Makeup, Splurge vs. Save

The Smart Modern Woman is thrifty. She knows that when it comes to makeup, skincare, clothing, and accessories there are times to save money, and times when it’s okay to splurge. The next few Thursdays will be dedicated to determining when exactly it’s okay to splurge, and when it’s a smart idea to save.

This week we’re going to be discussing makeup, one of the quickest ways to drain your bank account. Anyone who’s been into a Sephora knows just how hard it is to walk out of there without spending $300. Today we’re breaking down what you should feel okay about buying from professional name brands, and what you’d be better off picking up at your local Target (because I understand that Walmart can be scary).


  • Mascara
    Most drugstore mascaras are formulated similarly to their luxury counterparts. Also, you should be replacing your mascara at least every 3 months to prevent infection, so spending $5 is a lot more practical than $30 long term.
    Recommendation: Maybelline Great Lash
  • Lipstick/Lipgloss
    Most drugstore lipsticks are perfectly fine, and a lot can be more pigmented than their brand name equivalents. It’s fine to splurge on a luxury lipstick every once in a while – if you’re sure you’ll use the whole tube – otherwise save your money and keep playing with different colors.
    Recommendations: Maybelline Baby Lips or Color Whisper
  • Eyeliner (any pencil type product)
    As with mascara you have to replace these products every 3 months. Plus, many drugstore brands carry pencils that are just as soft as brand name pencils, which is really the only reason you should spend more. Liquid liner is pretty much the same from brand to brand, just be sure the one you choose applies evenly.
    Recommendations: Rimmel pencils, Almay liquid
  • Nail Polish
    Most nail polish will chip within a week anyways. The same rule applies here as with lipsticks – buy brand name if you’ll use the whole bottle, otherwise save your money.
    Recommendation: Revlon (they’re a classic for a reason people!)


  • Foundation
    Foundation is such a vital component of your look. You want to be sure it matches your skin tone exactly, is formulated for your skin type, and have moisturizing/anti-aging/acne prevention components as you need. Plus, the finish on brand name foundations tends to look far better than drugstores, and it lasts longer throughout the day – saving you money in the long run because you won’t have to reapply.
    Recommendations: Laura Mercier, Hourglass, Stila, Makeup Forever, Dior
  • Eyeshadow
    Most drugstore eyeshadows lack pigment and contain irritating ingredients. Brand name shadows will last longer and have higher quality ingredients, plus you only have to replace every 2 years, so spending more now doesn’t make a huge impact on your long term finances.
    Recommendation: Urban Decay Naked Palettes
  • Blush
    Blush is pretty much the same as eyeshadow. Don’t be afraid to spend in order to find the best color for you.
    Recommendation: Nars, Tarte, Benefit

There you have it. Now you don’t have to feel bad when you order a $60 foundation, you’ll be saving $20 on eyeliner anyways. Enjoy yourself! Stay thrifty my friends 😉


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