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Do you tend to spend more on individual skin care or makeup products?

For me, it’s definitely makeup. And while that may be initially surprising, considering this is a skin care blog, hopefully you’ll be able to understand why this response my response after reading this through. I find myself shelling out $40-$50 for a single foundation, but not even looking at similarly priced skin care. For example, I’ll buy Laura Mercier foundations, but not their face cream.

Here’s my reasoning:

1. Ingredient-based reviews and analyses are more or less, effective for skin care because I can evaluate the efficacy of a product based on the documented ingredients present. However for makeup, the ingredients, many of which are the same like cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, various methacrylates, etc., don’t tell my anything about the texture, color, longevity, ability to blend, or compatibility. Therefore, I have to try products in order to properly evaluate them, which leads to my second point.

2. Since I only wear face products like foundation, concealer, powder, contour, and brow-filler, these products have to be tested for color, wear-time, and other aspects. Drugstore products, while significantly cheaper, don’t have testers available and I can’t get samples. Therefore, I’d rather spend the extra money at the department store for the opportunity and ease of the entire process of finding that “perfect” one or two products. (I’m basically buying that opportunity.)

3. Again, because ingredients-based reviews (which are the only unbiased source of information for skin care) can’t be applied for makeup products, I can only rely on personal (biased) reviews and hype, so to speak. So if one of my favorite beauty gurus, like RAEview on Youtube, says that she loves the new Lancome Teint Idole 24-H foundation, because I respect her opinion and her higher-than-average pedagogical approach to makeup, I’d be more likely to try that out and even like it. (Think placebo or groupthink effects).

4. Because I never have to shop for or consider products like lip glosses, lipsticks, blushes, eyeshadows, the relevant brushes, highlighters, etc… I feel like I can afford to spend a little more on my few makeup products, because in the end, I’m still spending the same amount as someone who buys everything at the drugstore simply because he/she has more items to purchase. In my head, it’s all about finding an acceptable balance. For skin care, I know that I can find excellent products (like those from Paula’s Choice), so there’s no need for me to look at Estee Lauder, which in case you were wondering, does also have many excellent products.

I hope that all made sense haha! What about you guys? And feel free to leave a long-winded answer. When it comes to comments, the longer the better!

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


10 thoughts on “Do you tend to spend more on individual skin care or makeup products?

  1. OMIGOD I LOVE YOUR BLOG JOHN ❤ (sorry for the caps). I have been obsessively going over all your posts, and the only thing I can say is that I wish you had more, haha.

    For me, I definitely spend more on make-up, but it actually is not that simple. For example, I own loads of eyeshadows, mostly from medium-range brands (e.g Urban Decay or MAC) and some drugstore brands. That's for the colour range.

    But I'll splurge on eye primer (NARS, damn you oily eyelids) and blush (my only Tom Ford product) because of longevity: I'm at work 12 hours a day if not more, and I don't want any of that melting off my face and making me look like a demented corpse. I'll also splurge on foundation: I think I found my HG and it's Guerlain Parure Gold: I wince just thinking at the price, but if I think about it, I gladly pay it. I only use half a pump (sometimes less) for my whole face, and it sheers out beautifully, uniforming my skin (I have rosy patches) and drying down so I can actually touch my face and have my fingers not come back full of foundation. But it also stays on and doesn't cause anything untoward because I put so much stuff underneath, which brings me to skincare.

    My skin is dry, in its original state: if I don't put moisturizer 1 minute after washing my face, it tugs. A lot. But I am also extremely sensitive to fragranced products, and in my teens I've had terrible experiences with HE skincare (for example, my mum got a Dior eye cream sample and my eyes puffed up so much I couldn't open them for 12 hours). I also react badly with quite a few foundations (for example, almost anything MAC and Chanel), and with prescribed skin care (went to a dermatologist when I had two large spots, she said I had acne, prescribed me a cream, and 24 hours later my face was twice its size, my skin started peeling off like I had first degree burns, and it took two weeks for me to come back to normal).

    Anyways, this is a roundabout way of saying I know have quite a few ingrained habits when it comes to skincare: I only use one moisturiser (Avene for sensitive and irritable skin) which contains the bare minimum when it comes to a moisturiser, with no extras. I sometimes add an antioxidant cream afterwards (I've been using ThisWorks Perfect skin Miracle, which smells heavenly). I then layer a SPF on top, which is La Roche Posay tinted cream 50+. The Avene is light and absorbs quickly, but the sunscreen is really rich and emollient. I wish I had something that dried down quicker. And that's basically it! I also wash my face with the Vichy Purifying Foaming cleanser, which I just realised contains SLS! But my skin likes it, and it's not on more than 10 seconds at a time. So i guess it's okay?

