When I very first starting blogging there was not one single high end product within my make up collection. Up until that moment the only high end product I had ever used was a single eye shadow from Urban Decay in the shade Midnight Cowboy which I had adored. Sadly that met a cruel fate which is likely for any clumsy fourteen year old as it never made it back from school one day; it was left resembling somewhat of a sorry smashed mess within the bottom of my school bag.
Nevertheless over ten years later I now have a make up collection that I love which consists of a few well thought out high end purchases, alongside some of my most favourite high street products. This thought got me thinking as I really wanted to share with you where I think you can spend less on products and where in my opinion it is worth spending your money.
When it comes to foundation I know that in the past I have had some rather odd experiences with high street options. This has mainly been down to poor shade choice and also lack of knowledge in terms of what my own skin type has been. Over time however I have learnt that it is best to choose a foundation that will not exacerbate my oily skin and to also steer clear from a certain mousse. High end foundations are for me a bit of a luxury as I do not believe that you have to spend a fortune on a base. My favourites high end foundations have to be Laura Mercier Silk Creme*, NARS Sheer Glow and Chanel Vitalumiére Aqua; all three offer very different finishes yet suit my skin wonderfully.
Naturally a huge advantage of a higher end brand is that there are more shade choices therefore you are nine times out of ten almost guaranteed to find a good match for your skin tone. On the other hand I cannot say the same for high street foundations as their shades to tend to me somewhat limited. Despite this I have found some fantastic high street foundations, the most recent being the L’Oreal Infalliable 24Hr Matte which gives a beautiful finish to the skin. Personally I would not say that this is an overall matte foundation as the skin is not left looking flat in the slightest. Other favourites of mine consist of the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum and Revlon Nearly Naked foundation, I also find myself very tempted to pick up the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation as I have read a lot of good things about that one in particular.
Overall in my experience when it comes to a foundation you simply have to shop around. Whilst I will always love my higher end options I do know that there are some great alternatives out there which work just as well as their higher end counterparts.
In some respect I have the same opinion here as I had with the foundation analysis as in my experience the high street produces some fantastic lip products which certainly rival, and in some cases work better than higher end brands. Personally I think that you are paying a lot more for a very similar product in some cases, the only real difference being the packaging, which, let’s face is it is very important if you like your beauty products. The likes of YSL, Chanel and Charlotte Tilbury all make beautiful products which are visually very pleasing to look at, but in terms of the performance of the product are they really worth it?
Take for instance the Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss Lipstick in the shade 107; this is a great budget matte lipstick which I think looks amazing on everyone. If I am honest I would rather spend less on a matte lipstick from Rimmel compared to a matte from MAC, this is because I find matte lipsticks from MAC extremely drying on the lips whereas the Rimmel formula is more hydrating. Having said that the matte formula from Charlotte Tilbury is like no other I have ever tried; it is by far the most hydrating I have come across therefore I would always be happy to pay a bit more in order to have a better product.
The lip category again is something that I think is very well balanced. Standing up for the high street I think that Revlon truly make amazing lip products for the price, my favourite being the Kissable Balm Stains and their Super Lustrous range which is really rather nice and completely took me by surprise. On the other side to this I have fallen for everything Charlotte Tilbury as I think the formula of her lipsticks in general is one of the best on the market.
It is at this point where I feel as though I can finally start to be more biased towards one side or the other; however I will be picky. Firstly when it comes to eye shadow there are for me two main types which I think should be mentioned separately; those being cream and powder. Cream eye shadows are for me a quick and easy way to add definition to the eye when you’re in a rush, where for me you really don’t need to look much further than the high street. Both the Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eye Shadows and the Maybelline Colour Tattoos are fantastic cream eye shadow formulas, the only real criticism I have is that the shade range is often extremely limited.
Powder eye shadows on the other hand, do, in my experience warrant a high end purchase every single time. I have lost count of the amount of times in which I have been left feeling disappointed by a high street powder eye shadow purchases, so much so that I don’t even bother to look these days. Pigmentation is often extremely poor, there is fall out and the texture is normally quite chalky too. I have tried to think of one to recommend from the high street for the purpose of this post yet sadly I have not been able to come up with anything. Personally I think that if you want to invest in a good set of eye shadows then you cannot go wrong with the likes of Urban Decay and MAC.
The primer section is for me the shortest one of all as to date I have never found a high street primer to work for me. My current favourite is the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer for everyday as this just simply works. At the moment I am currently contemplating in investing in the Tom Ford Illuminating Primer, although I am not quite sure if I am ready for the financial commitment just yet.
Eye brows are a funny old thing and are probably the trickiest thing to get right when it comes to doing your make up. To date I have only found one high street product which I can whole heartedly recommend, that being the Soap and Glory Archery* which was initially a product sent to me to review, however has been one that I have since purchased. This range is extremely limited in shades again which is a shame as the product itself is so easy to use and above all else looks natural when applied. Despite this I am very inclined to lean towards high end for brows simply because there are so many options out there. From gel formulas to pencils and liquids there really is an option for everyone. For me the best brand for brows that I have personally tried is Illamasqua, I really like the Eyebrow Cake in Thunder for creating a more natural finish and the Brow Gel in Strike for creating a slightly stronger brow.
Up until the release of the Max Factor Creme Puff Blushes I would have voted for high end options, however Max Factor have shown that actually the high street is more than capable of producing a great blush. Overall I am still very much an advocate for high end blushes as there is just a huge array of shades available, whereby generally speaking I do find that the longevity of high end blushes do far outweigh high street options. NARS produce fantastic blushes, as do Illamasqua and Tarte, although the latter can be a bit hard to get hold of here in the UK. In terms of more budget friendly options then I would highly recommend the Topshop Cream Blushes as they are really lovely and also come in cute packaging to boot.
For me concealer is a bit hit and miss on both sides of the spectrum as I have never been particularly blown away in terms of performance by any. Currently I am using the Seventeen Stay Time Concealer which I really like and do prefer to the much hyped Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, although this is quite good for those stubborn blemishes. When using concealer I do tend to use two at any given time, one for under the eyes and one for covering up blemishes. For under the eyes I do prefer more hydrating options which is where I find the Clarins Instant Concealer to really stand out above the rest; it is a super lightweight formula which blends beautifully across the delicate under eye area all whilst helping to mask dark circles. It is far from a miracle worker, however if I am honest I would rather use something which is more hydrating as opposed to a product which is too thick and heavy which proceeds to sink into fine lines.
Probably one of my most favourite products to use when I am putting on my make up is my mascara. My eye lashes are naturally quite long so it is nice to be able to enhance a feature that I actually do like. Whilst I rarely really want to increase the length of my lashes I do like to enhance them in terms of volume and thickness. Having tried plenty of high street options I have long since decided that the high street can come up trumps with mascara, although I must note that the prices of those do seem to be increasing rather rapidly these days. Again Max Factor for me produces the best mascaras on the high street by far with the Max Factor False Lash Effect being my favourite; my runner up would have to be the L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes.
In terms of high end mascaras I have only ever tried two, where I must confess that I have adored both. The Lancome Hypnose Mascara and the Chanel Le Volume De Chanel have both been incredible, however due to the price tags and the fact that mascaras run out of shelf life relatively quickly I have not been inclined to repurchase.
Overall I thoroughly enjoy browsing both the aisles for high street make up and the luxury beauty counters for when I want something a little bit special. My experience with beauty is ever growing and there will always be fantastic products and bad ones on either side of the fence. It really is all about trying and testing out new things in order to see how they work for you, because after all what may work for one person may not always work for another.