A “splurge” is a highly relative concept. After we spritzed, swiped, and swatched luxury beauty products for the Splurges category of our 2023 Allure Best of Beauty Awards, we discussed this relativism at length. For most of us on planet Earth, this distinction includes a $270 eye cream or $600 hair tool (both featured here). For those of us with egos the size of planet Earth, it’s a private rocket making occasional pit stops to outer space (not featured here). Although the cost of these purchases varies widely, there’s an, “Are you kidding me?” aspect to each one.
That’s because luxury items aren’t necessarily defined by the price tag attached to them, but by their intrinsic value. When we blow cash on something that most people deem nonessential, we’re basically telling the world it’s still a big deal to us. It matters. And if that happens to be skin that glows like a newly minted penny, lashes that flutter in your peripheral vision, and hair with gravity-defying volume, then these products are worth it. See you in the stratosphere!
Once you’re done with this category, take a look at the full winners list for 2023’s Allure Best of Beauty Awards. Then, head to the Skin Care, Hair Care, Eye Makeup, and Lips winner lists to find your new favorite product for every step of your routine.
Best of Beauty Awards 2023: Splurges
Jump ahead to a specific winner or keep scrolling to see every single product we’ve deemed worth the splurge:
Best Splurges: Skin Care
Christian Dior Capture Totale Le Sérum
Why it won: For such a delicate fluid, Christian Dior Capture Totale Le Sérum does some serious heavy lifting. Together, a trio of hero ingredients (squalane, hyaluronic acid, and probiotic Lactobacillus ferment lysate) hydrates skin to make it appear visibly plumper, firmer, and thicker.
Angela Caglia Neroli Cleansing Oil
Why it won: Any face wash can remove dirt and makeup, but a rare few continue to work after that job is done. Brimming with fatty acids and antioxidants from moringa and black currant seed oils, this citrus-based cleanser locks in moisture long after you’ve left the sink.
Chanel Le Lift Pro Crème Volume
Why it won: No moisturizer is a match for gravity, but Chanel Le Lift Pro Crème Volume will bring your skin texture to silky new heights. Made with plumping sodium hyaluronate and hydrating glycerin, but no fragrance (a rarity in the luxury skin-care space), a dollop applied twice daily gives all skin types (even sensitive ones) a softer, smoother appearance over time.
La Mer The Eye Concentrate
Why it won: La Mer needs no introduction, but La Mer The Eye Concentrate is the mic drop of eye treatments. The silky emulsion penetrates deeply, helping to brighten dark circles and thicken fragile skin with potent algae extracts.
SkinMedica Neck Correct Cream
Why it won: Containing powerful peptides, the wrinkle-fighting SkinMedica Neck Correct Cream is amazing at supporting the elastin that helps keep skin taut. Use it on your neck and décolletage to smooth crepiness and help stave off the appearance of deep lines (alongside that sunscreen you’re applying from nipples to hairline, right?).
Joanna Czech Skincare The Minis Edit
Why it won: “I love a 10-hour flight,” said no one ever. But the Joanna Czech Skincare The Minis Edit, a luxurious travel companion, certainly improves the experience. Containing shrink-ray versions of this celebrity facialist‘s top-selling products (toner, brightening serum, soothing serum, moisturizing cream, hydrating balm), this exquisite kit lets us enjoy a facial at 30,000 feet.
Shiseido Urban Environment Vita-Clear Sunscreen SPF 42
Why it won: Unless this is the first time you’ve read Allure, you know it’s imperative to reapply sunscreen every two hours (we saw that eye roll). The water-thin Shiseido Urban Environment Vita-Clear Sunscreen SPF 42 repays your diligence by giving skin a brighter and more even tone after two weeks, thanks to the addition of vitamin C.
Best Splurges: Hair Care & Accessories
Dyson AirWrap Multi-styler
Why it won: We challenge you to find an Allure editor who doesn’t have the Dyson AirWrap Multi-styler in their bathroom. (You will not succeed… Even associate entertainment director Eugene Shevertalov swears by it to get extra volume in his short hair.) With an arsenal of attachments for creating sleek, wavy, or curly styles without frying your hair, this tool compensates for all manner of terrible techniques — and fills a real white space: “I’d been lobbying blow-dryer brands for years to make a comb attachment for thick, kinky hair. Dyson finally did it — and did it so well,” says editor in chief Jessica Cruel, who also uses the round-brush attachment around her hairline and the various barrel sizes for waves.
Jennifer Behr Perla Bobby Pin Set
Why it won: There are bobby pins for capturing loose strands — and there are bobby pins for capturing attention. The Jennifer Behr Perla Bobby Pin Set of seven definitely belongs to the latter category. Each handcrafted pin has a single Swarovski pearl, in a variety of sizes, attached to its end.
Oribe Italian Resin Flat Brush
Why it won: There’s a time and a place for air-drying and finger-tousling, but it’s not here and it’s not now. With a blend of boar bristles and nylon pins, the Oribe Italian Resin Flat Brush massages your scalp and distributes natural oils for a shiny finish from root to tip.
