Makeup – Save or Splurge? Part One

Hi, guys! In 2018 we have so, so many options. Walk into any store and there are hundreds of lip shades, 40+ shades of foundation for just one brand, mascara that can curl, add volume, add length, different colors… We have so many options from so many price ranges. It can be confusing what to go with, especially if you’re a beginner. To try to simplify it and hopefully help some of you, here’s a list of what (in my opinion) is best to save and splurge on. Also, tons product recommendations. This is part one, I was going to do only one post but the information was just a LOT and I thought everyone would enjoy it more this way.

I’d also like to say that all of these items (mostly drugstore) go on sale. So if you’re on a budget or just looking for a deal, wait for the sales.

Primer: Either

My skin typically prefers high-end primers. I feel like in general they just look better and add longevity to your makeup. With that being said, you don’t need to break the bank. High-end primers are almost always available in a smaller “travel” size for well under $20.  Stores like Ulta and Sephora also have gift sets speffically for priming, which is another great way to have options for priming in not break the bank.

Drugstores can also have good primers but I suggest doing research for your specific needs and reading reviews before purchasing.

Drugstore options:

Pore minimizing: Maybelline – Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, $6.99 USD at Ulta.

This is probably the most popular pore primer at the drugstore because it does its job so well.

Maybelline – FaceStudio Master Prime Blur + Smooth Primer $9.99 USD at Ulta.

FaceStudio Master Primer has four different variations, I’ve heard good things about all of them.

General priming: Wet n Wild – Photo Focus Face Primer, $4.99 USD at Ulta.

This primer has white sapphire in it! How cool is that! This is at a great price and does a little bit of everything. It fills in fine lines and wrinkles, pores, evens out skintone, brighten complexion, and prevent foundation from caking.

High Definition: L.A. Girl – Pro Prep HD Face Primer, $5.99 USD at Ulta.

This primer claims to be lightweight and easy to apply, free of paraben and fragrances. It also claims to soften the skin, enhances makeup, and helps makeup stay on longer! It also fills in pores and makes your skin picture perfect.

Hydrating: Milani – Prime Perfection Hydrating + Pore-Minimizing Face Primer, $9.99 USD at Ulta.

This primer is for all the dry skin beauty babes out there. This will add hydration to the skin and soften fine lines.

Illuminating: Milani – Prime Light Strobing + Pore-Minimizing Face Primer

This primer will brighten and add life to your skin while filling in pores!

Mattifying: Milani – Prime Shield Mattifying + Pore-Minimizing Face Primer

This mattifying primer will keep oil at bay and add longevity to your makeup. Also, it will fill in pores.

High-end options:

Pore minimizing: Benefit Cosmetics – The POREfessional Face Primer, $12.00 USD at Sephora.

A best selling pore minimizer that pretty much everyone who tries it loves. It’s my go to and in my opinion, worth the splurge. This will completely fill your pores in and it will last all day. I also notice a significant improvement in fine lines and wrinkles when applied to them. However I do not recommend applying this all over the face,

General priming: Urban Decay – Optical Illusion Complexion Primer, $15.00 USD at Sephora.

This primer will fill in pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and even out the skin tone. It is amazing for no foundation days or priming in general.

High definition: Smashbox – Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer, $16.00 USD at Sephora.

This iconic primer will blur imperfections and make your foundation last longer and photograph perfectly.

Hydrating: First Aid Beauty – Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer, $14.00 USD at Sephora.

This is an amazing primer that will act as a moisturizer and primer. It does a great job at bluring imperfections and giving your skin a perfect glow.

Illuminating: BECCA – Backlight Filter Face Primer, $18.00 USD at Sephora.

This will blur imperfections and give an amazing glow, my personal favorite for illumination.

Mattifying: tarte – Poreless Mattifying Primer, $32.00 USD at Sephora.

This is more on the expensive side but it is vegan, cruelty-free, fights shine, mattifies, lasts 12 hours and more!

Color Corrector: Save

Color correcting has always been around but gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. I feel like this is a save because I’ve found amazing products for this at the drugstore. Even if you’d prefer to buy high end, you can still save by buying a palette, not single color correctors!

Drugstore options:

Palette:  NYX Professional Makeup – Color Correcting Concealer $11.99 USD at Ulta.

I truely think this is the only color correcting item you need. I use this and love it! The green is great for correcting redness, the pink is great for correcting dark circles. I don’t have much use for the others but the purple would add brightness and correct hyperpigmentation (age spot/sun spots), yellow would correct dark shadows, and of course you get two concealers.

They blend great and just look good on the skin, I don’t have any complaints about this!

Single: Maybelline – FaceStudio Master Camo Color Correcting Pen $9.99 USD at Ulta.

I’ve heard great things about these being pigmentade and blending well, so this is a great option for someone who has only one concern. These also won’t take up as much space and would be good for travel. They come in 6 diffrent colors, Green for correcting redness, Yellow for correcting dark shadows, Apricot for correcting dark circles, Red for dark circles for deep skin tones, Blue for correcting shallowness in fair skin tones, Pink to add brightness to light skin tones.

L.A. Girl – HD Pro Concealer $4.99 USD at Ulta.

Love these! I’m not really sure why I stopped using them but they are great. If you struggle at all with redness, the green has next level pigment. I also tried the yellow and orange concealers and wasn’t the biggest fan of them but the peach looks promising (for under the eyes). This is currently buy one get one 50% off at Ulta and on Amazon they are less expensive so I recommend buying them there or getting the discount. They offer orange, yellow, green, lavender, peach, and light yellow. If you only have one “flaw” to correct, I would go with these.

High-end options:

Palette: stila – Correct & Perfect All-In-One Color Correcting Palette $45.00 USD at Sephora.

