If you’re unfamiliar with cosmetics or other beauty products, things can get confusing fast because there are so many of the same products out there – but with different prices. And if you’re not careful, you could splurge on an item that works half as well as a less expensive product just because you followed the old analogy "expensive means better".
That said, it’s very important to know what is worth a splurge, and what is worth saving on when you’re low on cash, but still care about product quality. So read on to learn the expensive items that drain your wallet while offering little pay-off, and expensive items that are actually worth the extra money.
Eyeliners can be priced anywhere from $5 to $30, which seems a little odd for something so basic. But what it comes down to is the labeling, formulation, branding, and where you are buying the eyeliner.
Drugstore eyeliners can work just as well as eyeliners found at makeup counters, so don’t spend too much on eyeliner for everyday use. Try using Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner or Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner products on your upper lash line. Milani and Revlon cosmetics are found online or in drugstores, and carry reasonable price tags.
Pencil liners are used on your water line and smudged along your lower lash line. If you’re willing to spend over $20 for pencil eyeliner, you can try Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil, or you can spend less than half of that on Maybelline Master Drama Eyeliner, which costs only $6 at the drugstores.
If you like cream or gel eyeliner formulations and want to spend more than $10 on a pot, try the Mac Fluidline, which is found online or at most makeup counters. If you don’t want to throw down $15 for an eyeliner, try Maybelline Eye Sudio Gel Liner that costs $7, or Wet’n Wild Mega Eyes Cream Liner for an even less expensive price of $3.
Quality eye shadows can be tougher to find if you are looking in a drugstore, but it isn’t impossible. Physicians Formula, NYX, and Wet’n Wild offer quality eye shadows with reasonable prices. You don’t need to splurge on expensive eye shadow palettes from Urban Decay, Mac, or Chanel to get a strong color pay-off. Save your money!
If you only wear makeup a few days a week, or for special occasions, then there is no need to spend $40 or more on foundation. However, this is said to be the most important part of a makeup routine, so you should take into consideration how often you wear makeup, and splurge if necessary. Laura Mercier and Makeup Forever have some of the best foundations, and can be purchased online or at Sephora. Concealers are also important to cover problem areas on your skin, and to hide those dark circles under your eyes, so it’s okay to splurge on concealers like Eve Pearl, Makeup Forever or MAC. If you’re worried about finding a budget-friendly foundation and concealer, try using Revlon PhotoReady foundations and concealers.
Lip glosses range in prices, and some are as inexpensive as $1! Since you will need to reapply lip gloss throughout the day, regardless of price, brand or formula, it’s best not to splurge on a $20 lip gloss! Lipsticks are more versatile and last longer, plus they also come in the form of a lip stain. L’Oreal and Revlon offer plenty of lipstick colors with affordable prices, so it isn’t necessary to spend $20 or more on MAC, Lorac or Chanel lipsticks.
You will want to save on mascara since you can find dupes for the more expensive brands at the drugstore. One mascara that is being highly recommended is They’re Real Mascara by Benefit Cosmetics, which costs around $23! You can get the same effect by using drugstore mascaras like Maybelline Volum’ Express Falsies Mascara and Cover Girl Lash Blast mascaras together.
There are good bronzers at the drugstore, as well as bad ones! Physician’s Formula offers quality blushes and bronzers, but the drugstore bronzer that gets the most attention is NYC’s Sunny matte finish bronzer, and it only cost $2 or $3. You can use NYC’s bronzer to contour with, as well as powder it over your entire face without shimmer for a summer glow effect. Blushes are trickier to find, but the Milani brand offers great blushes well under $12.. Milani has some of the best blushes regardless of price or brand, and can suit any budget or skin tone. For more expensive blushes, you can try NARS Orgasm or Benefit’s Coralista.
Makeup brushes can cost almost as much as a phone bill or the price of a short vacation hotel stay! Save your money on makeup brushes by using Sonia Kashuk makeup brushes sold at Target. They are still pricey; however, the quality suits the price better, and is comparable to MAC or Sigma makeup brushes.
When searching for a nice facial cleanser, you won’t need to travel to expensive over-priced makeup department stores; instead, you can find quality facial washes, cleansers, and moisturizers in your local discount department stores like Target, Wal-Mart or Meijer. One of the most talked-about facial cleansers is Philosophy’s Purity face wash, which retails for $20. If you’re on a beauty budget, $20 is a large amount to spend on just one thing, so why not try other cleansers from brands like Olay, Purpose or Cetaphil instead? They are sold at a fraction of the cost and work just as well.
Lancome, Clinque, and Philosophy all offer face moisturizers among other skin care products, but they also feature top-of-the-line price tags. To cut your beauty budget in half, you can save on expensive moisturizers and skin creams by using products from the makers of Cetaphil, Olay and Aveeno.
When it comes to conditioners and shampoos, you can save your money by buying products from drugstores. Your salon stylist may suggest expensive brands so that you purchase them from her salon, but you can get the hair you deserve by understanding your hair type and the problems that come along with it. If you have a lot of product build-up, try using a clarifying shampoo once a week to keep your hair and scalp healthy. Splurging on these may suit you since you use them less and they last longer. Pantene, Neutrogena, and Dove all have shampoos and conditioners that cost $3-$8 and work well.
Let’s face it, there are quality makeup and other beauty items at the drugstore that are just as pigmented or work just as well as the products from high-end department stores – the trick is to not give into the temptations of flashy advertisements or packaging. You’ll be better off splurging on a facial massage or pedi than an over-priced bottle of shampoo or tube of lipstick!