our skin would fare. The literature claims users will notice an almost immediate improvement in brightness, plumpness, and hydration. Then, with diligent usage, one can expect a decrease in things like wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and redness as time goes on, in addition to a consistent increase in overall skin health, elasticity, and even skin tone. Interestingly, across the board, all three of us noticed the impressive results the brand claimed we would notice immediately, like improved brightness, hydration, and plumpness."
"As far as eye creams go, this game changer is actually on the less extreme side of the spectrum as far as price point goes. I've experimented with handfuls upon handfuls of formulas over the years (forever on a quest to nix my stubborn dark circles), and nothing has worked as instantaneously and long-term as this pretty brightening potion. It's better than creams and gels I've tried triple the price, and while it's still not child's play for your wallet, it's worth every single penny. It's one my one steady on no-makeup days."
Hallie Gould, senior editor
"I've probably written about my love for Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50 1970 about as many days as I've been at this job. That's because, well, it changed my life. And I presume it could change yours. I drench a cotton pad with the bottle's contents and swipe it carefully over my face (twice a day, as suggested by my facialist) and feel a flush of tingling. It's a sensation that doesn't hurt or feel uncomfortable, but instead, it feels satisfying and exciting in that 'I can tell this is working' kind of way. It balances your skin's pH, erases dark spots, shrinks the look of pores, and evens your skin over time. It's amazing."
"The combination of ferulic acid and pure vitamin C and E enhances your skin's protection against environmental damage caused by free radicals—which is great. But, it also improves signs of aging and photodamage, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and brightens your complexion each time you use it. I'm pretty sure it's one of the more life-changing products I've ever used and you'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands."
"I found and fell in love with Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum ($250), a concentrate sent from the gods to rebalance and calm any irritated skin and help reduce redness. It's an active plant-based complex that works to strengthen your skin's natural defenses, minimizing a sensitized reaction (in this case, the irritation I experience post–make out). Purslane (one of the line's hero ingredients) calms inflammation and protects your skin."
Lindsey Metrus, managing editor
"I'm really convinced the reason my forehead wrinkles aren't deeper or more visible is due largely to using this stuff religiously. My 60-year-old mom was using it continuously, and it looked like she got a mini neck-lift. BioEffect isn't just any anti-aging line: It's engineered with Nobel Prize–winning science and 10 years of biotechnology that helps you practically age in reverse. Word broke that the line was so successful at helping women look younger that the brand quickly spread across Europe and now the U.S. The active ingredient in BioEffect is human-like epidermal growth factor grown in barley plants using patent-pending biotechnology."
Faith Xue, editorial director
"Impatience is a virtue I possess in excess, which means that when I use a skincare product, I expect to see some sort of result immediately the next day. This overnight cream from Clark's Botanicals has become a staple in my nighttime routine because it actually makes a noticeable difference in the brightness and smoothness of my skin even after just one use. Plus, it's made with mostly natural ingredients and contains colloidal oatmeal to soothe any irritation if you're usually sensitive retinol. Last but not least, it smells sort of like marshmallows, which makes it a delight to use. Yes, it's pricey, but considering the fact that I'll often use it as my sole skincare product after cleansing and it can technically replace your serum, moisturizer and overnight mask, I'd say it's worth it."
"As I mentioned before, I'm all about skincare products that give me instant results. This mask from Kora is made with papaya enzymes for gentle brightening and exfoliation, as well as rosehip seeds to give you physical exfoliation. The peppermint oil makes you feel like you're at a spa (and is great for early mornings when you're feeling groggy). The ingredients list is super-clean, and the turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory. It feels slightly tingly when you first apply, and you can apply it directly in the shower like Miranda Kerr does to ensure your skin is soaking up the benefits. My skin feels as smooth and clear as a baby's butt every time after I use it, which makes me wholeheartedly recommend it as a worthy purchase."
Maya Allen, assistant editor
"My skin will never be the same after using this cream created by Dr. Barbara Sturm for darker skin tones. I ruled out all face creams before this—I was convinced my abnormally small pores would perpetually reject all creams, which ended up clogging my pores and causing annoying pimples. This lightweight cream feels like a silky, fluffy pillow every time I lather it all over my face. And it's specially formulated for evening out deep complexions and fading dark spots, which is my number one skin concern. I've been using this on a daily for the past few months and have noticed a dramatic difference with my hyperpigmentation."