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15 Beauty Products Worth The Splurge, According To Editors

There are essentially two categories of beauty products: those that you use here and there but largely leave in the back of your cabinet or makeup bag, and those that you squeeze and scrape and pour out so not a single drop is left unused on your skin. These, of course, are the highly coveted products worth the splurge — sought after because of how effective they are, yes, but also because they’re basically the Birkin bags of the beauty shelves.

Beauty editors, in particular, have access to these products, and it’s quite literally their job to experiment with each elixir that comes across their desk to see which are worth writing about. Since we’ve experimented with hundreds (perhaps thousands) of skin care, hair, body care, and makeup formulas, we’re good at knowing when a dupe is better than the prestige product. We’ll also be able to tell when there’s simply no way around the more expensive face roller, the age-defying eye gel, or the signature lipstick.

Think of this selection of splurge-worthy products from Bustle’s beauty team as not the top shelf, but the trophy shelf picks — the types of products you don’t even share with your BFFs.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

The thought of spending $250 on a serum does make my head spin, but if I were to do it, it would be on this one from Barbara Sturm. Yes, everyone talks about her Hyaluronic Acid Serum and her Glow Drops, but trust me — this clarifying serum is a sleeper hit. I've been dealing with annoying bouts of adult acne recently, and this baby is the only thing that has kept my skin under control. I love that it has no fragrance and a really light, silky texture that sinks in instantly without feeling sticky. If I'm going to spend this much on a skin care product, I need to make sure that it works, and this one absolutely does. — Faith Xue, executive beauty director

I've tried other straighteners, and they just don't work as well as my trusty Ghd. It straightens and smooths my bleached strands without darkening the color, and also just as easily creates bends and waves. I don't travel without it, and my hair ultimately looks better because I have it in my life. — Faith Xue, executive beauty director

I have to admit, I'm not that great at using this microcurrent device consistently, but it's the one thing I recommend to anyone who wants something that lifts and tones their face. I've also been loving the brand’s new Hydrating Aqua Gel, which activates when you use it with your NuFace and makes your skin look drenched with moisture (my favorite look). — Faith Xue, executive beauty director

Out of all the skin care products that exist, I would be totally happy living without an eye cream. Or so I thought — but then this serum came along and made me a believer in the category. Its roster of active ingredients actually de-puff, smooth, and brighten the eye area in a way I’ve never experienced before, and it’s cooling when you apply it to your skin. Besides staple skin-boosting rockstars like vitamin C, niacinamide, caffeine, and ceramides, it contains Dragon’s blood extract and arnica, both of which stimulate circulation. The end result? You’ll instantly look more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor

I’ve tried a lot of beauty devices, but if I were to pick just one to use for the rest of my life, it’d definitely be the ZIIP. It uses both microcurrent and nanocurrent technology to zap and lift and smooth your skin — I definitely see a difference after one mini-facial. Besides the toning effect, I also find that my complexion looks more even. I can’t recommend it enough. — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor

To me, this skin care product is the crème de la crème. While I love my go-to retinol and vitamin C serums, I’m always struck by how this TNS Recovery Complex (a dermatologist favorite, BTW) transforms my glow. The magic is in the star ingredient: growth factor, a protein naturally found in your skin that triggers collagen production and smooths out fine lines. It just makes my complexion look better and plumper — I like to think of it as the serum equivalent of the anti-aging potion they drink in Death Becomes Her. — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor

I have waxed poetic about Santa Maria Novella before but that’s because it’s literally a beauty brand from before the Renaissance — how could you not resist that factor alone? If you touch nothing else from the line, I’m begging you to get your hands on the chamomile bath gel. I spent all winter in my bathtub because of it. It’s a clean and natural scent, but also gives me an overall feeling of euphoria that makes me want to soak in it for hours. — Tamim Alnuweiri, beauty & wellness writer

I am partial to Byredo products, but I still can’t believe I’ve become this dedicated to a hand soap. It smells musky and has hints of oud, which reminds me of the perfumes my late mother wore and the tree bark incense my dad would always burn. I also occasionally catch whiffs of the soap in my bathroom as if it’s a room fragrance, which seals the deal for me. — Tamim Alnuweiri, beauty & wellness writer

I heard Rihanna wears Love, Don't Be Shy, so now I wear Love, Don't Be Shy. Really though, this scent is a perfect mix of sweet — thanks to the marshmallow notes — and floral (with honeysuckle, rose, and orange blossom being standouts). Smelling like Rih doesn't come cheap, but the unique combination (and the luxe keepsake box it comes with) has made this one of the more reached-for fragrances among my stash. — Erin Stovall, senior beauty editor

It's typically an exaggeration to call a product "life-changing," but this blowdryer has truly earned that description. While I love the way my coils look when blown out, the process used to take forever and would sometimes end with achy arms and heat-damaged strands. This lightweight tool (and the Wide-Tooth Comb Attachment that I got separately) have made it possible for me to get a fluffy blowout in less than 30 minutes — and for a curly girl, that's a major coup. — Erin Stovall, senior beauty editor

In just under a month (and getting over the initial redness because it's strong AF), this product has completely transformed my skin. It's made with salicylic acid to exfoliate and tone for a super-smooth texture plus vitamin C to protect skin from free radicals and give it a nice glow. But it's the plant-based antioxidant silymarin that helps control excess oil production to keep me from looking greasy — especially during the hotter and humid months — and I haven't broken out since using it. It’s a total game-changer for oily skin. — Audrey Noble, beauty writer

Of all the perfumes I like to wear, this one gets me the most compliments. It has notes of ginger, tuberose, and sandalwood, all of which give you a warm, floral scent with a hint of powder that isn’t too overbearing. — Audrey Noble, beauty writer

During quarantine, I've been very excited about incorporating products and tools normally reserved for the spa into my home. From facial steamers to pedicure kits (I love Naturally London's Spa Pedicure Bundle), I can't think of anything more blissful than spending an evening pampering myself. The latest facial gadget on my radar is LightStim's LED device, which is specifically designed to treat mild to severe acne. I fall into the mild category, but my breakouts are annoying nonetheless. I swear by the skin-saving powers of red and blue light, so this is one product I'd happily splurge on. — Hilary Shepherd, beauty writer

I was lucky enough to procure a sample of this cleansing body oil in Dior's iconic floral J'adore scent a while back. While I normally gravitate toward woodsier, more unisex fragrances (Elizabeth and James' Nirvana Black used to be my jam), there's something about this product that's really special — and worth the money. I used it for the first time on my birthday, and despite not wearing any other scented lotions or perfumes, the delicate mix of jasmine, rose, and ylang-ylang lingered delightfully throughout the evening. What's more, it feels super luxurious on your skin and makes it so soft. I'll keep breaking this out for special occasions. — Hilary Shepherd, beauty writer

I'm a huge sucker for all things Dr. Barbara Sturm. So when she launched her line of vaginal care products this year, I was really intrigued. I'd usually scoff at feminine hygiene products as I think they're largely useless and potentially harmful, but I'm happy with Dr. Sturm's V Wash, which is equipped with prebiotics and probiotics, soothing panthenol, moisturizing glycerin, and more. — Hilary Shepherd, beauty writer

Studies referenced:

Vostalova, J. (2019). Skin Protective Activity of Silymarin and its Flavonolignans. Molecules. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470681/