This is one of the best-rated color correcting palettes at and it looks quite promising! They have two powders, in yellow and lavender for setting, plus 5 cream correctors. I think the powders are a unique addition to this palette, the yellow would be awesome for setting your base makeup!

Single: Urban Decay – Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid $29.00 USD at Sephora.

These come in a good color section and are quite popular. I’ve heard good things about these having just enough coverage and easily blendable. Colors include Green, Lavender, Pink, Yellow, Peach and Dark Peach.

BBs, CCs, Tinted Moisturizer: Splurge

Splurge mostly because drugstore brands haven’t quite gotten into these items and the ones offered can tend to have poor shades and be on the orange side if you manage to get a shade. Plus BBs, CCs, and tinted moisturizer are mostly skincare based ingredients and you should always invest in your skin, it’s with you forever!

Drugstore options:

Maybelline – Dream Pure BB Cream Skin Clearing Perfector $8.99 USD at Ulta.

This was specifically made for acne and it is one of the best rated at Ulta. This only offers 3 shades, which makes NO sense, their Fit Me! line has around 40 shades so this is just absurd. But if you can find a shade, it seems like a good product.

Claims from

“Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream Skin Clearing Perfector is a 1-step wonder for healthy-looking skin today and clearer skin tomorrow.


  • Clears acne
  • Conceals imperfections
  • Minimizes look of pores
  • Reduces appearance of redness
  • Adjusts to skin tone
  • Hydrates and smoothes
  • Enhances and clarifies skin
  • Oil-free, with a lightweight feel

2% salicylic acid is one of the highest percentages of this powerful blemish-fighter that you can get without a prescription, yet it’s gentle enough to use every day. Bye bye blemishes, we’re fighting back!”

L’Oréal – Studio Secrets Magic Skin Beautifier B.B. Cream $10.99 USD at Ulta.

This is probably your best bet when buying from the drugstore. This doesn’t really have any skincare benefits but it should provide good coverage and all day moisture. Plus, this has a whooping selection of 4 shades!

Claims from

“Discover L’Oréal’s first Magic B.B. Cream with Beautifying Beads: Encapsulated pigments infused in an ultra-light lotion with antioxidants vitamin C & E.

4 Beautifying Actions in 1:

  • Primes to smooth skin’s texture
  • Perfects to hide imperfections
  • Hydrates for all day moisture
  • Corrects skin for a healthy looking even complexion.

Instantly transforms to your perfect shade for a flawless bare skin finish. Over time, more beautiful skin.”

High-end options:

Origins – GinZing™ SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer $38.00 USD

“Which skin type is it good for?
✔ Normal
✔ Oily
✔ Combination
✔ Dry

What it is:
An energy-boosting, lightweight, oil-free tinted moisturizer that hydrates, energizes, perfects, and protects in one simple step.

Solutions for:
– Dryness
– Uneven skin tone
– Dullness and uneven texture

If you want to know more…
Wake up with an energizing instant skin finisher that’s powered by coffee—so no one will know you hit snooze 15 times this morning. The multitasking master hydrates, energizes, and protects to maintain skin’s momentum all day. It combines nourishing moisture and a sheer tint to let skin shine through while boosting the appearance of radiance, combating dullness, and providing high SPF protection.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
Panax ginseng has a 7,000-year history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Highly revered as a vital treasure to strengthen the body, ginseng is believed to possess the ability to aid the body in multiple ways (anti-fatigue, immunity, memory).

Caffeine (from coffee beans) was first found in Ethiopia, and is known for its euphoric and energizing effects. Caffeine is a natural anti-irritant that helps skin appear refreshed and keeps skin healthy.”

Sign me up for that! I’ve heard good things and overall this is probably the one I’d go for.

Josie Maran – Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 Protect + Perfect $36.00 USD

“What it is:
An Argan-infused, chemical-free sunscreen that offers a thin veil of protection with a slight tint to add warmth and radiance to skin.

What it is formulated to do:
Enliven your skin with a warm glow and a kiss of coverage with this powerful daily moisturizer. Infused with Josie’s 100% Pure Argan Oil and green tea, this tinted version of her bestselling Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 corrects dullness, awakens lackluster skin, and adds a warm, radiant glow to the complexion. The universal shade suits most skin tones while powerful natural SPF 47 sun protection with innovative SunBoost ATB helps keep skin safe from sun damage.

What else you need to know:
“When you’re going out on a sunny day without wearing makeup, this lightly tinted version of my natural SPF 47 sunscreen will make you and your day more beautiful—adding just enough color to correct uneven skin tone, while letting the natural glow of your skin shine through.”—Josie Maran, Brand Founder

Tips and tricks:
-For the perfect kiss of coverage, use only one to three pumps.
-Warm product in hands before applying and blend thoroughly into skin.
-Use alone or as a makeup primer to prep, correct, and protect skin.

SunBoost ATB™ is a unique blend of antioxidants, skin-soothers, and hydrators that work in tandem with natural sunscreens to boost sun protection while conditioning and nourishing the skin. SunBoost ATB allows Josie Maran to use less of natural sunscreens like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (which can be heavy on the skin and leave a white cast) while still achieving a high SPF 47. This creates an incredibly lightweight and translucent natural sunscreen formula.”

This has probably the lightest coverage of the bunch. Josie has amazing skincare products so I have no doubt this would be great!

If you have deeper skin tone this may not be the one for you. This product only comes in a single shade and I was unable to find any reviews from deeper complexions. It would be best to sample it before purchasing.

Laura Mercier – Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 $24.00 USD – $44.00 USD

“What it is:
A perfect blend of skin care and makeup that hydrates skin and softens fine lines with a sheer hint of color for a healthy, dewy glow.

