High Price, High Returns

Indulgent splurges worth breaking the bank for, from tongue scrapers to five-digit-worth moisturizers, a heated lash lifter, and more. Here's why beauty insiders swear by them.
Reading Time: 11 minutes

We’ve all asked ourselves the question: What does it take to keep ourselves looking our best over time? Between all the steps, the products, and even the methodology, it also comes down to how much it costs—because, let’s face it, looking and feeling our best sure doesn’t come cheap. 

The Beauty Edit sits down with some of the metro’s notable personalities from various fileds to clue us in on which products are key to helping them look and feel great which have been well worth the investments—whether it’s time, money, or even both.

Belle Rodolfo, L’Officieal beauty editor and content creator

Beauty products, aesthetic procedures, and wellness regimens are something Rodolfo is more than familiar with. As a magazine editor and content creator, she’s given first dibs on items and services that require her to weigh in on, plus her honest reviews are what her audience follows her for.

Despite the many products she features, her best investment is one that is simple and fundamental yet extremely functional, saying that it would be a: “good glam mirror!” Why, you may ask? “It makes doing makeup fun—it’s important to see everything in white light when doing your makeup. I know it’s so intimidating to see yourself in that bright of lighting, but if you look good in white lights, [then] you look good anywhere [laughs].”

She adds, “One thing about makeup is that it’s so important to see the colors accurately! Especially for me since I review them on video. Having proper lighting also helps you know what colors look good on you. It sets you up for success when it comes to your makeup routine. I use the biggest one from Gladking, which measures 23 by 19 inches with 14 bulbs.”

Hollywood Vanity Mirror

P5,600, Gladking

Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas, dermatologist and content creator

For dermatologist Gaile Robredo-Vitas, it boils down to things she uses every day. “Good quality broad-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection [is one of the investments I can’t do without]. Daily UV radiation exposure is the primary cause of skin aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, and pigmentation. A quality sunscreen protects the skin from immediate sunburn and prevents long-term damage and skin cancer. I choose one that is lightweight, blends well without leaving a white cast, and since I have dry skin and pigmentation, I use one with ingredients that provide other skincare benefits such as hydration and antioxidants.”

“Sunscreens are a great investment because regular and proper usage of a good sunscreen can dramatically reduce the need for corrective skin procedures later on. It’s a must in any routine that helps maintain youthful, healthy skin in the long term.”

Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-free SPF 50

P1,950, Lazada

Another worthwhile investment Robredo-Vitas suggests is a “comfortable, high-quality bed and pillows for my health, well-being, and beauty. Considering the substantial amount of time spent sleeping—an average of one-third of our lives—this investment is foundational to supporting physical and mental health, including significant benefits for the skin and body.”

“A quality bed for me is one that provides the right balance of support and comfort while reducing stress and strain on the body, minimizing the risk of waking up with aches or pains. Similarly, I choose pillows that can support proper neck alignment, preventing neck and back discomfort, as well as one that helps prevent formation of sleep lines.”

“Quality sleep is crucial for skin health. Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones, which may increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema. Good sleep also boosts the immune system and improves mood and cognitive functions, making you more alert and focused during the day. As sleep quality affects skin health, this investment can be considered just as important as any skincare or beauty regimen.”

Simmons® NeckCare 2 Pillow

Available at Dexterton and Kuysen

Tempur Pro Plus SmartCool Medium 25 Mattress

₱171,200 – ₱319,500, Tempur

Vince Uy, creative director, entrepreneur, and content creator

Always on the go, Vince Uy is a creative force who must think quickly wherever he is. Whether he is traveling, attending shoots, or securing more clients and collaborators for his boutique agency, COStudio, he always needs to look and feel his best. 

“I invest in products that involve being presentable and ready whenever I attend events or meet clients. A good scent and a solid skincare regimen are what I can’t do without so that I always look and smell great no matter where the day takes me. I’m a little low-key with skincare to minimize what I put on my face, but my staples are Kiehl’s Retinol Micro-Dose serum and Sisley Paris Ecological Compound Moisturizer. The serum keeps my skin youthful by reducing fine lines while evening out my skin tone with its gentle retinol formula. Combined with the Sisley Paris moisturizer, my skin stays hydrated and nourished, leaving me looking radiant. These simplify my routine while ensuring I look and feel my best for years.” 

