Beauty Products: When to Save and Splurge

when to splurge or save on makeup

When it comes to makeup, we all have our favorite brands. I mostly stick to drugstore brands due to my budget, but I do splurge on certain products at Sephora or MAC if they are worth it. After a few years of wearing makeup and trying my fair share of products, I’ve realized that there are certain beauty products that are worth splurging on and some you should save on.

save on makeup

When to Save on Makeup


In all honesty, I seem to like drugstore mascaras better than department stores. Brands like CoverGirlRevlonMaybelline, and L’Oreal make amazing mascaras at under $10 a pop. Since each of these brands offers at least 5-10 different types of mascara (lengthening, volumizing, darkening, etc.), it’s easy to find the perfect mascara for your lash type. Mascara typically lasts only for a couple of months, so why waste $30 every 2 months when you could save and spend $10 with similar/better results? You also can mix and match two different mascaras to get your desired look if that helps mimic a high-end formula.

My pick:  L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara.


Sure, some $.99 lipsticks won’t last as long as one from NARS, but in general, you can find quality lip shades at your drugstore. My personal favorite brand is Revlon. Their Super Lustrous line is creamy and highly pigmented and lasts for hours. The range of colors is very extensive- and there are so many similar shades to department store products (Revlon’s “Really Red” is an exact match of MAC’s “Russian Red”– seriously). The key to getting lasting lip color is how you apply it- so start with lip primer, line your lips and apply a few coats. I’m also really loving all NYX cosmetics lipsticks as an affordable option.

My pickNYX Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in “Angel”


I love buying cheap pencil eyeliners at the drugstore in a variety of colors- since I only wear colored liner every now and then, I don’t feel bad spending so little on it. For my everyday liner, I love Revlon’s entire ColorStay line– the color really stays on long, hence the name! ELF makes some great cheap eyeliners too. In my experience, these drugstores brands work just as well as a high-end one. The key is to pick the right type of liner and applicator for you- liquid, pencil, gel, etc. Using two different forms and layering them on top of one another provides extra staying power.

My pick: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen


splurge on makeup

When to Splurge on Makeup


If you’re going to splurge on one makeup item, I say make it foundation. While I usually stick to a BB cream or a drugstore foundation, if you have sensitive or problem skin, you may need to invest in something high-end to cover up all imperfections. Find what type of skin you have, what areas need improvement, and what skin tone you have. Bring this knowledge (and your bare face) with you to your local department store and have a professional test out different brands/formulas on you. A bottle of foundation can typically last months- especially if you only use it when going out in public. Great skin is worth spending extra money, in my opinion.

My pick: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream


Primer has so many uses- it evens out your skin’s texture, provides a bare canvas for applying makeup and keeps your makeup looking in tip-top shape for hours. Some cheaper brands don’t get the job fully done, so I feel that it’s best to invest. Not everyone needs to use primer, it’s optional. And since there are a variety of primers (for the face, for the eyes, for the lips, etc.), stick to ones you’ll actually use.

My pick: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion


You can get away with drugstore or cheaper eyeshadow if you use a primer like I mentioned above. But generally, higher-end brands are more pigmented, made with higher quality materials and will last longer. Some of my favorites are MAC and Urban Decay shadows. If you wear eyeshadow often and like to experience, I recommend buying kits or quads with different shades. If you rarely wear eyeshadow, just stick to a few shades you will use.

My pick: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette


  1. I totally agree for the Mascara although now I am hooked on they’re real I love how it doesn’t clump like most brands. I have a hard time with revlon lipsticks but I’ve been lucky with maybelline.

  2. Agree with you on all of these. I refuse to splurge on department store lipstick, because half the time I’m buying a specific color to match a special occasion outfit and then I never wear it again!

  3. I rarely splurge on make-up. I just don’t wear that much of it! I do like the Sephora brand lipsticks. The color seems to stay really well!

  4. i totally agree rach…i try to save with lipstick myself…like revlon has some amazing and affordable shades out right now but then il splurge on foundation and eye shadow! great tips 🙂

  5. I like to splurge on the my eyeliner – I believe the easiest cat-eye can only be done using Stila! I do think you can save on lipstick and lipliner!

  6. Great post! Like you, I mostly stick to drugstore make-up, I’m not much of a beauty person, but this is some great advice on what to splurge on! I love how you gave your pick for each item too.

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