Save or Splurge?

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(Memphis) "The most popular thing right now is definitely the gel polish, because it lasts 14 days," said Felicia Scarpati-Lomax, owner of The Polish Bottle in Memphis.

It's a manicure that looks spectacular and lasts longer.

"It dries instantly," says Polish Bottle customer Meghan Englander.

The catch is it costs more, but according to Scarpati-Lomax, the no-chip manicure is a better buy.

"You do the math, 18 times two is $36 versus $25, lasts two weeks, so you're saving about $10 dollars."

Denise Guin, a WREG employee, quit going to the salon and set up her own spa.

She invested about $80, bought a UV lamp plus polish to do her own gel manicures.

"It's cheaper and I've always liked doing stuff myself," explained Guin.

So what do our experts think?

Is the gel manicure worth the splurge?

Meghan Rabbitt is the Executive Editor at
"I think it is. You literally get your manicure done and three weeks later your polish is still perfect!"
Some, however, question the safety of using the UV light and 100% acetone remover.

"The at home products, the base coat, top coat, they're so good now I think it's safer to go with an at home manicure or regular manicure," says Sophia Panych and Associate Editor with Allure Magazine.

Speaking of safety, keratin treatments got a bad name, but there are formaldehyde-free versions available.

Plus there's no denying the results.

"It's a lot smoother, it has a lot more shine to it," says Athen Butler who works at Gould's in Collierville. 

She's been getting keratin treatments for more than a year, which can last six months, but run up to $400.

"I myself don't mind spending the money," adds Butler who says it significantly cuts her morning, drying and styling time.

Our beauty editors' take?

"The results really do last, you can wash your hair, not have to do anything to it and your hair looks pretty good which makes the investment worth it," says Rabbitt who's had a keratin treatment before.

"If you really want to be safe, just do the at home, it's not gonna last as long, but it's a lot safer," Panych says.

We bought a Suave Keratin kit for less than $20 at Target and asked one of our producers to try it out.

"If I can get straight hair out of a box for $20 or $30, I'm all over it," exclaims Anita Heros. 

The kit gave Heros smooth and straight hair.

A month later, it was a little wavy, but still straight.

Chasing the fountain of youth comes boxed on store shelves too.

In fact, there are dozens of products that claim to give you clearer and brighter skin for a fraction of salon prices.

Angela Thompson of Gould's Salon and Spa says microdermabrasion is still one of her most popular services.

"It buffs the skin so it's really nice and soft, explains Thompson. A treatment with a facial runs $185 and it lasts about two months. So, does the do it yourself version do the trick, or is this treatment best left to the pros?

"The at home options are really, really great, the only reason I would say splurge is if you want fast, immediate results, Panych says.
"Head to the salon for a facial maybe once a month if you can afford it," adds Rabbitt who also recommends supplementing with at home treatments in between, and talking to your aesthetician about what works best for your skin type.

"I think it just make you look younger and full of life," says Cosmetologist Chandra Wilson who also specializes in eye enhancement.  We sit down with Wilson and her client Jamie Green who is getting eyelash extensions.

"I've had them now since October and I love them, they're awesome," says Green.

The lash extensions last about two months. A full set costs $300, plus refills every few weeks for $65. Worth the splurge?

"If it's a special event, splurge, but on a daily basis, I don't think, it's a lot of money," says Panych who has worn eyelash extensions before.

Speaking of money, "It can run you from $1500 to $4,000," says Wilson as we're discussing the latest look in hair extensions.  Wilson uses Great Lengths extensions, free-flowing locks that add volume, length and look extremely natural.

"Your boyfriend can run his hands through your hair, he's not gonna feel anything in your hair," exclaims Wilson!

"It's 100% percent human hair and every strand is hand selected," explains Gould's Salon Manager Joann Riggs.  Riggs shows us extensions made by Hair Dreams which are attached individually to the hair.

"It'll last five to six months if you take care of it," adds Riggs. However, there are plenty of other extension options available that don't cost nearly as much, so, save or splurge?

"It just seems crazy for something that's not permanent," says Rabbitt.

Both Rabbitt and Panych say there are certain moments and life events that might warrant a splurge, plus, "It's okay to treat yourself sometimes," adds Panych.

However, no matter what the beauty treatment or product, our experts say women should first consider their budget, then do their homework, that way whether you decide to save or splurge, you haven't wasted your money!