When to Splurge and When to Save on Makeup

Makeup is crazy. You can find something for $3 at the drugstore and $45 at the department store. They look the same, they do the same thing, but the price is completely different. It gets difficult deciding which product is worth the money and which is a waste. I decided to put together a little post about when to spend the extra money on things and when to save. These are just my recommendations and opinions based on products I’ve tried or know about. If you know of a drugstore product that beats out a high end, let me know! Or if you think a high end product trumps all others, tell me! I’m always open to try new things!

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Foundation: Splurge
Foundation is the base of your makeup, it goes directly onto your skin and you wear it for long amounts of time. Because of this, it’s usually best to spend a little extra on foundation. I’m not saying you need to drop $70 on a foundation at all, and I’m not dissing drugstore. But finding a product that is aimed at your skin type, with the right shades and right undertones and will make your skin look incredible is definitely worth the extra money.

Concealer: Splurge
This is the same idea with foundation, although there might be some incredible drugstore products, for something that is going directly onto your skin and needs to match it, spend the extra money. Higher end concealers usually have a better range of colors and undertones, so there’s a better chance that you will find something that matches perfectly and doesn’t dry out/highlight blemishes.

Setting Powder: Save
The setting powder that I swear by is the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder, and it costs a whopping $4.99 (at Ulta). It does exactly what I need it to, it keeps my makeup on and keeps me oil free, and it doesn’t break the bank at all. Why spend the extra money on a product that you can get for a fraction of the price that works just as well?

Blush: Save
Blush is another product where you can find so many great options at the drugstore that will match or beat higher end ones. Milani has some blushes that are gorgeous.

Bronzer: Save
There are so many great bronzers at the drugstore. One that I really like is from Bourjois ($14 at ASOS), it works just as well as some of my higher end bronzers, with a price so much lower.

Contour Powder: Splurge
If you’re someone who’s into contouring, definitely go for something nice. I find that a lot of drugstore contour powders are either too shimmery or too red and don’t look natural at all. Higher end contour powders are going to have neutral undertones, matte, and blend really easily.

Highlight: Splurge
If you love a good glow, go for a higher end product. A lot of drugstore highlighters are going to be chunky glittery and not look natural. Plus, you use so little highlighter that a nicer one will last you so long. You definitely don’t have to drop $40 on one, The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24 at theBalm) is not crazy expensive and will last for a very long time.

Eyebrow Fillers: Splurge
I love my Benefit Brow-zings. It has lasted me, not joking, four years, and I still haven’t hit pan. I find that a lot of drugstore brow powders or pencils can make your eyebrows look sort of fake. Spending the extra money is worth it because there is a bigger selection for colors, so you can match your hairs perfectly, and since eyebrows are the framing feature of the face, you want them to look incredible.

Eyeshadow Primer: Save
It’s a fact that you have to prime your lids before eyeshadow to help keep everything on and not creased. However, you don’t need to spend loads on an eyeshadow primer, you can just use your concealer and set it with your face powder and it will do the same thing.

Eyeshadow: Splurge
No hate to drugstore shadows, but nothing beats high end shadows. I haven’t had much luck finding a good drugstore shadow where I like the color pay off, most just seem to be lacking in color. Saving up and buying a nice eyeshadow palette is definitely worth it. The quality is amazing and it will last for a long time.

Eyeliner: Save
I’m still on my quest for the perfect liner, but I have found some drugstore ones that definitely match up to the higher end ones I’ve tried. I have a friend who swears by E.L.F liquid liners and they’re only $3. I really like this L’Oreal liner ($8.99 at Ulta) and this Revlon liner ($8.99 at Ulta). Both are really good quality, last a long time, and aren’t expensive at all.

Mascara: Save
Mascara is definitely a product where drugstore wins. I’ve tried out a lot of mascaras, and although higher end stuff is nice, drugstore is just as good. You can’t beat the price, especially when the product is only good for three months.

Lipstick: Save
High end lipstick is nice, but it can just be so expensive. Buying from the drugstore allows you to try out more options because the price is more reasonable. There is also so many color options from all the different brands you can find in the drugstore.

Makeup Brushes: Save
I’ll let you in on a secret, my favorite eye brush cost me $5. I have one that has lasted me probably four years that was $3. With brands like Sonia Kashuk, E.L.F, Zoeva, Morphe, and Real Techniques, there is no need to drop $30 on a single brush. You can get amazing brushes that will last you years for amazing prices.

What are your favorite drugstore and high end products?

25 thoughts on “When to Splurge and When to Save on Makeup

  1. Loved this post. I’m not a big make-up person although I wear it almost everyday. I agree with the splurging and saving especially when it comes to foundation and concealer. One mistake that I made was splurging on eyeshadow primer that I NEVER use. That was a big waste! All great tips. Xoxo


  2. Great post, I usually splurge and save in foundation. Drugstore foundation has really improved, but I do agree in finding one that matches your skin type. I usually use drugstore for everyday, and higher end makeup for special days.


  3. Great post!! Really helpful! You should try the NYC liquid liner. It’s only $2 and is the blackest, most matte, and longest lasting eyeliner I’ve found!


  4. I agree with so much of which you’ve wrote in this post! Although for highlight I definitely save as I can’t get enough of the ‘Hidden Lights’ highlighter by Make-Up Revolution London, I actually got it in my advent calendar and I’m obsessed! Have you ever tried the brand out? I swear by their eye shadows too, however my Naked Smoky palette is definitely a firm favourite for special events!


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