Which Part Of My Skincare Routine Is Worth Splurging On?

It varies! If you have dry skin, moisturizer is usually the product you'll want to invest the most in. If you're acne-prone, soothing products and spot treatments will probably be your most important buys, etc. Having a system that works for you is really the most important thing, though—regardless of price. We love the Somme Institute system, but we also have nothing but great things to say about CeraVe Moisturizer and Cetaphil Cleanser.

If you have a specific skin concern, visiting a dermatologist is the best thing you can do, though. Products make all kinds of claims, but a doctor can evaluate what the roots of your skin's issues actually are.

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  • beehyba

    Mine is actually Estee Lauder advanced night repair serum. I'm a college student so that I can't actually spend much money to buy tons of expensive skin care. However, I feel like having one expensive skin care product that actually works for me is okay. I have an acne prone skin. And every time I get acne it always leave marks on my face. But the Advanced Night Repair works really well. It calms my skin (and my acne of course) down, and it heals the redness and marks. For me its definitely worth splurging on!!! I literally cannot live without this product!

  • Tijan Serena

    I find for me that dark spots and pigmentation are my real issue so I invest in a serum that will help that. I LOVE Sunday Riley's Good Genes, it's pretty pricey but it clarifies, exfoliates and brightens my dark spots without irritating my sensitive skin.

    For the rest of my skincare I stick to French pharmacy brands like La Roche Posay and Bioderma - affordable yet really effective!

    • zldn

      You can try Lancome's Visionare (sp?) too, it's a little cheaper but amazing at fading dark spots!

    • Poulette

      If you can get your hands on it, Alpha Hydrox makes a 14% Glycolic serum that's excellent. Like you, hyper pigmentation is my bug bear & I've had great results from Good Genes. But I cannot deny the power of this drugstore option.

      Also a great vitamin C serum & sunscreen. I am a fan of the Snowberry ones. Otherwise they all come back!

  • book of pretty

    Eve Lom Balm Cleanser is outrageously expensive--and a cleanser is really the last thing your should drop major $ on--but it is so gorgeous. Also, serums, like something with a high level of hyalruonic acid, Vitamin C, or whatever your skin needs, are a better bet than buying a very expensive moisturizer.Think of moisturizer as something to seal in your treatment products, not the product that's going to work the hardest for you.

    That said, there's nothing like having a good esthetician on call.

  • ikillplants

    I have combo skin, and generally try to treat it gently: Boscia cleansers and gel moisturizer, Dermalogica masks (hydrating and an exfoliating one with lactic acid), Josie Maran argan oil in its pure form and as an SPF. DYING to try the SK-II "Hannibal Lecter" masks.

  • ais

    i have the same skin combo. THANK YOU for the recommendation. hope it works

    • Merrill

      I recommend the kind by Life-Flo Health Care (it comes in a green box-- blue glass bottle), though I hear good things about the kind from Mountain Rose Herbs. I mist my face with a hydrosol before applying (though plain water works fine), as I feel like the oil applies more evenly if my face is slightly damp. I hope it works out for you :)

      • Aubrey Green

        I have the same type of skin too. Will definitely try this.

  • Tracy gray

    Sunblock. Luzern of Switzerland's is the best. Just mix a smidge of Marie Veronique tinted sunblock to take away the white cast.instant healthy base and sun protection. No zits I promise!

  • Elias C

    I would have to say Biologique Recherche. Ive been using the Lotion P50 1970 & Lait U for a while now and my skin is perfection.

    • hellestorm

      I agree 100%! Biologique Recherche is the best. I've stopped looking - and that's saying something.

  • Inkygrl

    Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. Simply the best. Leaves skin clean, soft and glowing, without that tight itchy feeling that many foaming cleansers leave. Plus it smells amazing and feels so luxurious as you massage it into your skin. Removes every trace of makeup and pore-clogging grime from the day. I love it.

  • SoutheastAsiaExpat

    My current splurges are skII products - the masks and their cellumination essence (a serum). I live in Asia, so the products are slightly more reasonably priced than in the states. My skin glows with the stuff, so I think it was a good investment to have made.

    • femme_noir

      God, I would love to try their products (especially those masks!), but I can't bring myself to do it.

  • Restless Blonde

    I have to say that Cetaphil was the first skin that caused skin sensitization to me... And I still don't know why. I spend quite lots of money on moisturizers and serums. Other things - like wash products are just now worth much money.

    • anonymous

      Cetaphil has some known irritants, including sodium lauryl sulfate, methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. Try Avene's Extremely Gentle Cleansing Lotion - no bad stuff there and affordable.

    • Madalyn

      My dermatologist recommended Cetaphil and CeraVe when I was struggling with cystic acne. After trying every prescription out there (excluding Accutane) and not finding a solution, I started seeing an esthetician who told me to stop using those products immediately and introduced me to Skinceuticals .

