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Image / Editorial

Where to spend and where to save when it comes to: SKINCARE

by Hannah Hillyer
28th Mar 2018

As we are incessantly bombarded with new launches, hero products and skincare saviours, it can be hard to know where to spend our hard earned euros. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a guide to help with just that.

Do you need the €60 cleanser? Is €120 too much for moisturiser? We won’t be telling you exactly how much to spend as that is all relative to your own budget, but within every skincare routine, there are some areas that are worth more of an investment than others.

Where To Spend


These products are more treatment-based, and are used for more individual concerns like hydration, ageing or dullness. Although many serums are applied in the morning, heavier ones and oils we apply in the evenings mostly to give them as much time as possible to penetrate the skin and work their magic. As they are also applied underneath moisturiser it is the product that is working the hardest.  If you are divvying up your skincare budget, this is where you should be spending the most money.

For the ingredients to be of a high quality, and much of the time active, you sometimes need to spend a little more. Although brands like The Ordinary and The Inkey List have democratised many of the ingredients in our favourite serums, they are sold in their very basic forms. For an all-encompassing ‘do all’ serum we often have to pay more, a classic example would be Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair:€90.00.


This is also a category that involves treating the skin, often for dryness, dullness, ageing and scarring. Acid toners are products we expect to see results from, and as they usually contain harsher and more active ingredients like glycolic/lactic and salicylic acid, we need to be 100% sure about what’s inside. Because of this the entry level price point for these is a bit higher as it contains high performing ingredients. Depending on your age/concerns you can spend as much as you need here, especially if you have any concerns with ageing and fine lines. Try the Zelens PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Pads: £65 which are great for travelling.


This is something we have covered at length here at IMAGE as we really advocate the use of suncream all year round. This is a product available at all different price points, however one of the many reasons why people won’t wear it is they don’t like the texture. Sunscreen gets a bad rep for being thick and uncomfortable to wear whilst leaving a white cast on the skin. Often cheap sun creams will do this, but if you go for a slightly pricier brand you will often get a thinner formulation that is suitable under makeup, an IMAGE favourite is Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50:€41.00.


Where to Save


If you have already invested in a decent quality serum or oil you can usually get away with spending a little less in this department. As your serum is already doing all the work, you really just need your moisturiser for hydration and a nice smooth base for applying foundation, it doesn’t need to be an overly sophisticated formula. This is more about personal preference, for drier skins you may want something richer for night time, and vice versa something that won’t be too heavy under makeup. The No7 Range in Boots has a fantastic selection of moisturisers for all different skin types at a great price point.


Here you really don’t need to spend the earth, you just want something effective that won’t strip your skin. We would recommend veering away from cheaper foaming cleansers as they often contain alcohol which strips the skin of natural oils. A cleansing oil or balm is usually best as they are great at removing makeup and promote a bit of facial massage which is always good. If you really want to go for a budget option here you can go totally natural and use coconut oil which is just as effective. A budget favourite for us is The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Butter Cleanser: €19.50.

Micellar Waters

We can see no reason why you would ever need to fork out for an expensive micellar water. So many brands do them now so you have loads of choice, just try and pick one without fragrance. We rate Garnier’s Micellar water as its cheap and cheerful as well as being gentle on the skin. They also do an oil infused one now which is particularly good at removing stubborn eye makeup. A 400ml bottle is only €7.69 and lasts for ages- much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than face wipes!

Face Masks

These are another one of those items that don’t really require the splurge. You’ll see so many brands marketing expensive charcoal face masks but as this is such a cheap ingredient there really is no need. Cheaper brands reign supreme here with an abundance of different masks available. A personal favourite is from the Super Facialist by Una Brennan range available at Boots, the entire brand is affordable and gentle but I love their Salicylic Acid Clay Mask. At only €12.99 it’s a total bargain for when you want a Sunday night pamper session.


The biggest thing to remember when skincare shopping is so much of what we pay for is branding and impressive packaging. With certain skincare ingredients you do need to be careful and try to get the best you can afford to ensure you are getting quality formulations. Rarely is there ever a reason to drop €120 on a moisturiser, unless you just really want it, and in that case- you do you!