Skin and Hair Care Products Worth the Splurge

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday May 7, 2022
Originally published on May 5, 2022

It goes without saying that one of the best parts about writing about beauty is all the free products that I've gotten to try over the years. But not all products are slam dunks, and more often than not, I haven't been much inclined to turn around and spend my own money to replace something once it's gone. Sometimes, however, a product is such a game changer that I become an eager paying customer, singing the product's praises to all who will listen, swearing devotion for life. Here are some of those products.

Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Mist & Facial Serum

While hyaluronic acid serums aren't exactly the sexiest products in your skincare arsenal, they're universally adored for good reason: they hydrate the skin while providing an instant plump and glow. In addition to hydration heroes hyaluronic acid and glycerin, this serum also contains vitamin c, hexapeptides, cucumber, tamarind, and aloe, making it ultra-soothing and perfect for post sun and post procedure skin. The mist is also the best and most hydrating I've ever used, and if you're looking to maximize the effects of both products, mist your face before applying the serum for an all-day moisture bomb. The best part? Jordan Samuel Skin is proudly LGBTQ+ owned. $13-$72,

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel

There are a lot of at-home peels on the market, and I've tried a ton of them, but there's simply no other peel out there like this one, which makes sense considering the fact that one of these peels is sold every two seconds. The peel comes in three strengths, so there's an option for everyone, regardless of skin type. I received a box of these about five years ago and I haven't been without them since. $17-$150,

Lancer The Method: Polish

Scrubs are divisive. I get it. But this is no St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and if it makes you feel any better, it was formulated by an actual dermatologist. Containing ultra-fine quartz crystals that are uniform in size to provide even exfoliation without being abrasive, this iconic polish also contains chemical exfoliants and antioxidants to get the job done right. Several years ago, a well-known influencer came up to me at a bar in Las Vegas to ask me what I used on my skin, and I credited my glow and even complexion to this product, the first step in the celebrity-loved Dr. Lancer Method, which works wonders. You may not need a polish every day. I certainly don't. But when you want some manual exfoliation, this is the best one on the market. $80,

Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Lip Balm

Everyone who knows me knows that this is all I use, and I currently have five boxes of it in my closet so that I never run out. I'm something of a lip balm fanatic, and I've tried everything from $1 Chap Stick to $75 La Mer. But Clarins wins every time. The best part is that this rich balm actually stays on your lips and nourishes them all day long, so you won't need to reapply 10 times a day. $25,

Paula's Choice DEFENSE Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF 30

This lightweight moisturizer, chock full of 12 different antioxidants, provides the most gorgeous, uniform glow to the skin without any dreaded white cast, which isn't always the case with mineral sunscreens. It provides just enough moisture for my oily-combination skin, particularly in the warmer months. The only downside to this is that SPF 30 is on the low end, so I find myself layering on a stronger sunscreen on top. Still, considering the price and immediate glow this imparts on the skin, you can't go wrong. $31,

SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3

Despite wearing gobs of sunscreen on a daily basis, I am still struggling with some sun damage that I'm eager to eradicate, so imagine my delight when I discovered a lightweight, gel moisturizer with the capability of addressing early signs of photodamage. In addition to powerhouse ingredient niacinamide, it also contains firming peptides and pure glycerin. The best part, though, is the taut and firm appearance that this gives my skin. And judging by the 4 month-long waitlist I just sat on to purchase another bottle, I'm not the only one. $120,

Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

I'm not a guy that wears makeup. I'm not even really a tinted sunscreen kind of guy. But these bronzing drops have been a part of my daily skincare routine for years now and I don't think I'll ever stop. There's no other bronzer like this on the market, and it can effortlessly be added into any skincare routine for an immediate glow. But this product goes far beyond the cosmetic: omega rich oils and fatty acids support healthy barrier function while a potent mix of antioxidants boost the skin's defenses. I add two drops to my SkinCeuticals Metacell moisturizer and, together, make my skin look like a dream. $36,

Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask

To be honest, gel masks always kind of bore me. Like a lot of people, when I'm masking, I look for something either clay-based or rich and ultra-hydrating. But this mask is different, and I keep a giant pump of it in my cabinet. I put it on after I shave, after a day at the beach, after a chemical peel or laser treatment, and even after waxing. Soothing and gentle, it's been a mainstay of my skincare routine for the better part of a decade. $35-$55,

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

There are so many cleansing oils out there and no matter how many times I set out to find something new, I always come back to this classic. Not only does it smell insane, but it removes every last trace of sunscreen and emulsifies beautifully without ever making it feel as though you have oil residue all over your face. $15-$29,

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Lotion & Nourishing Dry Body Oil

I've never gone crazy for a body lotion until I finished my first bottle of Kiehl's iconic and beloved body lotion. Fragrance fee and incredibly moisturizing, this rich lotion will change the look and feel of the skin on your body. When paired with their heaven-sent body oil, the results are unfathomably good, and I'm never without either. $14-$86,

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub

Award-winning and beloved around the world, this once-a-week scrub is a vital part of keeping your scalp healthy, particularly for those with oily scalps. Massaging giant salt crystals into your scalp isn't only fulfilling, but it helps to detox and restore balance to scalps that need a little extra love. Even better, my hair always looks extra good the day I use this. $19-$53,

Oribe Superfine Strong Hairspray

To say that Oribe's divinely scented hairspray is merely a styling product would be to undersell this product and all the great things it does for your hair. Sure, the hold is great, and it makes my hair look good. But it also contains the brand's signature complex of watermelon, lychee, and edelweiss which help to protect your hair from the sun and aid against the deterioration of your natural keratin. What's more, it's capable of repairing damage, adding body and shine, thickening, and building volume. There's nothing else like it. $42,