11 Beauty Upgrades Worth the Money

Wendy Rodewald
11 Beauty Upgrades Worth the Money
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Some of our favorite beauty products are drugstore discoveries, but even though we appreciate an affordable score, there are some instances where spending a bit more is justified. When something really works and there's just no "dupe" or stand-in that can replace it, we're happy to shell out funds for an all star product that we just can't live without. Here are a few of our all-time favorite staples that, in our opinions, are totally worth their price tags.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50, sephora.com)

Why spend over $20 on lip balm when you can buy a tube at the drugstore for a buck? Simple: This stick’s blend of natural oils, essential fatty acids and vitamins A, C, E has revived our seriously chapped lips when no other treatment worked — and it has SPF to boot. The Rosé shade is the perfect hint of color to instantly add life to any complexion without looking like you're wearing makeup.

Read more: 5 Natural-Looking Lip Colors Every Woman Should Own

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($29.50, kiehls.com)

While other lotions are either too greasy or too watery, this body moisturizer has a just-right consistency and gives the perfect sheen to exposed skin. We swear nothing else makes our legs look as sexy in a skirt.

Read more: Tips to Keep Skin Hydrated All Winter

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($39, oribe.com)

This dry shampoo-like product is basically the holy grail of second (or third, or fourth…) day hair, and a little goes a long way when it comes to fighting greasy roots. You’ll see a bottle of this on many a beauty editor’s desk, and for good reason: it really works.

Read more: 6 New Ways to Use Dry Shampoo

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42 ($30, shiseido.com)

Yes, this tiny tube is pricier than drugstore versions. But we still can’t believe this lightweight, mattifying fluid is a sunscreen — it feels more like a serum-lotion hybrid and leaves skin looking poreless and shine-free. A godsend for oily complexions.

Read more: Skin Mistakes That Make You Look Older

Caudalíe Premiere Cru The Cream ($155, us.caudalie.com)

Not all moisturizers actually make you feel like you're doing something good for your skin, but this product leaves you with a noticeable glow (and is a must for anyone who suffers from redness). The formula contains all of the brand's patented ingredients — resveratrol, polyphenols and Viniferine — which means you're getting plenty of bang for the buck. (See also: Caudalíe Beauty Elixir.) 

Read more: 10 Beauty Habits You Should Be Doing Every Night—And Aren't

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat ($40, yslbeautyus.com)

The original — and best — luminizer pen is an insurance policy against unflattering lighting. A few swipes over the high points of the face gives instant, lit-from-within luminosity. Everything else we’ve tried is too shiny, shimmery or invisible. Plus, it basically erases those aging nasolabial folds, or smile lines, on either side of the mouth (who needs fillers?).

Read more: 10 Things Every Woman Needs in Her Makeup Wardrobe

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner ($27 each, pureology.com for salons)

If your hair is colored or dry (or let’s face it, both), this shampoo and conditioner duo is worth the splurge. The iridescent purple shampoo is concentrated, so you only need a tiny amount to whip up a rich, luxuriously scented (but not overpowering) lather. The peppermint-infused conditioner detangles like a dream and makes our hair shinier than any other we've tried. And since the brand specializes in color-preserving products, we consider them an investment in the longevity of our hair’s hue.

Read more: How to Wash Your Hair—The Right Way

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipstick ($50, lipstickqueen.com)

We’re not sure how Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King managed to create such a richly pigmented, featherweight formula, but we’re obsessed. The lightest tap of this bullet against your lip gives such intense color payoff that it’s almost unbelievable. And the weighty gilded case will make you feel like a vintage siren.

Read more: Find the Best Lipstick Color for Your Skin Tone

Clarisonic Cleansing Device ($125-$235, clarisonic.com)

Cheaper products lack the features that make the Clarisonic great, like the built-in timer that tells you how long to cleanse each area and the brush’s ultra-fast — and effective — oscillating motion (lesser versions just spin around in a circle). While the cleansing system can be irritating to some skin types, we know plenty of people who consider the Clarisonic a life-changer, and worth every penny.

Read more: Crucial Beauty Advice You Need to Follow After 30

Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum ($135, chanel.com)

There’s a reason this serum is a staple in celebrity makeup artists’ kits: The consistency is so lightweight, it's perfect for applying under makeup and hydrates without making skin oily.

Read more: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Great Skin

Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara ($32, sephora.com) Drugstore mascara is a complete hit or miss, but one coat of this mascara leaves lashes looking bigger and bolder than you've ever experienced. The ultimate volume booster. Read more: The Best Mascaras for Lush Lashes

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