Photo Credit: Jewish Press

There is a huge misconception that if you spend more money on skincare, you’re automatically getting a better product. That is just not true. I’ve seen beautifully packaged luxury skincare filled with irritating ingredients – they remain top sellers because often people just don’t know better. I thought I’d share some tips on where it’s best to save or splurge on skincare while still giving a variety of price ranges for each category.




When it comes to cleansers, I’d say definitely save your money. It doesn’t matter if a brand tells you that its cleanser is filled with anti-aging and magical ingredients. The cleanser just isn’t on your skin long enough for the ingredients to make a difference. Instead, opt for a gentle yet effective cleanser with no fragrance and you’ll be more than fine. Here are three of my current favorites.

  1. Paula’s Choice Perfect Cleansing Oil ($25). Normally, cleansing oils are heavily fragranced but this one is filled with sunflower and coconut oil which hydrates and nourishes the skin. I don’t find that it removes makeup as well as the other two, so I use it on days when I don’t need to remove makeup or as a second cleanser and love it! Don’t be afraid of using it on oily skin – I have combination skin and it’s amazing.
  1. Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($4.99). Under $5 and one of my all time favorite cleansers! It removes makeup amazingly well, is gentle, fragrance free – you cannot go wrong with this one.
  1. Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser ($19. Another great cleanser that I use often and love. It removes makeup really well and never leaves my skin feeling tight or uncomfortable afterwards.

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If you plan on adding a good antioxidant and eye cream to your skincare routine, you can definitely save with your moisturizer. The moisturizer I use (and that came recommended by my dermatologist) is a drugstore find that works really well. But if you’re not planning on using anything else in your skincare routine, I’d say it doesn’t hurt to splurge on a moisturizer that has added antioxidants and beneficial ingredients such as the Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer.

  1. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM ($8.29) from the drugstore. I have been using it for years. It has a great mix of glycerin, ceramides, cholesterol, and hyaluronic acid to help dry skin, but does not have antioxidants so I use it in addition to a great eye cream and antioxidant serum. It really helps with the dryness in my skin and it’s the one moisturizer that I’ve found helpful in decreasing irritation when I use it with harsher acne creams. I highly recommend this one!
  1. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream ($60). This is a great moisturizer for those people with really dry skin. I normally do not recommend moisturizers in jars as they are the worst form of packaging when it comes to keeping antioxidants stable, but this jar is airless so no issues here!

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Eye Care

I think eye creams are a great skincare product to splurge on. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars but you can find some great midrange options ($30-$40) that I truly believe are worth the splurge because of their ingredients. That being said, I have included an affordable option.

  1. Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum ($85) is the priciest option, but it has an amazing mix of antioxidants and reparative ingredients. I find that there are more poorly formulated eye creams in jar packaging than not, but all four of these are packaged appropriately without fragrance.
  1. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream ($10). This is my affordable option and it has a pretty impressive mix of anti-aging ingredients.
  1. Paula’s Choice Anti-aging Eye Cream ($33). A little goes a long way with this one and I really love how rich and emollient the formula is. My under eyes can get pretty dry and this is one of the most moisturizing eye creams I’ve ever tried. They have a lighter option which I recommend too, but I’m all about this one.
  1. MAC Lightful C Vibrancy Eye Cream ($35). You might not think of MAC when it comes to skincare, but this eye cream is really, really nice! It has a fabulous mix of antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients and I’ve finished two of these already.

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When it comes to antioxidants and skincare “toppers,” there aren’t many drugstore options that are worthy contenders so I say splurge for the most part.

  1. The Ordinary Buffet ($16). This is my affordable option for a great serum, but I want to be clear that this is the one product I haven’t personally tried although I’ve heard great things about it. There are a great mix of anti aging ingredients (glycerin, peptides, sodium hyaluronate, amino acids and more), yet there aren’t antioxidants in this one so I’d still look for a product that has them.
  1. Paula’s Choice Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($38). I use this as well as a Vitamin C C15 Super Booster after moisturizing. It’s a lightweight serum filled with antioxidants and I highly recommend it.
  1. Paula’s ChoiceBrightening Essence ($42). I’ve been using this as an extra boost of hydration and antioxidants because it’s filled with amazing ingredients like licorice extract, arbutin, vitamin C, and niacinamide, peptides to brighten and revitalize skin.

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Shira Rosenbluth, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in New York City. She has a passion for helping people feel their best in their body at any size and specializes in the treatment of disordered eating, eating disorders, and body-image dissatisfaction using a weight-neutral approach. She’s also the author of, a popular body positive style blog. You can find her on Instagram @theshirarose. Find more about her therapy practice at