Share: your most expensive beauty splurge?

We’ve all heard or read it one time or another – expensive beauty products don’t necessarily work better. Is that true? I’ve even read comparisons of many high-end brands with the drugstore brands. An example that comes to mind is Creme de La Mer vs Nivea. Because of the similarities in some of the ingredients, many have suggested that the former is overpriced and worthless and some have gone as far as to call it a hoax in the skincare business! So is it really true that the more expensive beauty products do very little for our skin in relation to their price tag?

Creme de La Mer vs Nivea?
Okay, I’ve tried both Creme de La Mer and Nivea and I have to say, they are not the same in terms of quality. Not all the ingredients are the same and also, even if the ingredients are the same, one will have to consider the quality of those ingredients and the formulation. Creme de La Mer is definitely more superior in terms of quality according to how my skin looked when I used it but having said that, I do concede it’s far too expensive and you can probably find equivalent products at a fraction of the price. Let’s just say, it’s a nice splurge if one can afford it.

Pay for branding?
I think when purchasing expensive products, we should consider the type of ingredients, R&D, and clinical trials that go into formulating them. It irks me when I examine some of the brands that charge about S$200 for a product that is no more than a moisturizer. And their justification? “Oh, it’s a house brand!” So yeah, all those advertising and celebrity endorsements are eventually paid for by us. But I would be more willing to pay for a product with some special patent technology over one that engages some celebrity spokesperson!

Exclusive formulation?
And not all beauty products are manufactured exclusively, which means to say, it is possible to find products of the same ingredients under different brands. However, these are more likely mass market products and ought to be priced more affordably. Others could have been manufactured exclusively for a brand and those are usually priced at a premium according to their marketing strategy. I think this group targets those women who feel that if the price of a product is too cheap, it ain’t going to work well.

Additional certification?
Then we have the organic products that ride on the certification logos to charge a premium; whether they do anything better for the skin is another matter altogether.

Same makeup supply source?
Skincare products aside, have you also noticed how some of the branded makeup products are from the same source? I’ve had some Chinese sources emailed me directly with regards to their supply of makeup brushes and on closer examination, looked very close to the branded ones priced at a premium in the market.

Your most expensive buy worked?
My expensive beauty splurges are in the region of S$400 and they’ve worked well for me. In fact, one of them was the older formulation of La Mer Face Serum and it was probably one of the best buy I’ve ever had because the result was almost immediate. However, it was so costly I could not sustain it after a year or so. So ladies, what’s your most expensive beauty splurge? Was it a skincare product, a makeup item or a fancy beauty gadget? And was it a nay, a meh or a yay?


  1. astrorainfall @ beauty box says:

    Hmmm…I think my most expensive beauty splurge was SKII’s Facial Treatment Essence and it really did work for me but it was just hard to maintain it…And also, it didn’t work as well after using it for 1.5 years. But I think most good products tend to go into maintenance mode after a while…

  2. Joyce September says:

    My most recent one was the NARS Lotion which is formulated under Shiseido but the quality is not up to par unfortunately. Had high hopes but it’s not hydrating enough.

    Another one was the CLARINS Beauty Flash Balm. Love Love LOVE the product. Instant complexion boost and tightens the skin to hold onto the makeup for an extended duration.

  3. jae says:

    Hahaha, most expensive splurge was Estee Lauder advanced night repair and lancome eye cream. but it works wonders.

  4. stella says:

    i’ve used about 2 tubs of the creme de la mer years ago but saw not much improvement to my then-troubled skin.

    generally i don’t mind spending on skincare, although i do like simple products and they don’t cost a bomb most of the time.

    i think my most expensive beauty splurges in recent years would be the clarisonic brush system (i bought the travel size one) and la mer refining facial… also a couple of laser resurfacing procedures for scars that set me back a good amount, but they work well and i intend to stop when my current package runs out.

  5. EcoBeauty says:

    My Beijing 101 package…. -_- It’s worth almost as much as liposuction.

  6. Alexandra says:

    My most expensive splurge to date will be the MVO Skin Lightening Serum. It works but too expensive to continue on. Another product is from Dermalogica, tiny bottle 8g and contains Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate in powder form cost me a bomb. did nothing to me.

