Splurge or Save: Reader Request

May 7, 2012

This is kind of off topic, but before we begin, let me give you an update on the restructuring of this blog.  I made a handful of changes this weekend, and quickly realized that I was in over my head.  My CSS/HTML knowledge is extremely limited, and to take this site to the next level, I’m going to need a professional. Oy. 

So if you have anyone who might be interested, have them e-mail me at capitolhillstyle (at) gmail.

photo c/o Jane IredaleNow, back to Splurge or Save.

Last week, Miss M came over to my apartment to help me get ready to have my photo taken.  She was extolling th virtues of eyeliner when she opened up my bathroom cabinet and said, “This is it.? This is all the makeup you own, this one bag?”

In my post-pageant years, I’ve really cut back on the makeup that I buy.  I have my daily essentials plus one extra eyeshadow palette from Urban Decay, and that.is.it.  But after our conversation, I began to think that it might be time to branch out.  Buy a blush or two.  Pick up a few more eyeshadows.  Invest in lipsticks and glosses, nail polishes, etc.

I’ve been asking every woman I know what cosmetics they like, what shades they can’t live without, and the like.  So I’ve amassed a fairly solid list of purchases.  But before I drop my unborn children’s college tuition at Sephora, I thought I might ask you ladies for some ideas as well.

So what products and makeup items are you using?  Cheap ones, expensive ones, I want to know them all.  And what do you like or dislike about the products you’ve tried?

Your suggestions will likely seed months of Splurge or Save posts since I like to buy the products I try myself, and never review a product that I haven’t used personally. So my makeup bag, and Miss M, thank you in advance for your participation.


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  1. Dawn says:

    I LOVE Urban Decay's Naked Palette! It's all I use. I'm too cheap to buy brushes to actually apply it, so I bought detail paint brushes at Michaels. They're $1.50 instead of $10 a piece, and they do a great job! Also, I only use bare escentuals for my face. It doesn't clog up my pores or look like I've got stuff caked onto my face. Covergirl Lashblast in Very Black is my go-to mascara. It always looks great.

  2. Beth says:

    My must have splurge is Laura Mercier's 'tightline' cake liner and the 'tightline' activator. So worth the price.

    I also splurge on NARS blush and bronzer. My favorites are Laguna for bronzer and Angelika, Desire, Super Orgasm and Deep Throat for blush.

    I think Dior Show's lash primer is a good splurge too and is a must have for me.

    A save I've been obsessed with recently are the Loreal Balm lip products. I love the Caring Coral shade – it's not very coral-y, but gives a perfect hint of color and shine.

  3. Jill says:

    My favorite, favorite eyeshadow is Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow. It stays put all day long and you don't need a primer! I love the Sandy Gold and Stone colors. For lip gloss, I love the Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster lip gloss. It has SPF 15 and gives you just a beautiful hint of color and shine. I love the Sexy Petal and Sexy Nude shades of the gloss.

  4. Meg says:

    I was really on the fence about spending $50 for Urban Decay's Naked palette since I though having a collection of 12 different kinds of brown was boring (every blog I read swears buy it), but am so glad I finally splurged. Since I purchased it a few weeks ago, I have not touched any of my other eye shadows or eyeliner. I've used the colors for work looks, nights out, and a wedding I attended this weekend.This is the most amazing and versatile collection ever! I'm even debating the purchase of Naked palette #2, which is grey tone based.

    Oh, also, I swear by Mac's paint pot in “painterly” as the best eye makeup primer ever. Stands up to my extremely oily skin and DC humidity like nothing I've ever tried before.

  5. N.M. says:

    For eye makeup, I haven't found anything better than Prestige, which is available at drug stores but for me works much better than more expensive mascara and eye shadow I've bought. Their mascara (https://www.prestigecosmetics.com/eyes/mascara/myblackestlashesmascara/mlb-01.html) is seriously the best I've ever used and I've gotten compliments on it even from the saleswomen at Sephora. The eyeshadow is very nice too, I've been using the same one (https://www.prestigecosmetics.com/eyes/eyeshadow/eyeshadowduo/cd-12.html) for years and it's great because you can put on a little and it's appropriate for work, but you can also layer it and make a great smoky eye for nights out.

  6. VA says:

    I'm like you, Belle, in that I don't have a big collection of makeup – I have a routine that works for me and some favorite products that I'm pretty loyal to. I do have a new addition to recommend, though. I've never, ever, been a lipstick wearer, but I got a tube of the Poppy King/J.Crew lipstick as a gift and I'm crazy about it. It's not too red, too pink, or too coral, but kind of the perfect blend of all three. I don't wear it every day, but it's just the thing for when you just need a little extra “pop” for your look. I think it looks best when applied with a lip brush rather than straight from the tube, because then I can build the intensity of color that I want.

  7. Ali says:

    Big Fan of Benefit PoreProfessional and their tinted moisturizer. I also love their “They're Real” mascara. I own a few urban decay eye shadows and their primer, as well.

  8. Krista says:

    BITE lipstick is my new favorite. I bought them on a lark from Sephora (online only) but I have gotten to the point to that's really all I want to use. The color is gorgeous and saturated. It also has a lot of Resveratrol in it, which I guess is supposed to be good for you and this brand has lots of anti-aging stuff in it, too. That is great and all, but what I care about is the decadent moisture and color that is highly pigmented. Oh- it also lasts for hours on me. Normally I can apply in the morning and be good until at least lunch. I highly recommend.

  9. lisa says:

    I love MAC Studio FIX for a powdered foundation and L'Oreal True Match is the only concealer I've found that is not pink or yellow (my skin is neither) but truly neutral. I don't have much brand loyalty for makeup but these two I won't live without.

  10. S says:

    I am a makeup minimalist but I did spend $40 on a 8-color eyeshadow pallete from Bare Minerals, which I love! It has the most amazing pigmentation and goes on very well and stays put, especially if you put a little Too-Face primer on the lid before. I also love Dior Show mascara. For lips, I stick with Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Hone (although the new Honey shades are really pretty).

  11. Stefanie R. says:

    I always end up going back to my NARS Orgasm blush – it looks as natural as the flushed cheeks I get after a great run. As the previous poster mentioned, the Honey shades at Clinique are also really good. I have Black Honey and recently purchased Spicy Honey. Both shades are very pretty, but they do tend to fade quickly. As for “Save” picks, I've been using Cover Girl's 24 hour Lash Blast mascara and am pretty impressed with it. It really does stay on all day with no flaking and it comes off easily with makeup remover.

