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Beauty Products We Go Broke For

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Expensive Beauty Products That Are Actually Worth the Money

How many times have you shelled out several $20 bills at Sephora or Ulta for a really expensive beauty product — swayed by positive reviews and influencer Instagrams — only to find out that, hey, maybe you don’t actually need a mascara that costs upwards of $60? It’s happened to me enough to make me dubious of any price tag where the first digit is above the number 3.

But the silver lining of spending a lot of money on beauty products that may not be worth it? Eventually, you also find the ones that really, truly are. Even though it hurts — deep down inside, and in your wallet — to spend more than $9 on a bottle of shampoo, discovering a miracle product that actually deserves the money you spent on it feels oddly fulfilling. Here, a bunch of Racked editors sound off on the things they’ll consistently shell out the big bucks for. 

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Photo: Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation, $62; SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $165; Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen, $57; Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80

I’ve been self-conscious about my skin for as long as I can remember. My pores are big, the texture of my T-zone is kind of bumpy, and I have mild rosacea. Most medium- to full-coverage foundations either don’t do enough for me, or they wear off by the time I get to work.

Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation is absolutely worth $62. I first bought it because I had heard it was a good tattoo cover-up (it is), so that right there says something about its staying power. I spray it directly onto a Beautyblender and then just dab it on my face. I never thought I would be someone who spends more than $25 on foundation, or someone who would insist it be Dior, but here we are.

And while we’re on the topic of uneven skin texture, an honorable mention goes to Caudalie’s Glycolic Peel ($39), which I’ve started using once a week, and I’ve seen a noticeable difference. Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director

I have purchased SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($165) with my own hard-earned money for many years now. It’s a stinky-smelling, semi-burn-y antioxidant serum recommended by pretty much every dermatologist on the planet. It was one of the first vitamin C products to hit the market. There may be better ones out there now for all I know (vitamin C is super popular at the moment), but I’ll never find out because I refuse to give this one up.

When I don’t use it for a week or two because I’m testing other products, I notice my skin looks duller. Plus, I always imagine this eating up free radicals on my skin, so when I don’t wear it I’m certain that my skin is becoming totally toxic. I’m hooked. Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter

There will probably come a day when I stop evangelizing for this preposterously priced Tom Ford liquid eyeliner ($57!), but today is not that day. It’s just literally the best: It goes on smooth, its dual-endedness makes drawing simple or dramatic wings easy, it stays on my super oily eyelids all day, and it comes off with micellar water.

What’s more, this shit lasts. I buy roughly one per year and it takes about that long to fray or dry out. (Although I did once leave the cap off overnight and ruined the thin tip, SAD.) So even though it’s insanely expensive up front, I genuinely think it saves me money in the long run because I’m not constantly nipping into Sephora or CVS to buy other, shittier eyeliners that only last a few months. —Alanna Okun, senior editor

More Expensive-But-Worth-It Products >>
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Deal of the Day

Stock up on all the cozy stuff you're gonna want for the winter at Lou & Grey, which is offering 30% off sale styles through the end of the week. These super soft sweats are marked down to $45 (as are these), and this cowl neck tunic is $55. If you're a size medium, you can snag this oversized chenille navy sweater for $45. 

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In the News
Nike, One of the World's Biggest Brands, Wants to Be Exclusive

In the face of the retail apocalypse, Nike is seriously rethinking its approach to retail. During Wednesday’s investor day, the sportswear giant announced that it would shift its focus from 30,000 to just 40 wholesale partners.

Brand president Trevor Edwards didn’t name the 40 stores, but he did mention Nordstrom and Foot Locker among those giving customers a unique experience, which is what Nike will look for in a retail space moving forward. He added flatly that “undifferentiated, mediocre retail won’t survive.”

It would be inaccurate to say Nike will now be in limited distribution — over the summer, the company finally caved to pressure and inked a deal to sell directly onto Amazon, and it will still sell to most of its accounts — but it will offer exclusive product to the 40 retailers it will focus on over the next five years. In an effort to boost its website sales, Nike's president of direct-to-consumer business Heidi O'Neill said the company is pushing shoppers to become “members” of Nike.com. Nike hopes to triple its membership, currently 100 million, over the next five years by making a third of Nike product “distinct to Nike.com and exclusive to members.”

Nike’s pivot suggests it wants to push from mass market to exclusive in the coming years. It’s been able to leverage its cool by teaming up with celebrities, musicians, and streetwear brands and has benefited from growing sneaker culture, but its influence and reputation have ebbed as a result of competing with Adidas, which has Kanye, Pharrell Williams, and those immortal Stan Smith shoes in its corner. Can a brand with arguably the most recognizable logo make itself rare? —Chavie Lieber, senior reporter

Entertainment
How Paramore’s Hayley Williams Revives Her Rainbow-Dyed Hair
Hayley Williams

Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams may be famous for her flaming orange hair. But since her band first got together in 2004, she’s been obsessed with test-driving every color of the rainbow, from screaming teal to neon yellow.

In the months leading up to the release of Paramore’s latest album After Laughter, however, Williams opted for a subtler platinum blonde shade. “More than anything, hair color is about where I’m at emotionally. And [this year,] I desperately needed a reset,” explains the singer, who’s dealt with everything from a marital separation to a revolving roster of bandmates recently. “I needed to see a version of me that was stripped down to nothing so that I could learn myself.”

Until Williams is ready to go orange (or blue or pink) again, she’ll be relying on a mix of her favorite Kevin Murphy products — she’s been using them religiously for nearly a decade now — to ensure her hair isn’t what’s being stripped down. “The Repair Me line is great for bleached hair, and the masks are amazing,” she explains. “I also use the Blonde Angel purple shampoo, and it smells so good. I actually can’t use any products with fragrance in them; I get headaches.”

Fellow fans of rainbow-dyed hair, take note. —Elana Fishman, entertainment editor

Read the rest of Racked's interview with Williams >>
Video
Why Too Many Options Impact How You Choose
Woman pointing in different directions

Have you ever walked into a dressing room with an armful of clothes and been pleasantly surprised when you end up liking, say, five of those things? Except there's a problem: You really only budgeted to buy one or two things, and now you can't decide which pieces you actually want — and you ultimately leave the store empy handed.

We assume that having more options is better for us as consumers, but did you know that too much choice can leave you totally unable to decide? The latest episode of Your Brain on Shopping explores why.

Watch it here >>
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