What it does:
This moisturizer features an antioxidant vitamin complex of vitamins C and E that acts as a free radical scavenger to protect the skin from even the most aggressive effects of the environment. A powerful moisturizer in its own right, it is powered with sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin and soften and ease fine, dry lines. This lightweight formula provides ideal protection from the sun’s harmful, damaging rays with broad spectrum SPF 20 UVB/UVA sunscreen while extremely long-wearing color stays true and wears evenly. Non-comedogenic and dermatologist- and allergy-tested to minimize the risk of allergy and irritation, it is perfect for all skin types, including sensitive ones.

What else you need to know:
“I created this product because I wanted to give skin a fresh, healthy, no-makeup look with a soft hint of color that evens and enhances without hiding the skin.”—Laura Mercier”

I believe this is the best selling tinted moisturizer on, at least it has over 4K reviews. It just seems like everyone loves it and I had to mention it. According to the reviews it also seems to be good for darker complexions.

Foundation: Splurge

Higher end foundations often just look better on the skin and last longer. You can find some awesome ones at the drugstore, but I really recommend investing into foundation, it just makes everything look a bit better, in my opinion. Before purchases either, I highly recommend getting a sample for a color match OR using to help find the perfect shade for you.

Drugstore options:  


L’Oréal – Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation $12.99 USD

“L’Oréal’s Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation has an air-light texture with a demi-matte finish. This super gliding mattifying formula has a high water content for maximum comfort that lasts!


  • Contains Shine Defy Blotting Spheres that act like blotting paper, instantly absorbing sweat and oil without disturbing color pigments
  • Medium coverage”

This foundation is amazing. It’s my favorite matte and drugstore foundation! It claims to be medium coverage but it is really buildable, I can easily make it full. This is extremely long lasting and keeps my skin matte all day!


Wet n Wild – Photo Focus Foundation $5.99 USD

“Your skin, only better. Wet n Wild’s high-performing, skin-perfecting Photo Focus Foundation underwent major road testing under seven different photo lighting conditions to deliver flawless camera-ready makeup every time. Specially made with a matte, light-diffusing complex to give your skin #nofilter perfection.”

This foundation has a great shade range, good coverage, no flashback, cruletly free and SO afforable! I don’t wear it often as I have a shade that is too light but I will be picking up a darker shade soon. Which is rare for me with drugstore foundations, plus it’s not even the lightest shade! It has medium bulidable coverage.


Maybelline – Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation $7.99 USD

“Maybelline’s Fit Me Dewy + Smooth Foundation is face makeup that fits you. No oils. No waxes. No nonsense. This foundation blends seamlessly for light to medium, natural coverage that leaves skin the way it was meant to be – fresh, breathing, flawless. The exclusive translucent base and lightweight pigments allow skin’s natural highs and lows to show through.


  • Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and dermatologist tested
  • Protects with SPF 18 (for all shades except Toffee and Mocha)
  • Shade-true gel foundation merges with your natural tone
  • Darker shades specifically formulated for women of color, with no ashiness”

The shade range is awesome, it’s affordable, has SPF in most shades, and it’s non-comedogenic! I have not personally tried this but it sounds great, especially for darker complexions.

High-end options:


Lancôme – Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation $47.00 USD

“What it is:
An oil-free, long-wearing, liquid foundation that delivers medium-to-full coverage and leaves a natural-looking, velvety-matte finish for up to 24 hours.

What it does:
For those long days, this foundation gives you the full coverage, comfortable, long wear that you need. Not thick or greasy, this foundation’s innovative formula gives all skin tones flawless, complexion-perfecting coverage, while the broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen protects. Redness, pores, and imperfections visibly disappear, evening the skin tone and leaving a mattified-yet-natural result. Formulated with color-true NAI pigments, it maintains your skin’s pH level so that color stays put all day long—meaning your makeup doesn’t need to be re-touched and provides transfer-resistant coverage—plus, it’s infused with perlite and silica, absorbing oil for a shine-free wear.

What else you need to know:
This expert formula took Lancôme eight years of research to perfect and unveil. This product is oil-free, fragrance-free, transfer-resistant, noncomedogenic, dermatologist-tested, and suitable for all skin types. Its 35 shades were developed based on real skin tones so that everyone can find the perfect match.”

My favorite high-end foundation. It looks AMAZING on the skin. I always get so many complaintments on my skin when I wear it. I recommend this the most. It has a great shade range and so many claims.


Hourglass – Vanish™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick $46.00 USD

✔ Full
✔ Medium

Skin type:
✔ Sensitive
✔ Normal
✔ Dry
✔ Combination
✔ Oily

✔ Satin

What it is:
A long-wearing foundation stick with the coverage of a concealer, fluidity of a liquid, and weightlessness of a powder for invisible, full coverage.

What it does:
A foundation and concealer in one, this foundation’s concentrated formula is infused with double the amount of pigment versus traditional foundations for instant full coverage in one application. The long-wearing, waterproof formula provides 12-hour coverage, and the innovative formula adjusts to your body temperature to effortlessly blend into the skin. Encased in a unique triangular bullet for precise application along the contours of the face, it can be used to contour and highlight. It features an array of shades and it’s designed specifically to be used with the Vanish Foundation Brush for the most seamless finish.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This unique foundation stick is a poured liquid formula designed to adjust to your own body temperature to blend into your skin, for the smoothest, most seamless finish. The intense concentration of pigment allows for the fullest coverage while maintaining a weightless feel on the skin.

“I wanted a foundation that was full-coverage and easy to use on the go. I love that with one application it covers all imperfections and creates this amazingly seamless finish.”—Carisa Janes, Hourglass Founder

Hourglass products are 100 percent cruelty-free.