    I cannot tell you how many tubes of the Avene I've gone through: I am liberal with it, and am happy it cost around £7 (and I usually buy them when they're on offer, 3 for 2). It's a staple for me, and I'm scared of replacing it or trying anything else, just because of the experiences I had. I'll gladly switch up other things (try new eyeshadows, new blushes, whatever) but skin care? Stay away from my Avene! 😛

    OMIGOD THIS IS SO LONG. I'm sorry?

    Posted by kmk05 (@fat_globule) | May 28, 2012, 2:44 am
    • Hi there!

      Yeah, I too wish that I had more posts! I have so many things planned, but I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had time to write them. There are too many sad, blank, white pages. Lol!

      It seems like you are very peculiar about your makeup and I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve found several HG products. I’m still trying to find mine in a few categories, but I too spend more on makeup than skin care. At least when it comes to how much I’m spending per product. The Parure Gold is also Christine from Temptalia’s favorite, which is from where I’m assuming you found me. I have a sample of it, but I have yet to try it. 😦

      AH! Sorry to hear about the bad reactions. They sound like scary experiences.

      As for the SLS, while I typically don’t recommend it, if your skin responds well to it, then that’s fine! Have you considered that maybe it’s your cleanser that makes your skin so dry that if you don’t put moisturizer after “1 min” your face feels tight? Try experimenting with some more gentle cleansers if you can.

      Also, the ThisWords serum isn’t the best antioxidant serum, and it contains a tiny bit of alcohol, which may or may not be contributing to your dry skin. For the price, there are better ones out there. But again if you’re happy with your routine, that’s great!

      If you haven’t seen my routine reviews in the “Come Out” Series, check those out. If you’d like to have your own routine reviewed, just follow the instructions in the template.

      I hope that helped and welcome, new TripleHelixian! Glad to have such an enthusiastic reader!

      Posted by John | May 28, 2012, 1:29 pm
  2. I tend to spend more on skincare for sure. I feel that for me, skincare is more important, whereas makeup is for aesthetics. I went to the makeup counters a few years ago and the sales ladies said that I shouldn’t buy any face makeup (e.g. foundation, blush, bronzer, etc). I only spend money on eyeshadows, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick/lipgloss, and only mostly drugstore items; my mom loves high-end makeup, on the other hand, and sometimes she gives me some of her stuff!

    However, for me, skincare is very important. I usually only buy drugstore cleansers, moisturizers, etc, but I tend to buy lots of different ones to try out new things. I really really care for my skin, and even though I’m a poor college kid I still try to manage!

    Posted by Med School Girl | March 6, 2012, 6:58 am
    • Thank sounds great! It’s nice to hear someone like skin care more than makeup. I mean the only reason I like skin care more than makeup is because I can help people through it. I personally don’t enjoy applying skin care since it’s a drag haha! But I guess it’s the same with makeup. I’ll be super happy the day I don’t need foundation. So yeah, for me it’s more about what I can do with the information I have, rather than the products themselves. xD

      Posted by John | March 6, 2012, 3:45 pm
  3. What you said definitely makes sense!

    Like you, definitely makeup. I pretty much have the same reasoning as you on skincare products – I can purchase just based on ingredients, and since I can just buy from looking at the ingredients, I know that I can spend less money for excellent products. Also, for me, there is that whole usage mentality. For example, I typically use up a 30mL sunscreen in a month, versus using up a 30mL foundation in a year or 6 months. So, I’d prefer to buy a cheaper sunscreen that I can purchase multiple times a year without breaking the bank. Plus, it also means that I will generously use the skincare products in order to reap maximum benefits, rather than using a tiny amount for the more expensive products (and hence, moderate or minimum benefits). That’s also why I hate buying expensive body products because I have to use SO many pumps/squeezes to cover my entire body, which means I need to buy more. Actually, I think I buy body stuff just as frequently as sunscreen XD

    I think makeup has a huge luxury tag attached to it. So, I suppose, people are more willing to shell out the money for makeup. Whether you buy cheap or expensive products, people think of makeup as a luxury, whereas skincare is more of a necessity (e.g. dry skin is not a good look). Sort of like, I prefer cooking my own food because I know what’s in it and it’s cheaper, but I don’t mind going out to eat every now and then, even though it is more expensive because it tastes and looks great and I’m lazy or if it’s a special event (yeah… that analogy doesn’t really work XD). Also, like I said, people normally buy very few makeup products in their lifetime versus skincare, which gets rationalised in their head. But then again, my skincare cheap-ish XD Some people buy high-end skincare ($900 for a cream?!?!), which may mean that their skincare is more expensive than their makeup.

