Beauty Products | Where to Save and Where to Spend


I’ve tried so many products at so many different price-points, I’ve gained a good idea of which are worth splurging on and where the high street offers excellent alternatives. Obviously this is just my personal opinion, and you should do what works for you but I hope this is helpful! As it's not really about particular products, I've not gone into loads of detail on that but I've linked my blog posts on them so you can ready my full thoughts on them and see swatches where applicable.


Save

Shimmer Eyeshadows

Although I love my higher-end palettes, I do feel the drugstore offers very comparable quality and shades in shimmer eyeshadows. As long as they’re pigmented, last a long time and are easy to work with then I really don’t think it’s necessary to invest a lot in shimmer eyeshadow.
Budget Pick: 
Makeup Revolution (my favourite is Naked Chocolate Palette | £7.99 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
Urban Decay (my favourite is: the Naked Palette | £38 | post here)

Cream Eyeshadow

I have caved in on several occasions and gone for high-end products but I find that the best of the drugstore is often just as good! I'm not saying that there aren't some duds, however I've had good experiences on the whole so just do your research and you can save yourself a bit of money.

Budget Picks: 
Maybelline (my favourite is: the Colour Tattoos in On & On Bronze and Creamy Beige | £4.99 each | post here post here)
Rimmel (my favourite is: Scandaleyes in Trespassing Taupe | £4.49)
KIKO (my favourite is: Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 05 and 06 | £6.90 each | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
By Terry (my favourite is: Ombre Blackstars in Misty Rock and Bronze Moon | £29 each | post here)

Eyeliner

I've tried my share of rubbish eyeliner pens however I've also tried some fantastic affordable ones that are as good as, if not better than my more expensive ones. I'm only just getting into using kohl liner on the waterline and tight line but I've already found some amazing affordable options.

Budget Picks: 
Soap & Glory (my favourite is: Supercat | £6 | post here)
Makeup Revolution (my favourite is: All Day and Night in One Sin Too Many | £1.99)
Spendy Picks: 
Kat Von D (my favourite is: the Tattoo Liner in Trooper | $19 | post here)
Urban Decay (my favourite is: 24/7 Glide On in Scorch | £15.50)


Mascara

Mascara is the kind of product that keeps for such a short amount of time, I really don't see much point in investing in it. Whilst I always pick up a few more expensive ones in Duty Free when I go away, most of the time I can get amazing length and definition from drugstore products.

Budget Picks: 
L'Oreal (my favourites are: False Lash Flutter | £10.99 and False Lash Telescopic | £10.99)
Maybelline (my favourite is: Lash Sensational | £7.99)
Spendy Pick: 
Benefit (my favourites are: Roller Lash | £19.50 and They're Real | £19.50)


Brow Products

I honestly think that the quality of brow products from the drugstore is exactly the same as that of more expensive products. The only situation in which I would consider spending is to get a better colour match as I feel that drugstore products can be a little warm-tones whereas high-end brands offer a greater variety of shades. However if you can find a tone that works for you then save your money!

Budget Picks: 
Soap and Glory (my favourite is: the Brow Archery Pencil & Brush | £8), Sleek (my favourite is: the Brow Kit | £8.49 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
Benefit (my favourite is: the BrowZings Kit | £24.50 | post here)

Sheer or Sheeny Lipstick

For your standard non-matte lipstick, you can find an amazing selection of colours of amazing quality at the drugstore. Even if you fall in love with a high-end shade, there’s probably a dupe out there somewhere.

Budget Picks: 
Revlon (my favourite is: the Lip Butter in Pink Truffle | £7.99 | post here)
Makeup Revolution (my favourite is: the Lip Hug in Saviour Will Come  | £2.50 | post here)
Spendy Picks: 
MAC (my favourite is: Jubilee (Lustre) | £15.50 | post here)
Bobbi Brown (my favourite is: Carolina (Sheer) | £20 | post here)

Makeup Removers

As long as it’s gentle and effective, I tend to favour affordable cleansers for removing makeup from my face with a muslin cloth soaked in warm water. I prefer to invest my money in the second cleanser that’s actually coming into direct contact with my skin.

