How to Spend and Save on Makeup

How to save on make up While this is an article about makeup, let’s start by talking briefly about skincare. Your makeup will never look good, be it cheap or expensive, unless you have your skin looking in tip-top shape first.

Whatever your skin type, it’s always good to use moisturizer; if you’re oily, go for something lightweight and if you’re dry go for something more heavy and hydrating.

Also, invest in a good serum to address your individual need, whether it be hydration or spot control (this should be applied before moisturizer) and please, always use sunscreen. You’ll thank us for this advice in twenty years!

Right, on to how to spend and save on makeup. Many of us get it backwards when it comes to buying cosmetics, spending big bucks on products that are designed to last only a few months while skimping on products that are true beauty workhorses.

Use this handy guide to show you where to spend and where to save on makeup next time you go makeup shopping. Your wallet and your skin will thank you!

How to Save on Makeup – Save On…


Mascara is made to last 3 months. After that it should be chucked away, as not only does it turn into a breeding ground for bacteria, it also tends to dry out and can become flaky.

A quick tip: if you are already using an expensive mascara that you love, simply save the brush and buy a cheaper mascara. Use them together and achieve the same look that you love… the magic lies in the brush, not the pigment!


Nine times out of ten, once lipstick is on your lips you can’t tell if it was made by an expensive brand or not (this doesn’t always apply to matte lipsticks; it’s worth spending more on these, as cheaper ones can look and feel drying).

A quick tip: use your lippie as a cream blush as well. It’ll look fresh and dewy and no-one will ever know… trust us!

Lip and Eye Pencils

Most lip and eye pencils are made in the same factory so there isn’t generally a lot of difference in quality. What you will find is that sometimes cheaper pencils can be a little harder; if this is the case, soften the tip slightly with a lighter before you apply and you’ll get a lovely smudgy pencil to work with.


Save your money on brow products and stick with eye shadows instead. Not only does using eye shadow on your brows look more natural, but you are also saving on buying a one-use only product.

MAC do shadows that look great on brows: Omega and Espresso suit just about everyone (Omega is good for those with lighter brows, whilst Espresso is great on for those who are darker). Apply shadow using a stiff angled brush for the best effect.


Concealer almost went in the spend category, but nowadays you can get some amazing cheaper concealers. However, all are not created equal, so be careful with this one. Some cheaper concealers can look cakey, shiny or watery, but there are some gems.

A couple of our favourites are Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, which is fantastic on spots (a little goes a long way!) and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer, which is almost an exact dupe for the much more expensive Nars Creamy Concealer (it’s especially good if you have a drier under-eye area, as most of us do!)

How to Spend on Makeup – Spend on..


It’s important to get your foundation right as it is the base for the rest of your makeup. Some cheaper foundations can lack the more sophisticated finishes of pricier foundations, plus more expensive foundations tend to have added skincare properties.

Buying a foundation from a department store also means you have the opportunity to get matched by a makeup pro so you end up with the best shade for you skin.


With eyeshadow, the more you spend the less likely you are to end up with an eyeshadow that is chalky, has poor pigment and only lasts half the day (an exception to this would be Sleek eyeshadows, which are cheap but also richly pigmented and not at all chalky).

More expensive eyeshadows are finely milled and will generally last longer and have greater pigment.

With any eyeshadow, we suggest using a good base to get a whole day’s use out of them. Urban Decay’s Primer Potion is an excellent one. It isn’t cheap, but a little goes a long way!


It’s worth spending a little more on face powder, as in general they are more finely milled and more imperceptible on the face, meaning they are not going to look as cakey as cheaper options. Remember ladies, cake belongs in the mouth, not on the face!

Bronzer and blusher

You should definitely spend a little more on bronzer as cheap bronzers are nearly always orange, and unless you’re going to a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed party, orange is never a good look.

Blushers are generally worth spending more on as well (exceptions being those made by Sleek and Revlon), as they tend to have better pigmentation, are more finely milled and last longer on the skin.

Your Turn…

How do you save on makeup? Please share your favourite tips on how you save on makeup products below. We’d love to hear from you.


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