  12. Helena says:

    If you don't have one yet, get a good-quality eyelash curler (unless your lashes are naturally upswept). It does wonders for waking up one's face. After turning 30, I came to the conclusion that, despite not loving the feel of lipstick, it was time to suck it up and get the polished look of lipstick, not gloss or stain. Find a brand you like (I'm partial to Guerlain) and invest in a red, rose, and nude. It will change your look from ingenue to woman instantaneously.

  13. KRF says:

    Hi Belle, I just wanted to offer that I think having daily essentials plus one extra eyeshadow palette from Urban Decay is great! Unless you will get fair use out of a fuller palette of eye colors, bluses, and lip shades I believe it is wise to keep it simple. One product I really love is Urban Decay's eyeshadow primer duo (in natural and original sin). This is has been a fantastic primer for me and often I find I don't even need eyeshadow if I use the original sin because it has a hint of color and shimmer. Plus, as a duo pack, it is cost friendly and if purchased at Ulta or at some of our fav online beauty product sites you can earn points!

  14. Lindsey says:

    I absolutely love my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette. I use it ALL the time. I also love the Too Faced palettes – similar to the UD ones, but not quite as many colors and a little less expensive.

    I started using Stila tinted moisturizer a few months ago and absolutely adore it for a light coverage. Their prime pot is great too.

    I swear by the Benefit Instant Brow Pencil and I follow up with Anastasia Brow Gel for extra hold. I personally am not a huge fan of their They're Real mascara as I find it to be a HUGE pain to take off. I love Covergirl's Lash Blast in the orange tube. It's the only drugstore product that I use. I've tried other more expensive mascaras and I always come back to it.

  15. jen says:

    Not sure how tan you get in the spring/summer, but I recently accidentally purchased the Sin/Casino blush/bronzer duo from NARS instead of my regular Orgasm/Lagunga, and I have to say that I really love it! It's darker, but contains a forgeous mauve-shade blush with a deeper brown bronzer. If you use a light hand on fair skin it looks fabulous.

    Also swear by Clinique High Impact mascara. Can't find anything that touches it in terms of being able to adjust the volume and not having to rip my eyelashes out when I take it off.

  16. Dani says:

    I am a makeup junkie! I think I've tried everything under the sun. Here is my list of current and long time favorites::

    -Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in “espresso ink”
    -Stila BB cream (just discovered!) or Bobbi Brown natural finish (I've found this to be the most natural looking because it has a yellow undertone)
    -Makeup Forever HD microfinish powder
    -Bobbi Brown blush in pale pink (it looks very bright in the package but does not appear that way at all)
    -Rimmel max volume flash mascara (better than Dior Show)
    -LipFusion lip gloss in “sugar” (perfect natural pink color and not sticky at all)
    -NARs velve matte lip pencil in “cruella” or Bite high pigment matte pencil in “pomegranate” (perfect reds!)
    -Neutrogena shine control blotting sheets
    -Mario Badescu buffering lotion and healing cream (I just discovered this line. I love it! Perfect for clearing up breakouts quickly)

  17. DB says:

    After scanning through the above comments, I've started to feel like I'm the only one in the 'save' category here. I believe that certain products are more worthy of the splurge in terms of quality, such as a good tinted moisturizer/foundation or an eye or face primer (mostly because I haven't seen drugstore brands carry those). But for things that have a short shelf life (ahem, mascara) and things that you will go through quickly or are more of a trendy item, then it's just not worth the splurge price (unless you absolutely can't find the color you're looking for on the drugstore shelves).

    For example, I have urban decay's eye primer, and I use drugstore eyeshadow on top of it. I've never had a problem with blending or staying power or pigmentation because the primer addresses all of those issues. And I use Covergirl mascara, because with a shelf life of 3-4 months, I can't afford to pay 25$ a tube for mascara and I don't want expired cosmetic products that close to my eyes. I also bought a coral lipstick this season, because I wanted to try it out. I'm glad I didn't spend more than 7$ on it because it's not a look I can wear often, especially come the end of summer.

    So, I guess, long story short, it really depends on the item.

  18. Quinn says:

    Hi Belle,
    I'm a makeup minimalist too and have one bag for essentials i wear everyday but have other odds and ends I use for nights out and parties. Everyday makeup = Alveeno Postively Radiant Moisturizer, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisterizer, Lancome Eye Liner, Lancome Doll Lashes Mascara, Cargo Tenerife Beach Bronzer or sometimes Tarte creme blush and Anastasia brow pencil. Tools: Sephora Prestige Brush set, among other brushes from Sephora and Shu Uemera Eye Lash Curler. For occasions, I have eye shadow palettes from Tarte, Sephora collection, Smashbox. I use Urban Decay's primer. For face, I use Smashbox primer and also use Lancome's Dual Finish – sometimes as foundation and sometimes as powder set.

  19. BB says:

    I have acne-prone skin, so I am very picky about the makeup that I use (makeup usually makes me break out, but I do feel like I need it to look more polished at work). Here's what I am currently using:

    Smashbox BB Cream (but I think the colors run light–I am using light/medium on my untanned, pink undertoned-skin)
    Nars Orgasm blush (my third compact!)
    Makeup Forever HD Powder

    Sephora brand waterproof mascara (Also love Diorshow, and L'oreal voluminous–both in waterproof)
    Sephora brand waterproof eyeliner in dark brown (the twist-up kind)
    A gift-with-purchase Clinique eyeshadow that is usable, but I don't love it (it's a slightly shimmery champagne/light copper color)

    Clinique almost lipstick in black honey most days, but Maybelline ColorSensational lipstick when I want a more bold lip (I have red, nude, pink, and fuchsia in my makeup box). I also like the Buxom lipglosses.

  20. SC says:

    Helena, this is what I've been saying! Women over 30 should wear lipstick. They just need it to look pulled together. At least wear it to work. I have make-up bags full of expensive designer lipsticks but my favorite is still the Revlon colorstay liquid lipcolor.

    As for other products, I love the Anastasia brow gel, YSL touch eclat, and cargo blushes. Also have a deep purple Trish McEvoy eye shadow I use with an angled brush for eyeliner. Otherwise I'm not completely loyal to any of the products I've used/tried. And good lord am I always searching for the perfect mascara. I keep coming back to Dior Show but it's only because I haven't found anything better for everyday use. I'm definitely not in love with it.

  21. SC says:

    I forgot nail polishes! My favorites are FACE Stockholm, Butter London, and NARS.

  22. Emily says:

    I use so little makeup but my basics and favorite for eyes are Covergirl Lash Blast Fusion and Lorac Starry-Eyed Baked Eye Shadow Trio in Superstar. I have really sensitive skin and even Clinique makes me itch. Very basic but for $25 this shadow pallet has lasted me more than a year.

