Where to Spend Money in Your Skincare Routine

Hey everyone, if you read my blog regularly you’ll know I have a series called save, spend, splurge where I compare products from the same category at different price points. The purpose of this series is to tell you that you can have good products on a budget but highlight the potential benefits of spending a little more if you can afford to. What this series doesn’t tell you is where in your skincare routine your money will be best spent.

Some people may only be able to afford the save option each time, some can afford the splurge. The reality is that most people will fall somewhere in the middle, have some budget products but are willing to spend a bit more on a product or two. That’s where this post comes in, today I’m going to be highlighting the products worth spending a little more on to get the most out of your skincare routine.

I’m going to structure this one from most expensive to cheapest, so the products you should be investing the most in are at the top of the list. Obviously, this is general advice and some people with specific skin issues or conditions will need to prioritise things in a different order. However, if you have generally healthy skin with everyday concerns such as dehydration or oiliness, this should be about right for you.



I cannot stress this enough. Your serum is the most important part of your routine. It’s likely to be the product which contains the most active ingredients. Out of all of your products, this one works the hardest and will usually be the one that ‘transforms’ your skin. If you can only afford one premium product in your routine, invest in a good serum. You can get serums for hydration, redness, exfoliation and just about everything else you can think of. Your serum will usually be the product most tailored to your skin’s needs at any one time, so choose carefully.


This is cheating a little because your exfoliator could actually be your serum. But it’s worth spending money on, especially if you have more sensitive skin. You’re literally peeling off your skin with an acid. It’s worth a little extra to make sure you have a formula with no nasty ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, a formula containing calming ingredients like aloe or oatmeal is a good idea too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good one, but it’s a product you should choose carefully.



I’m putting this one in the middle because I don’t actually believe there’s an ideal amount to spend on cleanser. When I did my save, spend, splurge for cleansing balms, I couldn’t choose a winner. It’s going in the middle because you need to pick a formula that works well for your skin. You can get great budget ones. Although, I will say most of the good quality budget ones are not oily skin friendly. You can also spend a fortune. My most used cleanser is from the ‘spend‘ category, but I have others I love from save and splurge too.

Eye Cream

Controversial, I know a lot of people don’t believe in eye cream, but if you do, you want a good one. The undereye after all is a very sensitive area so you want something that doesn’t contain any irritants and will be gentle. Especially if you’re looking at something containing retinol for anti-ageing purposes, it’s worth spending a little more. However, if you’re really young you may want to skip the eye cream and just bring your serum/ moisturiser under your eyes (depending on the formula).


You can get some cheaper oils which are absolutely amazing, but a lot of the cheaper options contain mineral oil which is doing absolutely nothing beneficial for your skin. Oils are going in the spend category purely as a way of filtering out some of the products that use cheaper filler ingredients.



This might shock a few people, but moisturiser usually isn’t that big of a deal. We’re told to invest in our moisturisers because of the ancient advice of ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise’. Realistically, a good routine contains more steps than that. And those extra steps are the ones that do most of the work, like the serums and oils. If you don’t use oils or serums, splash out on your moisturiser. If you have a good serum, you only need basic moisturisers for a little boost of hydration most of the time. French pharmacy brands have some phenomenal budget moisturisers that don’t contain bad ingredients.

Products I’m Not Mentioning

A notable mention for the products I’m not mentioning.


You need to be wearing SPF, and it needs to be a good quality one. I did a whole post on the importance of SPF last month which I’ll leave here. You can get good cheaper ones and more expensive options but how much you need to spend on it varies massively. Some people are very sensitive to SPF (myself included) and others can wear just about anything. Make sure it’s broad spectrum and make sure it’s at least SPF30 (and read that post if you want to know why).


I’m a big believer in investing more in your daily routine than something you’ll use once a week at most, but it’s another area where prices fluctuate massively and how much you spend will depend on the kind of results you’re wanting. But please don’t spend a fortune on clay masks, they cost next to nothing to produce.


Like I said, this is general advice, not rules to live by. Where do you like to spend money in your routine?

Until next time,




  1. 15th March 2018 / 8:11 pm

    This is such a helpful post! I had NO idea about serum and usually skimp on it – this post could change my face!! Thank you!!

  2. 15th March 2018 / 8:20 pm

    Totally agree with where you’ve placed these! Serum is so so important and the part of the routine that your skin will lap up the most. I usually always get a cheap moisturiser as I feel like it’s just a bit of a barrier after my serum! And a good exfoliator is always a must, I don’t know how I didn’t used to use one, my skin must’ve been so clogged!
    Alice Xx

  3. 15th March 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Great post!

