Despite not wearing a lot of makeup, I actually love researching beauty products and own an embarrassing amount of both drugstore and high end makeup (for someone who doesn't use it often). My goal is to one day master that natural oh-I-totally-woke-up-looking-awesome-like-this look that's actually extremely difficult and requires a lot of makeup to achieve. Having experimented with a number of products, I think there are definitely some categories of makeup that you need to spend more money on versus others where the drugstore counterpart is just fine.
In my opinion, the categories that you should SPEND on are (along with some favorites):
I find that premium eyeshadow is way more pigmented than drugstore eyeshadow and seems to have better lasting power (doesn't fade or crease as easily). This is a big issue for me since I'm Asian and have oily monolids, so my eyeshadow tends to move around. I like this palette, because it's full of neutrals and smells like chocolate!
|Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette|
Again it's all about the lasting power. Premium eyeliner seems less likely to smear and fade. I'm not sure if this is just an issue for me or everyone, but regardless you want your eyeliner to stay put and not leave you with raccoon eyes by the end of the night. I particularly like using liquid liner to draw cat eyes. It's quick, easy, and dramatic.
|Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner (Jet Black)|
3) Eye shadow primer
I'm starting to sense a pattern here... Anyway, without using primer first, even premium shadow/liner doesn't last long enough for me, especially since I tend to cry at weddings. There are a couple high end shadow primers that I really like, because they work super well at helping things stay put.
|Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Original)|
I know that drugstore skin makeup has gotten better, but I feel like you still can't beat the pigmentation, number of shades, and staying power of high end concealer. I'm not sure if the same can be said for foundation since I don't wear it myself.
|Lancome Effacernes Waterproof Protective Undereye Concealer|
The categories you can SAVE on are (along with some favorites):
In general, drugstore blush tends to be less pigmented than high end blush, but in my opinion, that's actually a feature, not a bug. I like that drugstore blush actually looks more natural, because it's a little more sheer. Wearing super pigmented blush makes me feel like a clown with patches on my cheeks.
Current favorite: Milani Baked Blush (Luminoso)
I know lots of people swear by their high end mascara, but in my opinion, I think it's not worth spending that much when you're supposed to toss it every 3 months. Maybe if I wore mascara more often, that would make it worth the money? Also I really haven't noticed any real difference between the two in terms of performance.
Current favorite: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (Blackest Black)
Drugstore lipstick has come a long way! Gone are the days when lipstick makes your lips feel like sticky and wrinkled. Nowadays they're pretty moisturizing and more pigmented than ever before. And there are so many pretty shades for less than $10 each!
Current favorite: L'Oreal Colour Riche Shine Lipstick (Burnished Blush)
4) Nail polish
Obviously this depends on the exact brand/shade. In general, every brand has some super-pigmented shades where you only need one coat and some shades where it's semi-sheer even after 3 coats. Personally I don't think you need to buy Louboutin polishes at all (although I'll admit the bottle is pretty). I like OPI and Essie. They offer a wide selection of colors, are middle-of-the-road in terms of cost, and are reasonably opaque (depending on the color).
Current favorite: OPI Nail Polish (Koala Bear-y)
5) Makeup remover
I've never purchased high end makeup remover, but I have tried some samples I got, and there is literally no difference between them and say generic Target Up & Up makeup remover. My favorite is actually these Neutrogena towelettes, because I don't even have to wait for the remover to soak into my eyeliner/mascara. I can just wipe it all away and then wash my face afterwards.
What types of makeup do you spend/save on? What are your favorite high end products? What are your favorite drugstore products?