  23. Serena says:

    I'm no makeup pro, but I do have more than a bag full. Here are my time-tested faves:
    – For mascara, I always go back to L'Oreal Voluminous. I've tried Dior Show and others, and I think they're the equivalent of the L'Oreal but just at 3X the price.
    – I love Lancome eyeshadow — my favorite is their Honeymoon shade. I've been wearing it for 10 years.
    – Benefit's Eyebright. So good for days I'm wearing just the minimal makeup, or on work days when I'm really tired. I cut it out for a while to save some cash, and I got tons of those “Are you feeling okay?” types of questions. Plus it's really easy to put on.
    – Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. Feels so light, blends well, and provides just enough coverage.
    – I second the eyelash curler suggestion above. And there is no substitute for the shu uemura one. I ran out of the little black pads, and then I left the curler itself at a hotel, so I had to get a new one. My Sephora doesn't carry shu uemura anymore, so I tried other brands, and they just don't work as well. I ended up ordering one from the shu uemura website and it was so worth it.
    – Plus everyone's favorite, NARS orgasm.

    Some recent discoveries:
    – Thanks to a recommendation from a salesperson at my local Sephora, I just bought this pinkish Tarina Tarantino highlighter pen for under my eyes, and it is amazing. I look like I've slept for 12 hours when I put it on. She said that YSL has a similar product.
    NARS eyeshadow primer. I got it as a free sample, and it's doing a decent job.
    – Stila liquid eyeliner. I have oily eyelids plus allergies, so I'm constantly searching for eye makeup that won't smudge, and so far, this seems to be going pretty well. It's really easy to use too.

  24. A says:

    Foundation – I splurge on this Tarte Amazonian Clay, Nars Sheer Glow or Make Up Forever HD
    Mascara – Splurge- Lancome Hypnose Drama Save- Rimmel Volumemaxx
    Eyeshadow- Splurge- Urban Decay Save- Sephora Brand, Wet and Wild, NYX
    Eye Primer- Splurge – NARS Save- Palladio Herbal Primer, NYX HD primer
    Eye Liner – Splurge- Stila Long wear liquid eyeliner pen, Tarte Amazonian Clay cream Liner, NARS LArger than Life eye pencilSave – Revlon Color Stay liquid eyeliner pen, Maybeline 24 hr cream liner, CLinique eye liners, Sephora brand eye liners
    Lipstick – Splurge- NARS Matte Velvet Lip Pencil in Cruella or Dragon Girl , Tarte Lip Surgence. Save – Sephora Brand Liquid Lipstick, Sephora Brand Creme Lipstick, Kat Von D liquid lipstics
    Lip Gloss- Splurge- NARS Larger than life lip gloss, Save- Revlon and Sephora Brand
    Blush- Splurge- Nars, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hr wear, Ilamasqua, Benefit. Save- Sephora Brand creme to powder blush
    Bronzer- Splurge – Too Faced Chocolate Bunny Save- Physicians Formula Bronze Booster
    I could go on and on!!! I am a make up junkie

  25. Tsampamama says:

    Here are my MVPs:
    – Dior Show for Mascara but, since I'm more on an intern budget from being a mom, the original LashBlast from Covergirl (Orange tube only – none of the newer iterations are as good) is good too. The brush can feel a little harsh initially and takes getting used to.
    – Bonne Belle (okay stop laughing.) eye pencil in Taupe is great as a eyebrow pencil. It's pretty light (I'm Asian = dark hair) and so I have better control over how dark I want it. I also use the black one as liner and smudge it.
    NARS bronzer in Laguna is a great one without too much mica in it. Can't stand glittery, overly pink bronzer.
    – Mentha Liptint in Plum Mint from CO Bigelow. Delicious, fresh and so pretty. Finally,
    NARS lipstick in Joyous Red – it was a limited edition. The perfect muted red. Matte. Gives you a pop but not too in your face. I got 3 – nuff said!

  26. H says:

    Giorgio Armani's Eyes to Kill Mascara (the original, not the lengthening formula) is the best I've ever tried. Worth every one of the thirty dollars it costs. My lashes look amazingly long and full, but still natural.

  27. kl says:

    I love this idea! I'm always looking for fun additions to my makeup collection, and weeding out products to make way for new favorites. I'm looking forward to getting some new ideas here… My current makeup staples that I would recommend without reservations include:

    Primer: Too Faced Primed and Poreless. It actually evens out my complexion enough that I don't usually wear anything on top of it, and it makes any concealer just glide right on top of it.
    Eye primer: Urban Decay, the champagne one, that that I don't have to wear eyeshadow to work if I'm running late
    Highlight: Tarte Maracuja Blush and Glow is GREAT for a liquid luminizer with a cream blush on the end; I also love Too Faced's Candlelight as a finishing powder on my cheeks or a highlight around my eyes/brows
    Brows: Urban Decay's brow box
    Lips: any FRESH product, Lush's lip scrub
    Sunscreen: Josie Maran SPF 40+
    Tools: She Umera eyelash curler, Clarisonic
    Nail polishes: Butter London, they have gorgeous (and more healthy!) reds, pinks and purples that are so unique


  28. CH says:

    I forgot my “save” favorite product – Maybelline Full & Soft mascara in Very Black. It never looks spidery, just voluminous. Mascara is my “I'm leaving the house so I have to put something on or I feel naked” product, so I go through it fast. I know lots of people love DiorShow but it didn't do anything for me, especially for the price.

  29. JW says:

    The bare minerals foundation system has done wonders for my skin (I don't like a lot of coverage even though I have some occasional acne), and I recently purchased an Ole Henriksen skincare kit that has made me need even LESS coverage, which is great.
    Clinique almost-lipstick in black honey is an essential, and I love bobbi brown's pot blushes – I use a color that they don't sell anymore – plum rose, but all the colors are gorgeous, blend beautifully, and last forever.

    drugstore mascara (or the free samples that I get from sephora perks — i ALWAYS choose mascara if it's offered as the free grab, I haven't bought a tube in years!)

    clinique teddy bear eye palette – nice neutral browns

    bobbi brown navy inkpot (Although I wish I had just gone for a drugstore navy eyeliner…I think saving is the option for trendy stuff like that, especially eye liners if you have a good primer).

    narsa laguna bronzer. SO nice (and I like the color better than the bare minerals 'warmth').

    and for going out in the summer I like Stila's cheek-stain in tipsy – a peachy coral that looks amazing with a tan.

    I also have a small collection of dark mac eye shadows in dark purples that I use as eyeliner day to day with an angled brush, and double as going-out eyeshadow for the occasional dramatic weekend outfit.

