Are Those 'Must-Have' Beauty Products Really Worth It?


by Natasha Hatherall-Shawe


I don’t know about you, but I find myself asking “Is it worth it” a lot when I’m standing in the beauty section of the department store or on my favourite online stores for beauty Ounass, Sephora or Cult Beauty. Maybe it’s an age thing, but the days of a $20 face cream being seen as “enough” are long gone over here and instead I find myself wondering if all my anti-aging woes do lie in the $500 pot, tool or $2000 facial.


Navigating the beauty world can be tricky. It’s filled with innovation, constant new launches and the marketing all makes you believe you “need it” and “right now”. The beauty industry would of course have you believe that an expensive 10-step skincare regime is the answer to all your life problems, but as we know it’s not always practical or possible to splurge thousands on products. I’ve worked in the beauty marketing industry for over 20 years now and I have lots of different feelings and views here, and whilst I’m no chemist, doctor or aesthetician I thought I’d tell you my thoughts today on the basis of what I do believe to be true.


Buy the best you can afford

There are bandings and price points to every product or beauty option. Work out what you can allocate to your skincare regime and stick to it. Beauty products and extreme facials are not worth getting in debt for or putting the rest of your life in a harder place. Losing sleep over debt will be far worse for your skin I promise you!

There are great products at all price points, so work out what you can spend on beauty products and stick to it. It's all about priorities too and for one person investing in their skin and skincare regime may be a must have, but less so to others. If you can afford expensive skincare and it makes you happy, then do it. If you can’t, then make the best choices you can for your budget to get the best results. I know it can be all too easy to get carried away and splurge here, but keep your head on!


Check out the dupes

Pretty much every cult-favourite beauty product has an affordable alternative – a “dupe”. Whilst it may not be exactly the same, it is definitely worth looking at if you want the product efficacy without the price tag.


Let’s take one example and see what it means…


Retinol – one of the most talked about ingredients right now. Do we even have a skincare regime if we don’t have a retinol in it?! There are so many products at all levels here, so let’s compare Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($150) vs Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil ($90). At a basic level the Sunday Riley product which is one of their best sellers (and it is amazing by the way!) has 10% more retinol in it than the Neutrogena alternative. So, on a basic level Sunday Riley is more “active”, but there are many other factors at play too such as what else the product includes. For example, if you add a vitamin C with retinol, it makes it more effective even if the product’s retinol concentration isn’t as high. People get sucked into marketing claims, but often there is only so much topical ingredients can do.


Get a proper regime

I am very passionate about advocating for a proper skincare regime and something I’ve seen many do is spend all their money on an expensive moisturizer or serum and then just use that and think that alone is enough. Invest in a proper regime whatever your budget level and stick to it, as proper cleansing, moisturing and care will make more of a difference to your skin than one product alone.


So, when it comes to the question “is it worth it”, there really is no simple answer as there are so many factors involved. But what I do know is that no single expensive product is going to fix all your skin woes and keep you looking twenty – if only! That said, some of the cheaper bargain options can be just as effective as the more expensive ones and better for your bank too, so definitely don’t make all your decisions based on price alone as expensive doesn’t always mean best.


We’re all different – our skin, our concerns, our values, and ultimately our bank balance and as such you need to do what feels right to you rather than what an influencer, magazine or marketing tells you to do.


Good luck – may the force be with you!