As any beauty lover knows, restocking your favourites can get expensive – especially when they all decide to run out at the same time. There’s no golden rule for choosing between high-end, affordable beauty except if you want to go a little easier on the purse strings. We were curious to see the real difference between them aside from the price, so we placed them side-by-side in a blind comparison of luxury vs affordable beauty formulas.
How Do We Carry Out The Trial?
An Escentual team member will try to guess which formulas are high-end and which are affordable based on the formula, texture and scent alone. They’ll test everything from tinted SPFs to nourishing hand creams in this series…
Who’s in the VS Hot Seat?
We have Supply Chain Planner, Zainab. She is notorious for having expensive taste when it comes to beauty. Filled with confidence, Zainab is aiming for three out of three. Watch Zainab’s performance below and delve deeper into the products featured in this full run-through…
Round 1: Handcream
The first-hand cream is rich and protective and boasts impressive claims like the formula, which is proven to last through five hand washes to limit the spread of bacteria and repair dry, cracked skin. The cream is ideal for hard-working hands thanks to its patented postbiotic active and non-sticky texture that leaves skin incredibly soft.
Zainab found the texture luxuriously thick but was surprised to find the hand cream had no scent.
Next up, we have an 85% natural formula enriched with rose water to soothe and calm your skin. The nourishing cream softens skin and cuticles for healthy, hydrated hands. Infused with the antioxidant powers of vitamins E and C, the hand cream helps to defend against free radicals that cause premature ageing or dryness. After all, your hands are the first place to show your age!
From the get-go, Zainab thought this hand cream was the high-end choice. The luxuriously thick and nourishing texture made her think that option two was more premium. Her hands immediately felt soft and smooth after use.
Zainab thinks the second hand cream is a luxury formula.
Which Is Which?
Handcream 1: Affordable – Avene Cicalfate Restorative Hand Cream 100ml
Handcream 2: Luxury – Darphin All-Day Hydrating Hand and Nail Cream 75ml
Round 2: Tinted Sunscreen
Tinted Sunscreen 1:
The mystery-tinted sunscreen offers broad-spectrum SPF50+ against UVA, UVB and Blue Light HEV. Developed from 30 years of research, the facial sunscreen keeps your skin hydrated for up to eight hours and is resistant to water, sweat and sand. It offers subtle, natural coverage and has a lightweight texture.
During the blind trial, Zainab initially found the tinted sunscreen universal shade a little light but thought it blended well. The sunscreen felt thicker on her skin and had a matte finish with a traditional SPF scent.
Tinted Sunscreen 2:
Our second pick is a 2020 Pure Beauty Global Award-winner; it provides SPF15 UVA and UVB protection to prevent photo-ageing and dark spots caused by the sun. The tinted SPF offers protection and accelerates your tan for a luminous, dewy finish.
Zainab immediately compared this SPF to a foundation as it blended quickly with her skin tone. She was impressed with the coverage but again felt it had a traditional sunscreen scent.
Zainab thinks the second tinted sunscreen is the luxury formula.
Which Is Which?
Tinted Sunscreen 1: Affordable – Avene Very High Protection Tinted Cream SPF50+ 50ml
Tinted Sunscreen 2: Luxury – Institut Esthederm Bronz Repair Sunkissed Tinted Face Care 50ml
Round 3: Cleansers
Our first foaming cleanser gently removes dirt, stubborn makeup and excess oils to reduce blemishes and prevent their reappearance. It has a soap-free, fragrance-free formula that’s effective yet mild on the skin. The gel is infused with antibacterial properties and salicylic acid, which helps eliminate bacteria and reduce breakouts.
The first cleanser performed well during our test to remove a burgundy lipstick from Zainab’s hand. She loved the ease of the pump bottle and thought it foamed up easily.
Our second pick is a vegan formula that helps to limit breakouts, excess oil and premature ageing. It contains salicylic acid to stimulate natural exfoliation without stripping the skin to clear clogged pores and reduce signs of dullness. It has a fresh herbal scent of eucalyptus and tea tree oils.
The second cleanser also removed the lipstick easily but was harder to pour onto the skin. Zainab liked that the texture was thicker and had a more luxurious foam – she, however, wasn’t sure about the blue colour.
Zainab thinks the second cleanser is the luxury formula.
Which Is Which?
Zainab’s confidence was correctly placed; she clearly has expensive taste when it comes to skincare. Zainab joins Rosa at the top of the leaderboard with a score of three out of three in our VS series.