Nerdy Beauty-Product-Junkie -- splurge or save?

Photo from Real Simple Magazine

Those who know me in person (=everyone who reads this blog), know I can get very nerdy when it comes to calculating numbers. Those who have had the fortune to go shopping with me, know that I am a bit of a beauty product junkie. So, if you put these two together, I am actually a nerdy beauty-product-junkie.

Just like investments or charitable donations, I believe people need to take a portfolio approach toward spending money on beauty products. Some are worth larger allocations, while some are not worth the high price tags. Some are long-term, buy-and-hold blue chip purchases, while some are short-term trading oriented items.

If the department store one is only 10% better than the drugstore one, why pay double the price for it? Inspired by this very good article Splurge or Save? The Smartest Beauty Buys by Elizabeth Schatz Passarella at one of my favorite magazines -- Real Simple, I opened my makeup bag and medicine cabinet and created an excel spreadsheet to calculate how much money was spent on my face.

Here is how to read my list:
Item - save with drugstore brand or splurge on department store brand-- $ price and length of usage -- $ amount spend per month

Skin Care
Eye makeup remover – save -- $6 for 6 months -- $1/month
Face makeup remover – save -- $12 for 6 months -- $2/month
Face wash – save -- $16 for 12 months -- $1.3/month
Toner – save -- $10 for 3 months -- $3.3/month
Eye cream/gel – splurge -- $54 for 9 months -- $6/month
Night cream/lotion – splurge -- $30 for 9 months + $30 for 6 months -- $8.3/month
Day cream/lotion – splurge -- $42 for 6 months -- $7/month
Exfoliater – save -- $24 for 2 years -- $2/month
Cleaning mask – splurge -- $18 for 3 years -- $0.5/month
Moisturizing mask – save -- $1.5/mask, twice per month -- $3/month

Photo from Real Simple Magazine

Foundation – splurge -- $40 for 9 months -- $4.5/month
Concealer – save -- $24 for 2 years -- $1/month
Blush – splurge -- $30 for 4 years *
Lip balm – save -- $5 for 2 years -- ignore
Lip pencil – splurge -- $15 for 2 years -- $0.5/month
Lip stick or gloss – save -- $24 for 12 months -- $2/month
Eye liner – splurge -- $20 for 4 years *
Eye shadow – splurge -- $40 for 4 years *
Mascara – save -- $15 for 12 months -- $1/month
Face powder – save -- $24 for 2 years -- $2/month

Tools – splurge (tweezers, eyelash curler, brushes) $100 forever *
Hair products – save -- $9 for 9 months -- $1/month

*Total fixed cost (4 years or more of usage): $190
Total monthly variable cost: $46.5

I spend about $1.55 per day on my basic skin care and beauty products.
“Basic” is the keyword here. Please know that a non-disclosed amount of money is spent on non-basic products. Compared to $12 a day of parking I pay for my car, I feel bad for my face now.

Added on 8/21/09: I know. I know. I am spending way too much time on this completely unproductive thing. But I also discovered that I spend 68% on Skin care and $22% on makeup. Only 2% on hair, and 8% on tools, etc.

In the near future, I will write about why I decide to spend big or small amounts on these things. I will also share with you my “all time favorite + will buy again and again” top recommendations of beauty products. A lot of tuition was paid to discover these goodies, so please stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

What is the best face wash for daily use for people who are keeping it basic and simple?

Wonderland Alice said...

Cleaning is the most important component in skincare. But you may need to use more than face wash to clean your face. Five common cleaning products are: makeup remover, face wash, toner, exfoliator, and cleansing mask. But here are some face washes that I recommend:

1. If you have normal or sensitive skin, I recommend Cetaphil -- http://www.cetaphil.com/Products/Cleansers.aspx

2. If you have acne, I recommend Mario Badescu -- http://www.mariobadescu.com/Acne-Regimen-Combination-Skin

3. If you are willing to spend $$$, FANCL's cleansing oil and cleansing powder are the best -- http://www.fancl.com/catalog/category.php?dept_id=25&language=Eng

4. If you have oily and thick skin, try Kiehl's new Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser (I recommend trying out a sample before committing to buying it)-- http://www.kiehls.com/_us/_en/face/cleansers/rare-earth-deep-pore-daily-cleanser.htm

Let me know if you have more questions!

Anonymous said...

By the way, L'Oreal's Skin Genesis is awesome!! It's SPF 15 and makes your skin super smooth and soft. And, it has a faint yet refreshing scent of grapefruit.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem like Alice responds to anything anyone says on her blog. What's the deal??

Wonderland Alice said...

Hey I was in Greece and just got back. Happy to see a product recommendation here. Thank you!

I had a chance to smell this lotion today and it really was super nice.

Most of the basic skincare products have the same main ingredients in a drug store brand and a department store brand. The main difference would be the additional process to make it feels and smells better. This one looks like a winner! SPF is always a must, too.