Budget Picks: 
The Body Shop (my favourite is: the Camomile Cleansing Butter | £13 or Oil | £11 | post here)
Garnier (my favourite is: Micellar Cleansing Water | £4.99 | post here)
Spendy Picks: 
DHC (my favourite is: the Deep Cleansing Oil | £21.50 | post here)
Bioderma (my favourite is: Sensibio H2O | £15 | post here)

Nail Polish

Nail polish is one of the least expensive beauty products on the market but I'm yet to be really wowed by a high-end formula so don't really buy anything pricier than OPI.  Personally I just don't find high-end formulas that much better to spend £18+ on.

Budget Picks: 
Essie (my favourite is: Eternal Optimist | £7.99 on nails)
Barry M (my favourite is: Lychee (Gelly) | £3.99 | on nails)
Spendy Pick: 
I don't have one

Shimmery or Highlighting Blusher

Again, the drugstore seems to get shimmer blushers right more easily than their matte offerings. Of course there's good and bad out there and of course sometimes you want to treat yourself, but on the whole budget brands do pretty well!

Budget Picks: 
Sleek (my favourite is: Rose Gold | £4.49 | post here)
Max Factor (my favourite is: Creme Puff Blush in Seductive Pink | £8.99 | post here)
Spendy Picks: 
Nars (my favourite is: Orgasm | £23 | post here)
Hourglass (my favourite is: Mood Exposure | £28 | post here)

Makeup Brushes

What's the use in buying expensive makeup if you use cheap brushes to apply it? A very good point, however there are a couple of affordable brands who just seem to have makeup brushes mastered and for this reason 99.9% of the time I don't buy high-end tools.

Budget Picks: 
Zoeva (my favourite is: the Rose Gold Set | £55 | post here)
Real Techniques (my favourites are: the Blush Brush | £9.99 | post here and the Nic's Picks Set | £29.99 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
MAC (my favourite is: the 217 | £20 | post here)

Spend

Matte Eyeshadow

There’s just something about mattes that most brands can’t seem to get right, however I generally find that my high-end matte shades are more pigmented, easier to work with and have a better texture than my cheaper ones.

Budget Pick: 
Natural Collection (my favourite is: Solo Eyeshadow in Milk Chocolate | £1.99 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
MAC (my favourite is: Quarry | £10 | post here)

Face Primer

An affordable primer has never blown me away and it’s not through lack of trying! I want a primer to slightly mattify my face, provide a smooth surface for base products by filling in pores and fine lines and just make my foundation last that bit longer. I often find that my more affordable primers will do one or two of these things but never all of them!

Budget Pick: 
the Body Shop (my favourite is: Instablur | £14 | post here)
Spendy Picks: 
Smashbox (my favourite is: Photo Finish | £25 | post here)
Benefit (my favourite is: the Porefessional | £24.50 post here)

Foundation

I think this is one that’s going to split people as there are so many good formulas at the drugstore, however for me personally I have NEVER found a shade match I would even consider to be ‘good’. It’s such a shame! If you can then by all means go for it and save your money.

Budget Pick: 
L’Oreal (my favourite is: True Match | £9.99 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
Nars (my favourite is: Sheer Glow – for medium coverage | £31 | post here)
MAC (my favourite is: Studio Fix Fluid – for medium/full coverage | £22 | post here)
Estee Lauder (my favourite is: Double Wear – for full coverage  |  £30 | post here)

Concealer

Again, there are some excellent formulas at very affordable price-points but colour-matching is my main issue so I tend to go for high-end brands with a wider shade selection.

Budget Picks: 
Collection (my favourite is: Lasting Perfection – for blemishes | £4.19 | post here)
Maybelline (my favourite is: the Eye Eraser – for under eyes | £7.99 | post here)
Spendy Picks: 
Nars (my favourite is: Radiant Creamy - mainly for blemishes | £22 | post here)
Urban Decay (my favourite is: Naked Skin – for under eyes and small blemishes | £17.50 | post here)
Benefit (my favourite is: Erase Paste – for correcting dark circles | £20.50 | post here)

Matte Blusher

I’m sure this is another one that a lot of people will disagree with but I find so many cheaper matte blushers simply do not apply evenly or last well on my combination skin, whereas I’ve fared better with higher-end formulas. This really depends on your skin type, so if you don’t suffer from patchy makeup then you can definitely save on this one.

Budget Pick: 
Sleek (my favourite is: Suede | £4.49 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
MAC (my favourite is: Gingerly (Sheertone) | £18.50 | post here)

Matte Lipstick

Although there are some gems in the drugstore, I do find that on the whole cheaper formulas are more drying and harder to work with. 

