Make up is an expensive hobby. It takes up time (sifting through tons of reviews & swatching in stores before purchase) not to count the pennies you also spend.
However I feel by prioritisation one can save a little bit. This is how I prioritise my spending:
On my save list (meaning I buy only drug store brands):
1. Nail Paints: I cannot get myself to pay anything in excess of 150 bucks for a nail paint, no matter how glorious it may be. It chips after 5 to 7 days & the nail paint eventually dries up after 3-4 months. Not worth it.
2. Black Mascara: It gets clumpy over time & has to be thrown away after 6 months. I like my mascaras to be on the liquidy side as I like well separated lashes. Not more than 500 Rs in this category.
3. Basics like clear lip gloss, black/brown eyeliners, natural lip liners can be bought from any decent brand.
4. Lip balms: Don't spend more than 200 bucks on this - they are all pretty much the same with varying amounts of beeswax, castor oil & petroluem jelly.
5. Colored Lip glosses: For daily wear, I tend to go for cheaper varieties. As it is I layer them on top of a lip color, so they do tend to last long. No need for expensive ones here.
6. Makeup Removers: Basic coconut oil does the job well enough.
This is not to say that high end brands don't offer good products in the above categories. I just prefer to buy more economical brands.
On my splurge list:
1. Makeup brushes: I try to buy the highest quality I can afford. I have makeup brush sets from Body Shop & Inglot. I recently also bought a couple of MAC ones. Brushes last a long time and can make even drugstore makeup look wow.
2. Primers: A good primer can make even the most economical products shine & last through hell. Plus you need just one of this, in a neutral color for the eyes; and a transparent color for the lips & face.
3. Skincare: Basics like cleanser & moisturiser. Buy what does you good.
4. Deodarants & Perfumes: Expensive perfumes just tend to last longer. I have experienced Burberry & Victoria's secret give me a wear time of 5 to 7 hours. You can buy cheaper, but you will have to apply it more often as well.
5. Waterline products: I prefer to test products I'm going to be wearing on the waterline first. Some times these products tend to sting & burn. A long time ago, I was a little confused at MAC - Teddy or Prunella. I tried them both. Prunella stung my eyes (must be a pigment reaction). MAC sterilzes and sharpens the pencils so that you can try them w/o fear of infection. I'm not sure this is possible in a drugstore setting. If you wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes, then it is best to save up to buy high end brands that you can use.
Purchases such as foundations, concealors, lipsticks, blushes & eyeshadows are very person-centric as the choice depends on factors like color, texture, how often you would use the makeup etc.
These preferences vary from person to person. If you are lucky, drugstore makeup will rock your world. If not, head to the expensive stores.
What do you save & splurge on?