    Anyway, I think of makeup as a luxury and something to have fun with. Not to say that I don’t buy from drugstore and high-end brands, because I do. I firmly believe that there are good and bad products everywhere, no matter what the price range. But, like you said, it’s nice to have testers to play with in the department store, although where I live, the drugstores/pharmacies usually have testers as well (but not for all the products). So, testing isn’t really the main issue for me. The main reason why I would prefer going to a counter over a drugstore is because I can get samples to try out. With drugstore store brands, I don’t mind buying the product if I think I like it, because it usually isn’t too expensive, but then if the product doesn’t work out, then that’s $10 or whatever wasted, which I could have spent somewhere else. Trying out samples means I can be really sure of a product before handing over a large amount of cash, whereas buying drugstore products usually means that there is a moderate chance that the product won’t work out. And I hate wasting/throwing away products. Plus, I suppose, high-end products usually have more attractive packaging (which is always nice, though not a deciding factor, when it comes to attractiveness) XD

    Have I answered your question yet? No… I don’t think so XD So, yes I do spend more on makeup products. But it’s not necessarily because I buy more high-end makeup. It’s more because I just buy more makeup, haha. There is always some new flashy product being marketed, which will probably make me sit up and look. Let’s compare it to skincare… Yes, there are also lots of new skincare products popping up, but it’s a lot harder to pull the rug over my eyes. Flashy claims don’t really sway me. Lol, I don’t let them sway me. I know that well researched ingredients is key in the product’s performance. More or less, the same ingredients work for everyone (unless you have some sensitivity, etc.). Whereas, like you said, makeup is more about how it works with YOUR skin. One foundation might have more slip or another is less mask-like, etc. I might have a great foundation at home, but maybe this new one is even better. Maybe they’ve found a better way to make it last longer and look more natural. For example, they can make powder so much finer than say, a decade ago. I mostly ignore skincare claims on makeup (unless one of the ingredients has a detrimental effect). I also think it’s because I like to try things. New colours, textures, etc. Since I am a girl, I do like playing with my face, trying new things, different ways/techniques/products to look even better. And of course, I need to buy more things, e.g. lipstick, eyeshadow, etc.

    Skincare sort of disappears, whereas makeup stays on for hours and so it has to look good. Whether I buy drugstore or high-end, it all depends on its appearance on my skin.

    Wow, this is so long ^^;;; You dug your own hole with that last sentence 😛

    Posted by Victoria | March 5, 2012, 7:20 pm
    • Oh my God, I LOVE this! Haha!

      Yes, yes very smart of you to buy cheap sunscreen because you have to use so much to get adequate protection. I’d definitely get a little stingy if my sunscreen cost $50 per ounce. And yeah, my body products are dirt-cheap compared to my face ones, and that’s saying a lot.

      As to the $900 creams, I mean yeah, that’s INSANE! Like use that money to get plastic surgery or a facelift… at least that’ll absolutely get you results!! It just baffles me when I see someone at Saks buy a $1,000 La Mer cream. I just want to grab them by the shoulders and give them a good shake! But perhaps like you said, they do find pleasure buying expensive creams; it is about the luxury for them. I mean, who the heck would buy $3,000 for a leather jacket. Some people would, apparently, as I’ve once again seen at Saks or Bloomingdales. And you’re so lucky to have tester at your drugstores. Lame California, or at least Southern California!

      And decadent packaging is nice for department store makeup. I would be lying if I wasn’t impressed with some of the glass bottle foundations (Chanel/Lancome).

      Anyways, again LOVE YOUR RESPONSE! I wish everyone commented like that. Not only does it help me get to know what my readers think of a topic, but it’ll promote better discussion with everyone overall. Lol, I say that now when I have an average of 5 comments per post. If and when I get like 50 comments per page… well I’d be like GAH THIS IS LIKE COLLEGE ENGLISH ALL OVER AGAIN. Haha!!

      Thanks for commenting with this fantastic response! 😉

      Posted by John | March 6, 2012, 12:35 am
  4. Makeup products, definitely. Makeup is just so immediate, whereas skincare can take a few weeks to 3 months to see it’s effectiveness. Finding skincare also takes some research. Ingredients was probably the most confusing part when I was looking for skincare but than I gained knowledge about effective known ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs, antioxidants, hydroquinone, etc. I know better now, so I don’t find it as difficult.

    Makeup is fun, too! Which is why it’s satisfying to buy (lipstick is my kryptonite ;)). Having 5 foundations, I’m satisfied that I don’t need anymore though, lol. I’m paying more attention to my skincare & skincare products now because I don’t want (or like) to wear thick heavy foundation and of course, I would like clear skin.

    Posted by Rosanna | March 5, 2012, 7:19 pm
    • Haha good for you! Yeah makeup is fun, and like I’ve told Christine from Temptalia and countless others, that if I was a girl and I wore eyeshadow, blush, etc; basically anything of color, I’d be one of those girls you see on youtube with a massive ass collection! Lol!! Thanks for commenting. xD

      Posted by John | March 6, 2012, 12:25 am
  5. I think I just kinda spend a lot on everything! (A bad thing, considering I don’t have a really good income…) I’ve been getting better at looking at ingredients to see what works for me skincare-wise and then buying items that are cheaper to save some money.

    Posted by Michelle | March 5, 2012, 5:30 pm

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