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Know when to buy store brand and when you can’t.
Know when to buy store brand and when you can’t. / Colorblind/Getty Images

The days of people turning their noses up at generic or store brands are over — especially when it comes to beauty, says Rebekah George, beauty and style expert and host of Total Look on TotalBeauty.com. “Many drugstore chains are creating their own private label brands that rival their well-known, and more expensive, brand-name counterparts,” she adds. But not every product can be easily swapped out for a cheaper alternative. “Certain ingredients are patented and hard to duplicate,” she says. “What’s key is knowing when you can get away with a store brand and when you can’t.” Here’s your guide:

Facial Moisturizer

Save or Splurge? Splurge.
Reason: “Brand names tend to have stronger anti-aging ingredients and are less likely to irritate or clog pores,” George says. Plus, store brands are often loaded with fillers, chemicals and oils.

Deodorant

Save or Splurge? Save.
Reason: Most deodorants contain the same active ingredient.

Sunscreen

Save or Splurge? Save.
Reason: In 2010, Target’s Up & Up Sport sunscreen beat out a slew of pricier options to be named a “best buy” from Consumer Reports. “Look for broad-spectrum coverage, and since you should go through sunscreen like water, buy it in bulk,” George says.

Makeup

Save or Splurge? Splurge.
Reason: “The best eye shadows and foundations are still brand-name buys,” George says. Why? “Brand names tend to have longer-wear formulas, and you’re more likely to find a foundation to truly match your skin shade.” (If you are looking to skimp, however, try Sephora which has more than 200 affordable products of its own that are great quality.)

Hairspray

Save or Splurge? Save.
Reason: Most contain the same active ingredient. “A good hairspray provides maximum hold with minimal buildup, so look for labels that call that out,” George says.

Nail polish

Save or Splurge? Save.
Reason: “Polish technically should sit on top of your base. Since polish itself isn’t sitting on your nail bed, skimping is fine,” George says. For the base? Splurge.

Eye cream

Save or Splurge? Splurge.
Reason: “This is not an area you want to play around with!” George says.

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