  7. Natalia says:

    Very good point. My most expensive treatment is regular microdermabrasion. Any skin care product works so much better after that, since all the gunk is removed. You really start seeing the difference on 2nd-3rd day.
    As for the “house” manufactured skin care – it is all nonsense. Anyone can claim that, knowing that you will not go into all the trouble comparing ingredients of million other products. La Mer, I’ve tried it before and have not seen any remarkable difference, that you sure would expect, spending that much on it and listening their fancy marketing ploy. I believe that their main ingredient is Kelp (hydrating, moisturizing), the rest are chemicals. Well, kelp is present in lots of other products much much cheaper. It is not a very expensive ingredient and chemicals are even cheaper. Having said that I believe that researching ingredients is way better approach vs. falling for celeb spill and bright colors of commercials. If I am paid millions of $$ for 5 min of my time, I will brag about anything you want me to, with a massive smile. And then smile even wider all the way to the bank…. LOL

  8. Jung says:

    Mine is the total sum off kinds of whitener serum ranging from SKII (tried 2 bottled), Elure (abt $600 for day and night moisturizer; touted to be the first enzymatic skin lightening treatment that breaks down melanin), and other brands such as clarins: none seem to remove my pigmentations, despite using them daily and applying high SPF sunblock on my face.

  9. L. says:

    I never tried the typical high end brands like La Mer, Chanel, Estee Lauder etc. so I cannot really draw any comparisons on this. However, when talking about organic cosmetics I do think there is a difference in terms of the quality of the ingredients. I have been using two different eye creams, one is from Dr. Hauschka and one is an organic brand from our local drugstore and needless to say, I love the Hauschka one better…. The difference in price is huge and I’m wondering how they can produce an organic product which is so cheap and still making profit? Does it mean that Dr. Hauschka is overprized because of the brand and the marketing cost? But seriously I don’t think that a cream that costs a few hundred bucks (in my case euros) can do a better job than a product from a mid-range price segment.

  10. sesame says:

    True…seems that way. It looks like the results are less obvious by the 3rd bottle/jar. But I have pple who still swear by SKII’s Treatment Essence after a long while. Maybe they rotate with some other products.

  11. sesame says:

    Yes, remember your rave on the Clarins Beauty Fash Balm. Glad it’s a good splurge for you!

  12. sesame says:

    Glad your splurge worked wonders for you…it’s money well spent!

  13. sesame says:

    I was thinking if you comment, you might mention the clarisonic brush. Heheh… But it looks like it’s a good investment…a few other readers also said it’s working well for them.

  14. sesame says:

    So much!!! Wow…did it work well for you or is it still ongoing that it’s premature to tell the results?

  15. sesame says:

    Yeah, that one is expensive and I couldn’t sustain too cos I want to try other products. I substituted with the MVO Moisturizing Serum that is cheaper.

  16. sesame says:

    Haha…true about the celebs! I also wonder though if some of them really use the products they endorse. They could be using a cheaper competitor’s brand for all we know! ?

    As for Creme de La Mer, I think the price is to maintain the cult status. Like you pointed out, the ingredients aren’t that expensive. But I have to say the serum was a wonder for me…it seems the newer formulation is even more expensive.

  17. sesame says:

    Elure? Haven’t seen that one around. Sounds interesting…and expensive too. Pigmentation is quite tricky. The products that work for me to even out the skin tone are those containing L-Ascorbic Vitamin C. But it depends on the formulation as this ingredient is unstable. I also find that an improvement blood circulation has helped to lighten up some of my spots.

  18. sesame says:

    Yes, you’re right. There is a difference in terms of the quality of the ingredients. I’ve not tried Dr Hauschka but I trust the brand to believe they use good quality ingredients. If I’m not wrong, their products are certified by BDIH so there are some requirements there w.r.t. the ingredients they use too.

    I’m not sure if the cheaper brand has certification as that definitely makes a difference. But I agree totally with you on your last point – if there wasn’t any special technology involved, I believe there is a cap to how much the ingredients cost and so the higher price is really due to markup for branding.

  19. Erny says:

    I think my most expensive splurge is my current whitening moisturiser from CellAct Swiss which cost me RM319/50ml. I’ve been using it for a month now. I gave me awesome result for the first week. Now, I think its kinda maintaining the condition. I’m stil contemplating whether I should purchase a 2nd one after this finish.

  20. Swati says:

    wow…400 S$ is pretty huge…even I did try out Lush products…they have been my most expensive splurge till date but I wasn’t very much satisfied ?
    and you are right in pointing out that it is better to pay for some exclusive patented products with some genuine R&D gone into the product over some self-claiming superior brand!!! actually I was thinking about same thing when I was unsatisfied with my Lush splurge and I decided that it is better to make a priority list based on which you can do the splurging…

  21. tin says:

    la mer fluid tint.@_@
    until now i still can’t believe i bought that. idk why, but i’d rather use bb cream. besides.. i had a tinted moisturizer that cost 2 dollars and it was really good. the downside was, it had glitters. but that’s all to it. it’s like la mer’s is the expensive counterpart of my 2 dollar tinted, WITHOUT the glitters. ? Buyer’s remorse. And to think that I’m still a student @-(

  22. sesame says:

    Ah…this has happened…good instant results and then stable performance. But at least it yielded good results. ?