Budget Pick: 
KIKO (my favourite is: Velvet Mat in 611 | £6.90 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
Charlotte Tilbury (my favourite is: Matte Revolution in Bond Girl | £23 | post here)

Morning or Second Cleansers

I tend to spend more on cleansers that come into direct contact with my skin and the aim is to give benefits to it as opposed to just removing your makeup. I mainly try to target my blemish-prone skin with this step.

Budget Pick: 
Yes To (my favourite is: Tomato Clarifying Cleanser | £6.99 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
REN (my favourite is: Clearcalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser | £19 | post here)

Face Masks or Treatments

Very few affordable overnight treatments and masks have done it for me so far, even when they purport to have similar ingredients to my more expensive favourites. I have found a few gems along the way but the amount of 'meh' products I've come across from the drugstore probably adds up to the same as if I'd just bought something more expensive!

Budget Pick: 
Una Brennan (my favourite is: the Salicylic Acid Clay Mask | £9.99 | post here)
The Body Shop (my favourite is: the Vitamin E Serum in Oil | £15 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
Antipodes (my favourite is: the Manuka Honey Mask | £22.99 | post here)
Kiehl's (my favourite is: Midnight Recovery Concentrate | £36 | post here)


Either Works

Face Powder

I generally spend on base products but powder is an area where I've found an affordable product that works for me, so whilst I may still flirt with high-end products I will tend to buy that. I can, however, see the argument that more expensive products tend to be more finely-milled and therefore less detectable on the skin.

Budget Pick: 
Bourjois (my favourite is: Healthy Balance | £8.99 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
MAC (my favourite is: Mineralise Skinfinish Natural | £24)

Highlighter

Highlighter is one of those products that isn't a super-necessary purchase but it's really nice to use. Generally, more expensive products will be a little more finely-milled and therefore have a smoother texture without big chunks of glitter. However, there are some really great offerings on the high street too.

Budget Pick: 
Makeup Revolution (my favourite is: Breathe (Radiant Light) | £5 | post here)
No7 (my favourite is: Instant Radiance Bronze | £9.95 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
the Balm (my favourite is: Mary Loumanizer | £17.50 | post here)


Lip Liner

For some people, this is a super-necessary part of their routine, for others it's the bit they always skip. I used to never bother but I've really been converted of late. I'm not 100% sure it's something I'd regularly spend £20+ on but I can't say I don't love the more expensive ones I own.

Budget Pick: 
Rimmel (my favourite is: Eastend Snob (Exaggerate) | £3.99 | post here)
Essence (my favourite is: Satin Mauve | £1 | post here)
Spendy Pick: 
MAC (my favourites are: Soar and Spice | £12.50 each)


Which products do you save on and where do you spend more? I'd love to hear some of your favourites in each category!

 


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50 comments

  1. Great post! I've got a similar one scheduled for in a few weeks I believe. It's funny to see how opinions change. For me, eyeshadows are never too great at the drugstore (powder ones, that is) I love my pigmentation and I've never found that at drugstore prices. I do however you can save a bit on face powders and base products, although a foundation really needs to sit well on your skin. It's just easier to experiment with different formulas when it's cheaper ;)

    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

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  2. This was such a good read! I love how you named products too. I've always been budget everything because I'm nervous about wasting money on products but since I've been reading more and more blogs I do want to splurge a bit more on the areas I need to... I just got a sample of Sheer Glow so hoping it suits my skin so I can buy it!

    Laura xx
    www.shortsoul.com

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    Replies
    1. I definitely agree that if you're spending £30+ on a foundation you should sample it first! :) xx

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  3. This post is just so helpful, thank you! I love the detail and effort you put into your posts, it's so clear to see and I really love visiting your blog!

    Abbi | SimplyAbbi.com

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  4. LOVED this post, Jasmine! Literally so helpful for anyone starting out with makeup or looking to invest in a few additional products. I completely agree with you on virtually everything, although I do like my high end brows (mainly down to shade selection)!

    Heather, PorcelainBeauty xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you :D I'm glad you enjoyed! I can imagine blonde brows being tricker to get a good product for xx

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  5. Really enjoyed reading this post :) Its always nice to have options when it comes to low or high end products!
    I Definitley think that splurging on a nice high end foundation is worth it as its in contact with your skin for most of the day and its best to have better ingrediants!



