April 4, 2016

What Makeup Items Do You Splurge On?

makeup splurge

Some people believe that makeup is either a save or splurge item. I’ve always been of the mentality that you get what you pay for. However, drugstore and beauty budget brands and offerings have changed and evolved so much that you not only get a great formula but you aren’t paying a lot for it either.

However, I’m still one that enjoys mid-range and high-end brands myself and there are definitely products I won’t skimp on. I think a lot of people will kill me for saying this and much to the masses disagreement, I really do believe mascara is a splurge item. Sorry! I know, I know, it’s an item we have to replace quite quickly since you won’t want to be using the same mascara within three or so months of opening it. But I haven’t quite found that perfect drugstore mascara yet and I’m typically disappointed with the offerings I do purchase.

Mascara isn’t the only item I splurge on though!

Here are my splurges!

I do splurge on skincare, mascara, and typically eyeshadow. I think skincare isn’t an item you want to skimp on. That isn’t to say you can’t find them excellent products at the drugstore but my best results are typically when I’m spending a little more.

I already stated why I splurge on mascara but also eyeshadow is a splurge for me. Again, there are very nice eyeshadows at the drugstore at the moment but in most cases mid-range to higher-end is the way to go if you want a great eyeshadow texture, formula, and application experience.

Now biggest splurge and one I will not be convinced otherwise of would be concealer. Drugstore concealers have not quite evolved completely yet and in most cases, aside from a few, are pretty dry or lacking coverage. So concealer is a big splurge item for me.

How about you?

What do you skimp on and what do you splurge on?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


  • Maggie

    Let’s see…I actually have a lot of allergies and sensitivities so bc of this, I splurge on concealers, lipsticks, eyeshadows (that do well without primer bc allergic to many primers) and tools like brushes and beauty blenders (if bristles are at all coarse, my skin will react). I also splurge on skincare and fork over more for cosmetics in any sort of powder formula (BC higher end formulas tend to look not as powdery). Mascara are the one thing I don’t splurge on actually.

  • Ana Nz

    Hi Muse!
    I’m with you most of it when it comes to splurging vs save.
    I splurge on perfumes, skin care (moisturisers, serum, facial oil, eye cream/serum) but save on lip gloss/ balm, cleansers (cream cleanser & oil cleanser), sunblocks, body stuff (moisturiser, soap/ shower gel, body powder, scrubs) & hair stuff (shampoo, conditioner).
    I splurge on foundations & concealer but save on primers.
    I enjoy most of make up brushes from drug store & high end ones, as long as they are synthetics.
    In the colour department, I splurge only on eye liners but mix & match on others (though that said, last years I bought a bunch of high end blushers & highlighters). I have more low-cost eyeshadows (Colourpop!) than the high end ones. Even though I have short straight lashes, I dont really wear mascara, hence dont buy them, once in a while I only use the free GWP mascara from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Clarins, Lancome, etc when I get them.


  • Robin

    Great question! I wait for reviews by Muse and ‘Christine to decide what is splurge worthy. Lol seriously you too have saved me tons!

    Foundation is a splurge mainly because it’s hard to find my shade in drugstore foundation. Palettes are a splurge too, elf can produce a palette with 80 eyeshadow a for five dollars, I will choose Too Faced or urban Decays Naked with eight or ten shadows for $55.00.

    Lipstick and lipgloss are non splurge items since Catrice and Colourpop are some of my faves.

    Skincare is about what works for me. Cliniques foaming wash cleanser and The Body Shops Aloe am/pm moisturizers are all I use. Oh and Borghese deleicate mask once a week. I have my rosecea under control by taking out a lot of products and keeping it simple. These items are not expensive, but I would pay more for them if I had to.

    Dove body washes are wonderful! Not pricey, but better than some high end shower products. Magnolia and Pasitashio is my holy grail!!!!! I have four bottles in case they stop making it!