  23. sesame says:

    I don’t always spend that amount but it was effective for my pigmentation and so I bit the bullet so to speak. Anyway, each item can last me at least 2 – 3 months so I comforted myself that way. ?

  24. sesame says:

    Okay, never mind…at least it was usable. I wasted money on their eye cream too…didn’t yield me results.

  25. Gaby says:

    Wow! You got ripped off on the Dermalogica. You could easily make your own serum with MAP for a lot less.

  26. Audris says:

    Mine was a $150 eye gel from my beauty salon. Which didn’t work, didn’t do much. Ingredients missing from the box too (Ok, this was very many years ago when I was less critical or aware). Never bought anything else since.

    Definitely looking at tech/ingredients these days. Oh and reviews online first ?

  27. melmok says:

    the most expensive buy is the “Suki targeted bio brightening face serum”. Am thinking really hard whether should i continue with it…

  28. sesame says:

    Yes, reviews are helpful. It gives some idea of the texture and results.

  29. sesame says:

    Did it work for you?

  30. raisinfly says:

    I recently decided to try out argan oil and decided to splurge on both the Kahina argan oil and the serum. I love them both! I think the serum is 1 of the best facial oils I’ve tried. The serum is good even for day use as the skin on the cheeks won’t turn flaky or turn too oily as it usually does by mid-time. I used the oil on my dry and ezcema-prone arms and legs, absorbs really fast. Just wondering if all argan oil are made equal cos the price is quite wide-ranged!

  31. Mai says:

    Mine was a set of MTM eye products which i think cost me $400. Consist of an eye cream n a serum which is meant to use together with an eye patch. Sadly they failed to do wonders to my dark eye circles & the cream was too rich causing milia seeds to appear. Sad.

    By the way, have u ever try Nuxe products? I got a sample of their multi-usage dry oil for (face, body, hair) micellar cleansing water & cream mask. Have not use the last 2 but am loving the oil – Huile Prodigieuse. I tried searching their site for the ingredient list but cant seem to find it. I’m quite skeptical about it being an all-rounder so was hoping if you can lend a helping hand.

  32. sesame says:

    The MTM products are expensive! I suppose your eye circle could be an internal issue the products cannot repair.

    Never tried Nuxe but have checked them out. Not too sure of their products though…but it’s possible for an oil to be multi-purpose. Is it expensive?

  33. Mai says:

    N0t sure if it’s really an internal issue but it’s much more lighter now compare to a year ago ?

    Do you think Nuxe is a gd bet if i want to slowly switch to a more natural skincare routine? The 50ml bottle of the oil cost abt $48 if i’m not wrong. I like it as it has helped solved my dry & scaly skin on my legs. It’s really light & absorb easily. But i’m wondering if i should purchase the normal sized bottle once my sample ran out since i don’t know if the ingredients are acceptable.

    Anyway, i went to Watsons today & saw a range of products from Kneipp. Apparently they use mostly organic certified ingredients. They also have a body oil. Think they are new to Watsons as i don’t recalled seeing them b4. Maybe i should give it a try. lol.

  34. sesame says:

    I googled and found this info:
    “A unique cocktail of 6 Precious Plant Oils (Borage, St Johnswort, Sweet Almond, Camellia, Hazelnut, Macadamia) with a subtlefragrance for a velvety skin, silky hair and an improved overall aspect of stretch marks.”

    The combo of oils look good except I’m concerned with St Johnswort cos I found that St. John’s wort (both oral or topical) increases the sensitivity of skin and eyes to sunlight. I almost got a cleanser yesterday but it contains this ingredient and I didn’t buy it in the end.

  35. Alexandra says:

    Yeah:( I wish I had discovered the art of making our own serums earlier. Glad that now I am looking into it.

  36. melmok says:

    I think it did. Only a bit. I took the “before” picture and wanted to compare but before I can finish the bottle, my digital camera went to heaven. I did manage to compare with the picture for a few weeks. I can only see a “slight” difference. Not sure if my mind was playing tricks on me. lol

  37. MM says:

    God, mine was a new york skin solution facial package of SGD$3600………. left me with many ‘facial marks’ each time i finish the facial. left with 5 facial session and still paying the installments. each time they will try to psycho me to upgrade or purchase more products. dont even feel like stepping in for the facial session at all.

  38. sesame says:

    I can see why you’re reluctant to go.

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