Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger from Cluj

Save or Splurge? Make-up products (for girls on a budget)

So, you don’t have a huge budget, but you want to own good make-up products? Say no more, I’m here to help. From my experience, some products are worth investing in, and some are not. So let’s talk about what could you buy with less money, without ruining the quality of your make-up, and what really needs to be more expensive.

And just a quick disclaimer before we begin: we might have different definitions for “expensive”, so let’s not pick on the details and see the bigger picture. When I say “splurge”, I think about always buying the best choice from the market, regardless of how much it costs, but it doesn’t mean it should be super expensive. It can be a medium-priced item, and you would still splurge on it, if you had other 10 cheaper options available.

So, let the shopping games begin!

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1. Foundation

Make sure to buy a very good foundation, which matches your skin color and type. It’s the whole base of your make-up and it should really work perfectly. That’s why you’ll probably pay a bit more for it, but trust me, it’s worth it.

2. Concealer

Same thing here. I’ve tried several cheap concealers so far, and they just don’t work as they should. The coverage is small, it doesn’t really make a big difference, so please go buy a high-quality concealer, especially if you have really pronounced black circles underneath your eyes (or lots of imperfections, zips or redness).

3. Primer

I’m guilty of underestimating this product, but I know it’s a very important step, in order to keep your face fresh and nice all day long. So don’t be cheap for this one, buy something that really does its job.

4. Mascara

I usually like to test a lot of mascaras, especially from drugstore brands. But so far, I have come to the conclusion that “the more expensive, the better”. Why? I don’t know, it’s just that a mascara should have a great formula, it shouldn’t give you clumpy or spiderish lashes. I’m not saying you should buy the Dior one if you don’t have the budget for it, but try to stay away from random mascaras that might even hurt your eyes. Go big with it, after all it’s an essential step of your everyday makeup.

5. Contouring Kit

Here I am referring to the liquid products most of all, but not only. They should be easy to blend and look natural. Buy a professional contour kit if you really want to, because the cheap stuff won’t take you far.

6. Brushes

If you want to achieve the flawless makeup looks you see on Instagram and glossy magazines, you need to use professional brushes. Invest in a good set, beginning with the most used ones. You’ll probably be fine without a lip brush at first, but you sure as hell need a good one for stippling, foundation and eyeshadow blending.

7. Eyeliner

Oh yes, the holy grail of any eye makeup! This should better be good, because there’s nothing worse than having small pieces of dry eyeliner underneath your eyes, fallen right after getting out of the door. Arghhh! So make sure you buy a good one, that lasts a lot (maybe buy a waterproof one, it does wonders), is buildable and easy to control. If it dries too fast, is bad; if it’s a terrible formula, it will look bad; and so on.

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1. Eyebrow kit

Let’s face it, we need to contour and define our brows, to get a perfect look. But that doesn’t mean we should spend tons of money. I personally get the best results by applying a basic brown eyeshadow on my brows, with the help of an angled pointed brush.

2Colorful eyeshadow palette

Nope, you don’t need to spend a lot for a eyeshadow palette with 100 colors, if you’re the shy kind of girl and only use the pink shades. It’s pointless, don’t you think? You’ll probably wear only 5-6 colors from there on a regular basis (unless you’re a make-up artist, in which case it totally makes sense to invest in a good palette), so don’t fool yourself. The cheaper ones or dupes after renamed brands will probably work pretty well, especially when applied on a very good quality eye primer 🙂

However (!), you should probably invest in a few (2-3) colors which definitely work for any eye make-up, let’s say on a simple nude palette (think about: white, neutral beige/ somon pink, a dark brown and a black). For that green sparkly color which you’re gonna be wearing only on Halloween, you don’t need to pay so much.

3. Lipsticks

You might argue with me on this one, and I would understand why. Indeed, a good quality lipstick is a must-have, that one lipstick which has the ability to transform you from a regular girl into a red carpet celebrity. But if you’re like me, only one lipstick is never enough. And if you don’t have much money, you can’t afford to buy 2 MAC shades every weekend. Hell, you’ll probably feel rich only having one of them in your make-up bag.

That’s why I would say you need to invest less in lipsticks at the beginning. This way, you’ll learn what colors fit you better, you’ll have a lot more flexibility in switching from color to color, you’ll be fine if you get bored of your 2 shades at home and go buy 2 more, because you won’t spend your whole paycheck for it. And after you’re done experimenting, you might stick to only a nude shade, a bright red and a dark color. Which could be more expensive.

4. Bronzer, Blush, Face Powder

I think you can easily find a good blush at a cheaper price, on a basic drugstore brand, and same thing goes with powder and bronzer. I’ve tried several brands and they were all pretty satisfying, so you probably don’t need to invest much on these.

5. Pencils

Either we’re talking about eye pencils or lip pencils, they shouldn’t be very expensive, in my opinion. A very popular brand in Romania, called Ada, makes the best eye pencils ever, and they cost a lot less than 50 cents a piece. Call that a save or what? Here, it’s a matter of trying and testing different products, but you’ll probably find a good match with a budget friendly one.

6. Glitter

Talking about things you only wear a few times, I really think glitter should be cheap. I mean, if you have a daily job, you cannot wear tons of glitter on your eyes, right? So why buy a very expensive tube and keep it there? You’ll finish it in a couple of years, so why spend so much? Even the cheapest glitter on the market works perfectly for a fabulous New Year look, so keep that money on your purse and stop paying for the brand name only.

7. False lashes

Same thing here. You probably won’t believe me, but I’ve never worn false eyelashes in my life. Not that I have something with people who do, not at all (actually, some make-up looks are deeply enhanced with a nice pair of falsies), but I just don’t feel like wearing them. If you’re into it, please go ahead and do it, but don’t buy the most expensive batch out there.

Maybe you’ll try them on and you won’t like them? Maybe they don’t look as well on your eye shape as on the YouTube guru you saw them on the first time? Things like this can happen, and you can’t really wear them more than a few times, so why bother paying so much for one pair?

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Notice a pattern here? If I were to sum up everything, I would say: pay a lot more attention to the liquid products, splurge to make sure they are the best quality you could get; but save on the powder products, they are less likely to disappoint or leave terrible marks on your face.

Same goes with products you use a lot vs. products you barely touch (I’m looking at you, glitter and falsies!).

So, do you agree with my list? What’s your balance between splurge and save on make-up products? Let’s talk!






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10 Comment

  1. Another great post with lovely advice. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog (from one of your comments on someone else’s blog I believe) so it’s really nice to read a blog that’s handing out advice because I want to follow along to keep learning your tricks. Lovely! xx

    1. Hi Jennifer! Glad you agree, foundation is an essential step in any make-up look, so it must be high-quality 🙂
      As for lipsticks, that totally makes sense, if you don’t wear them very often. But I tend to get bored easily, I want to try as many colors and textures as possible, so I prefer not to spend too much on this item 😀

    1. Yes, I agree! I found some amazing products from drugstore brands so far, but I also had my fair share of fails, when it came to really cheap items. Maybe I’ll do a post about them soon.
      Thanks for stopping by! Kisses

    1. Hey Mika! Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you like my post.
      You can definitely find some great products on drugstore brands, for budget-friendly prices. It just depends on what you are looking for, and sometimes (not always) more expensive items could make a big difference in the final look. Kisses

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