It’s high time I make a follow-up to my original post When You Look Good, You Feel Good. This time I am reviewing my favorite “luxury” products vs. their budget counterparts. When I say “luxury” I just mean the more expensive version of a product compared to the inexpensive version, not necessarily the top of the line.
I reviewed the products based on quality, benefits and actual results. No need to beat around the bush, let’s jump right in.
Luxury Buy – Blissy Pillowcases
Now let me just say that I didn’t think I would ever need this product. I’ve been gifted satin pillowcases before that didn’t seem to live up to the promise of static free hair and wrinkle prevention.
It is possible for satin to also be silk (usually marketed as “silk satin”). Many products are not true silk satin, and the “satin” is typically made from synthetic materials like polyester or rayon. If you do not see the word “silk” next to a product that is labeled as “satin”, you should definitely assume that it is made from synthetic materials.
I was gift 2 of these pillowcases for Mother’s Day this year and will never sleep without them. I just can’t say enough positive things about them!
I was amazed at how much softer the fabric was compared to “satin” pillowcases. Additionally, I am a “hot” sleeper, and these pillowcases keep me cool throughout the night. They do appear to help my hair stay fly away free.
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – Amazon Favorite Natural Mulberry Silk Pillowcases
These pillowcases are made with mostly the same material as the Blissy pillowcases. They have over 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon. I bought these for my fiancé and daughter after I caught both of them occasionally stealing my Blissy pillows away to uses for themselves. I would definitely recommend these much less expensive pillowcases if the Blissy pillowcases are out of your price range.
Buy it here.
Luxury Buy – ETUDE HOUSE Moistfull Collagen Intense Facial Toner
This toner has been a wonderful addition to my routine. The smell reminds me of the “Tinker Bell” perfume I had as a child that I absolutely loved. I have noticed that my skin feels softer and more supple. This toner includes “Super Collagen Water” and peptides to really boost your skin. This product claims to protect the skin barrier with ceramide, strengthens the skins own self-sustaining ability with peptides, and hyaluronic acid takes care of hydration aspect. It’s definitely a multipurpose toner that does not dry out your skin. This will be part of my every day routine going forward. I lucked out and found this at TJ Maxx, but you can buy it on Amazon as well.
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner
This product is made from 100% natural, distilled witch hazel, touts its plant-to-bottle formula and is cruelty free. Witch hazel has been shown to remove and balance oil while gently soothing and refreshing, all without over drying. Witch hazel is safe for almost every type of skin and pregnant women. This toner really helped me get my acne under control before I started implementing a full-blown Korean skin care routine. It’s lightweight and feels so refreshing. I typically used it in the morning and whenever I felt I needed my skin to feel a bit fresher. Witch hazel is naturally anti-inflammatory and helped me to reduce the look of old acne scars. You can find this in most grocery and drug stores as well as Amazon.
Buy it here.
Luxury Buy – SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
I was really excited to try this product as it had been on my wish list for quite a long time. I received a gift card for Ulta last Christmas and decided to buy it! I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference in the quality of my skin, and I didn’t love the way it smelled, but I did use it consistently and overall, I felt it helped me to maintain the progress I had already made. I do feel it helped me achieve a more even skin tone and did help lock in the other layers of skin care products I used. I would buy it again, but I feel that you can achieve similar results with lower priced options. I’ve found deals on Amazon before if you cannot find it at Ulta.
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – ALL Ordinary Products
ALLLLLLL Ordinary products that I have tried have been amazing and are some of the lowest priced skin care products I have ever used. I have added some personal photos (below) of what the so-called “vampire facial,” which is actually the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, looks like on and after use. Using these products in the right combination significantly made my skin GLOW!! This solution promotes skin exfoliation, smoother skin texture and a brighter complexion. Oh boy does it work! My skin was baby soft after using it the first time!
You do need to do some research before using these products b because you cannot always use everything together and some are more ideal to use during the day or night. Pinterest and TikTok are full of valuable tips, but please still do your own research.
One review by “Kate” on Amazon does note the following:
“This is a strong chemical exfoliant (AHA 30% plus BHA 2%). Absolutely *do NOT* use any kind of chemical or manual exfoliant after the product. If you aren’t already used to using AHAs, start at AHA 8% and gradually increase to be sure your skin can tolerate it. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly so you don’t get chemical burns in between your fingers where the skin is very delicate! I’ve been using it for about 3 months (1-2x weekly) on my face, and I always slather on a rich cream + oil after washing it off. It works wonders.”
The only complaint I have is that if you wear glasses, some of the more oil-based serums will leave some residual residue on your glasses.
I will most definitely continue to use these products going forward. I hope to do a complete product post once I have tried them all. I bought mine at Ulta and most products were under $20. You can find The Ordinary products on Amazon as well.
Buy my favorite trio here.
Luxury Buy – COSRX Snail Mucin 96% Power Repairing Essence Hydrating Serum for Face with Snail Secretion Filtrate for Dark Spots and Fine Lines
For me the COSRX products are hit or miss. I do love some of their products, but they are not my favorites. This product claims that “Snail Secretion Filtrate contains “Mucin”- an EFFECTIVE ingredient for enhanced moisturization.” I found that this product did hydrate, but it didn’t hydrate as well as other products and occasionally my skin felt “patchy” after using it. I know that many people swear by the whole COSRX line up so it’s possible that it just wasn’t right for my skin. I encourage you to try it for yourself. Occasionally COSRX offers minis or samples especially around the holidays and I’ve found their products at Ulta, TJ Maxx and Amazon.
