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When to Splurge and How to Save on Beauty Products
Written by Mariel Rittenhouse Goodson   

beauty productsLooking to fall-clean your beauty routine? Before you blow your budget on sky-high skincare and cosmetics, check out our expert-approved guide to products that are truly worth the splurge – and the items that can save you money.

Day Creams with Sunscreen: SAVE

Even as daylight starts to wane, daily sun defence remains the cornerstone of healthy-looking skin. During the cooler months, Dr. Jason Rivers, a dermatologist at Pacific Dermaesthetics, suggests swapping chalky sunblock for a UV-filtering moisturiser. Whether you opt to stock up at the drugstore or a department store, make certain the label indicates broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and an SPF rating of 30+.
Shopping list: Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer SPF 30 ($25, Well.ca)

Anti-Aging Serums and Treatments: SPLURGE

Pony up for targeted treatments containing collagen-building peptides like Matrixyl, blotch-busting vitamin C and wrinkle-fighting retinol. Dr. Rivers explains that premium products often contain higher concentrations of these efficacious age fighters. To ensure you’re getting your money’s worth, consult the ingredient list: “The higher the rank, the better,” he says.
Shopping list: SkinCeuticals C.E. Ferulic ($145, Beautymark.ca)

Night Creams and Eye Creams: SAVE

Penny-pinch when it comes to these skincare workhorses since tolerability is the key. Dr. Rivers notes, “Paradoxically, it’s often the expensive products that cause irritation” because many are overloaded with exotic ingredients or fragrances to boost sensorial appeal. To suss out an all-purpose eye or night cream, scan the label for gentle humectant hydrators like glycerine or hyaluronic acid, and free-radical scavengers like vitamin E and caffeine.
Shopping list: Alba Jasmine & Vitamin E Moisture Cream ($16, London Drugs), Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Eye Cream ($20, Well.ca)

Foundation and Concealer: SPLURGE

To give good face, Riku Campo, author of Best in Beauty, says you have to lay a flawless foundation. Campo remarks that prestige brands generally offer a broader spectrum of shades so you can better match your complexion. Plus, you can colour-test right at the cosmetic counter. He advises stowing a hand mirror to gauge the product’s true tone in natural light.
Shopping list: Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation ($55, Holt Renfrew), Yves Saint Laurent Touché Éclat ($50, The Bay)

Eye Shadow and Eyeliners: SPLURGE

Unless you’re digging into a trendy tint – ahoy aquamarine! – pay up for powder eye shadows and you’ll be rewarded with rich, long-lasting pigment. Too-shimmery shadows often emphasize fine lines and crow’s-feet, so stick to silky, sparkle-free formulas. To line eyes, spring for a pricier pencil, which typically uses a softer wax that’s gentler on the delicate eyelid.
Shopping list: Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs ($90, Holt Renfrew), Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier ($30, Pircosmetics.com)

Mascara: SAVE

Because most mascaras rely on a near-identical blend of dye and wax, pay attention to the wand. Carmindy, the makeup artist on TLC's What Not to Wear, eschews “football-size fat brushes, which get all over the skin” in favour of small bristles that can individually coat lashes. To further fight clumps, keep a tissue on hand to eliminate excess formula before applying.
Shopping list: Maybelline Define-A-Lash ($9, Well.ca)

Lipsticks and Glosses: SAVE

Unless your heart’s set on a specific hue, head to the drugstore to load up on lipsticks and glosses, which tend to require regular reapplication regardless of price. To keep your pucker party-ready, Campo suggests gently exfoliating lips with a soft toothbrush, then adding a dab of moisturiser, a puff of loose powder, and finally a swipe of your favourite “long-wear” shade, like this fall’s wine-stained burgundy.
Shopping list: Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick ($7, Well.ca), Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Lip Gloss ($10, Well.ca)

Blush, Bronzer and Powder: SPLURGE

Dodge the dreaded pancake face with finely milled powder formulations. Since upmarket powders are usually more pigmented, you can apply with a lighter touch for more natural-looking coverage. Campo adds that inexpensive bronzers should be avoided because “most incorporate too much yellow and orange,” which can look garish. Instead, try a toasted brown bronzing powder – not a gel or cream – for skin that’s subtly sun-kissed.
Shopping list: Yves Saint Laurent Blush Variation ($50, The Bay), Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons (US$74, Sephora.com), La Prairie Cellular Treatment Loose Powder ($100, Holt Renfrew).