    I also have a benefit shimmer that is nice on cheekbones when you don't want to wear blush.
    overall it all fits in a pretty small bag!

  30. Amelia says:

    Eyeshadow Primer – Lime Crime: Eyeshadow Helper
    Mascara – Dior: Diorshow Blackout
    Liquid Liner – MAC: Bootblack
    Brow Gel – ANASTASIA: Brow Gel
    Brow Powder – ANASTASIA: Brow Powder Duo
    Pencil Liner – Urban Decay: 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil (I like Yeyo to highlight the inner corners of my eyes and to waterline my bottom lid)
    Eyeshadow – Wet N' Wild Trios (Sweet as Candy is my everyday look)
    Concealer – Bobbi Brown: Corrector + Creamy Concealer (both steps are needed for full coverage)
    Highlighter – MAC: Luster Drops
    Face Powder – bareMinerals: Mineral Veil
    Blush – NARS: Orgasm
    Lipstick – Chanel: Rouge Allure Laque
    Bronzer – Guerlain: Terracotta

    I haven't found a favorite foundation/tinted moisturizer or face primer, but currently I use Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I've also heard good things about Josie Maran's Tinted Moisturizer.

  31. Kristy says:

    -NARS orgasm blush
    -A white eyeshadow of some kind is key for me (right now I have one from clinique). A touch right on the inside of the eye (like they tell you to use benefit eye bright), sometimes up on the brow bones…I can fake an extra 3 hours of sleep no problem.
    -Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners – couldn't live without them. Whiskey and bourbon are my two – I'm a brunette – one has sparkles and gets used for fun times, one has no sparkles and gets used for professional life. They slide on like butter, blend super easily, then are SET and won't budge all day (and day is an 18 hour unit for me).

    Honestly, based on gift with purchases, I can't tell you the last time I actually bought lipstick or mascara. Which is just fine with me.

  32. jes says:

    i snagged up a couple of bottles of Stila's tinted moisturizer when it was on sale on Hautelook. It took me a while to get through the first bottle and I loved it soooo much. Just opened the 2nd bottle and its orange. I guess its time to move on… but I loved it when it wasn't orange!

    Stila's stay all day liquid liner in carbon black was my all time favorite and very reliable. Right now I'm using Smashbox's liquid liner that also has that felt-tip pen and I like the color and the sheen but I read reviews that people tend to need to buy a replacement pen pretty quickly so I guess this isn't that great of an investment but it does look good!

    For lips I am a huge fan of saving and buying Ulta's lip stains when those go on crazy sale.

    My make up routine is very, very simple.

  33. Laura says:

    Recently I've been very into ELF, which I buy at Target. Great prices and so far all the products have been excellent. I really like the liquid eyeliner pen (for most days) and the gel eyeliner with the little brush (for special occasions). I also use their shimmering facial whip, their eye primer, and their mascara – but like another one of your commenters, I like Maybelline Full & Soft for a minimalist everyday look. Speaking of Target, the Boots line and the Sonia Kashuk line available there are both great – I like the Boots lipsticks and primers as well as skincare, and the Kashuk brushes and eyeshadow are awesome.

  34. T says:

    I've got oily skin and have been looking for a matte daily moisturizer. I was going to splurge at Sephora or a department store and ran across Cetaphil's Oil Control Moisturizer with SPF30 and a matte finish! It's a little pricier than my usual Neutrogena Oil-Free but at $18 in a fairly sized bottle – the price per usage is really worth it.

    To also help fight oil-flare I use CoverFX Clearprep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment

  35. Jen says:

    Alveeno's positively radiant tinted moisturizer is fantastic. I have very sensitive skin that is prone to break outs and this has solved my search for the perfect moisturizer, foundation & sunscreen (SPF 30) all in one product.

  36. Courtney says:

    I used to be the girl with the skin that every envied (read: put on a swipe of mascara and called it a day). and then I got acne. at 23 (read: the salesgirls at sephora now know my name). pride goes before a fall…

    my motto is 'splurge' or 'free samples'
    primer – MAJOR splurge – perfekt skin perfection gel (SO worth it because it makes my makeup last for a full 14 hours)
    foundation – splurge – DiorSkin forever flawless
    bronzer – MAJOR splurge – Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons (it comes in four shades so you can mix and match as your skin tone changes) OR – save – Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer (smells like chocolate!)
    blush – free sample (full size!) – lancome subtil sheer
    finishing powder – splurge – HD make up forever microfinish powder (this is my MUST HAVE!!!)
    eye primer – splurge – laura mercier eye basics
    eyeshadow – free sample – lancome color design sensational effects eye shadow smooth hold (I haven't bought eye shadow in FIVE years – yeah for free samples!!!)
    eyeliner – free sample (full size!) – lancome le crayon kohl (does tend to smudge a bit, but I love the color – black coffee)
    mascara – splurge – Tarte lights, camera, splashes! waterproof
    eyebrow pencil – splurge – laura mercier
    lipstick – n/a or save – free samples (mostly lancome) or revlon

    I use a lot of free samples, which offsets the cost of my 'splurge' items. side benefit of doing 'splurge' purchases is that you get tons of free samples. between getting the three free samples with every purchase at sephora and shopping the 'beauty events' at department stores, I have a fully stocked makeup cabinet. some people complain about getting samples they will never use, but I use those as stocking stuffers, bridal shower favors, etc.

  37. strin012 says:

    As a rule, I do not spend tons of money on makeup, so I usually stick to inexpensive and moderately priced products. Here's what I use:

    concealer – Clinique Even Better concealer (just started with this because they stopped making Advanced Concealer – tragedy!) – still deciding how I feel about this product. It covers well and stays put, but is a little thick for my taste.
    liquid foundation (when I need to cover-up) – Clinique Even Better with SPF – too thick for day-to-day use, but nothing creates a smooth finish that lasts like this does
    mineral powder foundation – Clinique – provides light coverage that lasts most of the day and, most importantly, does not clog my pores and make me break out
    blush – Mary Kay Strawberry Cream – I am very fair skinned and colors do not usually show up or stay very well on my skin, but this does. This blush has a very subtle hint of gold shimmer, so I look ever so slightly sun kissed.
    eyshadow – Mary Kay Spun Silk, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Kiss – These show up on my skin, blend and layer beautifully, and don't irritate my sensitive eyes
    eyeliner – Almay – I vary the color on this product according to season and my mood. I've used this product for 10+ years and would be hard pressed to switch.
    mascara – LOreal High Definition – Even the non-waterproof version doesn't run if I cry or have water-y eyes. Seriously.

    p.s. I'm not a Mary Kay consultant. Just a happy customer.

