save or spend?


Makeup is confusing. And it can get very expensive very fast. I'm not the best candidate when it comes to budgeting, but I can say that I'm usually pretty good at spending smartly. I've had my fair share of recklessly spending all my money on makeup when I first started as I had no clue where to save and where to invest. After a lot of trial and error, I've developed a general blueprint - that's not to say that there are things in the save category that I would sometimes splurge on and vice versa. But think of it as a rule of thumb that I tend to follow. 

Powder: I spent a fortune on one powder once. It was in my early makeup days and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. Fast forward to now, that's the only expensive powder I have as I've found drugstore brands are more than capable when it comes to delivering awesome powders. From oil-controlling powders to illuminating ones, you'll have a lot of great quality options at hand. 
My picks: Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot, Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder, Bourjois Java Rice Powder 

Blush: While I own more than a couple of expensive blushes that I adore, realistically speaking, the drugstore is more than capable of producing equally good quality blushes. If I had to rank my top five blushes, then the drugstore would probably take up 3 of the 5 seats. There's also quite a wide variety of colours amongst the budget options as well. 
My picks: NYX Powder Blushes, Rimmel Blushes, Essence Blushes 

Brows: This one was hard. If you have access to Korean makeup brands, then save your money and go for the budget offerings. There's a wider selection of colours, ranging from warm toned to cooler toned options. The formula and lasting power are often top notch as well. If you don't have access, then the drugstore still has some great options. Although admittedly, they tend to run along the warmer spectrum. If you're a brow powder person, then chances are that you'll have an eyeshadow that you can use on your brows and won't even need a separate brow product.
My picks: Innisfree Eco Brow Pencil, Catrice Eyebrow Set, L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper

Bronzer: Another one that's also a bit tricky depending on your skintone. Quite a few drugstore bronzers tend to run slightly on the warmer side. But that said, there are still some really good budget options out there that tend to sit in the middle. Again, chances are there's a chance that you already own an eyeshadow that could double up as a bronzer.  
My pick: the Body Shop Honey Bronzer

Mascara: I once likened mascara to toilet paper in terms of refusing to spend more than necessary on these products. Mascara is one of those things that the drugstore excels at and I struggle to find any sort of justification to spend more than drugstore prices on something that dries up or finishes up on a regular basis. 
My picks: Essence Lash Princess Mascara, Maybelline Lash Sensational, Catrice False Lash Fibre Mascara

Eyeliner: Again, one of those products that the drugstore excels at. And if you're one to use eyeliner quite frequently, then you know how quickly one goes through pencils. Pigmented, longlasting, and waterproof, you have more options than you can count in the aisles of the drugstores. 
My picks: Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal, Milani Liquid Eyeliner, Maybelline Gel Liner

Foundation: I get along better with higher end foundations as they tend to wear better and have a nicer finish. The shade range is often more inclusive than drugstore options as well. Remember to do your homework, try it out at counters or ask for a sample before investing, if possible. That said, there are still some great budget foundations in the drugstores if you have light-medium skin. 
My pick: NARS Tinted Moisturiser, Jouer Matte Moisture Tint, Bobbi Brown Long Wear Foundation 

Concealer*: We're talking face concealers here. As I tend to wear lighter bases nowadays, a heavy duty concealer is crucial for me. I'm all for spending a bit more on full coverage concealers as I've found that drugstore options rarely live up to the 'hiding spots and scars' claim. 
My pick: Makeup For Ever Full Cover Concealer, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage 

Highlighters: Highlighters are something that I would suggest spending a bit more money on as the expensive options tend to be more 'glowy' and less 'glitter ball'. I also find that higher end highlighters also tend to stay in place a lot better and are less prone to travelling to all corners of your face. 
My pick: theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

Eyeshadow: I always campaign for spending a little bit more on eyeshadows. In general, higher end eyeshadows are better formulated with buttery quality and gorgeous pigmentation. They also tend to last longer and are less prone to creasing. Matte shadows, especially, are rare in the aisles of the drugstore. Plus, realistically speaking, eyeshadows are one of those things that take a while to finish up. 
My picks: Urban Decay Naked Basics, Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette, MAC eyeshadows 

Illuminating Primers: Yes, I realise this is a very specific category, but not without reason. A lot of this depends on how frequent you use this product. If you're just testing out the waters, then there are a lot of drugstore options out there that work quite well. If you're looking for something to add some glow to your base, then even mixing a cream highlighter into your foundation will suffice. However, if illuminating primers are something that you consider to be essential, then go forth and spend my child. 

Concealer: Now we're talking undereye concealing. I'm on the fence about this one as I'm still on the voyage of finding the perfect product to camouflage the light sucking dark pits under my eyes. If you're someone that isn't troubled with dark circles (lucky you!), then I'd say the drugstore has a huge selection of pretty good options. But if you're someone that is on the Titanic with me, then I'd say spend a bit more. Another option is opting for something like the Bobbi Brown Corrector (which is worth every penny and more!) and pair it with a drugstore option. This is because, as aforementioned, I find drugstore concealers rarely offer anything more than medium coverage. 

Lipstick: Ah yes, this is going to be a controversial one. Let's divide it into categories: if you like glossy and sheer lipsticks, then definitely save and go to the drugstore. But if you're someone that likes bright, opaque, satin/matte lipsticks and hate touching up? I'd say spend just that little bit more to keep those coffee mugs pristine. 

Brushes and Tools: Quality over price is important here. There are a lot of budget brands that are great in quality (e.g. Zoeva, Real Techniques), but there are certain tools that are worth investing in. For example, the Beauty Blender, Shu Uemura Lash Curler, MAC 217. The right tools are worth investing some more pennies in as they will take your makeup game to the next level. 

Makeup is expensive, especially if you have a collection that no longer fits in one makeup bag. I've set out my general blueprint. What is yours - where do you tend to save and where do you tend to invest? 
With Love, 
Daphne x