When to Scrimp, When to Splurge

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Feb 17, 2004
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When to Scrimp, When to Splurge

Get more bang for your beauty buck BY BOBBI BROWN

Step into any drugstore or department store and you'll find hundreds of makeup options in a vast array of colors, formulas, and prices. But with so many choices and a set budget, how do you know when it's wise to spend a little more and when it's smart to save? Follow these guidelines to make your beauty dollars make sense.

Splurge On

Foundation Shopping for foundation in a drugstore is a hit-or-miss proposition since you can't try the product on and have to guess if it will work for you. You should really go to a department or freestanding makeup store where you can test different shades. You'll find a wider range of formulas for specific kinds of coverage, such as full versus sheer, and different skin types, from oily to dry. Try the makeup on your face, near the jawline, and go outside to see how it looks in natural light. If you like what you see, buy it--but you are under no obligation to do so, even if a salesperson helped you.

Powder This seldom looks the same in the package as it does on your face, so buy it where you can test it. Most mass-market powders are translucent and tend to be pink or gray, which can look pasty and masklike. High-end formulas tend to be sheerer and yellow toned, adding warmth and light to your skin. They also tend to have a silkier, smoother texture than cheap powders, which can feel heavy and look chalky. As a bonus, a good powder will save you time and money by making foundation and concealer last longer.

Concealer I believe that concealer is the one product you should never scrimp on. A good one is creamy and smooth and has a yellow base, which is the best tone for lightening dark circles under your eyes. A bad concealer is white, pink, chalky, dry, or greasy--and may even emphasize the circles that you are trying to hide. Here's where a department store counter is the place to go, because you'll want to test the concealer between your fingers and on your face. Does it feel powdery, sticky, thin, or greasy, or does it give you white raccoon-eyes? If so, keep looking.

Scrimp On

Nail polish I'd rather buy a handful of colors at the drugstore than one polish at a department store because this is a product women like to change to match a mood or an occasion. Drugstore polishes will last longer if you partner them with a base and topcoat.

Eye and lip liners A good liner should be creamy and smooth in texture and go on without tugging. And from what I've noticed recently, it's easier than ever to find these qualities in mass-market brands.

Eye shadow There are some terrific drugstore brands that come in a wide range of colors and textures, from soft mattes to subtle shimmers. Eye makeup trends change all the time, so choosing inexpensive products is a great way to save.

Editor's Picks:

Estee Lauder Pure Color in Pure Stone (velvety lilac hue adds contrast to dark eyes)

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow in Bronze (sheer tone works for any eye color. Subtle flecks make green and hazel eyes pop)

CoverGirl Eyeslicks in Pewter (A gel stick for lining or shading. Lasts even if skin is oily. Neutral color looks good on all)

Revlon EyeGlide in Pearl (Gives bright-eyed look, handy sponge applicator)

Merle Norman Luxivia Luminous Eyecolor in Sugar Plum (A smokey eyeshadow that is soft and sheer enough to stay on any lid)

MAC Go Lightly in Honey Lust (Peachy bronze sheen makes blue eyes pop, apply with wet brush at night for high voltage shine)


Very interesting! Bobbi Brown has some great points there! She's confirmed what I have always thought!

Originally Posted by makeupluver I agree with most everything except the eyeshadows. I hate cheap ones they always fade or crease on me and aren't nearly as pigmented. Well it is kind of weird that Bobbi Brown, out of all people, would say that about eyeshadow since she sells it. Oh well, she's already a millionaire! Now if I could just get my hands on some Joey of New York foundation for a reasonable price!