The beauty industry has changed so much in the seven years that I've been ardently writing about it. In our malls are many new brands that we haven't been able to access before, technological and scientific advances that we didn't think were possible, and a booming economy that's more able to support non-essentials at a bigger scale. The penetration of the Internet here in the Philippines has also dramatically increased, which leads to consumers who are more informed and critical of their purchases.
Things that stood before no longer stand today - for example, in how we spend or splurge on beauty products. I feel that the quality of cosmetics and skincare has increased over the years. When something was "cheap", it usually meant "barely functional". Not anymore. Affordable brands are not just competitive in terms of pricing, they're also competitive when it comes to product quality.
Still, there are certain products that you just can't scrimp on. Better texture, ingredients, efficacy, cost-per-use, and packaging are in the domain of more expensive brands. In the end, it depends on how much you're willing to spend for what you want to achieve for your body. If you have the money and if you like the product then you should go ahead, get that Dior eyeliner! But if you don't (or do, even) and just want something that works well, here's my guide. ^_^
Save: Makeup remover
There are simply too many amazing ones available in the drugstore! Micellar water is so cheap to make, and to make well. Forget Bioderma when there's Bifesta, if you don't have the budget. Nivea also has these wipes that are only 140 bucks per pack.
Spend: Facial wash
Yes, what? I'm aware that everybody recommends cheap facial washes since they don't really stay on the skin for long. I was a firm believer in cheap facial washes before too - until I got to try high-end ones. More expensive facial washes leave my face softer while cleansing a lot better. They have more emulsifying, hydrating ingredients while packing in better detergents. They rinse off much better.
Cheap facial washes typically leave a film on my face while somehow simultaneously drying it out. I'm sure the experience varies across other skin types - as with all beauty products, compatibility with your skin determines how well they work. Think about this though: my P1,500 Shiseido facial wash lasts me for 7-8 months. I use it twice a day, every day. That's just about P215 a month.
Actually, you can totally skip toner if you cleanse your face properly using the double-cleansing method. As long as your toner doesn't sting or dry your skin, you can go for a cheaper one just to brighten up your face a bit more.
Spend: Moisturizer, Serum, and Eye Cream
These products stay on the skin longest, so make sure they have good active ingredients with a higher concentration. These products can transform the texture, clarity, and overall smoothness of your skin, so consider spending a bit more for considerably higher quality.
Save: Body wash and body lotion
Unless you love particularly fragrant ones that smell unique, there's absolutely no reason to splurge on body wash and lotion. They're pretty much all the same with minor variations in the formula (for example, diff formulas for dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin etc).
Save: Shampoo and conditioner
The shampoo industry is mightily competitive and leaves no hostages. As such, it's easy to find great ones in your supermarket aisle - if you have normal hair. If you've got particular needs for your hair though, you might need to spend more for it. For example, I have a serious hair fall problem, so I use a 800-peso bottle of shampoo that is only available in Rustan's.
Cheap perfumes are like cheap shoes. You can spot them from afar! There are exceptions to this of course, but I normally recommend you err on the side of smelling expensive and fairly unique when it comes to personal scents.
Spend: Foundation, concealer, and powder
I was a bit torn about this category because drugstore bases have improved so much in the last few years! I must say that if you have less than a thousand bucks to spend, you won't be disappointed with what you'll be able to buy. In fact you'll be quite happy. But if you can push your budget you should go for high-end face bases. They just look more skin-like due to light-diffusing ingredients, feel more comfortable (lighter), and stay on better.
Save: Mascara, eyeliner and eyebrow makeup
If you spend over a thousand bucks on your mascara, eyeliner, and eyebrow makeup, you're already spending too much. The difference in the quality of drugstore versions of these products vs high-end ones is so small that it's not worth the extra moolah! Seriously. You can get amazing pigmentation, staying power, and ease of application from affordable brands; you won't be missing anything from high-end ones.
Spend: Blush and eyeshadow
You're paying for the quality of the pigment and how fine the texture is when it comes to blush, lipstick and eyeshadow. Good ones can be had for an affordable price of course, but if you're looking for unique, on-trend or classic colors and expensive-looking texture, then you've got to shell out a little more.
Excellent lipsticks need not be expensive. A great formula and all the pretty colors you can think of can be had for under a thousand bucks, if you ask me. More than that and you're just paying for packaging and the marketing!
Hope this helps guys! Would love to know what your splurge and save on too!