makeup shopping on a budget

  1. hi everyone. this is actually my first post on this wonderful forum. my predicament is this: i'm 21 & i don't know anything about makeup! until recently, my makeup shopping consisted of going to the drugstore and picking up different shades of lipstick, hoping that at least one will suit me well. as for eyeliner & lip liner, it always came down to whatever was the cheapest brand. but now that i feel like all of my friends are buying their makeup from MAC, clinique, etc. & since i am willing to spend a little more now, i want to try to do the same. the first time i visited the MAC counter i felt so overwhelmed because i didn't know where to start & i only ended up getting a lipstick, lipgloss and an eyeshadow. i plan on going there this week but my budget is only around $120 or less. since i am basically starting from scratch, i'm wondering what can i afford to get in this range. also what are the products that would be most important to buy there regarding quality (as compared to getting it from the drugstore)?
  2. I think you can get plenty for $120. I just bought a bunch for exactly that. (See my thread "back from a makeup shopping spree.) Giorgio Armani foundation, the best there is, was $55. Shiseido mascara was $22 and their eyelash curler was $16. Nars blush was $25. After NYC taxes, it was about $120 total. :smile:
  3. You need to get what works best for you! Don't buy foundation if you don't need or PLAN to use it. Always get samples to use outside of the store before making a decision also. What kind of coverage are you looking for?

    Generally you should get the basics with the first bit of funds you have. A good foundation or tinted moisturizer, a concealor, powder, and mascara. You already have a few eyeshadows and you can still use those as long as their not too old. You're probably going to need a brush for the powder and concealor. The brushes are more expensive than the make up sometimes.

    So let's work on the investment items first before diving into a lot of the options.
  4. Lots of magazines periodically do reviews of makeup, and let you know which items can be found really cheap with great quality. For instance, for years I've always seen the Great Lash Maybelline mascara on "best of" lists (the green and pink one from the drugstore)....and even though you might be able to find a great one for $50 in a department store, if you can get a $7 that's also great, go for it. Figure out what you need to splurge on, and where you can save.
  5. thanks for the tips. i think i'm definitely going to have to try out the giorgio armani foundation. elongreach, i'm actually not sure what kind of coverage i'm looking for. i wanted an airbrushed type look, but at the same time i still want to look natural.
  6. I agree- you don't always have to get the expensive brand for it to be good quality. I would never buy a department store mascara because the drugstore ones work great, such as L'Oreal and Maybelline.

    L'Oreal also makes EXCELLENT pressed powders (TrueMatch) and foundations. Eyeliner is fine from the drugstore, too, like Revlon's or L'Oreal.

    As for eyeshadow, MAC makes the best.

    And blush: I personally like to splurge on nice blush, either by NARS or Lancome. And if you do go to the department store, make sure you go when they give away free gifts! Otherwise, it's not worth buying.

    I like to splurge on a nice lipstick or lipgloss, as well once in a while, but most of the time I use drugstore.

    I spend LOT on concealer, because that is really important to me, to cover dark circles! I get a waterproof one from Lancome. haha. Everyone has different needs, I guess!
  7. I would definitely splurge on a good foundation and a good blush- in my experience, pricier foundation & blush are much better than cheaper brands, they go on more smoothly and last longer. Same goes for eyeshadows, expensive ones just seem to blend so much better. You might find 1 or 2 shades you'll use everyday and get those at the makeup counter, and then buy fun experimental colors for less money at the drug store.
    I agree with some other posters that drugstore mascara is often as good as the $25 stuff you get at the makeup counter. Same goes for lip gloss, because no matter what the cost, it usually ends up wearing off pretty quickly.

    If you have some free time before your shopping trip, I would recommend checking out for reviews of almost every product on the market. You can decide what items you need, and then search in that category for the highest rated (by users) products. If you need any help with that feel free to send me a message, but it is pretty easy. Because makeup and skincare stuff can be so expensive, I always like to check out reviews before I splurge!
  8. ^ i was just goin to say go to makeupvalley they have great reviews...

    but eye pencils by loreal is great they have nice stuff..

