Save vs. Splurge
Has your budget been tightening up? Did you have to forget about the hot new handbag so you could make the rent? Has shopping as therapy been put on hold? Well, in leaner times a girl can indulge in smaller luxury items—makeup being one of them. And if the usual designer lipstick is out of reach, there’s always the option of discovering an exciting new shade at the drugstore. The trick for you, the savvy customer, is in knowing which products you can scrimp on and which are best paying a little more for. FYI, the vast majority of making products in the Western World come from a small number of manufacturers, so the main difference in product lines is less in quality and more in which shades and textures each brand chooses to represent its image.
* Pencils for eyes and lips. These are pretty foolproof. The colors aren’t hard to judge, and you can save big-time on these items.
* Mascara. Some of my favorites are from the drugstore. What you want is one that is easy to use, stays put, and makes your lashes look beautiful. If the brush is too big, if it weighs your lashes down, or if the bristles crumble when they’re dry, stay away at any price.
* Liquid eyeliner. The drugstore brands are fine here too. Just be sure the one you choose has a usable delivery system, some staying power, and ditto, looks beautiful rimming the eye.
* Foundation, concealer, blush, and face powder. With these skin-colored products, it’s hard to stay true to a budget. Many drugstore brands have a history of being off-track when it comes to skin tones, and the sealed packaging makes it hard to gauge accuracy before you open the product at home. Let me add that an ashy or mismatched foundation is the Number One mistake that cannot be fixed even by the best makeup artists – so it is key not to compromise in finding the shade that is a perfect match for your coloring. Now, if you have found a favorite foundation in the “save” category that works for you, hold onto it for dear life and hope the brand will not change the formula or discontinue it.
* Eye shadow. This one goes into my hit-or-miss department. Eye shadow quality doesn’t differ vastly from high end to low end. Instead, it’s all about color. (As for the accompanying brush, the sad truth is that it’s rarely worth using at any price—so it doesn’t even come into consideration.)
* Lipstick and lipgloss. It is definitely a no-brainer to find fabulous shades at the counters where the snooty salespeople roam, but there are plenty of gems in the bargain stores. Look for ease of application, staying power, and richness in the color. I have found many of my favorite “hits” for a pittance.
The lesson to take from all this? If you learn what to look for, you can be a bargain hunter par excellence. Just remember to be very demanding of your makeup. If it doesn’t stay put, doesn’t do the job, or doesn’t make your life easy and your face beautiful, then it’s just second rate and should be left to linger.