Three things you should never skimp on
Beauty consumers are constantly on the hunt for products that will perform like a Maserati, on a Holden budget.
There are loads of product categories where you can absolutely get excellent results very cheaply.
But sometimes you get exactly what you pay for.
The tough part is finding out exactly what products are worth splurging on and where you can get away with the budget version.
We really only need three expensive things in our beauty cabinets: an excellent serum, and eye cream and a glorious designer foundation.
Everything else - like mascara, eyeshadow, cleanser and moisturiser - can be bought from your chemist or supermarket.
Why are these more expensive products often better? Usually it's because a brand has spent millions of dollars on research and development, experimenting for years with different formulas and ingredients to get the perfect mix.
We're all on a budget, but we all want glorious skin. So here are the three bougie essentials worth spending your next pay cheque on.
DR ANH'S NUTRI DAY SERUM
Available from: Dr Anh's website - and she has Afterpay!
Popular plastic surgeon Dr Anh Nguyen operates out of the glorious spa at Crown Metropol Hotel in Perth. Now she's launched her own line of ingredient-focused and very effective skincare products.
Nutri Day is an amazing vitamin C serum that is the closest thing out there to the best vitamin C serum on the market, which is Drunk Elephant's excellent C-Firma Day serum ($122 from Mecca). But Nutri Day is cheaper and offers that same glorious hydrating feeling that is lacking in many vitamin C products.
Vitamin C is an excellent brightening ingredient that's great for increasing radiance and reducing sun spots or dullness.
Nutri Day contains 10 per cent l-ascorbic acid, the most stable form of vitamin C, as well as vitamin E. It doesn't feel sticky or watery like many vitamin C serums. Instead it feels smooth and hydrating, almost with an oil-like consistency.
Look, the packaging isn't great. It's not chic - at all. The font is weird and it looks like it was done on Word Art, but this packaging snob has learnt to look past that and focus on the excellent skin results.
Side note - Dr Anh's Revival Eye Serum ($79) is also really good.
OLE HENRIKSEN BANANA BRIGHT EYE CREME
Available from: Sephora
People always want to be told that eye creams are unnecessary, but if you're serious about ensuring your under-eye area is as plump and hydrated as possible, it's time to invest.
The skin under our eyes is naturally thinner and contains fewer oil glands than on the rest of our face, so it needs extra TLC.
Eye creams won't eliminate wrinkles - no product except Botox or filler will - but they ensure those fine lines don't become as deep.
This brightening eye cream is very thin and a little goes a long way. It can help reduce dark circles and is great to use under makeup, as well as at night.
I often recommend this product to men who want to start using eye cream, because they can apply it during the day and no one will notice.
CHANEL VITALUMIÈRE AQUA FOUNDATION
Available from: David Jones
Look, there are loads of cheap supermarket-brand foundations out there and lots of them get the job done - but they're not amazing.
If you really want that glowy, professional finish, you need to invest in a good foundation.
You don't have to go crazy and buy the La Mer one (it's $200 from Mecca if you're curious). For between $60 and $100 you can get a damn good foundation from Sephora or Mecca.
Giorgio Armani make amazing foundations (Luminous Silk, Power Fabric and Designer Lift are great), as does Dior and MAC. Beauty Blender's Bounce foundation is great for high coverage and NARS' Sheer Glow is a brilliant classic.
But you can never go wrong with Chanel. Both in life and with your makeup.
This lighter version of their classic Vitalumière foundation gives more of a sheer coverage than the original. It comes out of the bottle like a fluid and is very easy to apply with fingers.
Start in the centre of your face, where most of us get redness and uneven texture, then smooth out over the rest of your face.
Does it help if I tell you that British makeup artist and YouTube queen Lisa Eldridge is a fan of this foundation? Because she is. Big time.
But aside from making you look amazing, I actually think the best thing about this product is how it makes you feel.
There's nothing quite like popping a little bit of Chanel on your face each morning to help you step out into the world with your head held a little higher, and a delightful spring in your step.