What's really worth the splurge and what's not when it comes to your makeup?
We've tested so much makeup now that we can spot the good from the bad. What you'll be surprised about, is that there are only a handful of manufacturers that make all of our favorite beauty brands from high-end to low-end. So next time, don't be too quick to dismiss the cheaper pharmacy products because the same people who did Chanel could've manufactured them!
Foundation - Splurge but there are some great cheap ones! Even skin gives the illusion of youth and health. A good foundation will last throughout the day and not oxidize too much with the oils and sweat on your face. You'll find that some expensive ones will have a greater shade selection, better pigment, blendability, and better formulations for the natural/dewy/luminous or matte look that you're after. BUT don't dismiss brands such as L'oreal, Revlon or Covergirl because these cosmetics giants can afford to invest in research and development giving us (the consumer) access to the new innovations in skincare and makeup at accessible prices. A great cheap foundation comparable to its luxury cousins is L'oreal's True Match Super blendable foundation!
Sunscreen - Go cheap! Most sunscreens have the same active ingredients, whether it be a physical blocker containing titanium oxide/zinc oxide or a chemical blocker such as avobenzone/oxybenzone. The only difference with sunscreens will be how high the SPF factor is and the formulation -some are thicker and some runnier. Neutrogena do great sunscreens that are just as effective as any other high end product.
Mascara - Go cheap! We've road tested the Mercedes of mascara's and found that cheaper ones do the trick just as well, if not better, than some of the more expensive ones. At the end of the day, it may be the difference between adding another coat when using an inexpensive one. Or your preference with the brush. Our pick for a great cheapie is the L'oreal Telescopic Carbon Black - the fine brush gets to every lash.
Eye Liners - Splurge. There is a BIG difference between cheaper eyeliners and more expensive ones. The more expensive ones tend to have more pigment, glide on more smoothly and stay. The eye is a delicate area, so the less prodding and poking you do, the better.
Eye Shadow - Mixed bag! We can't come to a consensus about this one. Some of us think that the more expensive shadows have more pigment, apply easier and last longer. While the other side believes that you could achieve the exact same look using cheaper shadows. Overall, we found there are great cheapies that last and have good pigment and there are expensive shadows that don't last and are harder to apply. Stila and MAC shadows are a great in-between - They're not too expensive and not exactly cheap either. What will make all the difference is an eye shadow primer. Make sure you use one before you apply your eye shadow and you'll get all day wear out of it regardless of whether you're going cheap or expensive! Read about our eye primer experiment here.
Blush - Go cheap! Remember that as you go about your daily life, you'll naturally get a flush especially in winter, so pigment is not a real issue. PLUS, you'll want your blush to look natural. There's nothing worse than looking too pink when you've overdone the blush! Regarding ingredients of a blush - there's not much difference between an expensive formula and the cheaper ones, so go cheap.
Lipsticks - Go cheap if you often lick off your lipstick, otherwise splurge! If you find that you're constantly licking your lips and eating off your lipstick, we're inclined to say go cheap. You'll be going through a tube quite quickly so there's no point in spending $40+ on a lippie. For the rest of us, we say splurge! A swipe of lipstick can instantly make you look more polished and make you feel good. More expensive lippies tend to have a good velvety creamy feel on application. It stays put a little longer and has better pigment.
Makeup Brushes - Splurge. Good quality makeup tools make a difference! What you're paying for is the craftsmanship of the brush and better bristles that don't scratch your face. The way a brush is shaped, its density and different fibers, will determine how much product gets picked up and how it will spread onto the different parts of your face.