      After a month or so, I saw a HUGE improvement and I wasn't constantly drying my skin out and attacking it with harsh topicals. I've added other products to my regimen but the LHA cleanser and Daily Moisturizer (mixed with B5 gel if your skin is particularly dry) were a great place to start. It's a little pricey but skincare is a great investment.

  • Amanda

    I splurge in two areas: 1) a strong reparative moisturizer; right now I love Avene Cicalfate; and 2) a reliable volumizing spritz for my limp hair; lately using the Pureology Instant Levitation.

  • dana

    Can you tell us if you find a cheaper version of CE Ferulic?

    • anonymous

      Paula's Choice has one that is around $35, I think. The ingredients lists are nearly identical.

    • murt

      My mom was using the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, but she tried the Silk Naturals Super Serum, and she says it is working just as well - she really likes it.

  • Adriana

    If it's well-formulated and effective, then yes. But if what you're paying for is the packaging, the branding/marketing, and a bunch of "patented" non-ingredients and extra bells and whistles like luxe scents (that'll only irritate your skin in the long run) then absolutely NOT.

    If it's in a jar packaging, it's not worth it since those ingredients won't remain stable and effective for very long after opening.

    If it contains mostly mineral oil, I won't splurge. Mineral oil is cheap, there's no reason a product should cost $80 that's just insulting.

  • Erica Rae Deutsch

    Did you have to go to a dermatologist/spa to buy this? Everywhere I look for it requires some sort of log in so it seems sort of difficult to come by, but i've been dying to try it!

    • B

      I got it at EF Medispa in the UK. If you're in the US, I think rescue spa does it. WORTH a try and WORTH the hassle!

      • Tee

        Hi, do you need to book a consultation to buy the products?

  • Alison Truax

    A collection of expensive (on this girl's budget) organic oils used to concoct my own personalized natural facial oil moisturizer. This alongside cleansing with Kari Gran cleansing oil. My skin is sooooo happy. Since my teens my skin has always been acneic and troublesome and for the first time in my life I haven't seen a single pimple in weeks. I never thought I'd hear the words "You're glowing." Yup.
    Sea buckthorn seed oil, rose hip seed oil, emu oil, tamanu oil, and evening primrose oil, a couple of essential oils & jojoba from vitacost mixed up in a dark 1 oz glass dropper from Sprouts definitely added up to the equivalent of a spendy lotion or cream.

  • Allison

    After reading advice from the lovely Caroline Hirons and experimenting with products across price ranges, I've learned that the most high tech moisturizers or luxurious cleansers won't do much if you don't do the prep work and exfoliate and treat thoughtfully. As a woman in my mid 20s, I'd rather save a bit on my cleanser and moisturizer and go all out with toners and serums. My biggest splurges are Biologique Recherche P50, Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, Liquid Gold and the Kate Sommerville Quench serum.

  • mlle p

    I love the Algenist range, but the price is so high that I try to cadge samples from any place that sells it - wish I had a friend in the beauty biz!

  • heysarajean

    I splurge on the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, it's amazing.

    • kacey

      I used to buy Caudalie products too. I hate that they started testing on animals.

  • Kira

    Somme Institute. I have the pads and serum and just ordered the a-bomb moisturizer. If I had to pick one item in my skin care regimen to splurge on though, it would definitely be the transport pads; they give immediate results.

  • Brandi

    I definitely believe in the power of: a good dermatologist to get through serious skin issues and a good facialist to bring skin to a 10. Outside of that, splurge in good healthy foods that give that glow from within.

    My current skincare is very comprehensive and has changes to suit how my skin feels every day. I think this is the best way. There are 3 lines I use, Skinceuticals (very scientific, vitamin and antioxidant focused), Biologique Recherche (pricey but quality line), and YULI (innovative scientific line that is chirally correct and natural). They have given me skin that stops even the people at beauty counters to ask what I use.

    • MSR

      Details on your current routine please! Sounds like you have a great method.

  • MSR

    I have started using PTR stuff and it is so good and worth the money. I have the 10% sulfur masque and also the acne treatment gel with 2% salicylic acid and 10% AHA. Both products feel so gentle and effective—my skin is getting clearer all the time. I have been wondering about the pads so it’s good to hear from someone who loves them!

  • Juan Jaar

    I'd probably say the biggest investment should be intensive treatments (I.E. Serums ect.). I tried the Dior Snow night serum a few years back, which was INCREDIBLY expensive for me at the time... I told myself wait a week, then return it (how awful of me, I know). The 7 day mark came, which is when your skin is supposed to have 'accepted' any new skincare changes and begins to show you what it's doing for you. The results I saw almost seemed impossible, acne scars I have had for years were significantly diminished and EVERYONE was commenting on how my skin looked... needless to say I didn't return it! So any treatments that are genuinely concentrated enough to be doing something for your skins concern is what I think one should invest in, and I'll also echo someone else's comment and say that the best investment- if it's something in major need of attention or otherwise- is getting someone to guide you, whether it be a dermatologist or otherwise.