Kieh’s Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum

P4,850, Lazada

Ecological Compound Advanced Formula

P14,500, Rustan’s

“One of my go-to scents is I Don’t Know What Eau de Parfum by D.S. Durga or Perfume Head’s Xanaboud. I find the smell so unique, and they last long. I splurge on fragrances that last the whole day, so I don’t have to keep re-applying between meetings or functions. And since these are not as available, it’s good to stand out with a scent that’s not as common.”

‘I Don’t Know What’ Eau de Parfum 

$210, dsanddurga

Whenever he has more time to wind down at home, Uy can definitely be found relaxing in his Zion King Pro massage chair, which helps keep his mind clear and relaxed. “I never thought I would enjoy this so much, but I do! It has everything my body needs, especially after I’ve been running around all day or working late. I press a button and I can immediately snooze away while the chair does all the work. Plus, I can listen to my playlist at the same time! It’s an investment I never thought I needed—more so when I’m too lazy to go out and get a massage at the spa. This chair does it all. I can imagine myself using this also whenever I’ve clocked in a grueling workout at the gym.”

Zion King Pro Massage Chair

P98,000, Zion Philippines

Tricia Centenera, mother of two girls, entrepreneur, model, host, writer, and content creator

For model, host, and columnist Tricia Centenera, slowing down the aging process ranks high in her list of best beauty investments. Being a multi-hyphenated woman who tries to balance everything she needs to accomplish in her day, every minute counts. Her picks involve impeccable formulations that yield effective results. From the perfect tinted SPF to brightening creams and serums, spending a little more on skincare has made her routine effective, but no fuss at the same time. 

“I have a few favorite go-tos that have served me well so far, some of which I discovered by reading reviews! One of them is the Universal Tinted Moisturizer SPF 46 by Drmtlgy, which I got from Amazon. I’ve been hunting for a great daily SPF that doesn’t smell like sunscreen or feel like [it] but will protect my skin. Since I don’t wear makeup often.”

DRMTLGY Universal Tinted Moisturizer

P2,950, Lazada

“[I was so happy to discover] the Universal Tinted SPF 46 Moisturizer from DRMTLGY, which I bought from Amazon. There’s no amazing story behind this apart from the fact that I’ve been hunting for a great daily wear SPF that doesn’t smell or feel like sunscreen but protects my skin. I don’t wear makeup during the day [and just wanted sheer coverage] since I suffer from melasma, I knew tinted SPF would be best for me. It has become my holy grail of tinted SPF and has changed my skin for the better! This is all the makeup coverage I use on my skin for the day.”

“Another thing I bought from Amazon is the CEO Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C cream by Sunday Riley. I heard that I should change my vitamin C product occasionally, but I’ve been using this one for three years now, and it still wows me and works, so why would I change it? Unlike other vitamin C serums, it doesn’t sting; my oldest sisters got me into this!”

CEO Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Cream

P4,470, Sephora

“An accidental find I ended up loving is the Nové Heated Lash Lifter from Hermosa Beauty, which I bought at a bazaar in Rockwell because I was so over having to get my lashes Keralifted to look awake [laughs]! Being a mom of two, there are only so many hours in a day! This works like a charm, making me look alive in three to four seconds!”

Nové Heated Lash Lifter

P1,450, Nove

“I’m 42 years old and have tried a lot of different products. Expensive, cheap, you name it. I found that it’s not the cost of a product but what truly works for your skin [that makes anything worth investing in.]

Jae Pickrell, restaurateur, avid traveler, and former magazine editor

Pickrell, who used to work as a copy editor, is not one to compromise on quality and has a definitive eye for detail. Be it for her and her husband’s restaurant businesses, her insatiable passion for tea, down to her fashion and beauty indulgences, it’s wholly apparent that Pickrell knows the good stuff and swears by them. When it comes to her beauty and self-care picks (even toothpaste!), though, she tells us all about what she loves about each, why it works for her, and other reasons behind her unique affinity for each.

“I’ve been a long-time fan of Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50, a cult-favorite exfoliant. The primary ingredient is lactic acid and it comes in variations for different skin types. I switch it up between P50V, the variant for dry skin, and P50W, for sensitive skin. I’m currently using P50V 1970, the original formula with phenol, which is famously stinky, but it snatches my skin to high heavens. Pro tip: A little goes a long way. Start with a few drops on a soaked cotton pad—it’s a potent formula, so you gotta go easy. I purchase directly from Biologique Recherche shops abroad or online via Aida Bicaj.”

Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion

available via aida bicaj

“I’ve also been exploring Paula’s Choice skincare line and its ten million categories. Right now, I’m really liking the Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum from the Skin Recovery line and the Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream from the Clinical category. I’ve been trying to restart my retinol regimen and these have a beginner-friendly concentration and elegant formulations that don’t pill under sunscreen and makeup. I purchase from the website, which has a great selection of minis for those who don’t want to commit immediately.”

Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Serum

P2,750, Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice Cermaide Enriched Firming Eye Cream

P3,150, Paula’s Choice

“I’m super big on small luxuries, so I like using premium items for mundane personal care tasks, like oral hygiene. I have a toothpaste fetish, and I use a smart toothbrush from Quip (which is so unnecessary, but what are you gonna do), a Gunkii tongue scraper, and I use the minty, beeswax-coated dental floss from Officine Universelle Buly. [Answering] this, I realize I may have a problem and sound like a Goop victim or a Gwyneth acolyte, but I promise I’m not. [laughs]. Let me explain! Elevating these banal tasks amps up the self-care mood for something we all have to do every day, so why not make it as pleasurable as possible? In any case, I’m a fan of Marvis’ special flavors, Buly’s Mint, Coriander & Cucumber, and Montauban Apple toothpaste, and OJOOK’s hero product, the toothpaste with Korean bamboo salt, peppermint & pine. I’ve never tried Theodent’s obscenely priced products, and I don’t think I ever will… but who knows? I hoard Marvis while traveling, buy OJOOK from their website, and Buly has a beautiful store in Greenbelt 3.”

Marvis Mint Toothpaste

P750, Lazada

Marvis Travel Size Sampler Toothpaste

P820, Lazada


$20, Ojook

“Some people have asked me if these toothpastes outperform regular ones, and even though I’m not qualified to speak on that, and I don’t think they do, that’s not really why I prefer them. I just really like how they taste and feel. As for the hardware, the Quip brush prods you every 30 seconds to brush a different quarter of your teeth; the Gunkii scraper doesn’t hurt the tongue, isn’t bulky, and is very easy to clean; and the Buly floss is grippy and black. This is gross, but you can literally see how well you’re flossing. The Quip website delivers to the Philippines, while Gunkii is available on Amazon.”

Quip Sonic Toothbrush

$45, Quip

Luxury Tongue Scraper

$29, Gunkii

“I also have a thing for Byredo lip balms. The packaging is beautiful—the bullet is weighty and sculptural, and it closes with a satisfying magnetic click. It also comes in a neat little pouch where I stash some meds on the go. My favorites are the Moroccan Mint and Indian Mango. I’ve been patiently waiting for someone to bring the brand to Manila, as I only tend to stock up while traveling. The formula is rich, emollient, and has a satiny, cushiony feel, which I prefer over slicker formulas. Apart from Byredo’s, I’m also enjoying Neighborhood’s minty lip balm, while La Mer’s The Lip Balm is a consistent bedside staple (I don’t bring it around because it comes in a small pot, so it’s quite unhygienic to apply in public).”

ByRedo Lip Balm

$55, Byredo

The Lip Balm

P5,100, Rustan’s

“Lastly, I spent quite a great deal of time on the Lashify system around two years ago. It’s a set of customizable lash extensions that you can DIY and apply under your lashes. I loved it because I had never been a big fan of semi-permanent lash extensions as these make it difficult to customize your look and placement, and they can destroy your lashes if not done or cared for properly. Lashify has a wide range of lash options that give you a ton of flexibility if you only want to wear extensions for about a week and change your look anytime you want.”

Lashify Control Kit

P7,500, Lashify

Ultimately, when it comes to investing right, in beauty, wellness, or otherwise, it all boils down to what works for you and consistently following through with that regimen. Because when it comes to making ourselves look and feel good, whatever you decide to spend on is well worth the money, time, and effort—especially when it yields the results you’re gunning for, from the inside out.

Collage by Dannah Valdezco. Woman sleeping on bed with eye mask by © geargodz. Rolling hills by © mc. Gold sea by © La Cabestrera. Gold ship by © wasanti. Eifel tower by©  sompao via canva.com

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