Cheap Vs. Luxury Cosmetics Products: Which Beauty Items Will Win?!
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Love high-end beauty products, but hate the prices?!
Some of the best makeup brands can cost you a ton of money, especially if you’re looking to buy flawless, high-end cosmetics for every centimeter of your face. But if you’re anything like me, you cringe at the thought of spending more on a single beauty product than the cost of a lifetime supply of makeup remover! 😳
Through the feedback from our Hip2Save team and lots & lots of customer reviews, I’ve rounded up the most popular luxury makeup product and their less expensive dupes in the most common beauty product categories.
Read on to see what’s worth the splurge and what dupes are the real deal.
1. This face toner for your skin will hydrate and leave you feeling fresh.
The most important thing to look for in toner is a solution that’s alcohol-free. The winner here is Mario Badescu Rose Water Mist – it’s both light AND hydrating, and most importantly, budget-friendly! That said, some reviewers don’t mind the extra splurge on the more expensive boscia mist because the ingredients are cleaner than its less expensive competitor.
“I honestly thought toner was a waste of money until I felt the refreshing mist from a quick spritz of rose water! It perks up your skin to help rejuvenate that healthy glow.” – Emily
🥇 Our Pick: Mario Badescu Rose Water Mist
2. The best face primer will give your makeup a flawless look.
This one is kind of an uneven playing field since the luxury option from benefit has a skin tint while the less expensive option is just clear.
Given the quality and functionality, benefit POREfessional Primer takes the cake! It glides over skin setting up the groundwork for a flawless finish on the skin. Feel free to skip the foundation on days you need to get out the door FAST! The tint provides light coverage to softly blur away any blemishes.
“I love this face primer because it fills in the look of pores and smooths my skin which makes my makeup look so much better! I use it every time I put on makeup and absolutely love it!” – Amber
🥇 Our Pick: benefit The POREfessional Face Primer
3. A tinted moisturizer with SPF will leave your skin radiant.
While I’ve come across many “pigmented creams” that can leave your skin feeling dried out, these tinted moisturizers are formulated to provide all the benefits of a great hydrating day cream should. However, some reviews claim Target’s less expensive option leaves their skin a little too oily.
“As much as it pains me to say this since I personally LOVE the Boots Noº7 brand, HOURGLASS Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint prevails in this category. Not only does it offer a wider range of shades over Boots, the hyaluronic acid which holds 100 times its weight in water is the ultimate hydrating compound – makeup and skincare in one! Mixed in with pigment, this is another product that gets you out the door with an impressive amount of facial coverage in no time!” – Emily
🥇 Our Pick: HOURGLASS Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint
4. The best liquid foundation will be a dream to use and will wear great all day.
We have many team members who are obsessed with The Ordinary products and use it on a daily basis (Cass shared her whole testimony here). At a less than $7 price point for The Ordinary’s foundation, mixed with the all-natural ingredients – it has us totally sold on this brand.
However, if you’re looking for something built to wear all day long, Fenty is where it’s at.
“If you want lasting full coverage, a soft matte finish, and sooo many shade options, Fenty will be your new bae. I recommend using a primer to help with application and to really blend it to make sure there are no thicker foundation patches. I’ve been using this for the past year and always get compliments on its natural finish.” – Emily
🥇 Our Pick: Fenty Pro Filt’r Liquid Foundation
Hip Tip: Check out Emily’s full review of the Fenty Pro Filt’r foundation.
5. Is Tarte concealer really the game-changer every tired mama needs?
If you’ve ever had sleepless nights, you know that concealer is a life-saver when it comes to giving anyone a fresh face, but the key is finding one that’s the right shade, stays on all day, and doesn’t crease.
My Thoughts: I’ve tried TONS of concealers – cheap, mid-range, and expensive. It’s one thing I normally don’t ever leave the house without (hello mom of 3 undereye bags!). The day I splurged on Tarte’s Shape Tape was the day my makeup game went up 100 levels. It’s silky smooth and never creases in my under eye or around my nose (where I tend to get a little redness). I can’t imagine ever going back to anything else and it’s worth the splurge!
6. Swipe on eyebrow gel mascara for the easiest way to fill in sparse brows.
Bold brows have become much more prominent in the past few years, and we are all about it! Not to mention, one could easily write a whole post on just brow color products alone based on the variety of mediums – gels, creams, gel creams (um, okay?), powders, pomades, pencils. Seriously, there are a TON!
Both of these products have stellar reviews, though due to the cult-like following of Glossier, Glossier Boy Brow takes the win here. It doesn’t hurt that this brow wand boasts easy application and fills sparse brows in just a few swipes!
🥇 Our Pick: Glossier Boy Brow
7. The true rival for the best eyebrow gel is a toss-up between Anastasia and NYX.
More brow products… we told you brows were a big deal! 😉 Now that you’re good to go with brow color, these brow gels will help tame stray hairs and keep your desired shape.
Both lightweight gels offer hold and control over brows so it really comes down to your brand (and let’s be honest, price) preference since most reviews claim the products are pretty similar.
8. Are BHCosmetics eye shadow palettes all they’re cracked up to be?
A great eye shadow can really make your eyes POP! And while almost anyone can admit that Urban Decay wins the pigmented game, we’ve got just the secret to get just as much color, while spending a whole lot less.
