Affordable Versus High-End Beauty Products - Which Is Better?

Last updated on : June 27 2021

Makeup brush and decorative cosmetics on color background

Article Summary

Flip through popular magazines. Scroll through your Instagram feed. And you might think you need all those name brand beauty products to be the most radiant you possible.

But are expensive name brands much better than the ones you find in your local supermarket? You may be shocked at what the more affordable options have to offer.

Our beauty regimes are essential. But is it necessary to take out a second mortgage? Or a line of credit? To make sure we stay our most beautiful selves?

Take a look at what we found out as we break down some of the core pieces to your beauty regime - click on the links to learn more.

Skin Care


Final Thoughts 

Skin Care

Woman with freckles applying sunscreen on face

A painter’s best tool is a good canvas. If you think of your skin like that, then the maintenance and upkeep of your skin should be high on your to-do list daily.

It may even make sense to spend a little extra cash.

With all their pretty packaging and celebrity spokespeople the big names certainly think the same thing.

But what about the experts?

Dermatologists tell you the ingredients, reviews, and clinical test outcomes are the most important aspect to look at when purchasing your skin care products.

So according to the experts, the price has nothing to do with the effectiveness. Still, you want to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

So, what are some of the critical components to a good skin care routine?

Here are four suggestions that we feel are most important:

Retinol Treatment

Retinol is a trendy product in the anti-aging skin care game. For a good reason, it is super useful.

Retinol makes friends with your skin on a cellular level and can result in many benefits including more radiant skin.

But it is one piece of your regime that can cost you the most.

Retinol treatments typically range from $20 to $30.

However, there is a price threshold that can lead you into paying too much. Once you break through $50, you are likely paying for the marketing, not the effectiveness.

Facial Scrub

The best facial scrubs are the sugar-based ones. They do tend to be a little on the pricier side though. Some scrubs can cost as much as $60.

If that is outside your budget don’t worry. Bargain deal scrubs are just as effective as high-end, but check the ingredients to ensure you are getting the same.

Or make your scrub for the last saving.

Daily Moisturizer

Hydration is the key to almost everything. Your skin is no different than the rest of your body and needs a good daily moisturizer.

Most of us hydrate well with a good everyday lotion. Those of us that need a little extra help combating dry skin or age might look for more active ingredients, in particular, Royal Jelly.

A byproduct of honey creation, Royal Jelly is found in both affordable and high-end products. It is rich in antioxidants which help create collagen and moisture content.

You can spend a fortune on Royal Jelly or merely bust out the good old Burt’s Bees version and take the stress off your wallet. It's the active ingredients that count, not the brand name. 


There is nothing more detrimental to your skin’s health than the harsh rays of the sun.

If you are smart with your money, you can find an affordable sunscreen that doubles as your daily moisturizer.

Dermatologists agree that you don't need to shell out $36 plus dollars for some of the more expensive sunscreens. You will be fine with cheaper versions containing the same active ingredients. 

It’s important to protect yourself from nasty UV rays with a good SPF. A good SPF will take care of your skin. And you don’t need to break the bank to do it.


Make up products spilling out of a pastel pink cosmetic bag

Manufacturers make high-end make-up with more vibrant colors or unique fragrances. However, often the ingredients are the same as the $5 piece you pick up at your local drugstore.

This similarity means the decision to buy cheap or expensive is in your hands. It's your budget, your priorities.

Here are some things to consider before we look at the must-have basics:

Don't compare apples to oranges

Although the ingredients might be the same, some might come from natural sources and others synthesized in a lab. The difference between the two can lead to a variation in price.

Affordable brands may have more synthetic ingredients making them the budget-friendly option. Their high-end counterparts will have fewer fillers and more natural ingredients.

Go with your conscience and your budget spending point. 

The more, the merrier

Additionally, the same ingredients but in a different mix will cause price variations. Cosmetic companies have different formulas, and the various product recipes contribute to price differences.

Checking ingredient labels and understanding what active ingredient benefits you most is the solution to this problem.

Whatever you decide there are a few essential items that should be in your kit:


Having beautiful, long lashes is a necessity in even the most natural look. And having lashes like this doesn't have to break the bank.

Sure, you can spend $15 on high-end mascara, and it will work just fine. But the mass market brands like Maybelline and Covergirl give you the same lush of lashes.

The only difference is the significantly cheaper cost. So, take the $10 you saved and buy yourself lunch.


It is paramount you pick the right foundation. If you do not the rest of the work you do will be for nothing.

So depending on your needs, you might want to spend a little extra on foundation than usual. A high-end foundation like La Mer or Urban Decay is a good investment. 

Affordable foundations do not offer as wide a selection of shades as their high-end cousins. Plus, most drugstore brands don't allow you to test before purchasing.

For those that have trouble matching their skin tone, high-end foundations offer a better choice.

However, if you have healthy skin then check out some affordable options as they work just as well.


There are many different shades, and types of eyeliners out there today.

The good news for us is that many of the affordable versions are just as good as the high-end ones. The quality difference is so slight that the primary consideration is the price.

You can buy a good eyeliner for as low as $5.


What do you want from your lipstick?

That’s what you should ask yourself before deciding between the budget or high-end brand.

Do you mind having a little transfer? How about drying or fading? If you are okay with these things, then the affordable lipstick will work just fine for you.

If on the other hand, you are not good with these issues. Then splurging on your lipstick is well worth it.

Now all that is left to consider in our beauty products breakdown is hair.


Young woman deciding on a new conditioner for hair

Is buying a $75 hair product that much different from a $12 one?

Unfortunately for the more budget minded individual, the answer is going to be disappointing. The answer is yes. Indeed when it comes to the styling products and often when it comes to the basics like shampoo and conditioner. 


Not everyone uses the tons of product others do, but everyone uses shampoo and conditioner.

Are expensive shampoos and conditioners you find at the salon worth the hefty price tag?

Higher priced salon alternatives generally have a higher concentration of ingredients intended to heal your hair. Cheaper versions tend to contain elements that give you a false sense of security - things like parabens, sulfates, and silicones.

Parabens, sulfates, and silicones make you think your hair is beautiful and healthy, but they are not benefiting it.

Skimping on your hair products may cause more damage than you know.

So, if you are looking for a place in your beauty regime to splurge a little consider doing so on your hair.

Final Thoughts 

By mixing and matching to meet your needs, you can watch your budget and still get the results from each beauty product your purchase.

A hefty price tag does not mean that it is the best option. Nor does a smaller price point mean it is saving you money.

The answer is easy - the best way to handle the affordable vs. high-end beauty product question is to think about what you need from each product, and whether the cheaper product offers what you need.  

And then all that’s left is to hit the shops.

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