If you’re into beauty products at all I’m sure you’ve seen tons of lists naming the makeup artist staples, cult favorites, and Holy Grail must haves. With so many buzzed about products out there it’s hard to tell what’s really worth splurging for and what’s a drugstore bargain that actually measures up. Regardless of how amazing some products are, it can be hard to justify spending half your paycheck on makeup when things like rent and eating are also sort of important. While there are some products that are truly worth a splurge and being stuck eating Ramen for a week, I’ve found plenty of drugstore swaps that work just as well, or better, than their high-end doppelgangers.
Foundation: Shopping for arguably the most important makeup item in your routine at the same place you buy paper towels and gum may seem like a crime, but foundation dupes have come a long way in the past few years. If you’re the type that likes a full-coverage foundation, you know how important it is to find a formula that gives you the coverage you desire without looking caked on. If your bonus just came through and you’re ready to splurge, you can’t go wrong with MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation. If you’re in the bargain hunting kind of mood, go with Revlon ColorStay Foundation for the same long lasting results at a fraction of the price.
Bronzer: When I think of bronzer I always picture the cult favorite NARS, particularly the shade Laguna. It has just enough shimmer for some extra glam but not enough that it looks like you’re headed to a dance recital. It also steers clear of being too orangey – no one purposely wants to look like they fell asleep in a tanning bed, which bronzers often run the risk of. At a price tag of $34.00, NARS bronzers aren’t for the faint of heart. Thankfully NYC’s bronzer in Sunny replicates the look for a serious difference in price.
Mascara: I’ve always thought the makeup staple that makes the biggest difference in appearance is mascara. So this is one where a splurge is something I can justify. I’ve spent a good portion of my life applying mascara and trying everything to give my stubby lashes the falsie look that doesn’t seem to be going out of style any time soon. After years of experimenting, DiorShow wins time and time again. I go into some more detail about how you can pair DiorShow with other brands to really pump up the drama here.
Eyeliner: You know the makeup artist trick of using white or off white eyeliner to make the white in your eyes pop? It’s a pretty cool little trick so you should take a minute and familiarize yourself with it (just search white eyeliner trick on Pinterest and you’ll know what I’m talking about). It takes an extra five seconds to rim your waterline in liner, so might as well shell out a few bucks for Rimmel Scandaleyes.
Setting spray: I’m not huge on setting spray since I have naturally oily skin and it seems a little counter-intuitive to spray a liquid on a shiny face. But e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set (coming in at a whopping $3.00) does actually just the opposite, instantly drying and creating a matte look upon spraying.
When it’s all said and done, the drugstore brands have really stepped up their game and put out some quality products that hold a candle to the legacy of their high-end counter parts. But there will always be those makeup artist staples, cult favorites, and Holy Grail must haves (or whatever cliché term you prefer) that are worth the splurge.