    Ying | * Y i n g c b e a u t y *

    X x X x X

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  6. Love these longer posts - super-interesting! I don't like being very spendy spendy but I am being converted to some things, like Porefessional...

    Rad

    http://radicaldepartures.wordpress.com

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  7. Wow that is such a detailed post, must of taken ages to write. Some very good choices and I like you tend to stick to drugstore for mascara but most other things I do have higher and lower priced items :)

    Pams Stuff and Things

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  8. Fab post hun, really great picks and so detailed! I haven’t really ventured that much into Cream Eyeshadows only just got my first paint post haha so I think I’ll start off by trying Maybelline Colour Tattoo’s again :) I’m yet to find a higher end eyeliner that I love as much as my high street ones, I’m a big fan of the L’Oreal Super Liners :) I do feel like Zoeva and RT have mastered the lower range of makeup brushes offering quality that could easily rival higher end brands.

    Charlee CharmedCharlee | XO

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    Replies
    1. I've totally converted to cream shadows now haha and I am the same with eyeliners, there are more cheaper ones that I loved! xx

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  9. This post is so helpful! Thank you Jasmine!
    I am glad that I don't need to cash out extra money to get great qualities make up because I'm just starting my make up collection and still playing it safe in the drugstore/affordable range since I haven't afford my own money yet..
    I always wanted to try high end eyeshadows but now you've mentioned that the shimmery ones from the drugstores are just as good as the high end, I think I'll skip and stick with the drugstore. I've heard some drugstore brands are coming up with great quality matte blushes now, such as City Color, I haven't tried them either but lots of youtubers says they are good, pigmented and blends easily. I only have one from Jordana and it's great as well. I love Revlon's Pink Truffle too and I'm about to use it up now :)

    Sitha l lemmeswatchit.blogspot.com

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  10. Absolutely loved reading this post, very helpful!!!

    Lee | www.wonderringg.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. I always find good eyeliner pens hard to come by, that is why I often just stick with a kohl pencil or gel eyeliner! I haven't tried the soap & glory supercat pen it...it may well be the eyeliner pen I have been looking for :)

    cescasretailreatreat.com

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  12. I mostly agree with your spends and saves. I have a hard time color matching myself to foundation because I am quite pale (in the winter) but I have an olive skin tone, which is difficult to find high end or drugstore. I have found my perfect shade in a Revlon foundation, and I love it, but I think I got lucky with that one :)

    RachelShuchatMakeup

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    Replies
    1. I'm the same with needing a very warm foundation - it's so hard to find! xx

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  13. I loved this post! My makeup collection varies from high end to drugstore brands and I always love hearing what other people find worth the money.

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

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  14. Awesome post i love the colour tattoos they are amazing!

    www.beautyandtheboy.com

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  15. I agree with your spend and save list. These days drugstore beauty brands have really upped their game and the quality sometimes are as good if not better than high ends.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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  16. Loved this post!! I completely agree that there are certain products worth splurging on but others that are perfectly fine to pick up from the drugstore too x

    Blushhx

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  17. WOW such a thorough post!
    I agree about the mattes eye shadows being really cheapy and not that pigmented! I do however think that drugstore brow pencils and pens are really crap! will try the ones out you recommended though. I may not have had much luck? One brow product I would recommend is Makeup revolution brow palette just as good as a high end one. Another MUST for high end is skincare - nothing cheap is going on my face that is going to be absorbed!

    xxx


    www.stylelobster.com

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    Replies
    1. I've looked at the MUR palette a few times but never picked it up as it was quite large /bulky- I may need to give it a go though! xx

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  18. I think eyeshadows for me would fit into both categories, although I think the Sleek palettes are so good! :)

    Velvet Blush

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  19. This is such a brilliant post! I will be sure to check it out whenever I am deciding a next purchase (most likely tomorrow ;) ) Thank you!

    Aliya x | thecatandthegirl.blogspot.co.uk| https://www.bloglovin.com/people/thegirl09-10150959

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  20. I love this post! It's so helpful! I love all the primers that you've mentioned, they are the ones that I go to most often! For matte lips I love Rimmel 107. I agree with cream eyeshadows, the Maybelline colour tattoos are amazing, I would pay so much more for them!

