If someone were to suddenly win a few million bucks, there would surely be a list of things they’d run to put that money to: vacation (and probably debt), for obvious starters. And unquestionably: beauty products. It’s the golden age of skin care, when drugstore products churn out major results; however, it’s undeniable that even with all of the pocketbook wins, there are some skin-care products that are worth the splurge.
In Well+Good’s Beauty Geek Facebook group (join it if you haven’t yet!), we posed the question to our readers: If you could splurge on one beauty product, what would it be? And our followers happen to have wish lists full of dermatologist-recommended skin-care essentials. Their picks range from science-backed brands like SkinCeuticals and Augustinus Bader to California cult-faves like Vintner’s Daughter. To see their picks, and hear why these items really are worth the splurge, keep scrolling.
1. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum, $166
This is the vitamin C serum that skin-care devotees mention as their dream product time and time again, and it’s one that Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and our Dear Derm host recommends on the reg. It’s potent, effective, and truly brightens your complexion. One reader says it’s “amazing” and “worth the high price tag.”
A lot of Well+Good readers cited Dr. Barbara Sturm products in their splurge-worthy picks, including this cleanser. The product basically works as a double cleanse in one bottle: It gently exfoliates with the tiniest grain powder, and then morphs into a foam to remove dirt and grime from your skin, plus it’s got vitamin C for radiance-boosting effects. “The Enzyme Cleanser is pricey but it lasted me an entire year,” writes one of our readers.
3. Tata Harper Elixir Vitae Serum, $450
Tata Harper is known has been harvesting botanicals on her farm in Vermont for over a decade. One of her latest concoctions is this luxe serum, which is meant to plump the skin. The formula has a handful of neuropeptides (an anti-aging collagen stimulator), as well as pistachio tree “crystal tears” and candle tree leaf, both of which are plant-based extracts that work to restore the skin’s elasticity.
The Vintner’s Daughter serum is one that’s been coveted by beauty aficionados for years now. It’s a potent blend of 22 active botanicals that work synergistically to nourish, hydrate, and brighten the skin. As someone who’s used bottles of the stuff, I can vouch for how dreamy it is.
5. Augustinus Bader The Cream, $265
This all-famous face cream was originally formulated to treat serious scars and burns. It’s now widely available to whoever wants to shell out over $200 for a moisturizer that actually stimulates your skin’s cells to regenerate. You’ll find that not only does it hydrate and smooth your skin, but even the most stubborn of acne scars will diminish.
6. Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum, $125
It’s in the name: The serum is dubbed luxury because of its potent formulation that works to calm your skin. Within the covetable serum is a mix of full-spectrum CBD to soothe inflammation, potent botanicals that have antioxidant properties, and cold-pressed grapeseed oil to hydrate and give your skin extra vitamin C.
7. Sunday Riley Good Genes, $85
The cult-favorite skin-booster from Sunday Riley is a classic, for good reason. It’s a do-it-all chemical exfoliant that uses lactic acid (a gentle alpha-hydroxy acid) to slough off dead, dull skin, licorice root extract to brighten, and prickly pear and aloe vera to keep your skin moisturized as it goes through the exfoliation… and it’s a must-have, according to our readers.
8. May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon, $180
One of our readers cited the famous Blue Cocoon face balm as something she’d splurge on, which makes sense. This balm is one of the most gentle, skin-repairing products you can get, since it’s filled with soothing botanicals like lavender, geranium, blue tansy, all of which reduce redness and inflammation. Once you slather it into your skin, the buttery texture melts into an oil that works to immediately give your face a layer of healthy, gorgeous dew.
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