Makeup: Spend or Save?

One of the many perks (or downfalls) of being a girl is needing to (literally) put on a face every morning after somehow managing to stop hitting the snooze button and get out of bed. The truth is, none of us ACTUALLY know that much about makeup to tell whether or not the $30 lipstick is that much better than the $6 drugstore brand. It’s very intimidating and annoying going makeup shopping because we only know of a few things: the budget is low, the ugliness is at an all time high and there’s no way of knowing whether or not the new $50 Sephora Cherry Naked palette is really as magical as social media wants you to believe until you pay the ridiculous price and try it out for yourself. No worries, I am here to tell you exactly what products are well worth the full price, and which are crap.

Eyeshadow – I do not wear eyeshadow often, but find that when I do, the secret is to use the right eyeshadow primer and any eyeshadow will work just fine. Although I hate to say it… the Sephora palettes really are amazing. They not only work well but look insanely beautiful and last an extremely long period of time. The quality of these palettes are absolutely ridiculous. However, know that if you are going to get one of those, you better be using the right primer to go with it because otherwise it will not last nearly as long and the color pigmentation will not come off right on your skin. That’s what sucks with a lot of these high-end companies too: they make most of their products so that they are dependent on working well with only their brushes or their other products. You can spend or save on these honestly, it is entirely up to you. I highly recommend putting the pretty palettes on the Christmas list and letting Santa take care of the bill. For now, use whatever eyeshadow you have, just change the primer.

Eyeliner – Pencils are pencils are pencils. If you are a person who loves to use a pencil for an eyeliner, understand IT IS A FREAKING COLORED PENCIL, and there is no reason to spend an absurd amount of dough for a colored pencil. If you are a person who loves liquid liners, this gets a little more tricky. I personally love my Sephora brand waterproof liquid eyeliner. at $12 a tube, it’s not nearly the cheapest eyeliner, but it’s also no where near the most expensive. This is also one of my absolute favorite products of all time. This eyeliner will not move for days, and I am not exaggerating. It is super easy to remove with makeup remover, but otherwise I have found I have been able to go through hour spinning, boxing and high intensity stair-master sessions and this makeup will not smudge in the slightest. I have found that liquid liners are definitely worth a more than a pencil, but by no means should it break your bank. These can be found pretty cheap anywhere and work fairly well, the difference between them just depends on how well your drawing skills are for making the perfect winged liner.

Mascara – here is the honest to God truth that no one in the makeup industry wants you to know: every single mascara is exactly the same. The chemical makeup of mascara is literally the same across the board, the only thing you are paying for is a different brush from a different brand. The secret to saving money on mascara is finding the mascara that has the best brush to fit your eyes/lashes, and then when that tube runs out, buy a 99 cent tube of mascara and swap out the brushes. It’s all in the application, not the formula. Don’t let these companies fool you. My all time favorite mascara is Big Curl by NYC. Not an expensive mascara by any means, but is one of my holy grail makeup items (sadly it has just been discontinued, hate to say it) but I have kept the brush and will be using it with whatever the cheapest tube of mascara is that I can find.

Primers – some people are anal about using a primer before anything. I’ve watched just as many makeup tutorials on YouTube as you have, and all of these people start off with the same line: “Okay so first I start off with my Mac Pro blah blah blah whatever primer” and immediately you’re thinking “well…SH*T. What is a primer, what is the purpose of this and I can’t afford it anyway so I’m going to shut this off before I get my hopes up because this perfect summer glow look I wanted to create is just not happening.” However, I am not one of those people. If you find the right foundation, you do not need a primer. The only primer that I recommend getting is one for eyeshadow. The kind I use is the Urban Decay Original Primer Potion. It is also a little on the pricey side, but one tube of this stuff will last me at least 8 months, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I have been using a travel size for almost a year now and it is absolute magic. My makeup stays on for up to 3 days (yes through workouts, showering, etc.) while using this product. I have never used a primer for my face, and that’s because I have found what I believe is the best foundation.

Foundation – this is the one product I will tell you to splurge. Finding the perfect foundation is extremely difficult, especially because every person’s skin is different. It is so hard to find a foundation that works well with your skin tone, is easy to use without causing excess breakouts/clogging of the pores and lasts a significant amount of time. With foundation, you get what you pay for. If you want to get a cheap drug store foundation, your face will certainly look like you decided to let your husband or five year old apply your face for the day and just rolled with it. My absolute favorite foundation is the BareMinerals powder matte foundation. This product is a little on the pricey side, but both their liquid and powder foundations last anywhere from 1-3 months (insane right?) and have the widest range of shades that can be matched to your exact skin tone. I am not saying this will be the perfect match for you, but you should really give this stuff a try if you are having a hard time finding a foundation that makes you feel confident about your skin.

Lipstick – this also may be one you want to spend a little more cash on. I find that with lipstick, you get what you pay for. It’s better to go without lipstick than to apply a cheap lipstick. Do your research and choose wisely. When done well, the right lipstick is dangerous. Make no mistake, be as picky with your lipstick as you are with your coffee order.

Blush – the fact that I even have to say this is actually kind of sad. DO NOT spend a ton of money on blush. The purpose is to make your cheeks pink, just pinch them if you are in a pinch, you don’t need to spend $20 to make your damn cheeks pink honey. Another trick you can use instead of using blush is to take a lipstick and lightly dab a little on your cheekbones and blend it out with your fingertips. This will work surprisingly a lot better than you’d think. The current blush I am using right now is from Tarte, called paaarty. It was something I got for free as a birthday gift giveaway at Sephora. While it is very nice, I would never spend the full price for this product and you shouldn’t either.

Setting Powder/Setting Spray – cheap setting powders work fine, it’s the FOUNDATION you need to focus on. Find the golden foundation first and you will find you may not even need a powder to finish. But if you’re like me and like to touch up a little throughout the day, I recommend the Cover Girl matte loose powder. Relatively cheap, lasts an insanely long amount of time and looks awesome, does not clump with any foundation. I have been using this for years. Do not spend a lot of money on a translucent powder from Makeup Forever, go to Walgreens or CVS and you’ll find what you’re looking for there.

Brushes – these can be found for cheap. I will admit that Sigma brushes are beautiful, but no one should be spending $25 on a freaking brush. I highly recommend the Real Techniques brushes. I find these to work very well despite their low price, you should give them a try. I am also a huge advocate for using fingers to apply, which for most makeup artists is a HECK no, but hey I’m not claiming to be a makeup artist and I know you aren’t either.


Image: courtesy of Google Images