  38. JS says:

    I've gone through my share of different drugstore and upscale brands….these are the best of the bunch

    Bronzer: Save ($15): Sephora: Los Cabos Matte Bronzer—it's a matte bronzer and one of the best bronzers i've ever used! (note: i don't recommend any other shades, this is the only matte one Sephora brand makes and it looks natural. Have not had a good experience with other shades or products from Sephora collection)
    Tinted Moisturizer: Splurge: Laura Mercier — stays on all day and looks natural
    Mascara: Splurge: Lancome HYPNÔSE DRAMA & Diorshow Mascara –both worth every penny
    Save: Falsies by Maybelline (makes your eyelashes look incredible)
    Under eye concealer- Splurge: Makeup Forever full cover concealer— probably one of the best products I've ever used

  39. Sharon S. says:

    Every christmas Stila puts out an eye shadow pallete with TONS of colors and a book for putting together looks. It's one of the best values out there, with good, high quality make up. I highly recommend investing in it.

  40. nelenge says:

    I typically can't afford to splurge on makeup. And I have acne flareups frequently.

    MAC Studio Fix = great coverage, but really heavy.
    Tinted moisturizers = lightweight, but only good for clear skin days. I personally love the 3 in1 Olay one.
    Then, I started using flesh-tone eyeshadows over reddness areas. And while it worked famously for a short time, it faded a few hours later.

    This made me consider a mineral foundation instead.
    So on a recent trip to Target, I picked up a Physician's Forumla “eliminate redness” pack. Concealer, highlighter, redness minimizing powder, and a general all-over-coverage mineral foundation.

    I'm never going back. My redness? Gone. Gone for hours and hours. Sensitive on skin, it's light with great coverage, not oily….
    Waking up with a breakout won't freak me out and ruin my day.

    a life-changer. I purchased the coverup (comes with a concealer,
    Redness = gone

  41. Jo says:

    My absolute must-haves in the splurge department are Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer and Loose Setting Powder (I can't live without this powder, makes my shiny face matte all day), NARS Orgasm blush, and Lancome Definicils mascara for day and Dior Show for night.

  42. Broncogirl says:

    Primer is a lifesaver, especially when my workdays run 12-16 hours or more. I love the Samshbox Photo Finish line (they have multiple formulas for all skin types), but my teenage daughter with competitive swimming induced red cheeks loves Pur in the green color for neutralizing redness. I actually wear primer under my Bare Minerals base and it still feels like I'm not wearing makeup. I have just become hooked on Lancome lipstick. Definitely a splurge and I'll need to remember not to leave my purse in the car with my lipstick in it when it gets hot! Great colors with staying power and moisture. Good for my “sunburned way too many times” lips! Finally, I follow the theory that cleanser only stays on your face for a few seconds, whereas moisturizer and night cream stay much longer. For that reason, I use over the counter cleansers like Olay, Neutrogena, etc and splurge on serums and creams for day and night. Does anyone else think these products have gotten way too expensive? If they go any higher, it will be cheaper to get plastic surgery!

  43. Beth says:

    Ditto on a few products.

    Brow gel: Anastasia clear brow gel. My brows have a nice shape, but the hairs are fine. I keep them longer so they look full when I brush them into place. A good brow gel is a crucial part of my grooming process. It's what I use if I only have time to do one thing before running out the door.

    Eyeshadow primer: Lately I've been loving the Nars smudge proof eyeshadow base. I've tried others from Urban Decay, Tarte, Too Faced, etc., but the Nars variation seems to prevent creasing for a few more hours.

    Eyes: My go-to eye look is from the UD Naked Palette. I use Virgin all over the lid and Naked in the crease. It's subtle enough for work, but it adds definition to my fair skin and makes me look well rested. If you're really looking to branch out into some new shades, I recommend Inglot eyeshadows. You can buy the shadows in the pan as opposed to a compact and then create a custom-made palette with colors of your choosing. Excellent quality and much more affordable than single Urban Decay shadows. https://www.inglotusa.com/Freedom_System-Eyes.html

    Mascara: Tarte Lights, camera, lashes! is my all-time favorite. Lashes look long and full, and the formula helps them hold a curl without weighing them down. No issues with smudging or flaking.

    Blush: I like Tarte Amazonian clay blushes. Nice range of matte shades with good payoff and staying power.

    Lips: I usually just slap on some moody bee lip balm (soo much better than Burt's Bees) because I'm constantly sipping water or tea. But I've started to wear lip color more often due to the amazing Revlon lip butters. They're super affordable, feel great, and provide a nice sheer color.

    Under-eye concealer: Clinique airbrush concealer provides light coverage without settling into lines.

    Facial concealer: Tarte maracuja creaseless waterproof concealer provides great coverage and stays put while still looking natural. It's best applied with your finger because the heat will help the product blend into the skin.

    Tools: the Shu Uemura eye lash curler is worth the price. I haven't replaced mine (as they recommend) and still have good results after a few years. I like the Sigma F84 (angled kabuki) for buffing in foundation. I often use the Sephora pro concealer airbrush #57 brush to blend under-eye concealer. I apply pigmented blush with the Mac 187 (duo-fiber stippling brush) to avoid looking like a clown. The Mac 226 is an amazing crease brush, but unfortunately it's limited edition. I highly recommend grabbing 1 (or 2) the next time Mac releases it.

    Hope that helps!

  44. Kat says:

    A few months ago I purchased Chanel's La Ligne de Chanel Professional Eyeliner Duo. It is in a compact form and comes with two applicators ~ one with a brush tip and the other with a sponge tip. Simple to apply (wet the tip of the applicator first) and line away. It glides on evenly and easily, has excellent staying power and looks sleek. At $45 it's a splurge, but well worth it.

  45. Britt says:

    Great idea, Belle. I used to be a make-up junkie but have really cut back because, really, who needs 10 eye shadow palletes?

    My everyday must haves:

    – Stila Smudge Stick (https://www.stilacosmetics.com/product_detail.asp?PMID=1138) the perfect marriage of a a liquid and pencil. You can smudge it when you first apply and then it becomes waterproof. I hate 5-hour later smeared eye-liner so this is perfect. It has just a hint of shimmer so the brown complements my brown eyes. A MUST!

    – Garnier Fructis BB Cream – This is a recent discovery. I hit the gym during my lunch break and this have saved me from bringing my lotion, concealer, and powder. This is great for a natural look. I then dust a little powder on top

    – Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Powder (https://www.neutrogena.com/product/mineral+sheers+compact+powder+foundation.do?sortby=ourPicks) I hate heavy foundation and I also have very sensitive skin. Been using this for years.

