Article: Splurge vs. Save on Natural Cosmetics

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On more than one occassion, I've heard oohs and ahhs when I open my makeup kit. The sight of all those colors, packaged in lovely palettes and bottles, reminds many clients of a makeup counter. "You have everything!" some exclaim. While I am prepared for almost any situation, my makeup kit has a very carefully-selected assortment of items.

Most of my cosmetics have a shelf life of 6 months to 2 years, so I have to be smart about which I splurge on and which I save on. Whether you're a pro or just looking to do your own makeup, read on for some of my recommended splurge vs. save tips, which I learned from careful budgeting as an eco-friendly makeup artist.

Splurge:
  • Liquid Foundation ($25-$30) - Cheaper liquid foundations often lose their consistency quickly and are made with questionable ingredients. When it comes to foundations, play it safe and choose a quality brand such as Zuzu Luxe, Gabriel, or Ecco Bella. For tips on choosing your perfect foundation shade, click here.
  • Foundation Primer ($30) - Even the best foundation will fade without a decent primer. Either plan to reapply throughout the day or start with a great primer. This specialized product is worth the extra dough. My pick? Korres Quercetin and Oak primer.
  • Pressed Eyeshadows ($15-$60) - I'd love to see more vegan pressed eyeshadows, but most vegan formulas are powdered. When pressed is a must, splurge on the good stuff. Build your own compact with Ecco Bella's shadows or consider some by NVEY Eco. Pros may find pressed formulas to be more useful for the time savings, but those on a budget can see tips for loose powders below.
  • Mascara ($15-$25) - Good vegan mascara costs more; there's no way around it. I prefer the waterproof BWC mascara (around $20) for brides, but regular mascaras such as Gabriel's still run about $15. The only other mascara I've used on my clients is Organic Wear (around $9) in my pre-vegan days.
  • Vegan red lipstick ($15-$20) - Cheap vegan glosses in neutral shades are aplenty, but when you're in the market for a real red, the options are more limited. This is largely due to the use of carmine (an ingredient derived from insects) in many natural red lipsticks. Try Zuzu Luxe lipstick in a shade such as Starlet and pair with a lip liner such as Gabriel's in red for a perfect pout. For more on red lipsticks, see my top picks here.
Save:
  • Foundation and Finishing Powders ($13-$20) - Mineral powders are everywhere, but choose carefully. A powder doesn't have to be expensive to be effective. Try Everyday Minerals Matte Base ($13) or Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation ($20). If you only occasionally wear foundation, powders have a much longer shelf life. Finishing powders such as Alima's Satin Finishing Powder ($20) won't break the budget. Those addicted to "HD" powders can consider ELF's $6 version.
  • Blush ($10) - With so many great loose powders out there, it's easy to find an affordable option. Try Everyday Minerals matte blush ($10) which comes with enough to last for months. Vegans should watch for carmine in other brands.
  • Eyeliner ($3-$13) - No need to pay ridiculous prices for eyeliner. ELF Mineral offers a wind-up eyeliner for as little as $3; powders from Alima run about $13 but will last for months.
  • Powdered Eye Shadows ($5-$13) - Try not to pay over $15 for any powdered eye shadow. Some good options include Cheeky Cosmetics and Alima Satin Matte eyeshadows. These sites are also good for brow and eyeliner powders.
  • Lip liner ($3) - Unless you're looking for a true red or another unusual color, skip the spendy options and try something simple. ELF offers a mineral lip liner for only $3 in a few nice neutral shades. Or go without for a softer look, especially if you're a lip balm type of girl.
  • Lip Products ($3-$8) - If you're like me, you want to own lip colors in a range of shades. I prefer moisturizing tinted lip balms such as HibisKiss by Crazy Rumors ($5). When I really want to amp it up, I can top it off with a cheap gloss such as ELF Mineral Lip Gloss ($3). (Note: Pro artists may need something a little higher quality, such as Pacifica's lip gloss.) If you need a great lip balm, nothing beats Hurraw balm ($4).
  • Makeup brushes ($5-$10) - There are some great vegan brush options on the market and they may be as near as your local drugstore or superstore! Eco Tools is the leader of cheap, quality vegan brushes. Also check out bdellium tools' line if you're looking for something more specific. I rarely pay more than $5 per brush (alone or as part of a set).
This is the first article in the Splurge vs. Save series. Click here to see Splurge vs. Save on Natural Beauty Products.

What makeup products do you choose to splurge on and where do you save? Leave your comments below!

Disclosure notice: This post contains Amazon affiliate  links. Some products mentioned in this article were sent to me free of charge by the manufacturer for review. No additional compensation was accepted and the opinions are my own. Please verify any claims with the manufacturer, especially if you have any allergies or concerns.

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