In a 1-week consumer study on 31 women, it was reported:
– 100% said product was fast and easy to use and apply
– 97% saw an instant improvement in skin appearance
– 97% reported product effectively covered redness and skin imperfections
– 94% reported product blended seamlessly into their own skin
– 94% reported product effectively covered skin discoloration, pores, blemishes, and dark under eye circles
– 90% reported product effectively covered hyperpigmentation and dark spot”

Love, love, love this foundation. It can be so full coverage and it leaves a lovely finish to the skin.


NARS – Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation $49.00 USD

✔ Medium
✔ Full

Skin type:
✔ Sensitive
✔ Normal
✔ Dry
✔ Combination
✔ Oily

✔ Natural

What it is:
A foundation with up to 16 hours of lightweight, natural, fade-resistant wear, featuring full-powered radiance to smooth the look of skin.

What does:
NARS’ first 16-hour foundation has a lightweight, breathable, fade-resistant formula and features medium-to-full, buildable coverage in 33 skin-matching shades to fit all skin tones and undertones. The transfer-resistant, sweat-resistant formula stays color-true all day, and continues to look fresh and vibrant, as if it was just applied. This formula features superior blendability for an imperceptible effect that looks natural, like skin. It doesn’t look or feel cakey, heavy, drying, or masking. A unique combination of translucent base with micronized amino acid-coated pigments and mineral tone-balancing powders mimic skin’s tone, fusing with it for the closest match. NARS’ Skin Optimizing Complex—a blend of raspberry, apple, and watermelon extracts—helps support skin’s elastic fibers to smooth and improve skin’s appearance over time for optimal radiance.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens

What else you need to know:
This product is also oil-free, fragrance-free, non-drying, dermatologist-tested, and noncomedogenic.”

This is a newer foundation but people seem to love it and it seems to leave a lovely, radiant finish to the skin.

Concealer: Save

Concealer is something the drugstore really gets right. Maybeline in particullary really knocks it out of the park. Drugstores do tend to crease more, but if you work with them they look just as amazing as high-end.

Drugstore options:

Maybelline – Fit Me Concealer $6.99 USD

“Maybelline Fit Me Concealer gives a flawless look that lets the real you come through. It’s makeup that doesn’t mess with you. No oils. No waxes. No nonsense.


  • Natural coverage that leaves skin the way it was meant to be: fresh, breathing, natural
  • Exclusive translucent base and lightweight pigments allow skin’s natural highs and lows to show through
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Fragrance-free”

It’s been awhile since I last used this concealer but I remember it being fabulous! Really creamy, natural but covering and it didn’t crease badly.

Maybelline – Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer $8.99 USD

“Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer instantly creates a radiant, refreshed looking eye area. Super concentrated formula with goji berry and haloxyl helps to erase the appearance of dark circles and fine lines, while visibly diminishing the appearance of puffiness around the eyes.”

My very first concealer :’)

This concealer is a cult favorite, provides good coverages, leaves the eye depuffed and refreshed! It’s lovely.

NYX Professional Makeup – Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand $4.99 USD

“Little wonder the Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand is one of NYX Professional Makeup’s best-sellers! The concentrated, emollient-rich concealer formula goes on like a dream, is non-comedogenic and creates medium to heavy coverage. Use the lavender shade for sallow skin, the green shade to neutralize redness and yellow for under-eye darkness.”

This is another cult favorite, I personally would go with the Maybelline concealers or the one by Catrice but this is a good concealer nevertheless.

Catrice – Liquid Camouflage Concealer $5.99 USD

“Camouflage Perfection! Dark circles, imperfections and redness are now a thing of the past – the Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer offers optimal coverage without drying out the skin. This liquid concealer is highly-pigmented, waterproof and lasts for hours. Easy to use with a doe-foot applicator. Paraben free. Not tested on animals.”

Currently there are only three shades, however two new ones will be launching soon. That is completely unacceptable, but I’ve heard it’s a dupe for tarte’s Shape Tape. If you can find your shade I highly recommend trying this, it looks great.

High-end options:

tarte – Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer $27.00 USD

“Sculpt and highlight as you mask imperfections with this 2-in-1 full coverage concealer. The hydrating, longwearing formula delivers natural, radiant coverage across all skin types so you can instantly brighten and cover acne, dark circles and redness while softening the look of pores and fine lines. Wear it 1-2 shades lighter or darker, and it works as a creamy highlighter or contouring stick with a lightweight, blendable formula and tapered wand applicator ideal for precise strobing and sculpting. Powered by Amazonian clay and conditioning mango seed and shea butters, the nutrient-rich concealer helps promote skin elasticity and illumination with each crease-free application. Apply it with the all-in-one Quickie Blending Sponge for a quick, complexion fix and flake-free finish anywhere.

Cruelty free, gluten free, vegan.”

I love this concealer, it’s pretty awesome. It will cover just about everything. I feel it is way overpriced but if you have the money to spend, it’s worth it.

It Cosmetics – Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer $24.00 USD

“Infused with anti-aging technology, vitamins and high performance pigments, the game-changing formula improves the appearance of wrinkles and effectively conceals the look of skin imperfections including dark circles, bags, redness, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, age spots and discoloration. Finally, a multitasking, full-coverage concealer that makes your skin look younger!

Developed with plastic surgeons, Bye Bye Under Eye is infused with anti-aging ingredients including hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, vitamins, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to cover absolutely everything while making your skin look younger at the same time.

Why You’ll Love IT:

  • #1 best-selling, award-winning concealer

  • Full-coverage, anti-aging, never creases

  • Highly pigmented, covers everything

  • Anti-aging peptides, vitamins, antioxidants, hydrolyzed collagen and hyaluronic acid

  • Clinically shown to make your skin look younger!”

