Luxe or Less?

Steal/deal. Pricey/Affordable. Must/Lust.

However you express it, for every outrageously expensive product, there is a less costly counterpart that comes close to mimicking it. If money is no object, you may always go for the higher end, assuming a cost/effectiveness ratio. But for most of us, money matters and if we can save it AND get results, it’s a win/win.

Today I am debuting a feature that I expect to repeat as I discover more and more economical ways to satisfy my beauty urges. My inspiration? A dear friend on a beauty budget and the mind blowing Nivea/Crème de la Mer challenge by a staffer at the Daily Mail. If you have never seen this, click here NOW!–105-Cr-la-Mer-The-results-VERY-revealing.html Then buy stock in Nivea!

Ok. Now you are in the proper frame of mind!


SkinCeuticals C&E Ferulic- $99.98/30 ml.,

The gold standard in anti-oxidant serum protection, it neutralizes free radicals that cause accelerated signs of aging. I used this for years until I found…


Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E Serum- $39.95/30 ml.,

Vit. C&E serum

Vit. C&E serum

My aesthetician ace, Stacey,and her biz partner, Pam,turned me onto this less expensive clone with the exact same percentage of active ingredients: 15% Vit.C, 1% Vit.E and .05% Ferulic Acid. At under $40, it is a bargain. Tip: Keep this and all your eye creams in the fridge. They will go further.

Bonus: Dr. Jessica Wu Vivid Intense 15% Vit. C Serum, Professional Strength with Vit. E and Pro-Vitamin B5 for emollience. This is a great formulation at an awesome price. I snapped it up for $24.99  at Costco for a four week supply.


Laura Mercier Caviar stick- $26, Sephora and Saks



Eye liner is my daily staple and I love to play with color. If one product can double as both liner and shadow, even better. These glide on and blend easily for a defined or smoky eye in 18 lush shades. Jungle and Amethyst are my faves.


Sephora+Pantone Universe Jumbo Waterproof eye pencil- on sale now for $10, Sephora

Draw your line thin or bold, smudge for a smoky eye or blend out as a shadow. 4 high pigment colors last all day. Fire/Brownstone/Bronze is my go-to.

Sephora collection 12HR Jumbo Pencil is available in 28 dazzling shades for $14.


Dior Addict Lip Gloss – $29.50, Sephora and dept. stores

A cult favorite, this luxe gloss comes in 19 dazzling shades to add pop to your lipstick or shine on their own.


Pati Dubroff Perfect Nudes lip gloss, 4 pk. $19.95, Costco

Lip gloss for less

Lip gloss for less

While browsing for CoQ10 at Costco, I stumbled onto this set of gorgeous glosses by celeb makeup artist Dubroff. Slick but not sticky, these go- with- everything shades shine brilliantly and outlast most others. Things come and go quickly at Costco so jump on this bandwagon ASAP!


DNA (Do Not Age) transforming pearl serum by Dr. Brandt- $150/1.4 oz,

I was struck by the similarity of Dr. Brandt’s ad to the one for Olay Regenerist Luminous, both dripping in pearls.The goal here is glowing “pearlescent” skin. Dr. Brandt encapsulates the anti-aging power of Juvenessence+ complex in tiny pearls that burst upon application to “erase the signs of aging (loss of firmness/radiance/vitality)”. More magazine picked it as a 2013 Big Beauty Try-On Winner. See profile on Dr. Brandt in last Sunday’s Style section, NY Times.


Olay Regenerist Luminous cream – $24.64/50 ml. , Ulta

Olay’s Brightening Complex claims to deliver tone enhancing ingredients 10 layers deep so your glow will “light up every room you enter” by renewing surface cells. At this price, worth a shot.

Glow tonight option:

That pearlescent glow

That pearlescent glow

Mix some L’oreal Magic Lumi Primer- $9.19, Target with your foundation to fake the glow and add a string of pearls. It can only reflect well on you!



Original artwork by Johanna Bohoy

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1 Response to Luxe or Less?

  1. Adeline says:

    Great Blog Zoe! There is so much great information, thank you for doing all the research! I love the picture of you and your mother, she is stunning as are you! Merci

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