  • Annie

    I definitely invest a lot into my skincare regime/facial care apt. Only high end mascaras and foundations. Everything else is a mixture of things I like because of color, wear, finish, scent. In fact I prefer the lower end nail,polishes- for some reason they last longer on me. I think it’s why I like Ulta better than Sephora – because you can get drug store and high end in one spot.

  • Maribel D.

    Sorry but I wouldn’t ever splurge on mascara or brow pencils but I definitely do splurge on good facial oils, eyeshadows and face setting powders. I haven’t found one that would look good without looking cakey.

  • Amanda

    Skincare (face wash, exfoliating pads, and moisturizer), eyeshadow (I’m actually a little snotty about my eye shadow. Too faced and Urban Decay mainly), and foundation (because it’s so hard to correctly match foundation at the drugstore)

  • Miss_Silk

    Skincare, Korean Beauty/Skin products, some Japanese brands and special Sephora collaborations like the Disney collabs~!

  • blee

    Skin care and oils ( I mix a lot of them) and foundations too. Hey, I’m worth it! Wait was that an old line from something? LOL 🙂

  • Courtney

    To be honest, I Splurge on just about Everything when it comes to beauty for the face. I too also enjoy mid range to high end products the most. I do scrimp on mascara, but that is not to say I don’t love higher end mascaras. I don’t mind drugstore blushes and lipsticks once in a while, but base products like foundation and primer, I like to spend a little more money on. Nail Polish is something I never Splurge on. I do Splurge a little on bath products from lush , but hey, I just adore the scents. Facial cleasing products I definitely Splurge on; drug store ones dry my skin out or leave a residue so I’ve never found a good one and I’ve stopped trying to find a good drugstore one about 10 years ago. I dont Splurge too much on hairspray or shampoo or conditioner; I buy my shampoo and conditioner from the Body Shop.

  • Ashley

    Skincare and foundation. I have so many mascaras from past gwp, I feel as though I never need to buy mascara again. I love trying new things, and if I read good reviews in magazines or blogs, I’m definitely tempted to try it, to see what all the fuss is about.

  • Yen

    I have splurged at least once on every color cosmetic item for the face (except for facial primers). I usually keep it as a staple in my stash if I end up liking the item I bought. The 3 items I will always splurge on are items I have purchased many times: night cream for my face, powder foundation, bb cream. When those items run out all at once, I dread it! I can be so stingy at times. The one item I don’t find a need to splurge on is mascara. I have tried high end ones occasionally, but I usually find luck with maybelline.

  • Rachel R.

    For me a “splurge” is mid-range to high end. I almost never by “luxury” products. I find they are way overpriced for the quality (or lack thereof, especially with eyeshadows).

    I’ll splurge on: Skincare; anything in an unusual or “alternative” color or finish; foundation and concealers (finding ones that are light enough, that aren’t too pink or yellow, that stand up to my oily skin, AND don’t oxidize is hard); eyeshadow primer (super oily lids; I need a good one); eyeshadows; anything with special packaging design I really like; bronzer (it’s hard to find ones light enough and not too orange); liquid lipsticks; gel pot eyeliners; contour powder (it’s hard to find ones that aren’t too dark and/or too warm); green color corrector (most of them don’t work); fragrance; facial sunscreen (I need the highest SPF I can find, and it has to not make my skin any more greasy); blush (I’m probably about half and half with blush).

    Skimp (drug store/indy/budget brands): Mascara (I’m allergic to most brands regardless of price range, so I buy Physician’s Formula or Almay); loose eyeshadow/pigments (indy ones are the best IMO); glitters; lip balm; lipgloss; lipstick; lipliners; eyeliners — liquid, pencil, and felt-tip types; highlighters (I usually go indy, but there are some really good DS ones); brushes (Real Techniques, e.l.f., ecoTools and Sonia Kashuk are my faves); brow products; setting spray; face primer; setting powder — loose and pressed; nail polish; hair products.

