The artistry of makeup is complex. The artistry behind the makeup is even more so. Like a painter who picks his brushes and paints with the utmost care, a makeup artist must do the same. Not all the best paints have to be expensive though. It takes a careful eye to determine the balance between economising and maximizing luxury. So here’s a breakdown of when it’s appropriate to drop a little extra cash, and when it’s appropriate to bring up the reins a bit. When it comes down to it, makeup is a tricky place to draw the line on how to buy, so tread slowly through the aisles of Sephora and evaluate your lifestyle as to properly format your makeup routine – and the products you fill it with – to match your life.
~ Concealers: Concealers are pretty case-by-case. It really depends on your skin type, so sample around. Concealer is only for spot coverage, not all-over, so it doesn’t have to break the bank. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Blushes: The richness you get in a designer blush can’t be matched. So investing in a full-sized one might be worth consideration. To trick the system, especially if you don’t use blush frequently, grab a drugstore dupe and prep your skin with a primer to make the color last. Verdict: designer.
~ Foundations: A foundation can make or break the look, and matte-fied skin is in, so department stores are the way to go, the quality just cannot compare. Plus, designer formulas are usually better for the skin, and promote radiance for the long run. Almost every department store or beauty counter will match you to your perfect shade in every brand, so you won’t drop a fifty on the wrong shade. Verdict: designer.
~ Shadows: Every girl dreams of her first Naked Palette, but not every little girl has an extra fifty four bucks lying around to spend on eye shadow. Consider this: if you break down each patch of eye shadow in the set, for the Naked Palettes that’s 12, and divide that from the price. That means each color is $4.50, which isn’t a steep price, but it adds up quickly. Don’t indulge in a palette if you can’t wear all or most of the colors. It would be illogical for a green-eyed person to purchase Naked One or Two because of the metallic blues and silver compliment blue and brown eyes better. Instead, a green-eyed consumer should grab Naked Three, which houses warmer browns, coppers, and pinks. If you’re still hesitant, know that there are more options! Eye primer will be your best friend in this case – but the best part is, you can pick a cheap primer and match it with affordable colors to fake that all-night, creaseless, lasting look we all crave. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Mascaras: A great mascara is hard to find, and it all depends on how your eyelashes behave. Drugstore brands are reliable and inexpensive, so you won’t feel bad about working through it in a short time period. Get your paws on some designer samples and when you finish the sample, keep the wand. Clean off the wand with some brush cleaner and use it with a drugstore formula. Most of the magic is in the wand. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Liners: Eye liners come in so many different forms that no matter where you shop, you’ll find something for you. Some drugstores don’t have such a wide variety of exotic colors as a department store, but bold colors might not be for you. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Glosses: Most drugstore brands can get the job done without much fuss, and stickiness usually isn’t a problem. To ensure you get the right consistency, head over to Sephora and ask for a sample pot of any lipgloss they have on the floor. You’ll be able to test drive the formula before you commit. While some designer glosses boast of their plumping or moisturizing benefits, they can melt easily, making throwing them in your bag on a rushed morning not such a good idea. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Liners: Lip liners are pretty straightforward, and the only difficult part is matching to the shade of lipstick you’ll be wearing. Of course you can’t buy a liner to match every lipstick you have, so opt for a neutral color that can address the needs of your reds and your nudes. Make sure you choose an anti-feathering pencil to get the cleanest lines. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Lipsticks: Elizabeth Taylor said it best “Put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” Lipstick is a cure-all, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank for it. The thing to invest in is a quality lip primer. The right primer, the right anything. The color will last for hours on end, the drugstore lippy formula won’t chap your lips with a primer underneath, and the intensity will endure kisses and Ben and Jerry’s alike. Verdict: drugstore.
4. Brushes and tools:
~ Bristles: Always, always, always, choose natural bristles. Synthetic bristles can be okay if you clean them regularly and invest some serious cash in them. Natural bristles are gentler on your skin, harbour less bacteria, are easier to clean, and better for the environment. Make sure the bristles are cruelty-free and don’t use ‘natural’ animal fur or products. Verdict: drugstore.
~ Care: The only way to ensure your brushes have a long and helpful life is to clean them regularly. Invest in a quality brush shampoo and once a month, wash out your favorite brushes. Washing your brushes will make them softer, last longer, and help prevent bristles from falling out. Verdict: designer.
~ Longevity: Simply put, expensive tools won’t break. Quality goes hand-in-hand with with longevity, which usually comes in the form of forking over some money. Eyelash curlers for example should be metal and well constructed, not made of cheap plastic that can pinch your skin and break your lashes. Verdict: designer.
Investing in yourself is gratifying, but doing so too often can clean out your wallet faster than you can clean out your room. By finding a balance between drugstore bargains and beauty counter sensations you’ll ensure to keep a little more of your hard earned cash, and sanity. Unlike indulging in a designer bag, makeup is a bit more ephemeral. With a bag, you can calculate out the price-per-day; you can convince yourself that this two-hundred dollar bag will be worth it if you use it one-third of the year because that’s only two dollars a day! Makeup isn’t so straightforward. Going into a big purchase, you have to know that things like the common cold or pink eye can force you to throw away your makeup long before you wanted to. Nevertheless, nothing can replace the feeling of breaking the seal on a new tube of mascara and watching with each dip into the formula how the candy-colored brush is taken over by the 611 Blackest Black. Anyone can wear a purse – it takes a real virtuoso to make their face a living canvas and put it out there for everyone to see. So, paint away, and put your Dior Lip Glow next to your Baby Lips and let them get to know each other.