Is buying expensive makeup really worth it?

Jenni Mortimer,
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Publish Date
Thursday, 12 October 2017, 12:05PM

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When you pay more for makeup, you do so assuming you're buying a better quality product, right?

But what if those pricey products weren't anything more than some fancy packaging, and the best make up was in fact the stuff on the supermarket shelves instead?

We took this theory and trialled cheaper "save" products against pricier "splurge" brands with some surprising results.

From foundation to mascara and lipstick, here are the nine types of makeup we tested.


• SPLURGE: NARS Sheer Glow, $74 from Mecca

We agreed the NARS foundation had good coverage, felt smooth and "luxurious" and the pump action bottle was also a hit.

• SAVE: Maybelline Fit Me, $26

The bottle for this one, however, wasn't so great. The product has to be tipped out much like you're trying to get out "the last bit of tomato sauce", making for a messy application and some waste.

We noticed less coverage and felt more foundation needed to be applied in comparison to the NARS product.


• SPLURGE: By Terry Click Stick, $62 from Mecca

Despite issues with a slippery lid, the "fun" click stick was a complete hit. The By Terry concealer had full coverage that was soft and creamy in texture.

It didn't move at all after application and received full marks from both of us.

• SAVE: Rimmel London Wake me Up, $16

The Rimmel London concealer was more watery on application and the bottle was noticeably "less fun".

Liana noticed her foundation was partially lifted off by the concealer so she had to patch it up. I felt the product provided a lot less coverage.


• SPLURGE: Clinque True Bronze, $50

The Clinque product was more heavily pigmented, so we didn't need to apply much and, compared to the "save" option, a deeper look was achieved.

• SAVE: Designer Brands Glow Get Em, $15

While more of this product was needed to get a bronzed glow, the colour and texture were better and blended more seamlessly.


• SPLURGE: Benefit Girl Meets Pearl, $57

I felt the Benefit highlighter was "pretty and subtle" and appreciated how it didn't move the foundation below it.

• SAVE: Mecca Max Shimmer Shot, $28

Liana felt the highlighter was very light and offered "quite a good glow".

However, I had issues with the Mecca wand and was left with obvious marks on my face because the product didn't blend well.


• SPLURGE: Benefit KaBrow, $44

Though the product had a tiny brush, it went on evenly and had good colour and precision to it.

• SAVE: Mark. By Avon, $16

This supplied brush was even more of a nightmare. Liana chose to use her own while I battled through with the one supplied.


• SPLURGE: NAKED by Urban Decay palette, $90 from Mecca

We were both hugely impressed with this product which, with just one swipe, gave a highly pigmented look that blended easily and felt luxurious to apply.

• SAVE: Chi Chi Bronze Palate, $31 from Farmers

The Chi Chi palette was harder to use and we needed to apply more of the product. There was also a bit of fall out on both our faces.


• SPLURGE: Bobbi Brown creamy eye pencil, $60

The Bobbi Brown eye pencil was a very firm product which made it hard to apply. But we liked that it created a subtle, natural look that felt really wearable.

• SAVE: Avon Luxe Eye liner, $22

The Avon liner was soft to apply and blended out nicely with the supplied buffer.

It was easy to use and created an "ultra defined" look, perfect for a night out.


• SPLURGE: NARS Audacious mascara, $41 from Mecca

This mascara gave great separation and length and the comb was surprisingly easy to use, even though we both prefer a "fluffy brush".

• SAVE: Maybelline Great Lash, $12 from the Warehouse

This iconic mascara gave good volume, but less separation and length than the NARS mascara.


• SPLURGE: NARS velvet matte lip pencil, $42 from Mecca

I liked that I could line my lips with this product becuase it felt like a 2 in 1. The texture was matte without feeling dried out.

Liana agreed that it was super easy to apply and had a "beautiful" texture.

• SAVE: Avon True Colour perfectly Matte Lipstick, $13

We both liked the rich colour, but felt it was less even when applied with the edges bleeding out and giving a less consistent colour.

While the Avon lipstick had its merits, it needed to be applied more often.

Final tally: 4 - 7 to "splurge"

Splurge products total cost: $520 Save products total cost: $179

Some products resulted in a tie, making the final tally four wins to "save" and seven to "splurge".

Knowing the price and quality differences, I'd still generally choose the "splurge" products because I want to invest in quality makeup.

Liana agreed: "I think it is totally worth it, if you want to have quality make up, why not pay a little more?"

With a price difference of $341 we both decided it's best to just "buy what you like" and what makes you feel good rather than worrying about the attached price tag.