    MAC eyeshadows are GREAT!!! really great even MUFE is soooo nice!!!

    you have a big budget so you can get loads of basics...
  9. First, you should figure out if you want to use liquid foundation, mineral foundation, tinted moisturizer, etc. Before purchasing any new makeup, I ALWAYS check the reviews on first. It has saved me from throwing money down the drain many times.
  10. To make it easier, go to Sephora or ULTA, which have all of the major brands, dept store and drug store, in one place. That way, you can work with SA's who have compared many brands, not just their own counter's.
  11. Here's what you can get, a breakdown (lol I like lists and breakdowns hehe)

    I ALWAYS get some items like foundations or concealers at cosmetics counters, to avoid wasting money on a bad match!

    1. Foundation: At 21, all you need is a little concealer. I would skip foundation altogether. Once you start, very hard to stop.

    2. Powder (pressed or loose): necessary to set foundation so if you aren't using it, don't bother. I have a few loose myself and don't use them, even to set my foundation, as they are easy to overdo = make you look dry, or older. At 21, a dewy look is fresh and pretty.

    3. Concealer: I don't skip this, it's a lifesaver. Even at 21, you will get occasional spots or undereye circles. Get a concealer kit (Bobbi Brown's is great) and get them to show you EXACTLY how to use it.

    4. Eyeshadow: chances are, you probably have one that works. When in doubt, go completely nuetral - like bone, cream and brown. It works for everyone. Experiment with colour a little later. Drugstore is fine.

    5. Eyeliner: A $7 pencil from the drugstore is fine. Just learn how to use it and blend, blend, blend.

    6. Mascara: You MUST throw this out every 3 months or risk an eye infection or bacteria transfer, and NEVER lend it to anyone, not even your mother! Get a decent drugstore brand for @$7 and a few disposable mascara wands from Sally's and it will look as good as any dept store brand.

    7. Blush: A foolproof blush is Tarte stain or Benetint. This stain takes a little to master (it's ok to ask a mother or friend for help if you can't buy at their counter) but it lasts forever and looks VERY natural. Amazing!

    8. Lipliner: At 21 you may not even need this, as it often functions to reduce feathering. Unless you want to look super polished, you can hold off on this. If not, a decent $7 drugstore brand will work, just remember to be gentle!

    9. Lipstick: I do get this at the makeup counter, as a $20 lipstick in just the right shade is a much better bet than 3 or more $8 tubes that look horrific on me.

    10. Lipgloss: This is a little bit of a splurge because as mentioned above, tends to wear off quickly. Find a drugstore colour you like with a smell and texture you dig and stick with it.

    You can build a decent basic collection, and work from there. Once you know what you like, you will spend the rest of your life dropping by makeup counters and picking up smal items to add some pop, colour, and interest to what you already know how to apply.

    Good luck! Have fun shopping - bring a friend! :smile:
  12. ^ what great advice.. will follow about concelear as i never use it
  13. this is such a personal choice which involves a lot of experimenting with different brands and your body chemistry.

    for me, the best splurges are on:
    moisturizer (without a good base, nothing else matters)
    foundation (I didn't wear it much in my 20s but I need a good sheer one now)

    I stick with drugstrore lipstick for the most part as it tends to wear off on me pretty quickly no matter the brand.

    Another good site to evaluate various brands is Paula Begoun's:
  14. I second the suggestion to get Benefit's Benetint, it is a lip and cheek tint in one so if you get that and a colourless SPF lip balm then you just need a couple of other things for an attractive, natural face!
  15. wow i should throw out my mascara, i've had it for like 2 years.

    i splurge on concealer and powder because my skin is a weird color and most colors look to red on me. i use dior for my powder and cargo for my concealer, but i'm thinking of changing my concealer it's not working out so well.