Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Makeup: Cheapies vs. Bank Breakers

There are a ton of posts out there that list dupes for high end brand cosmetics but if you're like me, you want to know how they rate as far as quality goes too. I decided, after trying out several cheapie products recently (and being pleasantly surprised) to comprise a list of where you can save and where you should splurge.

I'm sure most of you have heard of e.l.f brand cosmetics but maybe you've been reluctant to try them because they're so friggin' cheap and so you figure they must be crap because that's just way too good to be true, right?

Wrong. I've been using e.l.f eyelid primer and liquid eyeliner for well over a year now and I've been really happy with them so I decided to try more of their cosmetics. There are a lot of really great drugstore cheapies out there that are just as good, if not better than the bank breaking higher-end brands. For example, I think Cover Girl's Lash Blast out does Benefit's They're Real mascara by a landslide. Don't get me wrong, I have some expensive cosmetics that I swear by but if I come across a cheapie that works just as well, I'm all about saving that money for a rainy day.

There are some cosmetics that you just can't skimp out on though in my book, like:
  • Pencil Eyeliner: I have yet to find a drugstore eyeliner that holds up and blends quite like Urban Decay's 24/7 liner or Stila's Kajal liner.
  • Foundation: I swear by MAC's Studio Fix for a fuller coverage and Mary Kay's Medium Coverage foundation for every day use. Personally, I think that having a flawless or semi-flawless finished face is key to looking your best. If I'm in a time crunch, I'll do my face makeup and throw on some mascara instead of doing a smokey eye with a little of under-eye concealer; but that's just my preference. 
  • Eyeshadow: I'm a huge fan of Urban Decay's eyeshadow. Smashbox comes in for a close second. I think it's important to spend the big bucks on shadows because a lot of cheaper brands tend to crease, not blend as well, or not have the staying power of the higher end shadows. 

From left to right:
Sheer Eyelid Primer, Black Liquid Eyeliner, Black Volumizing Mascara, Petal Pink Lip Stain

Now here's where you can save yourself some money:
  • Mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast is my holy grail mascara. I've tried so many mascaras and nothing produces long, voluminous lashes quite like this stuff. I have so many mascaras that I've tried and that suck- I've found that the best thing to do with them is to layer them under the Lash Blast to use them up and not feel like I'm throwing money out. It creates a thicker lash usually, which I like. e.l.f's mascara is okay, it's actually pretty good considering the price. It separates and lengthens my lashes but I could stand for a little more volume, especially considering it's called "volumnous mascara," but it will make for a good layer under Lash Blast and it's a lot better than some other (more expensive) mascaras that I've tried. 
  • Liquid Liner: When you're talking liquid liner the two most important things are the formula- lots of cheapies tend to flake off and the brush. e.l.f's liquid liner is my go-to because of it meets my standards in both of those areas. The brush is flexible but not too flexible so you have just the right amount of control when applying it and it doesn't flake off, in fact it'll last you all day and all night long.
  • Eyelid Primer: Urban Decay's Primer Potion is the most well known and loved one out there probably but honestly, e.l.f's primer works just as well. It glides on easily, it's the same color as Urban Decay's Sin, and it keeps your shadow in place all day and night.
  • Highlighter: Everyone seems to love Benefit's High Beam and I do too but guess what? e.l.f's Shimmering Facial Whip in Lilac Petal will give you the same exact look for a fraction of the price. The formula is a little more dense than it's competitor but it still blends well. That's really the only difference. 
  • Lip Stain: I've never tried a lip stain before so I can't compare this to a high-end brand but I can tell you that e.l.f's lip stain does a great job of staying in place. I'm a lipstick and lip gloss lover but I'm also a mom on the go now too so I don't always have time to touch up my lips. This stain provides a natural looking, healthy lip color and stays put even after sipping your afternoon coffee. 
  • Bronzer: I tried e.l.f's Contouring Blush and Bronzer duo in "Blushed/Bronzed" because I didn't want to shell out the money for the Nars Orgasm/South Beach duo and I was pleasantly surprised. The bronzer is a great dupe for South Beach and it blends nicely too. The blush is pretty good too but the color isn't an exact dupe for Orgasm. I prefer the blend-ability and color pay off of my Nars Orgasm blush too. Another great cheapie bronzer is Rimmel's Natural Bronzer; I've used that one for years now and I've re-purchased it several times now.

From top to bottom: e.l.f lip stain, e.l.f volumizing mascara, e.l.f eyelid primer

Top: e.l.f liquid liner
Bottom from left to right: e.l.f Shimmering Facial Whip, e.l.f Blusher/Bronzer duo

What cheapie cosmetics are your favorites?

What cosmetics do you think are worth splurging on?


  1. I really need to go buy some new make-up. End of story! hehe

  2. I am going to have to track down some of that elf facial whip! $30 vs. $3 is a no brainer!

    I am with you on the UD shadows though. The pigmentation is the best I have found!

  3. Great post! I agree hands-down! LashBlast is my favorite mascara, even more so then They're Real (and I currently am using both!)
    I will never be without it in my collection. I think certain items are so easily duped and I'd much rather save on them if I can. I really think the only items I can't ever let go of are my foundations (MUFE) and Eyeshadows (MAC and Urban Decay). Everything else can certainly come from the drugstore!

    1. Thanks! I totally agree. Lash Blast will definitely be in my drawer forever; I've already gone through at least 13 tubes of it!

  4. Just recently tried Maybelline Eyeshadow Tattoo cream shadows and fell in love. I wore them to sleep one night and there was no creasing when I woke up the next day. And my shadows always crease.


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