Splurge or Save (Makeup) – What to Spend or Save Your Money On

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Last Updated: October 12, 2021

Makeup can get expensive. We all want good quality makeup, but we don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get it. There are so many products and brands out there (both high end and drugstore) and it can get pretty overwhelming as to what you should spend or save your money on.

If you want a guide to help you shop around, keep reading for our ultimate guide to splurge or save: makeup edition.

Face Makeup

Primer: Splurge

If you want your makeup to last, you need to start with a good base. It’s a safe bet to spend a little more on your primer to make sure it can hold the rest of your makeup.

If you want a look that lasts and that will be great on your skin, spend a couple more bucks on your primer. 

Foundation: Splurge

Foundation is one of the first things that touches your skin and you want to make sure it’s good quality so your skin doesn’t break out. Plus, foundation is very reliant on matching your skin.

There are color mixers to tweak the color, but I think it’s best to cut out the middleman and spend a few extra bucks to get the color right the first time. 

Concealer: Save

If we’ve learned anything these past few years about makeup, it’s that drugstore brands don’t skip out on quality. 

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a great coverage concealer.

Blush: Save

Here’s another place you can save on your face. You don’t need a lot of money to get some nice rosie cheeks. So many drugstore brands offer some good quality blushes, it may not be worth spending the extra bucks if you’re on a budget. 

Bronzer/Contour: Splurge

Here is another product that is very dependent on color. Bronzer and contour are very easy to mess up in my opinion, that’s why I don’t do it, and you don’t want it to look muddy or even grey on you. I suggest spending a little more and researching the best products to avoid the embarrassment.

That said, if you’re willing to do the research, you can absolutely find a great drugstore bronzer or contour product – just make sure to do in-depth research.  

Highlight: Splurge

We all want that golden shine from time to time. You can definitely find some good highlighters for a good price, but I recommend spending a little more for a nice palette so you have a few more options to choose from. 

Setting Powder and Spray: Both

Not all setting products were made equally, but there are excellent products that are spendy as well as budget-friendly. For example, makeup gurus rave about the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray, but there are also some dupes that others love just as much.  

I’ve heard so many different opinions about setting products that if you find one that works for you, stick with it no matter the price.  

Eye Makeup

Eyeshadow: Both 

This one varies. There are so many good palettes out there that you can get for a good price, but there are also some amazing quality palettes that you can get for a higher price. I say if it will motivate you to do your makeup, it’s worth it, no matter the price tag. 

Mascara: Save

There are so many good mascaras out there that there is no need to spend a lot for some nice lashes. There are so many different dupes for high end mascara and some even work better, I say just pick one up and save your money. 

That said, whether you pick a high-end or more budget-friendly mascara, you will likely have to play around with top sellers to see which works best for you since everyone has different eyelashes.

Eyeliner: Save

Since I started wearing makeup, I’ve always worn eyeliner. It was and still is my staple and I can honestly say there is no need to break the bank for eyeliner. 

There are so many good quality eyeliner pens, gel pots, you can even get colorful eyeliner for a lower price. Honestly, save your money and shop at the drugstore for eyeliner. 

Brow Products: Save

Here’s another place to save. There is no need to break the bank for an eyebrow pencil or another eyebrow product. 

Save your money and go to the drugstore for your brows. From brow gel, pomade, or even powder, you’re better off saving your money to spend it on something else. 

Lashes: Both

Here’s another one that can go either way. I’ve used some amazing high end lashes and I’ve used lashes that were only a dollar. 

Both looked nice and I got so many compliments wearing them. So, I say enjoy the variety and have both in your makeup collection. But, if you’re really on a budget, you can definitely get away with saving on lashes.  

Lip Products

Lip Balm: Save

Why spend so much on lip balms and moisturizers when you can just get a jar of Vaseline for a few bucks? Save your money and go spend it on something nicer, not lip balm. 

Lip Liner: Save

Again, no reason to spend more than a few bucks on lip liners. There are so many good quality ones that you can pick up that your money should go towards something else. 

Lip Gloss: Save

Honestly, you can pretty much save on all your lip products. Now that drugstore brands are coming out with plumping lip glosses and glosses that match the shine of higher end brands, you don’t need to break your budget for some shine or plumping effects. 

Lipstick: Both

Depending on the type of lipstick you’re looking to buy, you can either splurge or save on this one. There are both great drugstore picks and great higher-end products as well.

We will say that, for liquid lipsticks, it might be better to splurge a little bit since these are hard for many brands to get right. 

Makeup Tools

Brushes: Splurge

So many makeup lovers will tell you that no matter how much you spend on your makeup, what truly makes or breaks your look is your brushes. 

If you’re going to spend money on anything, spend it on your brushes. A good brush can make any makeup look good. And as long as you take care of them and clean them regularly, they should last a long time.  

Sponges: Save

Even if you swear by the beauty blender, you have to admit that there are plenty of other makeup sponges that do just as good of a job (hello, Real Techniques).

I say get the dupe. They don’t last forever and work just as well, so you might as well save a bit on one.

Tools: Save 

This encompasses everything else you need for makeup. Tweezers, lash curlers, mirrors, and so on.

In this category, you can just save on pretty much everything everything. It’s not like higher end brands reinvented the wheel – save you money and just pick one up from the drugstore or cheaper sections at makeup stores.

Bottom Line

Overall, makeup is expensive, but you don’t have to shell out high-end prices for every type of product. If you don’t want to spend your whole paycheck on one or two products, look into where you can save. There are so many dupes out there that it won’t be hard to save some cash for some makeup that’s worth the higher price.