This is even more full coverage than Shape Tape. It is extremely thick and pigmented. It can easily look cakey but it is amazing if you use it correctly. I recommend to buy from, you can get it with easy payments or with a brush for a few more dollars. At Ulta they have a mini for about $10.00 USD.

Urban Decay – Cosmetics Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer $29.00 USD

“Cover imperfections without looking covered up. Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer gives you buildable, even coverage with a luminous, demi-matte finish. Ultra lightweight, this high-tech formula melds like a second skin to give you full coverage in an instant.

For complete coverage, just keep building; no matter how much you apply, Naked Skin Concealer always blends beautifully and NEVER settles into fine lines.

UD loaded Naked Skin Concealer with lots of ingredients that are good for your skin. Matrixyl 3000 contains anti-wrinkle peptides to improve skin’s youthful appearance and elasticity. Japanese green tea revitalizes and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. Litchiderm (derived from lychee fruit) protects against dehydration, resulting in a brighter, more radiant complexion. And sodium hyaluronate helps skin attract and retain moisture.

Practical and travel-friendly, this formula comes in a gorgeous bottle that’s like a smaller version of Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Liquid Makeup component. The modern flocked applicator lays down just the right amount of product, and it’s soft enough to use on the delicate skin under the eyes.

Urban Decay is 100% cruelty-free.

Naked Skin Concealer comes in a range of meticulously calibrated shades that coordinate with Naked Skin Powder Foundation. The shade-matching system provides a clear starting point for finding your perfect shade: the first part represents shade intensity, and the second indicates shade undertone.”

Not as full coverage as shape tape but, it is a very nice concealer, it comes in a mini (for some shades) for about $12.00 USD and they offer a good shade selection.

Kat Von D – Lock-It Concealer Crème $26.00 USD

What it is:
A super-versatile, rich and creamy concealer with 24-hour wear and instant full coverage.

What it does:
Lock-It Concealer Crème does everything a traditional concealer does, and then some: it brightens the under-eye area, covers blemishes, corrects discoloration, contours, and bakes. This next level formula applies smoothly and blends easily for a locked-down, smooth, even finish. With a wide array of shades, Lock-It Concealer Crème offers one of the most extensive shade ranges in concealer. Select the perfect under-eye corrector and exact skintone concealing shade with easy-to-navigate names that feature the undertone. The shade range even includes a pure white, White Out, for dramatic highlighting and mixing into other shades to create custom tones.

Loaded with complexion-brightening pigments and ultra-nourishing Hydra-Boost Complex™, this formula is crease-proof and hydrating—ideal for the delicate under-eye area. The artistry applicator was modeled after an artist’s paintbrush, with a tapered tip for precise corners and a wide base to efficiently coat larger areas.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This product is noncomedogenic. Lock-It Concealer Crème is completely free of animal-derived ingredients.

“I am proud to say that Kat Von D Beauty products are never tested on animals—and never will be.”—Kat Von D.”

This is an awesome concealer. I would say it’s similar to Shape Tape. I love the applicator and it just has great coverage. It can be a bit cakey but if you use it correctly you’ll be fine.

Loose Powder: Save

Airspun, anyone? I feel like you should save on this one simply because Airspun is so good. High-end brands often offer “minis” off their loose powder, meaning even if you go with a more prestigious brand, you can still save.

Drugstore options:

Maybelline – Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder $7.99 USD

“Start Fit. Finish strong. Now Fit happens from start to finish! This Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder is available in a collection of shades to fit any skin tone.


  • Provides the perfect finishing touch to your makeup base

  • Mineral-based formula helps to control shine and smooth skin’s texture

    Helps keep foundation set

  • Gives a sheer hint of color”

This just looks awesome. I’ve heard great things about it and I plan to test it soon! It doesn’t come in translucent which I dislike but the do offer a good amount of shades.

Coty – AirSpun Loose Face Powder $6.99 USD

Love, love, love! Use it all the time, bought it for someone as a Christmas gift and I plan to buy it for my pro kit. It keeps things in place all day and prevents from creasing. I do find it a bit drying but if you use a light hand it will be fine. I have not seen flashback from this.

High-end options:

Laura Mercier – Translucent Loose Setting Powder $38.00 USD Full Size, Mini is $23.00 USD

“What it is:
A cult-favorite and award-winning, silky powder with a touch of sheer coverage to set makeup for lasting wear.

What it does:
Translucent Loose Setting Powder locks in makeup for long-lasting wear, without adding weight or texture. This bestseller creates a modern, matte finish with a touch of sheer coverage, while it absorbs oil and reduces shine all day. The pros know why it’s their favorite: the powder is a little denser than an average powder, providing super smooth, even application and blending. This no-flashback formula means you’ll look great in photos, and it creates a soft-focus effect to subtly blur the look of fine lines and imperfections. It will not settle into fine lines or pores and never looks cakey. These truly translucent shades work on all skin tones—from the fairest to the deepest. The just-released, Translucent Medium Deep shade was designed to be completely translucent on medium-deep to the deepest skin tones, ensuring that every skin tone gets a perfectly flawless, translucent finish.

Translucent: perfect for fair to medium and tan skin tones.
Translucent Medium Deep: Ideal for medium-deep to the deepest skin tones.

What else you need to know:
Renowned Makeup Artist Laura Mercier uses Setting Powder to set foundation and prolong its wear, so she applies it after foundation and concealer, and before applying powder-based color. An added benefit: it helps powder blush or bronzer go on more evenly.

Find Your Perfect Powder: While makeup artists and beauty junkies select a powder based on texture, finish, and skin type, others may find it easiest to choose based on skin type alone.

This professional-quality powder is noncomedogenic, non-caking, and dermatologist tested.

