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It’s Not About the Price Tag: comparison of cheap and expensive beauty products

When there’s too many homework assignments written down in my planner and not enough time for a nap, I often settle for a quick self-care pick-me-up instead. I tested out five affordable and five expensive self-care products to find out which ones you should pick up at Target for cheap and which ones are worth all of your babysitting money.



A strong scent of refreshing peppermint hit me as soon as I peeled back the lid on the Nügg Total Refresh Revitalizing & Cooling Face Mask. Each pod is $4 at Target, but the amount of product allows for three to four uses per container, making it even more of a steal. I only left the clear mask on for five minutes and after I washed it off, my face felt tingly and I caught myself worrying about my upcoming APUSH test less and less. Even so, I didn’t end up with the moisturized glow I wanted.


The earthy scented Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial from Sephora has a thicker consistency than its Target counterpart. The mask is tan colored, but turns clear once rubbed onto your face. Twenty minutes later, my skin felt a bit sticky to the touch but looked so much smoother. The difference in the smoothness of my complexion before and after made the $80 mask worth it.

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I’m a sucker for all things sparkly — I was pulled to the shimmery, tie-dye pastel pink, blue and yellow $6 Fizz & Bubble Unicorn Swirl Bath Fizzy on the Ulta shelf. But I was disappointed by its powerful and unnatural coconut scent when I plopped into the pink, bubbly bath water. This bath bomb reminded me of my carefree bubble beard making days, but the overpowering scent gave me a headache.


Lush’s Pink Bath Bomb reminded me why Lush is my one stop shop for all things bath. This $8.95 bath bomb is bright pink and topped with three small white, orange and blue daisies. Its light floral scent didn’t make me want to immediately throw it away, unlike the Unicorn Swirl Bath Fizzy. The pink heart confetti scattered on the bottom of the pink dyed waters in my bathtub just about transported me to the set of a rom com.



I know the importance of moisturizing — I use a moisturizer recommended by my dermatologist each night. Clinique’s Moisture Surge cream-gel moisturizer made my skin feel softer to the touch, just like the lotion I use everyday. The packaging claims that the $12 lotion is fragrance-free, but there was an oily smell to it. Post-application, my combination skin (oily skin in some areas and dry skin in others) had fewer dry spots.


The La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream comes at a steep price — $90 for .5 oz to be exact. But hey, at least there’s free shipping and samples. I quickly realized that a high price doesn’t always mean a higher quality product — the effects of this cream-gel were practically identical to those of the Clinique one. So, was it worth the extra $78? No.

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Perfume preferences vary for everyone — I prefer fresh floral scents, so I picked up the Kindred Goods Rose & Peony perfume at Old Navy. It only cost me $12 to smell like the gardens at the Versailles Palace in France, so you can bet that this pale pink perfume will be lingering around me for at least the next few weeks.


The $95 Carven L’Eau de Toilette perfume screamed “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to me — the fancy glass bottle with a glass stopper and ribbon really put it over the top. According to Carven Parfum’s website, there are hints of flowers such as peony, freesia and wisteria. But to me, the perfume reminded me of my grandma’s musty old living room. I’ll have my Old Navy perfume back now, thanks.



Don’t get me wrong, I love an inexpensive nail polish, but I was not at all impressed by the Sally Hansen Hard Nails Xtreme Wear nail polish. After browsing the Sally Hansen section at Ulta, I went with a fire engine red called Pucker Up. The biggest problem is its runny consistency, which drips off a thin brush. Even though I applied two coats, this $3 polish didn’t last as long as I was expecting it to — it chipped in two places after one day.


After trying out the Sally Hansen polish, I was immediately impressed by the thick consistency and wide brush of the Dior Vernis polish. I chose the dark red shade Rouge. I only needed to apply one coat for an even and opaque manicure. The bottle’s shiny silver twist off lid was an added bonus for aesthetics. Overall, Dior Vernis both looks and performs like a $28 polish should, with its sleek packaging and long lasting wear (my manicure looked brand new for weeks).

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Author Spotlight

Kelly Murphy

Kelly Murphy
Junior Kelly Murphy is ready for her second year on staff as a Staff Writer and Page Designer. Aside from Harbinger, Kelly is involved with tennis, SHARE, choir, Link Crew, and Junior Board. When she’s not busy with all of that or homework, she loves hanging out with friends and traveling with family. »

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