Makeup: When To Splurge and When to Save

We are often led to believe that if a product is expensive, it's going to work well and perform just how we hope. Of course, this isn't always the case, especially when it comes to cosmetics. While it's nice to treat yourself to premium products and have them sitting pretty on your dressing table, it's not always necessary to splash out on the entire contents of your makeup bag. Over the years I have tested many high-end makeup items, and while some I find worth the price, others you can get away with cheaper alternatives. Here is a list of products I don't mind splurging on against those I tend not to:


Foundation. Despite owning a number of drugstore foundations that I really like and continue to repurchase, I tend to favor premium brands when it comes to achieving a flawless base. I find more expensive foundations last longer, contain better ingredients (particularly important if you have sensitive skin) and are just generally of a higher quality. Pricier brands will also have a much more extensive collection of shades, and if you purchase your foundation from a counter an MUA will usually offer to colour match you so you won't have to guess for yourself. 
Favourite product: Estee Lauder Double Wear is my HG foundation, I always come back to it. It provides the perfect amount of coverage without looking cakey and lasts all day on my skin. 

Bronzer. I was always happy enough to use drugstore bronzer until I decided to treat myself to Nars Laguna. It certainly lived up to it's positive reviews and made a huge difference to my makeup. While I still use cheaper bronzers when I'm on a budget, I find some of them can make you look a bit orange/patchy. Pricier alternatives tend to come in much more natural shades and will give that healthy, sun-kissed appearance we all crave. 
Favourite product: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light. I purchased this on a whim a few weeks back and I've been really enjoying using it. It's completely matte which means it's perfect for contouring and creating the illusion of a natural tan. The formulation is so smooth and it blends effortlessly with the rest of my makeup - I love it! 

Eye shadow. I can't stand it when shadow wears off my lids during the day, so I like to invest in good quality palettes. I find eye shadows from brands such as Estee Lauder and Stila are beautifully pigmented, with little to no fall out and fantastic lasting power. 
Favourite product: Stila Eyes are the Window palette in Soul. This palette contains 12 gorgeous, butter-soft shades that blend smoothly without a hitch. The rose gold packaging also adds a touch of luxury to my makeup bag! 


Powder. I remember purchasing Mac's Minzeralize Skin Finish Natural a few years back and being bitterly disappointed with it. Since then I've stuck to drugstore powders as I find they're not much different to their high-end counterparts. A lot of beauty gurus I watch also swear by cheaper brands when it comes to setting their makeup.
Favourite product: Rimmel Stay Matte. This has served me well for almost five years - it adds the finishing touches to my makeup and keeps shine at bay. 

Concealer. While there are some fabulous high-end concealers on the market, I don't believe you have to spend a fortune when disguising blemishes/dark under-eye circles. Brands as affordable as Collection and 17 do amazing concealers for well under a fiver. I'm sure you've all heard the hype surrounding Lasting Perfection! 
Favourite product: Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation. Marketed to mask tattoos and scars, this does a wonderful job of covering blemishes. I dab a bit of it under my eyes and on my spots before applying the rest of my makeup. As it's a foundation, it contains 30ml which means it lasts ages. 

Blush. I don't usually feel the need to go for high-end blush as drugstores have such an extensive offering. Sleek, Rimmel, Elf and Soap and Glory are just a few brands that sell beautiful yet affordable blushers. 
Favourite product: Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Blush in Santa Rose. Another Rimmel product I've been using for years, this compliments my skin tone really well and provides the perfect amount of shimmer. I love the compact packaging too. 

Mascara. While I know many people sing the praises of Lancome and Benefit, I'm personally yet to be blown away by a high-end mascara. I was actually really disappointed with both They're Real and Bad Gal as I found the super wet formulation just gave me panda eyes. On the other hand, mascaras from the likes of Rimmel and L'Oreal have served me well for years.
Favourite product: L'Oreal Volume Million Mascara. I always repurchase this - it makes my lashes look longer and thicker and doesn't transfer onto my brow bone/under-eye area during the day. I'm a big fan of the entire Million Lashes range in fact - the Luminizer mascara is another favourite.

What products do you think are worth investing in? Let me know in the comments below x


  1. The only thing I don't buy from the drugstore is my foundation. As I am so pale and my skin is temperamental I just can't use cheap formulas. I do love drugstore mascaras, I like Bourjois and Max Factor.
    Kathryn /Cherries in the Snow

  2. This is a great post! I always splurge on mascaras, i'm truly addicted haha. You should definitely try a YSL mascara if you haven't been convinced by more high end brands, they're all great especially their 'shocking' mascara.
    Aimey xx

    1. Glad you liked it :) I've never tried a YSL mascara.Thanks for the recommendation, I may pop it on my wishlist! :) x

  3. Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. beautiful post!

  5. I totally agree with you on foundation, however I definitely save on eyeshadow! As long as you invest in a good primer it immediately brings out the pigmentation and makes cheapo ones long lasting :) xx

    ☾ Liquorice Pearls ☾

  6. Great post! I like to invest in makeup brushes, but only in cruelty-free ones like Real Techniques and The Body Shop ones. I also like good quality lipstick - I can't resist MAC! ;) As for foundation, I will use drugstore one with no hesitation. :)

    1. I love MAC lipsticks too - my lips get quite dry all year round so I try to invest in good quality lipsticks that will keep them nice and hydrated! x

  7. I rarely use foundation but I use Bobbi Brown and I love it! Same goes for bronzer, also Bobbi brown! I like getting cheap lipsticks 'cos I don't use them often enough! Gonna save this post for future reference, although I'll have to see if some of these are cruelty free, I don't use make up much so will need to check! x
    amber love

    1. I think Bobbi Brown bronzers are incredible! Mine made a huge difference to my makeup x

  8. we definitely agree that with some dearer products, and bigger brands you are paying for the quality, but like you, we've found many amazing drugstore products that we'd choose over any high-end brand any day!

    M + K

  9. this is such a great post! totally agree on spending on foundation (and skincare for that matter) and saving on other things!

    from helen at

  10. Love this post! I definitely splurge on eyeshadow & eyeliner since my eyes can get super sensitive - they're so spoiled! Thanks for sharing :)

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