Research results:
In a consumer test on 32 women after 2 weeks:
– 100% said it’s the key to long-lasting makeup and ensures makeup lasts throughout the day
– 100% said it is lightweight and does not look cakey on skin
– 100% said it controls and reduces shine
– 97% said it absorbs excess oil”

I loved this powder so much, for so long, but I like Airspun better. Nevertheless, it’s really nice and good for your skin. If you found Airspun too heavy, I would give this a go.

Kat Von D – Lock-It Setting Powder $30.00 USD Full Size, Mini is $15.00 USD

“What it is:
A weightless translucent loose powder, formulated with Micro-Blurring Technology™, to set and perfect for a flawless, locked-in finish.

What it does:
Experience a next level setting powder. Kat Von D’s innovative formula uses delicate mica powders rather than the heavy, chalky binding ingredients found in other powders—reducing the weight by 30 percent. This prevents the dry, chalky finish most powders leave behind, and instead delivers a perfectly smooth, seamless look, with the same number of uses.

This silky, non-drying powder features Micro-Blurring Technology to softly diffuse pores for a refined, selfie-ready finish. Formulated to be undetectable on all skin tones, Lock-It Setting Powder has a complexion-boosting blend of mattifying particles to smooth imperfections and lock-in your look for a velvety matte finish. For flawless all-over setting, apply with the Lock-It Setting Powder Brush. To bake or set under-eye concealer, use the Lock-It Precision Powder Brush.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
The jar’s sifter holes are arranged in the shape of a star, inspired by Kat’s signature star tattoos. Lock-It Setting Powder is completely free of animal-derived ingredients.

“I am proud to say that Kat Von D Beauty products are never tested on animals—and never will be.”—Kat Von D”

Lately, I’ve been using this more and more, I have to say, I love it! I haven’t seen flashback, it leaves a really silky finish and reduces creasing.

Pressed Powder: Splurge

The drugstore has put out some really good pressed powder lately but I do feel like this is something to splurge on. Luxury powders just lay on the skin better and blend in seamlessly, where a lot from the drugstore seems to just sit on the skin.

Drugstore options:

Rimmel London – Stay Matte Powder $3.99 USD

“Stay Matte Pressed Powder with Minerals maximum powder presentation. Lightweight formula, with high coverage for long lasting shine control. Up to 5 hours natural shine control. Helps minimize the appearance of pores.”

My favorite pressed powder. It’s so lovely and helps makeup last all day.

Covergirl – Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Pressed Powder Under $10.00 USD, prices vary.

“Silky, smooth formula with skin-conditioning and skin-brightening ingredients provides a radiantly beautiful finish. Use alone to help even out skin tone, or use with Advanced Radiance Makeup to help cover fine lines and wrinkles.”

This powder leaves an amazing finish to the skin and would be great for any mature or dry skin.

High-end options:

BareMinerals – bareSkin Perfecting Veil $27.00 USD

“This utterly weightless finishing powder is formulated with light-reflecting optics to help diffuse the look or appearance of fine lines, lilac plant stems cells and vitamin C to help brighten your complexion and a special blend of minerals to absorb excess oil and balance skin texture.


  • Special blend of minerals helps to absorb excess oil with a soft focus finish

  • Light-reflective optics soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles and blur the appearance of pores

  • Vitamin C helps to visibly brighten the complexion”

BareMinerals are known for their powders, I’m sure this is amazing.

It Cosmetics – Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti-Aging Finishing Powder $29.00 USD

“IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Poreless Finishing Powder perfects all skin types. It’s like airbrushing in a compact. Triple-fine milled micro-silk powder blurs pores & imperfections.”

I really like It Cosmetics and their Bye Bye Pores line has received a lot of love, this just seems like magic for your pores.

Highlighters: Save

For me, highlighters are a save because the drugstore has some really good ones. But I love high-end highlights just as much as the next girl. For this I think it’s really up to you and just finding something you like. But if you are on a budget, ultimately I’d recommend to save.

Drugstore options:

Makeup Revolution –  Soph Highlighter Palette $12.00 USD

We have collaborated with the amazing SophDoesNails to bring you this amazing highlighting palette!
If you are looking for a highlighter palette that does it all- look no further! From a natural glow from within, to a blinding highlight that can be seen from space, we got you covered. With 8 different shades (5 baked and 3 pressed), you can pick your favourites or mix and match colours to create the perfect glow for your skin tone. You know what they say… you can NEVER have enough highlighter! – Soph

The highlighter of my dreams! This palette is freaking amazing, everyone needs it. It has tons of color options and they all look awesome on the skin.

Check out my swatches and in-depth review: Sophdoesnails X Makeup Revolution Review and Tutorials

Maybelline – FaceStudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter $9.99 USD

“What’s happening now? The chrome effect. Now, skin heats up with a warm metallic sheen. This Maybelline FaceStudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter is infused with metallic pigments that create a reflective finish.


  • Heat up your look with a warm metallic sheen
  • Infused with reflective pigments that give a bold glow
  • Apply lightly for a subtle glow, or build up application for a bold melted metal look
  • Soft powder formula allows for seamless application”

This is a cult favorite highlighter at the drugstore, I have heard nothing but good things about it!

High-end options:

BECCA – Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed $38.00 USD

“Like a spotlight for the skin, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter lights up your favorite features with high impact, ultra-reflective shine. Inspired by the dazzling light of the midday sun, this iconic formula is enriched with ultrafine luminescent pearls that absorb, reflect and refract light to amplify your natural radiance. The multi-toned pigment pearls adjust to your skin’s natural undertones. And unlike traditional pressed powders, this one-of-a-kind formula blends pigments with liquids, to create an unparalleled, creamy feel that applies like seamless silk and never cakes. The result is a high-shine, elegant finish that doesn’t look glittery. Everyone has at least one favorite feature they love… shine a spotlight on yours!”

