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Should You Save Or Splurge On Makeup?

Should You Save Or Splurge On Makeup?
Writer and expert5 years ago
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Have you ever wondered why different makeup brands sell the same products for such different prices? You’d expect it to be because of a difference in quality and finish, so I decided to compare high-end and inexpensive makeup.

I created one look using 7 ‘save’ products that all cost less than £9, then recreated the look using 7 ‘splurge’ products that all cost more than £16. Can you tell the difference?


The look on the left cost me £51.89, while the one on the right came to £173. With no striking difference between the two, it’s time to decide whether you should splash out on makeup, or opt for less expensive products

The Base



♦ Save: W7 - Face Fantasy Matte Finish Foundation in Medium Beige (£8.95)

I’d opt for W7 for a casual, every day look. It has a decent staying power and offers a natural matte finish. Less than a tenner, it provides equal (if not better) coverage than most foundations. I’d say it’s comparable to the MAC Fix Fluid Foundation!



♦ Splurge: Illamasqua - Skin Base Foundation in 6.5 (£33)


If, like me, you’re willing to spend a little more on foundation, Illamasqua is the way to go. Its vitamin-rich formula left my skin feeling smooth and soft. Plus, £33 is still a really good price for such a high-quality foundation!

The Verdict

In terms of coverage, these foundations were on par. Easy to apply and blend, they both lasted really well and were lightweight and comfortable to wear. I do have a slight preference for Illamasqua though. I just love how it left my face looking bright and glowy.


♦ Save: NYX - Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealerin Vanilla (£8.00)

A brilliant purchase, this concealer covers everything! I used it to hide spots and redness, while also applying it under my eyes and across my forehead to brighten my face. I have to admit, I've got nothing bad to say about this concealer. The price is just the cherry on top of a fabulous product!

♦ Splurge: First Aid Beauty – Hello Fab Bendy Avocado Concealerin Bone (£19.00)

This concealer was just as good as the NYX one. It’s worth noting, though, that First Aid Beauty’s concealer is formulated with avocado, antioxidants, vitamin E and caffeine to hydrate, condition, soothe and protect your complexion. It also reduces the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.

The Verdict

I have to say, I love both these concealers. NYX definitely does the trick, but if you’re concerned about dry or sensitive skin, then it might be worth spending a few extra pounds on the nourishing First Aid Beauty concealer.


♦ Save: Rimmel - Maxi Blusher in Third Base (£5.99)

This has been one of my go-to blushes for years. It’s highly-pigmented, blends effortlessly and gives you a natural-looking flush. You can’t really go wrong!

♦ Splurge: NARS Cosmetics - Blushin Orgasm (£21.50)

This is one of NARS’ best-selling products, and it really does give you gorgeous rosy cheeks and a healthy-looking glow. I’m a fan!

The Verdict

For everyday use, honestly, I'd just opt for a cheaper blush. It’ll give you the natural, sun-kissed glow you’re after. I do quite like having a more expensive blush for when I’m going out though. It makes me feel glamorous!

The Eyes



♦ Save: Maybelline - Lash Sensational Intense Mascara (£8.99)

I love the multi-sided brush of this mascara! It has one flat side, which is perfect for the lower lash line and lifting lashes at their roots, as well as a large, puffed-up side. I use this one to add volume and fan out my lashes. It creates such a dramatic look!

♦ Splurge: Benefit - BADGal Bang Mascara (£22)

You don’t need me to tell you how good this mascara is! I use the thin end of the brush on my lower lash line and outer lashes, while the fatter side is perfect for adding volume. It gives me fuller-looking lashes!

The Verdict

I’m really struggling to pick a favourite here. If you’re on a tight budget, Maybelline provides great results at a great price. If you feel like treating yourself, Benefit won’t disappoint!


♦ Save: L’Oréal Paris – Tattoo Signature Liquid Eyeliner (£6.99)

I struggle a little with this liquid eyeliner (though admitedly I don't do a great cat eye). It didn't skip or pull, which is great, but I did have to go over it a few times to achieve my desired look.

♦ Splurge: Eyeko - Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner(£16.00)

I do love an Eyeko makeup product! Deep and dark, the colour payoff of this eyeliner is great. Plus, it's precision tip allows you to achieve a delicate, thin line, as well as a thick wing. It's so easy to use!

The Verdict

If you’re hopeless at doing a winged eye, then I’d opt for Eyeko’s eyeliner. The precision tip glides effortlessly along your lashline, making it easy to achieve the perfect cat eye!


♦ Save: Maybelline - Master Shape Eyebrow Pencilin Soft Brown (£2.99)

Costing less than £3, this is a makeup must-have. It boasts subtle colour pigments which perfectly fill in my brows and give them that extra bit of definition. The spoolie is also really useful for blending and shaping.

♦ Splurge: Rodial - Glamobrow Brow Pencil in Ash Brown (£22)

This brow pencil has an ultra-fine tip which is perfect for drawing small lines that mimic the look of real hairs. It’s also really easy to blend, helping you to create a soft, natural look.

The Verdict

Because I have a fringe, flawless, spot-on brows aren’t a priority for me, so I’ll stick with my Maybelline for now. If you’re a brow master, though, applying a high-end Rodial product everyday might make you feel great (and you can't put a price on that!).

Finishing Touches



♦ Save: Sleek - Lip Shot in Partner in Crime (£4.99)

This liquid lipstick may not cost much, but it delivers a lot! Its staying power is truly remarkable. It didn’t come off when I ate or drank - I swear I had to scrub it off at the end of the day. It’s also lightweight and dries instantly. I didn’t feel like I had anything on my lips...

♦ Splurge: Laritzy - Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick($20 or £15.50)

I adore the gorgeous hue of this lipstick, with its soft finish and purple undertones. Though it didn’t last as well as the Sleek, it’s still really comfortable to wear.


The Verdict

Boasting very similar colours and formulations, theses lipsticks are pretty much on par!

Setting Spray

♦ Save: Barry M - Flawless Mist & Fix (£4.99)

This setting spray is really refreshing and did help keep my makeup in place for most of the day. Mostly though, I love that it protects your skin from dirt and pollution - perfect for anyone who lives in the city!

♦ Splurge: Urban Decay - All Nighter Setting Spray (£24.00)

This setting spray is worth the money! Not only does it smell amazing, but it really does help your makeup stay in place all night long. In fact, it was recommended to me by our in-house makeup artist Lucinka.

The Verdict

For everyday use, the Barry M spray will do the trick. When you’re wearing more makeup and have a long night of festivities ahead of you, it’s worth splurging on the Urban Decay!

Use Your GLOSSYCredit

I hope this ‘save or splurge’ guide helps you choose where to invest your money. Don’t forget Glossies, you can also use your GLOSSYCredit to buy the above products on LookFantastic!

To find out which skincare is worth the splurge, check out this blog.

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