    Urban Decay primer original – prevents the eye shadow crease that happens after 10 hour work days.

  46. SJ says:

    I'm big into nail polishes and after years of searching, one of the best I've found is — I kid you not — the in-store brand at CVS. It's called Confetti and I swear, it's only $1.99 a bottle, but it works better than any of the “name” brands I've tried. And for that price, you can afford to pick up a bunch of bottles!

  47. Atoomey says:

    I LOVE e.l.f. The mineral collection is amazing — just the right amount of shimmer — and the price cannot be beaten.

  48. Lindsay says:

    The best splurge I've made this year was on Make Up For Ever's full cover concealer. The tube is $30 but lasts forever – I've had it for over four months. It's amazing and offers great coverage and I'm convinced it has some healing in it too. My best steal is Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Eyeliner. It is perfect!

  49. KG says:

    Great post idea! I used to be a minimalist but also have become much more into makeup since I hit 30.

    My splurges are
    foundation: Koh Gen Do Acqua Foundation — beautiful, natural-looking coverage. Check out the Intothegloss.com reviews!!!
    concealer: Cle De Peau — Uh.May.Zing. Seriously, nothing covers dark circles or blemishes better!
    highlighter: Dior Shimmer Powder in Amber Diamond — everyone has been asking me whether I've had some skin resurfacing or some other procedure ever since I incorporated this into my beauty regimen! Totally worth every penny and then some.
    eyebrows: Giorgio Armani eye pencil (I forget the color)
    lipsticks: Chanel Rouge Coco — moisturizing, beautiful color saturation (Mademoiselle is my signature color); Suqqu lipstick in #12 — the most moisturizing, splurge-worthy lispstick EVER
    eyes: Chanel eyeshadow quads

    Mid-range products include
    primer: Laura Mercier face primer
    blush: love the Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Exposed, Nars blush in Deep Throat, and Shu Uemura blushes
    eyes: Urban Decay Naked Palette, Too Faced eye palettes
    lips: Fresh Sugar lip treatments go on smoothly and are moisturizing when in a bind

    BB cream: for those days when I can't do foundation, Garnier BB cream and Skin79 BB cream (order from Amazon or ebay) are GODSENDS!!!
    eyes: L'oreal Infalliable eyeshadows — amazing dupe for Armani Eyes to Kill
    lips: Revlon Lip Butters — in Pink Truffle and Peach Parfait, NYX black label lipsticks

  50. LM says:

    I'm generally very minimalist for make-up and tend to end up on the natural to natural-with-shimmer end of the spectrum. Also, I have dark hair, very fair skin (my Bobbi Brown shade is Alabaster), and blue eyes, if that makes a difference. My list of loves are:

    – Both Urban Decay Naked palettes
    – Almost Any Too Faced eyeshadow palette (especially Naked Eye and Natural Eye)
    – Benefit Bad Gal mascara
    – Urban Decay Naked Lip Junkie gloss
    – Nars blush in Deep Throat (very subtle for every day wear)

  51. Amanda says:

    Good foundation, I think, is the worthiest splurge (I've been very happy for the past year with Lancome Teint Idole Ultra; it's got good coverage without being cakey). Another worthy “splurge” (but it’s not terribly expenseive): eye makeup remover that is gentle, effective and non-stingy; for me, the best is Clinique Take the Day Off For Lips, Lashes and Lids (the one in the purple bottle).

    Other things worth investing in: good skin care (I like my clarisonic, and love Clinique youth surge moisturizer for at night), but my daytime moisturizer/sunscreen and cleanser are pretty cheap drugstore items, and I’ve been using them faithfully for a long time (Olay Complete SPF 30 and Neutrogena oil free acne wash—the pink grapefruit one smells good). Also from the drug store, but very satisfy: Cover Girl loose powder and a fluffy powder brush.

    I’ve been using Clinique High Impact mascara and I like it, but honestly, its not much better than good old Maybelline Great Lash in the pink and green tube—I think I’ll switch back to that once I finish this Clinique tube.

    And that’s pretty much all I wear, so other than that I can’t give too much advice. I used to wear Benefit Benetint and Posytint for blush and loved those—they looked so natural, but I’ve been lazy about bothering lately. Still, I’d recommend those items with no hesitation.

  52. Jordyn says:

    I am a recovering junkie and have been trying to explore more affordable options in categories where I think it is ok to scrimp just a bit. That said, here is my current curated routine:

    Primer: I tried L'Oreal Studio Secrets primer (pink in a glass tub) and it's wonderful. Nice texture, doesn't feel slippery (important since I get oily throughout the day)

    I never go cheap with tinted moisturizer: Laura Mercier (oil-free)

    Concealer: Benefit Erase Paste (covers EVERYTHING)

    Highlighter: DiorShow Skin Flash (love)

    Blush: currently alternating between MAC powder blush and Maybelline Bouncy Blush which has the coolest texture. It's super easy to blend.

    Powder: MAC Pressed Mineral Powder

    Mascara: I will never spend more than $10 on a tube of mascara. There are wonderful options in the drugstore… L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes and L'Oreal Lash Out are my current faves. But I am a bonafide mascara whore… I will try everything.

    Liner: Prestige liners (found in drugstores and Ulta) are great for blending, though they do run on a humid day. In those cases I prefer Urban Decay liners. They do not move. Ever.

    Gloss/Lipstick: I have been snapping up Revlon's glosses and Lip Butters left and right. Great colors with excellent pigmentation.

  53. Lauren says:

    I'm currently addicted to Rimmel Hot Cocoa nail polish. It's a taupe/rose mix that is great on its own or layered. I put a red under it for warmer months, and a deep purple under it in the winter. The tapered brush on Rimmel's Lasting Finish line is a joy to use.

  54. Trish says:

    I have dry, acne-prone skin. Also, I'm allergic to sulfates. The most important thing to me is that my makeup looks natural and never looks like its sitting on top of my skin. I'm a realtor in Alabama and appreciate something that stays on but isn't heavy.

    I use La Roche Posay face wash, Desert Essence Tea Tree oil pads ($6.99 at whole foods and have changed my skin more than anything else I've ever used! I haven't had a blemish in a year! Everyone close to me uses these now, including my mom and my boyfriend. They kind of burn at first but they make skin BEAUTIFUL!), and Kate Sommerfield Daily moisturizer.