  • Jennifer

    Let’s see. When I think about it a lot of my stuff is Splurge items because through the years I have learned that you do get better quality when you spend more money, most of the time. I definitely have to go higher end for foundation because I’m so pale and drugstore just doesn’t have the color range I need. Same for concealer. I’ve been using the same Bobbi Brown concealer stick for years now. I tend to prefer eyeshadow at mid-high end as well, you just don’t get as good coverage with drugstore typically. I love Urban Decay liner because they go on and stay on so well, no tugging. I discovered I really like Chanel blushes, so definitely a Splurge. I get to cheat with mascara, I live in Japan right now so drugstore is definitely good enough for me. My skincare is a mix of high and low end. I got a bunch of SK-II stuff at a pretty good discount so it has been worked into the otherwise drugstore routine. Really only the essence and the lotion (toner for those in the states). Lipstick is the one item that I don’t pay much attention to Splurge or Save…if I like the color then so be it lol.

  • Zovesta

    Perfume and skin care. I did splurge on baremineral’s concealer, which I’m loving to death. Aside from that, Dollar General and CVS have me covered. =I

  • Lorraine M

    In skincare, I splurge on my facial SPF and BHA exfoliator and skimp on cleanser and benzoyl peroxide cream. Toner is midrange and I still haven’t found the right moisturizer. I don’t splurge on masks, mists or gimmicky skincare. For makeup, I splurge on eyeshadow and face primer. I may splurge on a blush, highlighter or bronzer if I really like it because at least it won’t go bad soon. I mostly skimp on lip products cause it’s my weakness, and buying drugstore lip stuff means I can afford a lot more variety. A $5 makes me happy so it’s hard to splurge. I skimp on mascara, brow gel, eyeliner, pressed powder and lip balm cause those you have to replace more often. For brushes I use all drugstore.

  • Michelle

    I splurge on the Lancome Bi Facil eye makeup remover, Omorovicza queen of hungary mist, and Koh Gen Do spa water. I know eye makeup remover and cleansing water are silly splurges but I notice a difference when I use them and the Omorovicza mist, well that is just a straight splurge, I just like using it on special days or when I am feeling down!

  • Lee-Anne Stewart

    I splurge on pretty much everything EXCEPT eye make up remover!! I just can’t bring myself to spend more than a few pounds on this. So normally I would use L’Oreal gentle eye make up remover for this or cleansing water. That said I mostly use Eve Lom cleanser and that tends to remove my eye makeup anyway…..

    For make up and skincare I tend to use Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Clarins and the odd bit of YSL, Clinique and Bare Minerals. I really only wear Chanel perfume so tend to be organised and get duty/tax free at the airport as so pricey!

    I learned a long time ago that it aint a bargain if I don’t use it and I have usually wasted money in the long term not saved it.

    Slight OT but I once bought three different cheap/mid price hair straighteners only to find them useless and buy a decent pair in the end. Guess what the 3 pairs together where the same price as the final decent pair! When they died after 10 years I went straight out and bought GHD’s.

    I also splurge with sunglasses. After buying a pair of Chanel sunnies about 7 years ago I couldn’t stand cheap specs anymore but I ‘justify’ that with the fact that I wear pretty much every day so the cost per wear is now zero. That’s why I now have 3 pairs!!!

  • Dora

    I feel like I have high-end and low-end in just about every category, but I think I may be only splurging from now on for concealers. I was happy with a couple of drug store concealers but think I’m now happier with my Tarte and Bare Minerals combo. Probably the same going forward re: BB cream/tinted moisturizer. Skin care is definitely a splurge. Shampoo/dry shampoo I’m happy to scrimp. Perfume is mainly a splurge (although I have a soft spot for SJP’s Lovely, which is kind of in the middle). I am definitely equal opportunity when it comes to lipstick — so many good drugstore lipsticks, IMO. And kind of 50-50 when it comes to mascara.

  • Shannon

    I’m very fair so have to splurge on foundation, drugstore brands in the UK don’t go light enough! Save on eyebrow products, and everything else is whatever looks pretty!

  • Iris

    I splurge on colour cosmetics most of all. I like taking out the fancy packaging for lip products and applying them when I need a pick me up.