  • Laura Mitchell

    Somme Institute and regular facials with microderm! (and the occasional botox syringe for my forehead lines)

  • lemonpie

    Face oil! I don't even need a moisturizer anymore! I currently love RMS beauty oil, but there are so many great options out there.

  • garliclovers

    Splurge on Biologique Recherché. Period. Especially P50, you'll love it more than your pair of favorite jeans. Glow in a bottle. A miracle. Just buy it my friends.

  • Bagmad

    I'm in my 40s and have to bring out the big guns. I have been using Perricone MD for the past 6 months and like the results. My face is smooth, glowing and firm and I look 10 years younger. I believe in this brand because they don't fluff about with the ingredients and give you solid ingredients that have been proven to be effective such as vitamin C ester, alpha lipoic acid, DMAE. I also believe in facial massages which I do myself every evening. It is important to do massages to prevent sagging and the dreaded jowls. What we put into our bodies is as important. I have a green smoothie every morning (alternating between kale, spinach and romaine lettuce and a bit of fruit), avoid sugar and white flour/processed foods and take supplements as well, such as fish oil, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid. Yes, it all adds up and is not cheap and the regimen is time consuming but I think it's worth it as we only have one face!

  • Monique Vanni

    Only for superpotent vitamin C, like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. Otherwise, there are only two things that truly work: retinol that you can buy super cheap with a prescription, and sunblock, also super cheap. Save your money for nice make-up, like foundation, where it really matters.

  • kacey

    Thank you for posting a link to that article. So Caudalie conducts no animal tests of their own, but they allow the Chinese government to conduct animal testing on their behalf.

    Here's a good link to use if you're wondering whether your brand tests on animals:

    • Kelly Holton Irons

      So sad. I love Caudalie but stopped purchasing because of this. :(

  • Madalyn

    Does anyone have an opinion on these vs the Somme Institute transport pads?

  • ThoughtsofGlam

    definitely a good moisturizer and eye cream. Those two things are key in making your skin look its best and provide a clear canvas for makeup you are about to put on.

  • bluesky557

    Please don't scrub with baking soda. It's much too alkaline for your skin and will disrupt the acid mantle.

  • Ting

    I think that the places to splurge on are serums and treatments. Cleansers if I can choose a third!! Serums and treatments as these tackle the main concerns when it comes to skincare. Moisturisers don't work nearly as hard as a good serum can because it doesn't penetrate into the dermis as far. Cleansers because it can treat the skin and prepare it for serums etc afterwards.

    Ting x

  • Shawna

    Agreed with this advice. I spend nearly nothing on moisturizer and eye cream, because, as long as they're light-weight, they're all the same to my oily skin, but I spend a good deal on vitamin a and c serums and glycolic peels, and I spend waaaay too much on anti-acne face wash (but it works!). My friend with dry skin, on the other hand, just threw down $$$ for a nice moisturizer but uses cetaphil and loves it. I asked a esthetician with good ratings for advice, and recommend that, too.

  • Wish

    I suggest splurging on a nice sunscreen that will motivate you to actually wear it daily. Get one that doesn't irritate you or break you out. I love Shiseido Urban Environments. It's weightless-- leaves no white cast and feels like I'm wearing nothing. The packaging is beautiful too. I actually WANT to put that on my face every day.

  • Wish

    Personally, I can never bring myself to splurge on a high end cleanser. Cetaphil (the one for normal to oily) leaves my sensitive combo skin glowing every day. Sometimes I get attracted to the idea of a fancy, expensive cleanser, but I just can't do it. It feels like pouring money down the drain. I'd rather spend my money on a product that sits and sinks into the face like an essence or moisturizer.

  • Arjita Shrimali

    Cleanser! As I get older, I've noticed that my skin has gone from oily to dry, and in the past, my cleanser has dried out my skin even more. Especially with make up, toxins in the air, and a stressful day, I've found it important to splurge on a good cleanser. I especially like the Ageless La Cure Hydrating Cleanser by Phyto 5. It's a super hydrating and nourishing foam cleanser. The best part is that it's organic certified with verbena flower water, apricot kernal oil and sodium cocoyl glutamate (which comes from coconut).

  • Jasmine

    Skin care is huge for me since I am prone to breakouts and have very sensitive skin (allergies, dry skin, oily skin, you name it, it occurs somewhere on my face). I buy quality moisturizer, serums, foundations and chapstick (all from Bobbi Brown) but I tend to save on things like eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow and lipstick since those areas aren't very sensitive.