Makeup Splurge vs. Steal

Hi everybody,

As much as I want to get all the lovely and expensive makeup out there, there’s a time and place for everything. After almost a year of blogging here, I have packed more knowledge in makeup than I have ever imagined. I guess if you really want to learn, blogging is one good way to self-teach yourself. And during this time, I have come to some conclusions regarding high-end vs. low-end makeup. Give it or take it, there is a system to get gorgeous without breaking the bank and I am going to share it with you today.

Spend on: Hardware

Ever since I started wearing makeup, I’ve gone through many eyelash curlers. Some of them I got as gifts while others I bought with my own money. They have one thing in common: after a while, they do not work for me anymore.

Now, if I bought a Shu Uemura eyelash curler right from the beginning and just used it, I could have saved me a lot of money. If I added up all the curlers I’ve ever used and discarded, I could have bought 2 or 3 of them Shu curlers.

So spend a lil’ bit more money on your hardware, girlfriends! You’ll use them for years to come.

Save on: Brushes

Finally, the almighty MAC 187 has a really good clone! I’m not kidding you, the stippling brushes at Adorned with Grace are mighty good (and cheap as h^ll!) With that said, now all of us can save our hard earned cash on brushes. I personally enjoy EcoTools, Loew-Cornell, Sonia Kashuk, and StudioTools brushes. These are well-crafted brushes with affordable prices. You can equip yourself with some lean, mean brushes at the price of maybe two MAC brushes. Now, only if I can find a perfect clone of the 217.

Spend on: Foundation

This is a no-brainer, ladies! Although I use mineral makeup, I try to get my hands on the best ones my money can afford. Silk Naturals and Adorned with Grace, mineral foundations I’ve enjoyed, are around the mid to high-end foundations out there. Yet, they still cost less than a department store lipstick.

The reason I press so hard on foundation is simple: it’s called “foundation” for a reason! When you do not get good foundation, the rest of your makeup look like cr#p. If your foundation looks clumpy and does not blend easily, the rest of your face will not look as nice.

I once bought the very cheap and very ugly Cover Girl foundation because it was on sale and cost 3 dollars. That was a while back when I was young and adventurous. Needless to say, the three-dollar foundation did not match my skin or blend well. I was lucky enough to stop using it before it ruined my face. Most young people make the same mistake I did and I urge you to save a bit more money and get your foundation from a better brand. If you go with drugstore, L’Oreal and Neutrogena make really good foundation that feels like high-end ones.

Save on: Eye Shadows, Blushes, and Mascaras

I’ve used eye shadows, blushes, and mascaras from both ends of the spectrum. I even did a FOTD using only dollar store products! And the result: not so much of a difference there, except drugstore eye shadows and blushes may be less pigmented and may not be as finely milled. However, some brands like Milani and L’Oreal make really pigmented eye shadows and blushes that cling to dear life. Lots of people compare some colors from these brands with those of MAC. Also, famous colors get copied all the time. If you go to CVS or Walgreens, you can see a lot of NARS Orgasm look-alike: Milani has one, Carmindy has one (and hers look good!), and Cover Girl has one, too! If you take it to the Internet, various mineral makeup companies make their own Orgasm clones as well.

Colors come in and out of style and they also have expiration date. Mascaras have very short expiration date: they only last for 3 months after they’re opened. Currently, drugstore mascaras are getting much better than say, two years ago. Also, they are a lot cheaper and you can get 2, 3, or even 4 drugstore mascaras for the price of a department store one. As a result, the only time I use a department store mascara is when I receive it as a gift.
A quick recap:
Splurge on hardware and foundation;
Save on brushes, eye shadows, blushes, and especially mascaras.
So, when you go to the department store, what do you feel? I always feel intimidated by the sales people and makeup artists, although I may know more about the products than they do. Therefore, I love to spend time browsing the makeup aisle at drugstore and online. There’s no pressure to sell and buy, I can take my sweet time to pick and choose. Also, I can get coupons from Sunday newspapers to offset the cost. Internet mineral makeup companies are wonderful: I can get a whole lot of gorgeous handcrafted makeup for the price of a MAC lipstick and receive some free samples as well. Now, it is tough to get such treatments at department stores, don’t you agree?

We are in tough time right now, ever since the Dow Jones dwindled from 5-digit figures to 4. This year I don’t even get to buy clothes as much and everything else just got cut down to bare bones. As much as I hate to use the term “recessionista”, I embrace the frugal lifestyle and feel good (and smart) to get good deals in my makeup.


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