Expensive Face Creams: Worth the Cash?

La Mer
Would you pay $1,390 for this?
I have never really gotten the legions of women who are devoted to certain extremely pricey face creams.

La Mer Creme de la Mer, for example, sells for a whopping $1,390 per container!

And while most of us aren't exactly delving into our life savings for face cream, I know plenty of women with relatively modest means who spend hundreds of dollars on Arbonne or Estee Lauder or Shiseido or Lancome face products.

The question I have for you --

Are expensive face creams and serums really worth the money?

I've tried a bunch of them and here's what I think ...





Thanks to my mom, for whom shopping at expensive department stores is a vocation, I have an enormous bag full of samples of pretty much every face cream and serum known to man. I have used all of them at one time or another. And I can't really say I've seen any difference between them and the drugstore brands whatsoever. I've wanted to. But I didn't.

In addition, as a blogger, I've been sent countless face creams and lotions and masques to review, most of them well beyond my normal budget. I've used them until they were gone -- I'm frugal that way. And still? Nothing.


ArbonneThe only time I've personally noticed a difference was when a friend who also happened to be an Arbonne consultant conned, I mean, talked me into trying the Arbonne face regimen for a weekend. After only a day or two, I noticed a huge difference in my skin. It felt great!

The trouble was that the entire line of products I needed to buy in order to get that feeling added up to more than $300. The other problem was that the regimen involved five or six different products at morning and at night. And what mother has time for that?!

So for me, it has been (drumroll please) ...

NeutrogenaNeutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser (Drugstore.com, $6.59). Seriously. I love this stuff. It cleans my face and removes makeup without making my skin feel tight afterward.


NeutrogenaI follow it up with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion with SPF 15 and Alpha Hydroxy (Drugstore.com, $11.99).

And lately, I've been using eye cream, too, as a preventative measure, although I'm not seeing any major results.

What about you? What's your morning/evening skincare routine? Are you happy with the products you're using? And do you think expensive face creams and lotions are worth the big bucks?

Images (top to bottom): Bloomingdales; Arbonne; Drugstore.com; Drugstore.com

beauty, skin


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nonmember avatar Paula

I think you get what you pay for... I have extremely dry skin, and use Lancome and Arbonne (whose eye cream BTW is the best I have ever used) I don't do all the steps- I don't use a toner (so shoot me) I only use night cream in the winter when I am a wrinkled prune. And I add in extra SPF daily (Aveeno SPF 70 for the face or Neutrogena SPF ? for the face) so there is no chance of sunning my face.  I have used over the counter stuff, and they don't have the hydration that I need. I used to have oily skin... until menopause attacked me at 36... my skin went down hill from there.  To top it off, I also have rosacea... so must be careful with anything "soy" based which is the new "in" thing to mix in. I adore Decleor, Elemis and Epicuren just to name the ones that I "splurge" with on vacation when going to a spa...

nonmember avatar Laks


I use Dove for cleansing and follow it up with Oil of olay SPF15 .  One time I tried OBAGI. That was before the kids were born.  It worked great.  There was remarkable difference.  But, once I stopped using it... back to square one.  The whole set cost's around 450 to 500, you have to use 5 or 6 products morning and evening.  Given a chance I would love to try it again.  But mom's don't have that much time.

Linds... LindsayFerrier

OBAGI sounds a lot like Arbonne. I toyed with choosing a couple of Arbonne products, but honestly, after trying the whole thing I would have felt cheated if I hadn't bought all six. Fortunately, my mom had the whole set and had barely used it, so she gave it to me! I used it for a while until the newness wore off and I realized I didn't have 20+ minutes a day to spend on skincare.

DivaM... DivaMommy19

I used to use Philosophy (just the Hope in a Jar), but a friend turned me on to Mary Kay Timewise products, and I've been using those for over a year.  They are just a tad more expensive than the drugstore brands (cleanser is $18 and moisturizer is $22, I think), and I really like them.  And I LOVE the microdermabrasion stuff...my skin feels so great after that treatment!  Another frugal tip...you can get Mary Kay products on eBay for about half of what you pay regularly!  I sometimes do that (don't tell my MK consultant!).

mrsuk... mrsukyankee

I use Simple products.  I'm not sure if they are or aren't available in the US (started using this product line one year after I moved over here), but they are great for my sensitive skin.  I use the face wipes to clean my face at night, followed by the night creme (regeneration).  In the morning, I use the moisturizer with spf 15.  I don't wash my face in the morning with anything other than water.  I'm 41, have very few wrinkles...I'm convinced it's just due to using lots of spf through my life and a simple way of dealing with my face.

nonmember avatar ktkelley

I don't use anything yet.  I know, I know!  I've decided that when I turn 30 (it's not that far off) I'll start trying things and getting serious about taking care of myself.  Right now I have two children under 3 and there's no way I'd ever make it through all 6 steps without being interrupted or falling asleep!  I like this thread because I can see what everyone else thinks about these products.  Let's call it research!

nonmember avatar Amy

I've used Arbonne products (not the one you pictured, a different line - too lazy to go up and see what they're called).  I did notice a difference, but, honestly, noticed a HUGE difference when I started using their makeup.  I bought Arbonne's mineral powder make up and used it 'til it was gone.  Then, I just bought BareMinerals to replace it rather than ordering Arbonne again - my face feels yucky and is not clear when I use the BareMinerals.   I'm frugal enough that I'm going to use it up but then will go back to the Arbonne makeup.

I realize this was about skincare lines, but if your skin still seems to be acting up after changing products, you might change your makeup too!


nonmember avatar KrissyMom

Honestly, I got suckered into one of those Principal Secret infomercials a few years ago. I gave the trial "Reclaim" kit a test. I used it for a while and noticed a decent change but not a huge one.  Eventually, my trial kit  supply ran out so I stopped using it. THEN I noticed the difference when my skin wasn't getting the product! So I ordered it and haven't stopped using it....too afraid to :)  I am tempted to try Cindy Crawford's melon extract line now. What to do?

nonmember avatar Rachel D. Arndt

I also use the Neutrogena Face Foaming Cleanser topped off with Oil of Olay SFP15 and have for years, it works wonders! My mother-in-law is kind of old school as well, feeling like she needs to go to the department store for uber expensive lotions and creams. Seriously? She's still dry and wrinkled, I see no difference. But to her mind she looks and feels great, and I don't have the heart to tell her she's crazy to spend that much money.

Marsh... MarshaCWP

I think the actual products you use matter very little.  The important things are to always clean your makeup off at night, and to use products with spf15 or greater during the day.  I always keep a box of moist facewipes at my bedside, in case I'm too tired to do a full regimen.  Both my daily lotion and foundation have sunscreen in them.  If anything takes longer than 5 minutes, I don't have the patience to do it every day.  What I'm doing must work, because I'm constantly getting compliments on my complexion and I have a lot fewer wrinkles than many women my age.


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