    I’m forever browsing the net for skincare and beauty products. Trying not to purchase anything yet because I still have loads of products to get through yet and don’t have the space for more. Haha.
    I do believe we can find cheaper products that work just as good or even better than the ridiculously expensive products.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sabah || womanishaffairs.org

  4. 15th March 2018 / 8:38 pm

    Am I crazy for not having a serum or exfoliator? Omg. I need to get up on it. I thought I was good with my facial scrub and moisturizer. I mean everyone is different right lol. I definitely would splurge on some of the products mentioned. Thanks for the heads up!❤️

  5. Fatimah
    15th March 2018 / 8:44 pm

    I don’t really have a set routine nowadays, but definitely will have to start with some of these products xx


  6. 15th March 2018 / 9:09 pm

    Great tips and I’ve been looking for a facial peel so will definitely be trying this one.

  7. 15th March 2018 / 9:14 pm

    I’m all about exfoliators but is it bad I’ve never once used a serum at the age of 20? x

  8. 15th March 2018 / 11:23 pm

    I love where you’ve placed these, they are so accurate! I’m in love with my Emma Hardie cleanser and will always spend on that! I really enjoy these posts sophie!

    Emily xx


  9. 16th March 2018 / 9:32 am

    As someone whos skincare involves a cleanser and a toner i feel like this is all over my head! Especially because im a student i struggle to put money to buy skincare because i dont see it as that important when i know it should be! Ive invested in some Lush skincare but i think thats the most investment i’ll ever make haha x

  10. 16th March 2018 / 3:00 pm

    Thank you for this advice! I don’t even use a serum and as I’m now 30 I probably should. I’m going to do some research into them. Do you have any recommendation? X

  11. 16th March 2018 / 6:48 pm

    I don’t use a serum so that’s something I’m going to look into soon. I also agree with you on the moisturiser. Usually it’s not worth getting a very expensive one because it doesn’t come with added benefits.

  12. 16th March 2018 / 6:53 pm

    I’m always afraid of serums because of my oily skin! I definitely need to invest in an SPF as I’m reading it twice on your blog how important it is, I am convienced I need it! xx

  13. 16th March 2018 / 8:16 pm

    I like the sound of this blog series! It’s great to save some money while being able to take care of your skin at the same time. I’ve used some of PeterThomasRoth hair products before and love how my hair turned out at the end. I didn’t know oils are important for skincare until recently! Using skincare products with SPF is so important! Thanks for sharing :).


  14. 16th March 2018 / 8:40 pm

    I don’t actually own any serum (tbh, I’m not really sure what it’s for). But I’m definitely going to have a look around now and maybe add one to my routine. Always love reading your posts Sophie, I’m forever learning new things! xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  15. 18th March 2018 / 5:03 am

    One of my favorite products is serum! I absolutely love the feeling of it on my skin. I also splurge one ampoules too.


  16. 22nd March 2018 / 5:12 pm

    My skincare routine is so poor the only thing i spend money on is cleanser. And i save everywhere else ahah! xx corinne

  17. 29th March 2018 / 5:58 pm

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been holding off buying the expensive skin care items even though I know that they are the ones that work really well. Have to save up for the good ones! haha

    Sheena | http://www.sheenalovessunsets.com

  18. 30th March 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Such an interesting post- I have to say my most used moisturisers are in the spend category and not the save- I’ve never found anything that comes close to Clinique’s moisture surge range- https://sophiehearts.net x

  19. 30th March 2018 / 9:55 pm

    It’s amazing how much you know about skincare products! You always teach me new things when I read these posts, it’s great. I think I need to add a few more products to my skincare routine! I don’t use a serum, and I want to get some more face masks. They are great to use on a relaxing day!


  20. 31st March 2018 / 10:51 am

    Definitely agree with all of this – especially the serum. They tend to be so targeted and specialised, that you just won’t get the same results with a cheaper one. And so much yes about the moisturiser – I have been using a combination of a Clean and Clear one and one from The Body Shop and they do the job just fine 😀 x

    Sneha | lifewithsneha.com

  21. 31st March 2018 / 11:04 am

    Another brilliant and informative post, lovely! I don’t own any serum and truthfully, I’m awful at a skincare routine. I have however just run out of moisturizer so I’ll be sure to not splurge on a new one. I’m sure there’s plenty of really good, cheaper alternatives out there!

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