As nice as high end products are, who has the money to use exclusively high end in their make up routine!? Affordable and high end products are going head-to-head to see when you should save and when you should splurge.
Primer: HIGH END
A good base for your make up is one of the most important steps. Depending on your skin type, your primer could hydrate, mattify, blur pores etc. By doing these things, a good primer should also make your make up last longer than it would without it.
I can’t say that I have noticed many drugstore primers, and the ones I have tried (NYX Angel Veil and L’Oreal Lumi Magique) left my skin looking dry and broke my make-up up. Maybe that’s because the drugstore options cater more towards oily skin types, which obviously doesn’t suit my dry skin. If you do have oily skin, try them out!
My go-to primers that I use every time I wear make-up (whether minimal or for a night-out) are MAC’s Prep + Prime Skin Base Visage and Make Up Forever’s Step 1 Primer in number 3 Hydrate.
I would always go high end for primer, mainly to cater for my dry skin. The Make Up Forever Step One range of primers is especially good as it has a primer for any skincare concern you might have!
Foundation: HIGH END
For day-to-day make-up, I prefer to use a cheaper foundation that I’m not so worried if it runs out quickly. However, I do find it difficult to find an affordable foundation in a shade that matches my pale skin. My favourite one is Boujois Healthy Mix, which I have in the palest colour 51 Light Vanilla, but even that isn’t quite light enough for me and leaves me with white neck syndrome. Alternatively, The Ordinary have recently come out with two foundations – the Coverage and Serum foundations – which are super cheap at £5.90. Their shade range isn’t bad to start with, and I’m sure they’ll expand it further. However, the more affordable foundations just don’t have the same staying power and break up on me throughout the day. If I really want to look good, or really want my make up to stay all day, I use Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation. It gives beautiful, buildable coverage, and creates a lovely glow from within. It is one of the only foundations I have that has survived my commute so far! I am definitely willing to pay more for foundations that match me well and I know will stay well, while making me look like a glowing goddess.
This is definitely a win for team affordable! There are so many great concealers in the drugstore that do the job of a high-end concealer just as well. The Maybelline’s Eraser Eye concealer is full coverage and moisturising and is super affordable. My favourite concealer is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer which is only £4.19 and comes in a shade pale enough for me! Also, recently a ‘super fair’ shade has been launched which is the perfect highlight shade for under the eyes and the middle of the face. It is the same colour as the fair neutral shade by Urban Decay and like a quarter of the price!
Powder: HIGH END
I’ve tried quite a few affordable powders and they just do not work on my dry skin. I often feel like powders are more geared towards oily skin types, but I want to set my foundation too! I’m not about walking around with a wet face! This one is dependent on your skin type, but I’ve found that affordable options make my face look as though it’s going to crack after a few hours. The Nars Soft Velvet Loose powder is great for setting the face, without looking cakey or changing the colour of your face. Using a coloured powder, rather than a ‘translucent’ one doesn’t leave you looking like a corpse (:
There is not a single high-end colour that you can’t find an affordable version of. The Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is as good as everyone says it is and it’s easy to find on amazon (we don’t have Milani in shops in the UK). Some of the Revolution blushes are also great and they’re sooo cheap!
For bronzer, I just can’t justify spending so much money on this when I know that I can find good affordable options. The first bronzer I ever bought was from Bare Minerals and it was soooo orange in tone rather than brown, it looked absolutely ridiculous on my pale skin. I think since then I’ve been a bit worried about the same thing happening again. Also, many high end bronzer pans are enormous(!) and you pay for a lot of product. If you’re really on a budget, MUA in Superdrug has some great bronzers that are pale girl friendly, but my favourite is a Makeup Geek contour shade called Love Triangle. It’s warm toned, super affordable, lasts a long time and is the perfect shade for anyone with fair skin. What more could you want?
