Living in Dubai, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beauty buys. With countless skincare brands making too-good-to-be-true claims, and new products popping up every week — this article will help you identify when to save vs. when to splurge.
But before we begin, let me put it simply:
it’s never the case that cheap = bad, and anything expensive = good.
So while it’s tempting to assume that all high-end cosmetics that are overpriced are more trustworthy; you’d be surprised to know that even today, some of my trusted beauty products are actually the ones that fits nicely into my monthly budget. This includes my cleansers, toners and face oils. However, I make a tiny exception with my serums and anti-aging creams. I generally find that these are the two special areas that are worth digging deeper in my pocket for, and finding the right serum for your skin type is the equivalent of hitting the beauty jackpot!
Read on to find out which products you should buy at the drugstore, and which products are worth the splurge.
If you’re looking to save on a daily cleanser that does the basics, make sure you check out our favourite drugstore recommendations here and here. Pharmacy brands like CeraVe, Bioderma, Cetaphil, Vichy and La Roche Posay have high quality products at an extremely affordable price. In fact, for the uninitiated, Pharmacies are known to offer “best buys” that are 30-50% off, so the next time you visit your pharmacist, make sure you ask them to update you about on-going promotions and deals.
Yes, toners help to balance your skin’s pH level and it preps up your skin for the targeted treatments. Having said that, unless your toner has a specific ingredient that your skin REALLY needs, don’t overspend in this area.
The reason being that, since most of it evaporates off your skin, it does very little for hydration and/or exfoliation purposes. The key takeaway point here is that your skin can get the same benefit if you’re using the same ingredient in a serum form. Personally, I find myself using a salicylic acid based toner occasionally to clear up any skin congestion. Again, it’s more of a preference I must say. But if you’re tight on a budget, you may skip this step entirely.
If you’re going to splurge on just one item in your skincare routine, then I’d suggest you pick a rich moisturizer that’s packed with powerful ingredients and offers tons of hydration. There is such a wide variety of moisturizer options for you to choose from, but eventually it all depends on your skin type, skin concerns and budget.
I’d recommend you take a quick read through our moisturizer round-ups for dry, oily and acne-prone skin types. Alternatively, check out this link for vegan and natural moisturizers. If anything, remember, moisturizing your skin while it’s still damp is the key for locking in all that moisture.
This is a no-compromise area in my routine and it’s where I’d recommend that you make the biggest splurge. Serums are formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients which helps target the treatment to your skin’s specific needs. There’s an ingredient for all your skin concerns, from hyaluronic acid to retinols, niacinamide and vitamin C. Make sure you identify what your main skin concern is and choose the best serum for that purpose.
Cleansing Wipes: save
Yes, they’re convenient and travel friendly. But here’s the deal: given the choice, please skip using any cleansing wipes. If you’re using it for removing your makeup, then remember — all that the wipes can do, is smear around your waterproof makeup. And while you might lift some of it off, a considerable portion of it is still left behind. Eventually at the end of the day, your skin will have a buildup of dirt, oil and makeup – which can make your complexion appear more dull, congested and yes, clogged.
Face Mists: save
If you want to save money and streamline your skincare routine to just two or three main products, you can totally skip this one again. In fact, I would rather recommend you apply a hyaluronic acid serum or a moisturizer packed with ceramides instead. But if you still want to use it, make sure you spritz it before applying your serum and moisturizer. Putting facial mists on top of your serums can dilute the active ingredients and minimize contact time with your skin.
Lip Balms: save
From experience I can tell you, Pharmacies again, have the best drugstore lip balms that are both affordable and effective. Whatever your preferences are, remember, it should not cost you more than $10 a pop.
Sheet Masks: save
Given the fact that we have so many affordable and effective sheet masks out there, you can opt for a drugstore alternative at any given time. If you’d ask me, I prefer the hydrogel and bio-cellulose sheet masks with skin soothing ingredients but with no alcohol in them. Again, consider it more of a once weekly treat for your tired skin, rather than an essential daily anti-aging ritual. In any case, I would never suggest paying more than $10 for them.
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