  • Karen

    Wow, I didnt realize that i splurge on so many. Like you, most of my items are mid to high end. Whenever i buy drug store brands i end up regretting it, should have just bought the high end to begin with.

  • nelle

    I splurge on perfume and lipgloss, way too much! But I don’t regret it, is that bad?

  • Carly

    Ugh, I SHOULD splurge on skincare, but it’s just such an expensive and reoccurring purchase that I find myself going for the less expensive stuff. I splurge on palettes because there’s more bang for your buck/products to try out opposed to buying single shadows or face products.

  • genevieve

    Splurge: eye shadow palettes – definitely. Because the DS/budget beauty ones are generally awful. So I love UD, bareMinerals, older Guerlain and Dior quads.

    Save: we are lucky here in Australia to have the QV and Natio skincare/beauty range, which is fantastic. I use the QV cleanser and daily moisturiser and it often can be found on sale in budget beauty places like Priceline. I am currently trialing the Neutrogena Night serum and moisturiser and so far, so good. Again a budget buy. But what I am really in love with is the Physicians Formula Argon Oil – thanks to you Isabella – it is really saving my skin at the moment.
    I also save on mascaras, lipsticks and blushes.
    Foundations – again some of the budget beauty ones are just as good as the HE ones, if you can find the shade that is a match for you. (See beautypedia).

      • genevieve

        I am REALLY loving it and so is my skin. Thank you so much Isabella for reviewing this product. Although here it retails for $25 – it is still worth the money. I am going to get my daughter in law to have a try of it too. With two babies under two years of age she doesn’t get much time for anything and this one product could help her skin.

        • Isabella Muse

          Aw I’m am so so glad you like this 🙂 have you tried ebay by the way maybe it would be cheaper for you!

  • Erica

    As a young adult/college student I have to evaluate what I want to splurge on, really do extensive research on products, and not buy into the hype. The only thing I absolutely splurge on are eyeshadow palettes because there’s nothing like an UD palette or Lorac Pro palette. I have at least one high end product in each category of my collection, however there’s typically nothing I can’t get excellent in the drugstore. *I will say, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara – there’s nothing like that.

    *Since I’m on a budget, I completely take advantage of Sephora samples, because those things last For Ever. Especially fragrances and mascaras!
    *I’ve also been doing the: use another mascara wand in another mascara formula. This saves me so much money. Holy Grail hack. (sorry went off topic)

  • danadoo

    Oh gosh, this post made me realize how much i actually do splurge on! I buy Lorac and Urban Decay eyeshadows, Clinique blush, mascara and lipsticks, Benefit concealers, Korres lip balms, Kat Von D eyeliners, stila eyeliners, Estee Lauder lipsticks, Frederick Fekkai and Redken hair products, ALL KINDS of high end perfumes…the list could go on for several paragraphs! Oddly enough, the one thing i dont splurge on is skincare, because between Oil of Olay and Neutrogena, I have found some really solid formulas that make a difference in how my skin behaves! I am a pampered high maintenence gal all the way!

  • Lucy

    I always splurge on skincare, especially serums and eye creams. Sometimes I would use a cheaper moisturizer because I have oily skin and most lightweight moisturizers do the job. Face makeup products are splurges too because they touch a large portion of my skin. I always splurge on eyeshadow as well because they last forever. I always buy drugstore lip liners, eyebrow pencils, makeup removers, body lotions and body washes though, and sometimes lip products.

  • Sheena

    My splurges: concealer, primer, and eyeliner. I just can’t seem to find a drugstore primer that works for me, I have dry skin, in certain areas and my makeup tends to settle into fine lines if I don’t use a good primer. Also, I have a thing for my mac liners. I haven’t found one that glides on or smudges quite like my mac feline or carbon. I agree most times high end concealers pack more pigment than their drugstore counterparts, not to say I don’t enjoy using drugstore concealer for everyday its great.

  • Sheena

    Also, I think eyeshadow is often a good splurge, I would never give up my urban decay naked palettes or lorac pro palette over drugstore palettes. However there ar a few good drugstore palettes like wet n wilds comfort zone.