I only have one high end eyeliner, because I just can’t justify spending £18 on a stick! I’m a real fan of the Sleek eyeliners – I’m pretty sure they only have black and white, but when applied into the waterline they don’t go anywhere all day! If you’re a fan of brighter colours, maybe you’ll have to turn to the high end, but be sure to check the more affordable options first. There are some really good options in Boots or Superdrug that give really good pigment.
Likewise with liquid eyeliner, I can’t justify the hefty price tag, plus I suck at liquid liner. Maybe if you can actually do a winged liner and do it every day, you could find justification in paying more, but I’m happy with my Rimmel and NYX eyeliners for the foreseeable future!
I have a few high end palettes and have some cheaper shadows, and while the high end shadows are very good, there are cheaper alternatives that give the exact same pigment. Most of my eyeshadow kit is Makeup Geek because Marlena (the owner) just understands how to make amazing eyeshadows with great pigment. If you haven’t tried any of the Makeup Geek shadows, I’d highly recommend Beaches and Cream, Shimma Shimma and Vanilla Bean just to get you started.
This one comes down to personal preference. There are great affordable mascaras, particularly Maybelline ones (I’ve never been a fan of L’Oreal mascaras). Recently I’ve been trying out the Maybelline Temptation Mascara and been really pleased with the results. It makes a great every day mascara. However, my true love will always be the Benefit Roller Lash. I get so much lift and volume with this that no other mascara compares. But this one is entirely up to you and your budget.
I tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer when it first came out because I’d heard her products were cult faves and gave you perfect brows. I found it really disappointing. All the different angles on the brow pencil end made it very difficult to use and get the shape I wanted.
Instead, I love using the NYX Micro Brow Pencil, the one that is like a drugstore version of the Brow Wiz. The applicator is pretty small and thin so I can get natural brow hairs and get a nice thin line. They have a really good range of colours and even with very pale eyebrows, I don’t even use the lightest colour!
I think the drugstore might win this one. My faaaaaavourite lipstick is a Maybelline Colour Sensational lipstick in 725 Tantalizing Taupe. I have gotten through so many of these and seem to have about 3 at once in different bags. This is mainly because I misplace them, panic, and buy a new one rather than because I’m that extra 🙂 Maybelline also have so many colours and tones that I’m sure you can find any colour you could want right there.
Lip liner: HIGH END
However, for lip liner, the higher end comes out as the winner. Mac Whirl Lip Liner is just brill. Some people find these a little dry, but I’ve always found that these go on well, and it compliments the colour lips I usually go for (nude). However, if you are looking for something a little cheaper, the NYX lip liners are pretty creamy and come in a nice array of colours.
Lip gloss: AFFORDABLE
THERE👏🏼IS👏🏼NOT👏🏼A👏🏼SINGLE👏🏼HIGH👏🏼END👏🏼COLOUR👏🏼YOU👏🏼CAN’T👏🏼GET👏🏼FOR👏🏼LESS! (CAUSE WHO HAS THE MONEY HONEY)
If you want some great lip glosses, go to NYX. Swatch around in Boots/Superdrug. If you want a clear gloss, go to Natural Collection. You do not need to spend £15 on MAC’s clear lip gloss that is half the size when you can get it for a couple of quid. In terms of lip toppers, I love Jouer’s ones. They are GORGEOUS. I’m not really sure how these fall as they’re not super high end, or affordable. These are starting to emerge in more affordable forms now, and I’m super excited to try them out.
The overall score is: Affordable 9 – High end 5
I am actually a little surprised that the affordable products did as well as they did, but it just shows that as good as high end is, or perceived to be, if you look in the right places then you can really save your money! (to buy more high end lol)
High end is definitely better for the complexion products, especially as they usually cater for a wider range of skin types, skin colours and undertones. Foundations are so hard to find for anyone lighter than ‘nude’ and darker than ‘tan’, but looking to certain high end brands makes this much easier.
At the end of the day, as long as you love the make up you are putting on, that is all that matters.