This is such a cult favorite – Champagne Pop and Opal are the most popular shades. They give a beautiful highlight to the skin. This is available in a mini (some shades) too!

COVER FX – Custom Enhancer Drops $42.00 USD

“Available in universal shades, these customizable illuminating drops can be used to create a buildable highlight. Use them alone for a light reflective strobing effect even on top of powder, or add them to your favorite liquid foundation or skincare product for an all-over glow. Formulated with a high concentration of ultra-refined pearls the illuminating drops produce a liquid metal finish. The more drops you use, the more luminosity you’ll get, allowing you to customize your glow.”

These have so much pigment! A little goes a long way, but they wear beautifully and look amazing on the skin. It’s really easy to go overboard and I think these are overpriced, but if you have the money it’s worth it.

Blushes: Save

Blushes, like highlighter can be either. I know amazing blushes for $3, I know amazing blushes for $29. If you’re on a budget I would recommend to go with drugstore options because often times they are as good, they just fade quicker.

Drugstore options:

I’m not going into detail about each of these, but I love all of them and recommend them to anyone!

Wet N Wild – Color Icon Blush $2.99 USD

“You’re blushing! This silky-smooth powder strikes the perfect balance between a blendable transparent sheen and a radiant pop of maximum color. Lightweight, long-lasting, and certain to impress.”

Essence – Satin Touch Blush $2.99 USD

“Blush addicted! This silky-soft, highly pigmented powder Essence Satin Touch Blush instantly provides your cheeks with glowing color and a light pearl effect. Not tested on animals.”

e.l.f. Cosmetics – Powder Blush Palette $6.00 USD

“This beautiful e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Blush Palette holds 4 gorgeous shades to mix and match throughout the year for a custom blended color. Great for contouring, shading, sculpting, and highlighting, these silky smooth blushes create a beautiful pigmented glow. With a mixture of complimentary matte and shimmer finishes, you can achieve a professional look every time. Cruelty free and vegan.”

Milani – Baked Blush $7.99 USD

“Richly pigmented and highly buildable, the beautiful matte and shimmery shades of Milani Baked Blush are the perfect cheeky pop of color for every skin tone. Sunbaked on Italian terracotta tiles, the warm finish adds a radiance that is the very essence of beauty. Shape, contour and highlight your best features.”

Revlon – Powder Blush $10.00 USD

“Revlon Powder Blush’s color-true prismatic pigments create vibrant, multi-dimensional cheek color that looks freshly applied all day. The silky, buildable powder blush has a matte, satin or shimmer finish and shades for every skin tone.”

Makeup Revolution – The Matte Blush $5.00 USD

“Revolutionary color! Makeup Revolution’s The Matte Blush gives your cheeks a rich natural look. The ultra-fine powder allows you to apply for whatever style you desire. A soft glow or fabulous color can be achieved with these easy to apply blushers.”

High-end options:

tarte – Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush $29.00 USD

What it is:
A long-wearing, solar-baked blush that lasts up to 12 hours.

What it does:
Infused with natural clay harvested from the banks of the Amazon River and naturally baked by the sun, this nutrient-rich blush benefits all skin types for a fade-free flawless finish that lasts an amazing 12 hours. Inspired by tarte’s bestselling shades of cheek stains and lip tints, the colors range from soft to vivid to suit a wide variety of skin tones. For oily skin types, Amazonian clay minimizes oil in and around pores to balance skin and keep product in place. Those with dry skin will benefit from the clay’s nourishing and hydrating properties, which naturally restore skin’s moisture. Combination skin types can rely on its ability to zero in on skin concerns and deliver benefits to restore complexion harmony. The result: Blush that wears better, longer, and truer.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

What else you need to know:
This product is free of petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, GMOs, and triclosan.”

I have 5 of these and I love every one! Oasis was my favorite, it’s been discountinued but Paaarty is very similar. These last forever and give a beautiful flush to the skin.

Try these four blushes in a palette, for $39.00 USD: tarte – Blush Bliss Blush Palette

MAKE UP FOR EVER – Artist Face Color Highlight, Sculpt and Blush Powder $23.00 USD

What it is:
A unique pressed powder formula in a refillable palette—providing intense color payoff in highlight, sculpt, and blush shades.

What it does:
Reveal your inner artist and create endless looks with Artist Face Color. Choose your palette size, then customize to your needs by mixing and matching your favorite. Artist Face Color’s unique formula features atomized pigments, which provide intense color payoff while blending and diffusing for a natural, long-lasting finish. The super-fine powder melts into skin while also seamlessly layering for a natural, result. Available in matte, shimmer, and pearl finishes across 34 shades, Artist Face Color provides endless ways to enhance and define your features for your desired result.”

I have the shade “S214 – rosewood blush”, it’s lovely. It is very long lasting, buildable and just looks lovely.

Contour: Splurge

Ah, the contour, old friend. How to lose at least 10 pounds instantly.

I think contour is definitely a splurge because drugstores rarely get the coloring right. Contour shades need to be neutral/cool undertones and drugstores are quick to make them warm. Often times they have a poor formula too.

Drugstore options:

Wet n Wild – MegaGlo Contouring Palette $4.99 USD

“This duo of perfectly complementary contouring powders in the Wet n Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette delivers a flawlessly sculpted face in no time flat. The deeper color defines while the lighter color highlights your best features, leaving you at your #nofilter best, whatever the occasion.”

My go-to for contour. They blend easily, last all day… no complaints!

