When it comes down to the reasons why we buy certain products, it oftentimes has something to do with the hype surrounding them. When our favorite celebrity or a circle of friends extols the virtues of a lipstick or a moisturizer, we're that much more likely to go out and buy it. There are plenty of cult beauty products out there that are widely rumored to be the best on the market, but which ones are actually worth our money, and which ones are overrated? Here's what we have to say on the matter.
Worth It: Mason Pearson Why spend $100+ on something as simple as a hair brush when you could pick one up at the drugstore for under $5? We get it—a fancy hair brush is a hard sell, but if you have a bit of disposable income and strong feelings about having great hair, a classic Mason Pearson brush is far from the worst way to spend it. The boar bristles gently massage the scalp for overall good hair health, and anyone who's ever owned a brush from the brand's wide selection can attest to the fact that they last for years, much unlike the $7 incarnation that cracked in half in the shower last week.
Not Worth It: Crème de La Mer Ageless celebrities like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez (who reportedly slathers her body in the stuff) swear by Crème de La Mer, but if your life dream is to invest $150+ on that all-too-familiar jar, you may want to think again. La Mer skin care products have famous fans, a high price tag, and instant name recognition, but they also have highly comedogenic ingredients like mineral oil, multiple silicones, and lanolin alcohol. Lessons to be learned: Get a good look at the ingredients list before you spend your hard-earned cash on something that may not be worth the hype, and next time you're feeling tempted at the La Mer counter, pick up their excellent Cleansing Foam or Lip Balm instead.
Worth It: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch It's rare to find a luxury complexion-enhancing product that can't be duplicated elsewhere on the market for significantly less money, but Touche Éclat is everything it's supposed to be and more—there's a reason one is sold somewhere in the world every 10 seconds. The click-pen packaging and soft, flexible brush make the award-winning concealer super-easy to apply both in front of your mirror and on-the-go, but the formula is the real selling point, as it should be. It makes dark circles and signs of sleepiness vanish instantly, lifts the brow bone, highlights cheekbones, covers fine lines, and more, and the wide range of shades means there's one for everybody.
Not Worth It: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream This skin protectant isn't necessarily a bad product, but it's much like the equivalent of Vaseline in a fancy dress. Like Vaseline, its main ingredient is petrolatum, a petrochemical that is restricted by the European Union for use in cosmetics, and it also contains comedogens (that means pore-cloggers) like mineral oil and lanolin. Elizabeth Arden is a great cosmetics brand with great products (see: the entire PREVAGE line), but given that a tube of Eight Hour Cream will run you $20, it's just not a wise purchase when compared to other, far cheaper products with similar ingredients.
Worth It: Fresh Crème Ancienne This fancy face cream makes a lot of crazy claims that one might be tempted to shrug off. For starters, each jar is hand-blended in a monastery, and each ingredient is poured in a particular sequence at a determined temperature to avoid compromising their fragile compositions. That short list of ingredients contains meadowfoam seed oil, rose water, beeswax, and other fine waxes and oils proven rather than rumored to nourish, protect and counteract the effects of aging on all skin types. If you're in the market for a high-quality anti-aging moisturizer that is supremely effective but not exactly cheap, Crème Ancienne is among the very best.
Not Worth It: NARS Orgasm Don't get us wrong—this shade is pretty, but we're inclined to believe that its cult status has less to do with its color and more to do with the racy name. NARS makes fantastic blushes, that much is true, but they have about 10 more unique options we'd choose over Orgasm's peachy sparkle. We'll give it its due as a good "gateway blush" and nothing more, then reach for our compacts of Sin, Taos, Desire… the list goes on.
Worth It: Clé de Peau Concealer The only justifiable explanation we can think of for this concealer's above-and-beyond performance is magic—$70 worth of magic, to be precise. This super-soft, super-creamy stick formula wins awards year after year for its unprecedented ability to disappear dark circles, blend away blemishes, and everything in between. Perhaps its most admirable quality is that it lasts all day with or without powder, so you won't spend half your day with perfect skin and the other half on a steady decline toward, "Yep, I have concealer on." Its singular downfall is that it comes in only four relatively light shades.
Not Worth It: Moroccanoil Treatment Moroccanoil smells unbelievably, to-die-for incredible, but the sad truth is that rather than letting its star ingredient, argan oil, shine, the treatment contains less than 5 percent of the stuff. Instead, the first three ingredients are silicone polymers, which certainly work to smooth hair and enhance shine in the short-term, but because they both have no nourishing properties and cannot be absorbed by the hair follicle, they function less like a treatment and more like a band-aid—a band-aid that can be found in any drugstore hair smoother or shine serum rather than a $40 bottle. That isn't to say that no Moroccanoil product is worth its price—we're huge fans of their shampoos, conditioners and hair masks—but their signature treatment isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Worth It: Guerlain Rouge Automatique In no world (that we know of) is $40 lipstick a must-have, but if you're going to go upscale with your lip color, go Guerlain. Rouge Automatique is superior for many reasons—it's deeply moisturizing, long-lasting, creamy but not slippery, has a stunning satiny finish, and each shade is more gorgeous than the next—and the gilded packaging is really just the icing on the cake. We swear.
Not Worth It: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion We've met many people who sing the praises of this classic moisturizer, but our feelings on the subject are best summed up as "meh." Like the other not-worth-it skin care products on this list, Dramatically Different is compromised primarily of quick-fix, potentially harmful filler ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, and lanolin alcohol, all of which are also known to clog pores and cause breakouts. Opt instead for one of Clinique's many other great products, like their Repairwear Intensive Night Cream or Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief.
5 Cult Beauty Products Worth Every Penny (and 5 That Aren’t)