Splurge vs. Steal: Essential Beauty Tools for Every Budget

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Take a look at the tools that celebrity makeup artists and stylists swear by and you’ll see a range from high-end favorites to bargain drugstore finds. The pros know that quality isn’t measured by price. Expensive beauty tools may come with a slew of features to help you perfect your hair, makeup and skin care game, but you can also produce similar, if not the same results with some just-as-good replacements. Here are some big ticket items to splurge on and their much cheaper counterparts that won’t break the bank.

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Dry Faster

Splurge: Elchim 3900 Healthy Ionic Dryer ($199) Reduce the time it takes to dry your hair by 30 percent with this powerful dryer. The ionic-ceramic system nourishes the hair while leaving it shiny and smooth. The far-infrared heat ensures consistent heating across all areas of your hair which prevents overheating and allows it to dry evenly.

Steal: Hot Tools The Gold Touch Turbo Ionic Dyer ($48) Using ion technology to dry faster, reduce frizz and condition hair, this two-speed, six-heat combination dryer is lightweight and delivers a beautiful blowout in minutes.                       

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Curl It Up

Splurge: T3 Twirl Convertible Styling Wand ($185) Get polished curls or soft beachy waves in just a few steps with this tourmaline and ceramic barrel curling iron. With five adjustable heat settings and an interchangeable barrel design, it’s a versatile and customizable tool that can deliver the perfect curl every time. 

Steal: Revlon Pro Collection Rose Gold Curling Iron ($28) With a combination of gold and cooper, the styling surface of this iron provides a superfast heat up and instant recovery. The beautiful rose gold and white design make it a tool you won’t mind leaving out on the vanity. 

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Iron It Out

Splurge: ghd Platinum Professional Styler ($249) ghd stands for “good hair day,” which you’re destined to have with this state-of-the-art flat iron. Each styling plate contains three heat-detecting sensors that ensure the optimum temperature to evenly deliver consistent heat, making your hair less prone to breakage. 

Steal: Remington Keratin Therapy Flat Iron ($45) With plates coated with keratin infused micro-conditioners that transfer to the hair during styling, this iron helps keep your hair healthy and strong.  

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Ready, Set, Go

Splurge: Artis Elite Mirror Brush Set ($165) Ergonomically designed to mimic the shape of the human finger, these futuristic looking brushes allow for more control when applying product. The oval brush heads are packed with super soft bristles that glide on while delivering a flawless finish. 

Steal: IT Brushes for Ulta Your Beautiful Basics Airbrush 101 Brush Set ($58) A complete set of face brushes for experts and novices alike, the IT Brushes for Ulta are soft and stylish and will help you achieve a beautiful application for less without sacrificing quality. 

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Raise Your Brow Game

Splurge: Anastasia Beverly Hills Five Item Brow Kit ($59) The go-to brand for all things brows makes it easy with this “everything you need in one” kit that includes Anastasia’s famous brow stencils, tweezers, brow powder, brow gel and an angled duo brush. 

Steal: Sonia Kashuk The Brow Kit ($20) Get your best brows ever with this handy kit that includes tweezers, shaping scissors, a double sided spoolie brush and a universal pomade. 


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Buff and Blend

Splurge: Clinique Sonic System Airbrush Finish Liquid Foundation Applicator ($90) The sonic technology in this applicator works just like a cleansing brush head, giving you a seamless application by gently buffing and blending in your favorite liquid foundation.

Steal: Sephora Collection Sonic Airbrush Sponge ($25) Get an airbrushed look with this easy-to-use vibrating brush that delivers 12,000 tiny dabs of foundation per minute. 

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Supercharge Your Skin Care

Splurge: JeNu Ultrasonic Infuser ($249) Using ultrasonic energy to maximize the performance of your favorite skin-care products, this infuser helps to deliver power-packed ingredients directly into your skin. It takes just one minute a day to begin to see long-lasting results. 

Steal: Kat Burki Micro-Firming Wand ($85) Utilizing mild electric current and micro-vibration, this firming wand allows the anti-aging nutrients in your creams and serums to penetrate deeper into the skin, giving you an immediate firming effect while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. 

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Facials at Your Fingertips

Splurge: Panosonic Nano Facial Steamer ($179) Refresh, cleanse and relax with this facial steamer that uses ultra-fine, nano-sized particle steam to penetrate your skin while also adding moisture. Use it daily to remove makeup, dirt and excess oil or to give yourself spa-quality facials at home. 

Steal: Conair True Glow Facial Sauna System ($40) The warm steam setting opens up your pores for a deep cleanse while the cool mist closes pores and hydrates. This little device has five timed interval settings so you can choose the length of your facial. 

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Clean Up Your Mess

Splurge: Brush Pearl Automatic Makeup Brush Cleaner ($99) Acting like a dishwasher for your makeup brushes, this machine works by sending sound waves through water to vibrate the dirt and buildup off of your favorite brushes. 

Steal: Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette ($15) Well worth the price, this silicone cleansing palette will help you get your favorite makeup brushes squeaky clean and back in your beauty tool arsenal where they belong.

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Exfoliate and Stimulate

Splurge: Mila Moursi Body Brush ($49) Work the bristles of this luxurious and rejuvenating brush in circular motions over your entire body to exfoliate, fight cellulite and help encourage cell renewal. 

Steal: Ecotools Dry Body Brush ($5) Made with cruelty-free synthetic bristles, you can slough away dead skin cells and leave your skin looking soft and glowing with this inexpensive dry body brush. 

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