When it comes to beauty products, it’s always scary to fork out wads of cash. Unlike fashion, you can’t simply RETURN a face cream when after 3 weeks, you realise it really doesn’t work for your skin type. Well, sometimes you can, if the store is really nice. But often you just take the risk that maybe, that $300 face cream or $60 mascara is just not going to be a winner when it comes to your face.

As someone who has tried a million different products, I feel pretty confident in telling you that what I’ve listed below is a non-exhaustive list of actually good expensive product. Things that work. That also work better than their cheaper counterparts, usually.

Remember: no product works on every skin type, so it’s also worth asking if the exxy item you’re lusting over can be trialled in a tester version. Alternatively, head to the store a few times to try it out before committing to the entire sum.


Rationale ProCeramide Cleanser, $92

I’m a complete Rationale convert – the Australian skincare brand is completely no-bullshit, it’s genuine cosmeceutical-grade skincare that really works. I use the entire system and have been for months with excellent results (my inflammation is down, my pores are clear, my skin looks brighter) but the holy grail for me is their ProCeramide Cleanser. It’s basically a treatment in and of itself – the ceramides strengthen the skin barrier, and it leaves my face feeling soothed, refreshed, cleansed and soft.


La Mer Regenerating Serum, $485

La Mer is really investmenty. But the cult brand’s product actually works – whatever is in that famed Miracle Broth is clearly responsible for the brighter skin I was left with after trialling this serum. I just looked refreshed – not younger per se, but just like I was well rested and glowy.


Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream, $271

I rarely use products down to the point where I’m scraping the dregs out (not because I’m a gross bougie wasteful human being, it’s just my job to try stuff and there’s a lot to try) but this one was something I used to the last swipe. It’s really gentle, really effective and super nourishing. A good one for dry skinned types.


Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $196

I have a lot of love for Drunk Elephant as a brand in general – I often recommend their products to friends looking for simple yet effective skincare. But this night serum is their hero – it’s packed with AHAs and BHAs, crucial ingredients for gentle exfoliation, which results in you waking up with skin like a newborn. Think fresh and clear, with refined pores and a glowy complexion.


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, $100

A cult favourite for decades, this serum is perfect for anyone – light enough for oily skin types, gentle enough for sensitive folks. It’s been my go-to, do everything serum for years – and everyone I’ve recommended it to has never regretted their purchase.


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, $112

SK-II isn’t for everyone. But when it works for your skin, it really works. The people I know who swear by it will never, ever change skincare products, and their skin is phenomenal. That being said, it’s never worked for me. But it’s worth trialling because trust me when I say if it’s your match, you’ll be head over heels.


NuFace Trinity Device, $477

I had this used on my face at an event once, and I was shocked at how well it worked in just 15 minutes. My skin looked firmer – legit. The specialist did only one side of my face (it’s easy to use and painless, you just massage it around your face) and that side looked noticeably fresher and firmer than the other. If you’ve got $477 bucks, GET ONE.


Foreo Luna 2, $279

As far as cleansing tools go, the Foreo is my pick. It’s easy to use (it vibrates then stops briefly to let you know you’ve finished a section of your face), and you don’t have to change brush heads over – the silicone is super hygienic and stores easily in the shower. Plus, the sonic pulses work to stimulate collagen production as well as get rid of dirt, makeup and oil on your skin.


La Mer The Reparative Body Lotion, $260

Yes, you read that right. A body moisturiser that’s $260. I’m not saying you should fork out for this necessarily – it’s definitely a bougie item for someone with significant finances. That being said, I trialled this and man does it deliver. It’s light, scented beautifully, moisturises all day and does seem to firm my skin somewhat. That being said, I do not have the pay packet to be buying this one on the regular. Pay day, perhaps?

Image: Instagram / @phoebejtonkin