    -Foundation: Make Up Forever Face and Body foundation! It is SO good. It's water based, the bottle is bigger than most foundations, it's only $40, doesn't make me break out, and it looks so natural! It's really like a tinted moisturizer, but you can add coverage if you need it. I have it in two colors and use the darker as a liquid bronzer.
    -Blush: Tarte Cheek Stain in Tipsy
    -Mascara: Dior Iconic in Dark Brown – I've tried cheaper mascaras and I like them at first but I have to reapply during the day and they usually flake into my contacts. This mascara stays pretty all day, can look natural or dramatic. It's worth it!
    -Brows: Laura Mercier Brow Pencil in Blonde, this is the first brow product I've bought so I don't have a lot to compare it with.
    -Eyeliner: Tarte EmphasEYES waterproof liner in Dark Brown. I line the inner upper eyelid, like my upper waterline.
    -Eye Primer: Lorac Eye Primer, I like it better than Urban Decay.
    -Daily Eye Shadow: Clinque lid smoothie in bit o honey. For date night, I use Bobbi Brown shadows in Camel and Charcoal (as a liner).

    I'm not big into lip stick (i'm 22) but I wear sugar lip treatment most days. If you're looking to save in the tinted lip balm area the Revlon Lip butters are great, I have Cherry Tart and Creamsicle (my fav!) and they are excellent — I'm addicted to chapstick and these are pretty and moisturizing!

    Lotion: Laura Mercier Creme de Pisatche Body Souffle
    Perfume: LAVANILA Vanilla Grapefruit
    Body Wash: LAVANILA any flavor – only $15

  55. Laura says:

    On a daily basis, I keep my makeup simple and try to use some higher end and/or organic products since my skin can sometimes be sensitive. But I do like experimenting a bit when I'm going out on the weekends. Since I didn't want to spend money on makeup I wouldn't be using all the time, I bought this eyeshadow and blush palette off Amazon. They are GREAT. I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality. They are pigmented well and I've never dried out or had a reaction to them like I often do with drugstore makeup. In fact, I started using the blush palette daily. Besides, Amazon it great for reading reviews, for returns, and prices, so it's hard to go wrong if you just want to take a leap…

  56. Lauren says:

    I haven't seen a lot of posts about brushes, which to me can make or break any good make-up. I received a very expensive set of brushes from Sephora a couple years ago and they didn't hold up at all – the bristles fell out and I looked like I had a cat with a shedding problem. I recommend buying brushes specifically for what you need, and for my brand of choice, I have found that EcoTools work just as well as the designer ones and cost a fraction of the price. You can get them at any drugstore, and the ones I've had for the past year still look brand new – even washing the bristles once a week hasn't made them look frayed or dingy.
    Good luck with your search!

  57. jvo says:

    I was never really into makeup before I started working in corporate America. Now, I love:
    CoverGirl LashBlast mascara (I've used Dior, Benefit, Laura Mercier and keep coming back to Lash Blast)
    Benefit That Gal Primer
    Revlon Just Bitten lip stains
    Sonia Kashuk brushes and brush cleaner (super easy to use)
    Bobbi Brown concealers and foundation (the only brand that makes my shade of pale)
    Chanel Precision Ultra Correction Wrinkle Repair eye cream (a HUGE splurge but worth every penny)
    Sonia Kashuk blush
    Yes to Blueberries wipes
    Yes to Tomatoes Anti-Acne face mask
    Clinique Repairwear Intensive Night Cream (insanely moisturizing)

    And for dermatologist-prescribed anti-acne treatment, I'm in love with Ziana.

  58. jvo says:

    oh! and Sally Hansen Nail Effects polish trips. In my opinion, they're the best invention of the year.

  59. HH says:

    -Laura Mercier oil free tinted moisturizer – I’m preachin’ to the choir, but I love this and am willing to dish out the $42 when I run out every 5 months.
    -Lancôme Hypnose, Definicils, or Doll Lashes mascara – I usually use waterproof mascara, but this is the only stuff that I’ve found that holds a curl when it’s not waterproof
    -Clinique All Heart lipstick – received as a GWP, but it’s such a pretty, face-brightening color
    -Lancôme Color Design lipstick –dealer’s choice in color, but I love Designer Bloom – it’s a reddish pink
    -MAC eye shadows: Vex = beige w/pink-green pearl is what MAC says it is – I say it’s an amazing color that can be layered with other colors; Gorgeous Gold – yellow, greeny gold color; Patina – light brown with slight pearlescent finish
    -Smashbox O Gloss original: Always a perfect color, and I like that the texture is not too gloopy.
    -Stila convertible color – beautiful, blendable color, but lately I’ve been concerned that it’s making me break out, so beware, Belle!

    -Maybelline Baby Baby Lips – I am in LOVE with these and think they’re a perfect substitute for Fresh’s Sugar Balms, but at $3 a pop instead. The cherry one is the best so far with my fair complexion.
    -Sephora Lip gloss in Shimmery Orange Juice – such a fun color and looks great if you’re wearing a bit of bronzer
    -L’Oreal Voluminous or Collagen waterproof mascara

    And, despite all of this, I’m in the same boat as a many of the other ladies – I don’t buy much color, but instead rely on GWP and samples for the fun stuff…well, except for my drugstore lip balm addiction.

  60. Mary says:

    I have a very limited makeup bag as well. I've had the same routine for several years because it seems to work. I have somewhat sensitive skin and find that using new products irritates it so i'm usually really skeptical about trying new products or wasting money on something that might not work. If I get free samples I usually try them but haven't been impressed by any. The only free sample I've really loved was a Perricone MD moisturizer but I'll probably never buy it because it's way above my budget.

    Foundation: Bare Minerals Medium Matte SPF 15 Powder. I've been using this since 2007 and it's easy to blend, provides good coverage over mild acne, and feels weightless. When i'm tanner in the summer I blend the Medium shade with Medium Beige. A few months ago I tried to use the Laura Mercier oil free tinted moisturizer that you recommended for the days when I didn't want to wear much makeup but I immediately broke out with acne everywhere. it also felt a lot heavier and sticky on my skin than the Bare Minerals powder does.
    Eyeshadow: For work I use Maybelline Expertwear Eyeshadow Quad in Natural Smokes or E.L.F. Essential Brightening Eyecolor in Luxe. For going out at night I use Almay Internse i-color satin-i kit for brown eyes with Almay Truly Lasting Eyeliner in Purple Amethyst. It really makes brown eyes pop.
    Mascara: Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara. It only comes in Very Black which is fine since I have dark hair, but it wouldn't work for someone with medium brown hair.
    Lips: my normal every day lip product is just Burt's Bees Replenishing Pomegranate Chapstick. It has just a hint of tint. If i'm going out at night I use Clinque Quickliner in Velvet Rose and then put any cheap clear gloss over it.

  61. HB says:

    These are the products I love when I can splurge:

    Smashbox photofinish primer, Urban Decay primer potion, Urban Decay eyeshadows, Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed or Stila Convertible Color in Peony, Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara, Bobbi Brown Gel eyeliner, Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil in Brunette.