K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil
Why it won: The weightless K18 Molecular Repair Hair Oil abolishes frizz on two fronts: Peptides reverse structural damage caused by styling tools and chemical treatments, while natural lipids (avocado and sunflower oils) smooth flyaways caused by humidity and the elements.
Deborah Pagani Large DP Pin
Why it won: The sleek Deborah Pagani Large DP Pin elevates buns, twists, topknots, and any other updo you can invent. (And because you’ll never tire of wearing it, you’ll invent plenty.) Not into rose gold? The tool also comes in silver, gold, and black — a finish for every occasion.
Iles Signature Collection
Why it won: Containing a nutrient-rich shampoo, conditioner, and finishing serum that work in concert to repair damage, the Iles Signature Collection from hairstylist Wendy Iles is a gift to all hair-kind (fine, kinky, coarse, curly, and thick). Plus, the sleek right angles of the bottles add minimalist chic — and save space — in your shower or travel bag.
Best Splurges: Makeup
YSL Beauty Lash Clash Extreme Volumizing Mascara
Why it won: The tip of the YSL Beauty Lash Clash Extreme Volumizing Mascara‘s conical brush helps to reach tiny inner-corner lashes, while the highly pigmented formula delivers intensity and density. But the real kicker is the addition of iris florentina extract, which keeps lashes supple and fluttery once you wash everything off.
KS&CO Clear Strong Hold Brow Gel
Why it won: Too many clear brow gels turn flaky, defeating the purpose of stealth grooming. The translucent formula of KS&CO Clear Strong Hold Brow Gel contains conditioners (biotin, panthenol, and argan oil) that create a healthy sheen, so all you see are immaculate arches.
Tom Ford Beauty Eye Color Quad Eyeshadow Palette in Cherry Smoke
Why it won: With a quartet of powders that graduate from shimmery reds to brooding burgundy, this kit delivers the richest and sultriest smoky eyes. A glossy compact rendered in dark red lacquer is the cherry on top.
Sisley-Paris Nutritive Lip Balm
Why it won: If all you needed was a boost of moisture, you’d be set with your ChapStick for life. But the elegant Sisley-Paris Nutritive Lip Balm packs all our line-smoothing, lip-plumping dreams into one little pot.
Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin On The Go
Why it won: A more portable version of the original lip color housed in a stiletto tube, the pigment-rich Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin On The Go goes anywhere your red-soled heels take you. “It glides on silky smooth and stays supple for hours — not even fading after a meal,” says senior copy manager Dawn Rebecky. “I’ll break the bank for this one.”
Hermès Plein Air, H Trio Healthy Glow Mineral Powder
Why it won: Swirled together, the trio of tans and browns in Hermès Plein Air H Trio Healthy Glow Mineral Powder adds a believable sun-kissed glow. Skim it over cheekbones for subtle warmth or build it up for a deeper, more luminous bronze.
Guerlain Terracotta Le Teint
Why it won: With its light moisture and semi-matte finish, the multitasking Guerlain Terracotta Le Teint blurs like a powder, covers like a liquid, and stays put like a long-wearing foundation.
Cuyana Travel Beauty Roll
Why it won: $250. We thought we’d get that out of the way. The good news is the sleek leather Cuyana Travel Beauty Roll has a compartment for all your tools and products — even makeup brushes and oversize palettes — to get everything else out of the way too.
Best Splurges: Body & Fragrance
Bloomeffects Royal Tulip Petal Polish
Why it won: The bulb-shaped jar and engraved wooden spoon are a lovely Dutch touch, but it’s the nitty-gritty details in Bloomeffects Royal Tulip Petal Polish that really won us over. Three forms of exfoliation — sea salt crystals, alpha hydroxy acids, and pomegranate enzymes — boost cell turnover for clearer, glowier skin.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Body Cream
Why it won: The iconic face cream is now an iconic body cream. Containing the same blend of hyaluronic acid and caffeine as the OG, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Body Cream gives us the kind of soft, taut, radiant results we’re accustomed to seeing from the neck up.
Osea Vagus Nerve Bath Oil
Why it won: Pricey bath products don’t necessarily ease your tension — they just make it fancier. But the indulgent Osea Vagus Nerve Bath Oil really does take a load off. “I’ve made a generous pour part of every Friday-night-in bath,” says associate special projects manager Talia Gutierrez, who finds that the lupine blend of chamomile, apricot, and juniper berry turns skin into silk… and her stress into vapor.
Perfumehead Cosmic Cowboy
Why it won: “Tobacco, whiskey, and suede” might sound like the title of a paperback Western, but there’s nothing one-dimensional about this genre-bending scent. Orris butter cushions all the smoky notes while musk adds sparkle, creating an accord in Perfumehead Cosmic Cowboy that’s as vibrant as it is earthy.
Loewe Tomato Leaves Hand Cleanser
Why it won: Redolent of a ripe tomato pulled straight from the vine, the no-rinse Loewe Tomato Leaves Hand Cleanser smells like summer and coddles skin in winter. By rights, it belongs in the guest bathroom but… tomato, tomahto.
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