    Emma emhasrednails

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  21. Great post! There are certain areas where I invest (skincare & base products) & other areas I think budget products work just fine (bodycare, some lip products, eye make-up remover,some eye shadows, Collection Fast Stroke liquid liner, Maybelline mascaras & nail polish). I think we all like to treat ourselves but if we had to change to budget options, there are only a small number of categories that would be difficult to fill! xx

    Beautylymin

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    Replies
    1. I've heard such great things about the Maybelline nail polish formula :) xx

      Delete
  22. I don't get along with a lot of drugstore eyeshadows, but I love Color Tattoo pigments from Maybelline. I have to try that highlighter from No.7, love their skincare products, but I don't think I've tried anything from their makeup line.

    Paula
    Thirteen Thoughts

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  23. This was such a great post to read and so helpful! I love that you've named your favourite products too. I always like to spend my money on foundations, highlighters and most recently skincare! I think the drugstore makes such great mascaras and eyeliners there's really no need to splurge :)

    Becki, xo | www.beautyandthebrunette.co.uk

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  24. Such a good post, although I do always find a reason to spend more money haha.

    Annabel ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

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  25. This is SUCH a helpful post, I've bookmarked it for future reference. I keep hearing about the KIKO eyeshadow sticks, gonna have to pick some up I think! x

    www.hollysparkle.co.uk

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  26. What an awesome and through post, definitely going into my bookmarks. Thanks for all your recommendations

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  27. Fantastic post! I pretty much agree with most of these. Shade selection is definitely one of the weaknesses of the drugstore and I tend to prefer higher end skincare. I'd purchase more for the drugstore if we had more selection and better price points here but sometimes it's hard to spend $13 on a revlon lipstick for example when I can get a MAC one for $16. That being said, I shop more drugstore when I'm abroad. :-)

    Beauty Isles | An Island Girl's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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    Replies
    1. I really like MAC as a sort of 'mid-range' lipstick option :) xx

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  28. Great detailed post Jasmine! The drugstore has so much to offer nowadays that you can definitely find so many gems there :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

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  29. Lovely post Jasmine! I adore so many products from the drugstore that are just as good, if not better, than the more expensive options!

    Sara - She Who Is Short

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  30. What a great and detailed post! I definitely spend more on good skincare that works and also for better makeup (especially the matte lipsticks) ;) xx

    www.angerawrs.co.uk

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  31. I loooove this post - such a great and detailed way to see spend v save! Love it and that essie colour is stunning! :)

    Layla xx

    http://www.sprinklesofstyle.co.uk

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  32. This is such a great post, Jasmine! The effort that must have taken to write this is inspiring!

    Angie x | Chocolate & Lipstick || UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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  33. Such a lovely post!! Will keep this in mind!:) xx

    www.beckieeschle.com

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  34. Rimmel's 3D Extra Lash Mascara works a treat! Very affordable too at under £10. Sleek also do really nice eye palettes and eye brow kits.

    With love from www.showthebride.com

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    Replies
    1. Ooh Ill have to check out the Revlon and totally agree on Sleek :) xx

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  35. What a great post - so many good cheaper alternatives and I love that you talked about the items you just wouldn't go the budget option with, very helpful. :-)

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  36. Fantastic post! I found myself totally nodding alone to so many of these - love Rimmel lip liners, they really have set a high standard for higher end ones! I'm going to be bookmarking this post for future reference ^_^
    Iqra |The Blushing Giraffe x

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  37. I love this post! I always pick high-end eyeshadows and lipsticks over drugstore but I love drugstore foundations! I'm definitely going to have to try out some of your drugstore picks though.
    -S
    www.youmeandwhatever.com

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  38. I absolutely loved reading this post!
    Alicia :)
    http://bambidreaming.blogspot.co.uk

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  39. Thank you so much for the comments everyone! It was interesting to read everyone's opinions and I'm glad this was useful :) xx

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  40. I definitely agree that you should spend a little more on foundations. If you have a good looking base your makeup usually looks really good! But if your base isn't good your whole makeup probably doesn't look that good. It really does depend on your skin type and all that jazz :)x

    Anu♡ | My life as Anu | bloglovin

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  41. Oh wow this is a massive post! Such a great read. I agree with most of these, although I mostly stick to high end powder eyeshadows...

    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

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