    Belle, will you share the list of purchases you've amassed with us?


  62. Beth says:

    Im a make-up junkie so I have tons and tons of products but the ones that I simply cannot live without are:
    1. Laura Mercier Primer – I use it under my MAC foundation and it really helps in creating that flawless face
    2. YSL Touche Eclat – I use it under my eyes as concealer, to cover spots and blemishes and also to contour/ highlight. Belle, you must get this!
    3. Make- up Forever High Definition Powder – I sweep a teeny tiny bit of this on my face to set my makeup.

    Also a big fan of the Urban Decay Naked II eyeshadow set, many NARS blushes, brushes from Smashbox and MAC and finally when it comes to mascara Maybelline Great Lash is my save and Dior Show is my splurge.

  63. L says:

    You need to try cream eyeshadows! They're perfect for working women. I was afraid of them because of bad experiences with crappy freebies, but a sample of Benefit's R.S.V.P. (champagne) shade changed my mind.
    My best example of their staying power is that I applied my usual shadows at 7-ish, enjoyed a little afternoon fun with my boyfriend (TMI? Eh, I'm anonymous), and got compliments on my eye look at dinner later that night. No creasing at all, and eyeshadows always crease on my oily eyelids after ~8 hours even with the best primers.
    A warning: many cream shadows are excessively frosty or glittery. Trust me. I've swatched every. last. one. in my local (large) Sephora store. I put the ones I use in the “tolerably frosty” category. They look good on my 23-year-old eyelids. I don't recommend them if you have crepe-y eyelid issues. If you're in that camp, look for more matte ones. The selection at Sephora sucks, so check out a MAC (paint pots) or Bobbi Brown counter for those.
    – Benefit RSVP (champagne color; it's tolerably frosty)
    I apply on my lid with my ring finger. Appears much less pink on my skin than it does in the jar.
    MUFE Taupe (golden light brown- doesn't have any of the mauve-y-ness that can sometimes make taupe look bruise-colored; also tolerably frosty)
    I apply this in and just above my crease with my Sephora Pro Cream Eyeshadow brush. See my rave about it below.
    – L'Oreal HIP cream shadows (I have 3 brown colors; again- tolerably frosty)
    I don't love these as much, but they're cheap and good for expanding my color options. Two things: 1) Only dispense what you need because, unlike cream shadows in pots, this product dries fairly quickly. That also means that you have a little less playtime when you apply it. 2) The brush that comes with these sucks. Repurpose it as a cleaning brush to get into the crevices of your Clarisonic and apply these with the Sephora Pro brush instead.
    Next on my list:
    – Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadows  (I want some matte ones)
    Sephora doesn't carry very good colors. The BB website and counters carry a fairly wide range of shades and finishes.
    MAC paint pots
    I haven't researched these as much as the Bobbi Brown ones, but I'm definitely interested.
    ***Sephora Pro Cream Eyeshadow Brush
    A brush can make or break your experience with cream shadows. I really don't like the flat, concealer-like brushes because I think they just push the cream around instead of blending it. This is the best brush I've found.

  64. L says:

    Also, due to my love of cream shadows, my next purchase at Sephora is going to be Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge in Pale Pink along with the Sephora Pro Air Brush (the smaller one). I've heard that cream blushes last longer and have a more natural finish than powder blushes. Fingers crossed!

    I also like gel/cream eyeliner. My ideal color is Bobbi Brown's Caviar Ink. I keep it in my makeup drawer. I also like Sephora Brand Waterproof Smoky Cream Liner and (slightly less than the others) Maybelline Eyestudio cream eyeliner. I keep one of those in my drawer at work.

    I'm really, really into long-lasting makeup. I hate having to touch up during the day just to feel presentable- especially because that means I have to carry around a bunch of products in order to do that. I'm very happy with the cream shadows and liners, and I think I'm going to like the cream blush. Now I just have to find my HG eyebrow pencil (I'm going to try YBF, Belle!) and foundation (sadly, the glorious Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer doesn't come in a shade that suits my skin since I have Snow White's coloring).

  65. Susannah says:

    Light/Medium combination skin type with hormonal/cystic breakouts

    Most of these are everyday standbys…
    Primer: Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro 002 – this one is very similar to Smashbox Light in texture and staying power and doesn't break me out
    Blush: Milani Luminous – close dupe for NARS Orgasm and glowy, but without all that obnoxious glitter.
    Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks and NYX Round lipsticks; huge variety of shades, matte shades have as much staying power as the department store brands
    Lipgloss: Revlon Super Lustrous lipgloss and NYX Mega Shine lipgloss; absolutely no reason to splurge on gloss. These two brands have great color payoff (shocker, a gloss that applies how it looks in the tube!), and aren't too sticky.
    Mascara: L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black – super thick, super black, and with a spray of a good quality setting spray (Skindinavia or MUFE), this doesn't run on me despite my oily eyelids.
    Black eyeliner: Revlon Colorstay

    Tinted Moisturizer: Laura Mercier oil-free – goes on almost foundation-like
    Setting Powder: Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian clay finishing powder – DC summer tested
    Undereye concealer: Bobbi Brown corrector and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder to set
    Contour/Bronzer: Smashbox Bronze Lights (matte) or MAC Blush in Harmony (matte) – I haven't had much luck finding a good, matte drugstore bronzer.
    Eye Primer: Too Faced or Urban Decay or Amazing Cosmetics… pretty much equivalent, just set them with powder.
    Cream Eyeliner: Tarte Amazonian Clay waterproof cream eyeliner, also works in the water line
    Waterline: MAC pencil in Power Surge (for dark but not eye-minimizing), or Stila pencil in Kajal (light but not white)
    Liquid Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper
    Matte Black eyeshadow: Makeup Geek pan eyeshadow in Corrupt – hands down the most pigmented black e/s ever
    Red Lipstick: Kat Von D Painted Love lipstick in Stiletto – high quality, good staying power, and the perfect orangey-red for my skin tone

  66. KL says:

    Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette from Target

    Retails for :$9.99


    A combination of two concealers (light/medium), a yellow-based under eye concealer and a powder, this palette is a MUST HAVE. It's great to keep in your desk or purse and the coverage is amazing. Creamy enough that it melts into your skin and thick enough for great coverage, but not at all 'cakey' looking.

    HIGHLY recommend.

  67. Jaime says:

    Sorry to be so late to the party, but I do have one thing I think everyone should invest in – Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer. I have some spots to cover up and also like to brighten under the eye area…this is light, and has amazing coverage without settling into creases. Might be worth it to review.

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