Which Products Aren't Worth the Splurge? A Cosmetic Chemist Weighs In

If you’re a beauty junkie, then you know the feeling of coveting a spend-y department store product, cost be damned. Sure, you could buy a similar drugstore version for a third of the price, but the saying “you get what you pay for” rings in your brain. So how do you know when a luxe product’s really worth the splurge, and when its more affordable counterpart is just as good (though, admittedly, not as fancy-schmancy)?

To find out, we turned to Don Frey, a product development executive with a background in chemical engineering, who specializes in beauty and personal care. With 33 years in the biz, he’s helped some of the best-known brands in the world — mass and prestige labels alike—develop a variety of beauty products, including nail polish, eyeliner and hand soap. If anyone knows which pricey products deserve your hard-earned cash and which ones don’t, it’s Frey.

Keep scrolling for your definitive money-saving beauty guide to beauty!