Is Expensive Makeup Worth It?

For those of us who love makeup, it can be hard to figure out if it is worth it to buy a more expensive item.

As a makeup connoisseur for the last decade, I think that it really depends! There are unfortunately a LOT of brands out there who charge obscene amounts for poor-performing products. There’s also brands who charge next to nothing with incredible, high-quality products. Therefore, I use both expensive makeup and cheap makeup products. I love my Estee Lauder foundation and WILL spend $64 on it. However, some of my favourite beauty brand that offer excellent value are Morphe, Essence and Australis.

So, is expensive makeup worth it?

It really is about experimentation and research – trying product samples, reading reviews and blog posts. Not making any impulse purchases, especially if you are new to makeup. It is such a disappointment spending a lot of money on a product only for it to perform poorly.

That being said, I find that the product itself matters a great deal too. I’ve made a cheat sheet to help you decide on if you should buy an expensive or cheap version of an item.

Expensive makeup products that ARE worth it:

Foundation: Expensive foundation makes a big difference. I always struggle to find my exact colour match in cheaper foundations, they are always a little off. In addition, cheaper foundation don’t give you that “airbrushed” finish and doesn’t last throughout the entire day. Yes, I have tried popular cheap foundations but they aren’t half as good as the bougie ones. If you have clear skin, you can get away with an inexpensive one but I have lots of scarring and pigmentation that needs to be covered up!

Concealer: Great concealers are worth it. Cheaper concealers either won’t give you the coverage you need or they will be too cakey. I also struggle to find concealers that suit my skin as a POC. With expensive concealers, a little goes a long way and you don’t have to buy them as often.

Eyeshadow: Eyeshadows last a very long time. I have eyeshadow palettes from five years ago (okay, maybe I should get rid of them) that I still use regularly. It makes sense to spend a bit more money on a makeup item that will last you years, think of it as an investment. Cheap eyeshadows tend to lack pigmentation and have fall-out which messes up your makeup. I recommend investing in one high-quality eyeshadow palette that will be your best friend. This palette is one of my favourites.

Blush & Bronzer: Similar to eyeshadow, blush and bronzer are two makeup items that can last a long time. I’ve only finished two blushes in my life, and I’ve been wearing makeup for over ten years! High-quality blushes and bronzers are more pigmented so a little goes a long way and the finish is much smoother. I splurged and purchased this Chanel powder to use as a bronzer. After using it everyday for a year, I have finally made a dent. Even with daily use, it will last me another 1 – 2 years. Yes, a $90 blush is a lot, but if it lasts you for three years it is more “worth” it.

Okay, before I ruin your budget – not all expensive makeup is worth it! Here are products I recommend saving on.

Makeup that you can save on:

Liquid eyeliner: My favourite liquid eyeliner is easy to use, stays on all day and has a strong black pigment. And, it’s only $5! I’ve used expensive eyeliner that cost five times more and I find my cheaper one performs better. Save yourself some cash and buy a cheap liquid eyeliner.

Mascara: Expensive mascara is not worth it to me as you have to replace a mascara every three months. Not replacing it can cause eye irritations and infections, ouch! Look, I am a frugal girl. I am not going to throw away a $40 mascara every three months! That’s a $160 a year. Therefore, I recommend the cheap route. My mascara costs $8 and it is fantastic. I also have no guilt tossing it out every three months.

Lipstick: There is a LOT of excellent inexpensive lipstick out there. My favourite ones are from Morphe which are $15. They have great colours and last all day. You usually have one foundation or one bronzer but you never have just one lipstick. It makes sense to go cheaper for items you need multiple of. Buying expensive lipsticks can add up quick especially if you want to build a collection of colours. And, the bougie ones aren’t much better than the cheaper ones.

Fake Eyelashes: Okay, this isn’t strictly makeup but I wanted to add it in. Cheap fake eyelashes are the best! My favourite ones from Daiso cost $2.80, I just use them with Ardell lash glue. I even re-use them. My tip? Look for eyelashes with thin bands. This will make them look less “cheap”, and more natural. They are also much easier to put on and aren’t as uncomfortable.

Think about cost per year

Here’s my final tip that I touched on. Rather than seeing the cost of a product upfront, take a long-term view. How much will the product cost you per year? How many times will you use it? Spend more on products that you will use more often and ones that will last you longer. Let’s put this into practice with a mascara and my Chanel bronzer.

  • “Expensive” bronzer: $92, will last 3 years. Cost per year $30.67
  • Cheaper” Mascara: $17, will last 3 months. Cost per year $68

Therefore, looking at this way – you save more money in the long run by buying the bronzer even though it costs more.

Here is a cheat sheet I put together. Save the image on your phone and refer to it next time you’re out shopping!

The Money Marketer, The Money Marketer Blog, Ruba Khan Blog, Is Expensive Makeup Worth it, expensive makeup worth the money

That’s it! You now know if expensive makeup is worth it. If you’re someone who uses makeup regularly, I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you agree with my list? Or have a different opinion? Leave a comment below!

Published by Ruba Khan

Hi, I'm Ruba! The Money Marketer is a financial discussion space to discuss all things money and investment, with a touch of food and lifestyle.

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