We may cringe a little when we pay for these items, but they have proved their value beyond the sticker price. There’s usually at least one product or service that costs more than others in its league but keeps you coming back. Even if we’ve tried so-so cheaper alternatives, there’s a reason we consider these picks worth the occasional splurge.
MOROCCANOIL HAIR TREATMENT
$43 for 3.4 fluid ounces at moroccanoil.com
I’ve streamlined my hair products down to this one. It’s a light argan oil treatment that leaves my long hair soft and moisturized but not weighed down and slick. It smells great. It makes hair that is dry, thick or chemically treated look less frizzy and feel more manageable. It can be used as a leave-in conditioner on wet locks or as a finishing product after blow drying.
I’ve tried a few other hair oil products but none leaves my hair looking as healthy and shiny as this one. It helps that a small bottle lasts a long time. I apply less than a dime size amount from mid-length to the ends of my hair.
Another plus: it’s alcohol-free, sulfate-free, phosphate-free and paraben-free.
— Aisha Sultan
CHI HAIR STRAIGHTENER
Starting at $99 at Ulta Beauty, 10 Brentwood Promenade Court in Brentwood and ulta.com.
Do you long for head-turning straight shiny hair without the flyaways? I do.
To get that look, you need professional styling products and a good hair straightening tool.
For years, I’ve purchased my share of flat irons. I’m always looking for a deal, so spending more than $100 for a styling tool was out of the question.
About three years ago, I decided it was time to splurge on a professional salon-model flat iron. I purchased a Chi flat iron and spent a little over $150. Three years later, it’s still going strong. Like other flat irons, I can straighten, curl, flip or wave my hair. The basic Chi has outdone itself in my home.
There’s some good news on the pocketbook, too. Chi flat irons have come down in price the last couple of years. You can find a Chi flat iron starting at $99 (some include a free carrying bag).
— Karen Deer
DIORSKIN FOREVER FOUNDATION
$49 at Dior counters
Flawless skin is a dream we all aspire to, but no amount of treatments or plumping products can get you there faster than a good foundation.
A good foundation can cover up all manner of imperfections: dark circles, rosacea-red cheeks, a blemish, a pimple, even a scar.
For my Christmas gift this year, my husband treated me to a makeover at the Dior counter at Dillard’s in the Galleria. Makeup expert Amy Koehler introduced me to my new love: the Diorskin Forever foundation. It provides full coverage, meaning it hides all the flaws, but doesn’t look at all cakey. In fact, it looks perfectly natural, and it lasts all day long. And bonus: it contains SPF 25, meaning I don’t have to spring for an additional sunscreen (on indoor days anyway).
— Amy Bertrand
AMERICAN SPOON SOUR CHERRY PRESERVES
$8.95 at spoon.com
I’m a sucker for condiments. I like fries mostly because they give me an excuse to eat massive amounts of ketchup. For lunch, I’ll take a pumpernickel bagel with just mustard spread on top. In college I used to eat honey rolled in a tortilla for lunch.
When my family takes its annual summer trip to Saugatuck, Mich., one of the first stops I make is to the American Spoon store. There you’ll find samples of the Michigan company’s spreads and preserves: Apricot Spoon Fruit, Cranberry Mustard, Chili Jam and dozens more. I never leave without a jar of Sour Cherry Preserves ($8.95). It has just four ingredients, cherries, sugar, lemon juice and pectin, which create a perfect blend of sweet and tart. Other favorites are the Mango Habanero Salsa ($9.95), Red Haven Peach Preserves ($9.95) and Apple and Onion Jam ($12.95).
Yes, they’re pricey, but they taste so good.
— Jody Mitori
SHERWIN-WILLIAMS HARMONY INTERIOR ACRYLIC LATEX PAINT
$50.99 a gallon at Sherwin-Williams stores
It’s been said that one of the easiest ways to update a room’s interior is to repaint. I’ve taken this to heart. I’ve painted my living room and dining room five times in the past 15 years. But I’m done now. Absolutely. The current color is the best yet. However, my desire to update the color of my walls has not come cheaply. But that’s OK; spending a few extra dollars on a gallon of paint is a bit of a splurge in the short term, but if I am devoting a weekend or more of my time to recharge the look of my space, I want it to go smoothly. Smooth but not runny. And that’s one advantage I’ve found in the higher priced paints like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams.
They start at about $45 or $50 a gallon (Sherwin Williams often has coupons in the paper to cut the cost), but they cover the walls nicely in one coat, they clean up easily and their consistency is like that of a good cake batter rather than a watery pancake batter you know will start running down the wall as soon as you roll it on.
So in the long run, if I don’t need to buy as much paint to cover the same amount of wall space as a bargain brand, perhaps I’m actually saving a few bucks. Now about that bathroom ...
— Hillary Levin
I’m horrible at meditation, and my yoga practice is passionate but inconsistent. So I decided that a monthly massage routine is something I can commit to for better peace of mind and body. I don’t say that in jest. It wasn’t the easiest decision. Massage hasn’t always been an expense I was willing to fit into my budget. It cuts into my precious dining-out fund. But after knee surgery a few years ago and a long bout of physical therapy, I attribute monthly massages as a big aid in my recovery. I also think it’s a treatment that we don’t get through any other means.
Certified practitioners can see your body from a vantage point you’ll never have, and if they are well-trained and diligent enough they can address issues you didn’t even know existed.
Our monthly sessions are a great time for me to completely relax and have knots kneaded out before they become what feel like painful calcified lumps under the skin. I prefer someone consistent that learns my habits over time and allows me to feel especially comfortable disrobed and exposed on a table. That means I pay more for that consistency and I pay more for the environment at Indigo Massage and Wellness on Arsenal Street, but thanks to a monthly wellness massage program I can take advantage of a discount ($59 an hour) and I always schedule with the same therapist.
— Debra D. Bass