Makeup Revolution – Ultra Contour Palette $15.00 USD

“The complete contouring and highlighting palette is here! The Ultra Contour Palette by Makeup Revolution has 8 powders for perfect contouring and sculpting with an additional 2 merged baked highlighters for illumination. Assembled in a large palette with full sized mirror.”

I’ve heard amazing things about this kit and it has a ton of products in it! No doubt this will contour your cheek bones and then some.

High-end options:

Anastasia Beverly Hills – Contour Kit $40.00 USD

“A best-selling set of three powder highlight and three powder contour shades. Use Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Powder Kit to create the illusions of higher cheekbones, a slimmer nose, softer jawline, or smaller forehead.


  • Blendable satin finish
  • Removable and refillable set
  • Can be layered over Contour Cream Kit to intensify results”

This is a cult favorite, a makeup artist used it on me once and it looked amazing! You get six shades so you’ll defiantly have a lot to work with for your cheeks, but for your eyes too. This also comes in cream.

Kat Von D – Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette $49.00 USD

“What it is:
A face contour palette, now refillable and with new and improved packaging, this all-matte contour palette features three shades for contouring and three shades for highlighting.

What it does:
Redesigned in a sleek hard-shell case, the Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette features magnetic removable pans so you can refill and customize your dream contour palette. As an expert artist, Kat Von D uses shadow and light to create depth and dimension in her sketches and portraits. She applied the same principles of contrast and gradients to create the bestselling Shade + Light Contour Palette.

Unlike traditional bronzing powders, the Shade + Light Contour Palette is loaded with a unique selection of matte shades that capture the true hues of shadow and light. The three contour shades create realistic shadows to recede facial features, while the three highlight shades impart a soft luminosity to amplify dimension, so you can effortlessly sculpt, chisel, shape, and slenderize your features for enhanced definition.

A true artist’s palette, designed for use with the Shade + Light Contour Brush (sold separately), these silky, buildable powders blend effortlessly into the skin for a flawless finish that flatters every skin tone and face shape. “

I’ve heard amazing things about the formula and the packaging is so cute! This also comes in cream.

Bronzer: Splurge

Bronzer is a definite splurge for me as drugstore bronzers almost always make me look like an Oompa-lumpa. But many high-end brands come in mini sizes so you can get the same product for less money (win-win).

Drugstore option:

Physicians Formula – Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer $14.99 USD

“Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer is an ultra-luxurious bronzer infused with Murumuru Butter, delivering a radiant Brazilian goddess glow! Moisturizing wonder features ultra-refined pearl and soft-focus pigments that smooth skin texture, brighten skin tone and deliver a gorgeous bronze finish.


  • Ultra-rich bronzer formula instantly melts into skin, sealing-in moisture to deliver instant and lasting hydration

  • Incredibly creamy and soft texture combines the best features of a powder and cream bronzer, to deliver a lit-from-within tropical glow unlike any other

  • Infused with a powerful blend of Murumuru Butter, Cupuacu Butter and Tucuma Butter, from the lush and nutrient-rich Amazon

  • Packed with essential fatty acids and pro-vitamins that soften, condition and moisturize skin, leaving it silky soft

  • Featuring unique sponge applicator specially designed to be used with creamy bronzer formula

  • Hypoallergenic, paraben free, gluten free, cruelty free, oil-free

  • Non-comedogenic, dermatologist approved”

I mean, what more could you want in a bronzer? Adding this to my shopping list asap.

I have heard nothing but amazing things about this bronzer, I know many people that chose this over high-end bronzers.

High-end option:

Benefit Cosmetics – Hoola Matte Bronzer $29.00 USD, Mini for $15.00 USD

“Dust this award – winning bronzing powder over your chin, cheeks and forehead for a healthy, natural looking “tan” year – round. Complete with soft, natural-bristle cheek brush, it’s pure matte color…no sparkle or shine!

This best-selling matte bronzer is every makeup artist’s secret weapon for contouring, sculpting defining feature.

Hoola is the #1 best-selling Prestige Bronzer in the US*

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / BeautyTrends, US Prestige Makeup Item Dollar Sales, January 2015 – December 2015″

Love, love, love this bronzer! I use it anytime I do my makeup and I love it. It’s an amazing color, lasts all day… no complaints!

That’s it for part one! I hope this is helpful for you guys, let me know your favorite products in the comments!

Disclaimer: Prices and offers current as of the day of posting. They coordinate with the products’ link, but prices vary based on the retailer. Information in blockquote is also from the links.

18 thoughts on “Makeup – Save or Splurge? Part One

  1. Love the IT Cosmetics and, of course, Josie Maran. Actually, having used the Josie Maran, if you’re fair, it can be a bit darker. I usually mix it with Laura Geller ethereal primer which lightens it up for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this guide! I love to splurge on makeup, but I can’t keep living a champagne lifestyle on a grape juice budget. 😂 Now I know what products are actually worth the splurge and what I can save on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, what an in-depth post, and so much new stuff for me to try!
    I’m more than happy to splurge if I think something is worth it (and if my fellow bloggers tell me it is!) but I also love mixing in drug store stuff. I think my splurge buy of 2017 is the Chanel Soleil de Tan, which I adore and my drugstore would have to be the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer – I still haven’t found anything better at any price point! x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much!! I completely agree. I need to try the concealer, i’ve heard so many good things about it! My best splurge would have to be the Lancôme Teint Idole, which costs an arm and a leg, and the drugstore would probably be Soph x Makeup Revolutions highlighting kit!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yessss I was so excited to read this post! So much info and so in depth, props to you for being so thorough with your research and recommendations. There are so many great finds at the drugstore but there are always times when we have to splash out for that extra bit of quality. Great post as always! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is an amazingly in-depth post! I love how much thought and effort went into this! I love all the save options, while also giving great splurge options! xx

    Liked by 2 people

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