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – MISSHA Time Revolution Red Algae Revitalizing Serum
This serum claims that it’s “50% Red Algae extract (Irish moss extract), is full of marine nourishment, antioxidant energy, and delivers strong moisture energy to tired skin.” This product did not disappoint. I love the way it feels, I love the way it smells, and my skin immediately looks radiant. I have used this primarily at night before bed as part of my routine. I have been using it in combination with the Time Revolution Red Algae Revitalizing Lotion that I will discuss below. My skin just soaks in both of these products, and I can clearly see that my skin looks more even and feels smoother.
Buy it here.
Luxury Buy – La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream
This product would literally be the number one item on my list every single day, but…it’s hella expensive! I was able to score a small sample of this a few years ago and O M G, it is heavenly and everything everyone says about it is 100% right!
I first heard about this after reading an article about Jennifer Lopez’s skin care routing. She uses La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizer as part of 3 different moisturizers in her routine. She swears by this one item. When I tried it, I heard angels singing in the background. I have never my skin feel as good and as moisturized as it did when I was using this. I ended up coveting this item and only using it on special occasions because I didn’t want to use it all up right away. If you get a chance to even try this once, do it!
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – MISSHA Time Revolution Red Algae Revitalizing Lotion
Since I cannot buy La Mer as much as I would like I do often seek about alternatives. My newest favorite is the MISSHA Time Revolution Red Algar Revitalzing lotion. I use it in combination with the serum I mentioned above and wow! The smell is divine, and it feels so silky on my skin. My face radiates and feels so soft. I rarely wear makeup, so this helps my skin to look more refined without the need to cover it up.
The only complaint I have about either of the Time Revolution products is that they are a bit slippery when trying to take the cap off after applying the product and moving on to the next. Both my daughter and I have dropped these bottles on the floor in an attempt to open them, but surprisingly and thankfully they did not shatter. I found mine at TJ Maxx, but you can get yours on Amazon.
But it here.
Luxury Buy – BANILA CO NEW Clean It Zero Original Cleansing Balm
I’m so happy to report that this product is now available at Ulta. I used to only be able to buy this gem online. It’s my number one go to for cleansers and when I am out it’s imperative that I replenish my supply immediately. This cleansing balm feels as though it’s going to make your face feel super greasy, but it does quite the opposite. I feel that this product single handedly helped get my skin perfectly hydrated. If I only could choose one product to use for the rest of my life to keep my skin balanced, it would be this. It is designed to remove makeup without stripping away what your skin needs and is formulated with active botanicals, hot springs water, vitamin E and vitamin C for a healthy complexion.
My favorite is the “Original” but there are other options now available in various sizes.
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – MISSHA Time Revolution Artemisia Pack Foam Cleanser
I’ve only been using this for a short time, but it makes my skin feel “lighter.” I don’t know how else to describe it. You can use this as both a cleanser and a mask. This product claims to “relieve the skin of redness and irritation as well as reduce the skin’s production of excess sebum and oils.” I use this in combination with the Banila Clean It Zero cleanser above since they act in different ways and as part of the Korean skin care routine you should use 2 cleansers, one oil based and one foaming. Read more about the Korean Skin Care Routine here.
Buy it here.
Luxury Buy – LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask
I am a true Laneige fan, and I love almost all of their products. This post would not be complete without mentioning at least one of their fabulous items. I think Laneige has gained a huge following in the last few years and rightly so. The Water Sleeping Mask is formulated with two ingredients for even more powerful results. “Powerful Probiotic-Derived Complex*” strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier while boosting its brightness & clarity and squalene provides intense moisture without feeling heavy on your skin. I do wake up with refreshed, hydrated and radiant skin.
A sleeping mask is not essentially a “mask” that your wear, but rather the last step in a nightly skincare routine. It goes on just like a serum or lotion, but I usually use a good amount of the product to really let it soak in and I try my best not to touch my face or wipe it off before it soaks all the way in.
Buy it here.
Budget Buy – MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask
This sleeping mask has been just as effective as the Laneige version. I love that MISSHA products use a lot of natural ingredients and this one does not disappoint. This product contains “snail slime extract and botanical stem cell extract to improve damaged skin texture and to provide energy to the skin.” It also includes “baobab tree extract and deep-sea water to store skin hydration and create firm, moisturized skin.” I feel like my skin hydrated, soft and ready to go for the day with minimal effort after using this overnight.
Buy it here.
These “sponges” are an excellent way to keep your feet clean and soft. Each sponge is infused with shea butter and olive oil to hydrate skin and keep it feeling moisturized and youthful. They have 2 sides: one for exfoliating and the other for moisturized cleansing. They come in a variety of smells and ingredients. I’ve used several different versions and love them all. They use natural ingredients and are cruelty free.
Buy it here.
The SAEM Iceland Hydrating Eye Stick
I love this little guy! I’ve gone through several sticks already. The Saem under-eye balm is best for dark circles, puffiness around the eyes, reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It is designed to help hydrate the sensitive skin around the eye and prevent moisture loss by strengthening the skin and moisture barrier itself. It contains Iceland moss, Iceland plant, xylitol, niacinamide, adenosine, and other active marine ingredients. If feels cool to the touch when applying, it and I often used it when it was really hot outside just to feel more refreshed.
Maybelline’s Lifter Gloss has been touted as a bargain dupe for Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Lip Gloss. I have not used the Fenty Lip Gloss personally, but I have definitely used Maybelline’s Lifter Gloss and I am now on my fifth tube! I cannot say enough good things about this gloss. I love the colors, the texture and the pristine look it gives my lips. This gloss contains Hyaluronic Acid, which is not only good for your face, but also excels at locking moisture in to help your lips look fuller and fully hydrated. I feel like this gloss stays fresh for several hours without feeling sticky. I have actually reached for this lip gloss more than I have my lip balm lately. If you haven’t tried this, you are definitely missing out.
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