| October 2, 2012

As the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for."

But is price really the best indicator of makeup quality?

As it turns out, you don't have to drop a ton of cash on all of your cosmetics. Cut corners by knowing what items are worth the investment and where you can pinch a few pennies:


There are plenty of fabulous drugstore foundations but if you have the opportunity to splurge, do it — especially if you have problematic skin or wear foundation every day. The skin’s pores will absorb much of your foundation and cheaper ingredients may result in breakouts.

Try: Makeup Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation $42 or Shiseido The Makeup Dual Balancing Foundation $38

SPLURGE: Pressed Powder

A better quality powder will prevent you from looking cakey. Splurge on this item especially if you wear powder more than three times a week.

Try: Estee Lauder Double Matte Oil Control Pressed Powder, $29 or Benefit Cosmetics “Hello Flawless” Powder, $34

Splurge: Face and Eye Primer

Quality ingredients are key here, too.  Like a shield for your skin, primer prevents your makeup from being absorbed by your pores. As for eye primer, consider it insurance.  If you splurge on this, you will be able to save on eyeshadow. Colors will be more vibrant, adhere better and last longer. 

Try: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer $36 & Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion $20

SPLURGE: Finishing Spray

A good finishing spray is crucial, despite the fact that it’s incredibly under used. It’s important to splurge on this product as some cheaper options are mostly made from alcohol. Alcohol dries your skin and strips it of essential moisture, leaving you with dry patches that will make you look cakey.

Try: Skindinavia Original Makeup Finishing Spray Starting at $19

Splurge: Bronzer

Bad bronzer is like a bad haircut — hard to hide! Cheap bronzers have a tendency to border on orange and to make your face look “muddy” rather than sun-kissed. A high-end  bronzer can be key to contouring your face or brightening up your look.

Try: Milk Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder With Real Cocoa $29 or Guerlain 'Terracotta' Light Sheer Bronzing Powder $50

Save: Mascara

When it comes to your lashes, a bargain is the way to go. Mascara is the one product you will go through the fastest,  so consider the many great drugstore versions. 

Try: L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara Carbon Black $8 or Rimmel Sexy Curves $7

Save: Eye shadow

Eye shadow is the most versatile accent you can add to your face. Trends change with every season, every fashion and every whim, so why drop lots of cash on something that will change sooner than you think? Instead, have fun with lots of different low-price options.

Try: NYX Eye Shadow Trios $7 or Wet n Wild Color Icon Trios $2.99

Save: Lips

When it comes to your pout you don’t have to go pricy. From lip balm to lip stains, the drugstore is packed with reasonably-priced products.

Try: EOS Lip Balm $3.29, Jordana Easy Liner For Lips $1.99 , Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick $7.99 or L'Oreal Colour Riche LeGloss Lip Gloss $7.95

Save: Blush

Cream, powder or mineral, there is no limit to what's available for this cheek flush. When you are trying to stick to a budget, blush lets you cut cost but not quality with some long-lasting options.

Try: Milani Baked Blush $7.99 or e.l.f. Cosmetics’ HD Blush $3.00

Save: Liquid Liner

You can definitely pinch pennies when it comes to this eye enhancer. Believe it or not, the quality of the high-end eye liners often play catch up to those available at the drugstore.

Try: Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner $7 or CoverGirl LineExact Liquid Eyeliner $6