Save or Splurge: The Make-Up Edit

Do you have certain cosmetic products you prefer to splurge or save on? What actually ARE the best types of cosmetics that you should be spending that little bit of extra cash on, and which ones can you get away with buying on the cheap? We’ve scoured the net and have read numerous articles to reach a verdict, and made it our mission to answer this question. And guys, if you’re feeling left out, don’t! This could be helpful if you want to surprise your lady or special friend!

Foundation & Concealer: Splurge

You can’t go past a quality foundation and concealer. Given foundation and concealer has direct contact with your skin, you’ll want one with quality ingredients. Not only that, but buying from a department store, Sephora, or Mecca Cosmetica, you’ve got experts always willing to help you find the perfect shade. How many times have you gone to the drugstore/pharmacy and chosen a shade that is a tad too dark/light for your skin and as a result you don’t end up wearing it… money wasted people! Also, if you have extremely sensitive skin you may have to spend a little extra to make sure your skin doesn’t get angry with you!

Tip: ask for a sample when you try a foundation on and see how it wears throughout the day. They’ll usually give you 5 days worth of foundation. Try as many as you can until you find the one you’re happy with. Also, if you see someone wearing a foundation you love don’t be afraid to ask about it!

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Primer: Splurge

Your primer gets you canvas ready for your makeup look and it’s important to use one with good quality ingredients so that the rest of your makeup isn’t absorbed by your pores. We reckon it’s a splurge, especially if you have sensitive skin.

However, there are quality ‘low-end’ primers if you’re on a tight budget… try Face of Australia primer – it contains Vitamin E and chamomile for a soothing application. $10! Another on the budget quality primer is Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser!

Julia: I personally have used the Maybelline Baby Skin and I can vouch that it’s a great on the budget primer! It goes on extremely smooth and isn’t oily. The overall finish helps reduce redness if you have patches of redness! It’ll set you back only around $5 in the US and $15 in Australia.

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Mascara: Save!

You can easily pick up a good mascara for $5-$20 and it will do the exact same job as one that is say $50. Most people say the difference is found with the wand. Regardless of the formula made for mascara, you may want to keep your favorite wand!

Amanda: I’ve used both expensive and cheaper mascaras and can most certainly say SAVE on this one. My favourite high-end is Tarte’s Light, Camera, Action (the volume is seriously amazing), but I’ve switched to Maybeline and in the process of trying different mascaras in their range to find the best one. I’m saving $15 now instead of spending $30 and getting the same results.

Julia: MAC has always been a go to for me for high-end anything. I’ve never had a bad experience, but the bank account cringes when it knows it’s MAC replacement day. Recently, I’ve switched to use L’Oreal Paris Voluminous. This usually costs me around $7 instead of spending $23 (in America) saving me around $16.
Tip: Do not throw away your empty M.A.C products! The Back To M.A.C program both in Australia and America means you can give back 6 empty M.A.C packaging containers and you’ll receive a FREE lipstick. Check out their website for more deets on that one!

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Eyeliner: Save or Splurge

There are SO many eyeliners on the market and it might take a bit of time to find the right one that you love, as they all go on a bit differently, so we feel this one really does come down to personal choice.  

Amanda: I’m a big fan of Maybeline and if you’re looking to save on your eyeliner I could not recommend the brand enough. However, after trying Chanel’s pencil and even Georgio Armani’s, I definitely notice a difference in the way it glides on. I was lucky enough however, to pick up Chanel’s pencil for only $20AUD in Malaysia, so if you’re traveling it pays to buy!

Julia: Quality budget makeup is hard to come across, but recently I have really enjoyed ELF products. I really like the e.l.f. Eyeliner & shadow stick! It’s around $8AUD or $3USD. What I really like about it is that no sharpening is needed (twist up) and it glides on extremely smoothly. It comes with a darker colour and then a highlight colour on one stick.

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Blush/Bronzer: Save > Then Splurge

It’s hard being a girl sometimes (or a guy, we don’t judge) and when it comes to blush and bronzer it can get a bit complicated. First off, it can be hard to find the right shade of blush and bronzer for your skin tone and you may want a different shade for different occasions (like it wasn’t hard enough already).

Many bloggers out there suggest to buy on the cheap, so you can figure out which shade suits you and the fact that you’re only applying a little bit to a small area of the face. If you’re trying to save money, we reckon to save on this beauty item as there are some quality ones you can pick up at the drugstore/pharmacy or Target in the US. Target is like the happiest place on earth if you’re in America. Having said that however, the more expensive blushers and bronzers usually have a stronger pigment and will therefore, stay longer on the skin. You also won’t need to use as much powder, making the product last longer than cheaper ones.

We think to first save on these items, find out which shades suit you, and if you’ve a bit of extra cash to spend, then splurge! However, if you end up falling in love with a cheaper powder you can simply invest in a setting spray to make it last longer!

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Lipstick: Splurge

We don’t think there is anything better than a bright, bold lipstick to lift your mood. Lipstick can instantly provide that wake up call to your face saying “hey world, I’m ready for you!”. Your branded lipsticks such Chanel, Mac, Giorgio Armani, Estee Lauder, Clinique etc feature higher pigment concentration, providing better colour, application and wear. You know that feeling when you first put on a lipstick and it just feels right? You probably won’t get that from a cheap-end lipstick. Believe us, we’ve tried. Don’t forget the ingredients list as well. The cheaper lipsticks on the market may contain more toxic ingredients as opposed to nourishing and moisturizing high end lipsticks so be sure to check this.

If you are on a tight budget, CoverGirl Katy Perry line offers a lot of fun colours and goes on smoothly with a soft finish that feels creamy and full of moisture. Having said all that if you’re looking for some dupes on your favourite luxury brands, check out Mash Elle’s blog post here. It provides a thorough colour guide on mac lipsticks vs. drugstore lipsticks. It’s seriously detailed and gives you so many options!

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Eyeshadow: Save or Splurge

This one is easy! Your luxury brand eyeshadows will wear a lot better with richer colour than your cheap drugstore/pharmacy products. ‘We’ve tried both on the splurge vs. save spectrum and can testify that splurging on a quality eyeshadow is worth it.

Julia: I use NYX after switching from MAC. A definite easy splurge for eyeshadow would be MAC. They run about $6 for a refill pan or $14- $22 for individual in the US and $30 upward in Australia. You can’t go wrong, but it adds up quickly. However, you can definitely save and get a quality eyeshadow without knowing the difference. NYX Eyeshadow offers nearly an exact replica in color and wear to MAC in All That Glitters named Champagne. There’s also other colors that are pretty dang close replicas and no one is going to be that close to your eye to know the difference! The price for NYX Champagne… around $5-$10 in Australia or around $4 in the US. Christine Mielke who is a makeup guru attests to this! She’s a beauty blogger who constantly compares makeup shades and quality!

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Make-Up Brushes: Splurge

You’d probably noticed the difference between a good quality makeup brush and a cheaper quality one. By splurging on this beauty essential, you’ll find that the bristles won’t shed over time, colours are more easily blended, and you’ll get a more polished look and finish. Also, they will last a lot longer and save you money in the future for not having to replace brushes constantly!


We would LOVE to know your thoughts and opinions on all these beauty products as everyone will have different experiences with different brands. Please leave a comment and share your favourite products with us and tell us if you disagree with any of the above!

Much love,

p.s we’ve just read a fantastic article comparing high-end products to their dupes and we needed to share! If you need some ideas on how to buy on budget, check out Jordan Hick’s article on Society19 here!

2 thoughts on “Save or Splurge: The Make-Up Edit

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