Thanks to one of my Hip sidekicks who’s a huge makeup enthusiast, you can consider using the white NYX Jumbo Pencil as a primer before dabbing on some of the BHCosmetics eye shadow shades – you’ll be sure to get incredibly bold colors on your eyelids (and spend even less)!
We’ve also heard that wetting an eye shadow brush before tapping into the powder can help boost the color. And don’t think these tricks are strictly for bright pigments – they’re great for neutrals, too!
🥇 Our pick: BHCosmetics Eyeshadow Palette
Hip Tip: Want to get the most out of your cosmetics? Check out these incredible makeup hacks!
9. Can Revlon’s eyeliner outlast the expensive waterproof Stila brand?
If you’re always looking for a way to make your eyes pop with some rich and intense color, eyeliner is most likely your go-to makeup product and your makeup bag will never goes without a good stash of it. Better yet, make it a great, waterproof one so you can handle whatever life throws at you for the day!
While Stila is a tough and popular competitor, Lina on our team says Revlon is her tried and true eyeliner that she’s been using for years and you simply can’t beat the price! Plus, she says it wears all day, you can get a super thin or thick line, and she loves the jet black color it provides – proof that you don’t need rich money to get a rich color. 😉 As a bonus, there’s no need to sharpen Revlon’s eyeliner either, just like the expensive Stila brand. So again, we’re sticking with cheaper tried and true for this makeup winner!
🥇 Our Pick: Revlon ColorStay Waterproof Eyeliner
10. Better Than Sex mascara isn’t stealing the show this time!
We love a great mascara! There’s nothing like long lashes to make your eyes pop and look extra full and luscious. However, if neither of these dupes suits your needs, we also highly recommend all of these mascaras that start at just $5!
“L’Oréal’s Lash Paradise looks exactly like Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara! It also appears to be the exact same thing – same brush, same quality except way cheaper! I actually bought the L’Oréal mascara once, thinking I was just finding one heck of a deal on the Too Faced kind but turns out it was L’Oréal! I love it!” – Katy
🥇 Our Pick: L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise
11. These lip pencil dupes are the best on the market.
- LUXURY: Nars Velvet Lip Pencil – $27
- LESS: Haus Laboratories by Lady Gaga Demi Matte Lip Liner– $16
Chunky lip pencils are probably one of the easier methods to apply lip color with their denser formula and pointed tips for precision. I recently tried this whole lip kit from Lady Gaga’s new line of makeup and honestly, I’ve been favoring the lip liner over anything else! (Read my full review here.)
My Thoughts: I know what you’re thinking…$16 is still a lot to spend on a lip liner, but I’ve found with the cheaper lip liners that they tend to clump and not last for even an hour – meaning, you’re actually using more product and likely spending more money in the long run.
Based on the reviews for our luxury and less expensive brands, they both glide on smoothly and produce long-lasting matte color. However, Lady Gaga’s takes the win for a less expensive long-lasting wear, gorgeous matte colors, and gorgeous packaging to boot!
12. MAC matte lipstick, NYX lipstick, oh my!
MAC is known for their pigment-packed lipsticks – available in basically every shade imaginable. Whereas NYX Professional also created a dupe so comparable that it’s earned thousands of raving reviews. It’s truly a toss-up between these two reputable brands, but regardless, life’s short, so just wear more lipstick. 😉
“I’m so torn between these two lipsticks! But I have to hand it to MAC Matte Lipstick for its die-hard, cult-like following and offering 37 shades in the formula compared to NYX’s (still extremely impressive!) 23 shades.” – Emily
🥇 Our Pick: MAC Matte Lipstick
13. The best face setting spray to finish your makeup doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Your makeup’s on point and you’re ready to face the day (or take on the night!), but that’s only HALF the battle. With a good setting spray, you can ensure your flawless makeup look will be photo-ready whenever the moment strikes.
“Save your artistry with OFRA Makeup Fixer spray which not only enriches your skin with aloe vera, chamomile flower extract, and vitamin E, but the mist protects your skin against environmental damage like pollution and temperature changes.
What’s even better, it makes touch-ups so simple! Give your face a spray, blot the skin with a tissue, and follow up with a quick dusting of powder for a smooth, velvety finish. What makes it the BEST is that even as a luxury item, it won’t totally break the bank!” – Emily
🥇 Our Pick: OFRA Makeup Fixer Spray
14. Finish your day with the best makeup remover wipes.
What’s that you say? You don’t feel like taking your makeup off and would rather go right to bed? Same. But of course, we all know that skincare is the top priority (yes, even over all the best makeup dupes) so make sure to wash your face girl.
“Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes are a must-have item! They’re easy enough to keep a pack in your nightstand for those ‘I’m too tired’ moments and because they’re made with skin-loving ingredients like Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and triple purified water, they’re great for ALL skin types!” – Emily
🥇 Our Pick: Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes
15. We found the best anti-aging facial serums with The Ordinary brand.
We all want to achieve that youthful look so after cleansing your face, make sure you’re finishing up with the perfect facial serum to diminish fine lines and wrinkles and even that skin tone!
However, bear in mind that many of the brands for facial serums that claim to be the “best” can cost you upwards of $300 or more. Oh, the price some will pay to feel and look good! Whether it’s worth it to you or not, we’ve got our hands on one that’s totally affordable for any budget and works!
“I’ve tried multiple versions of Vitamin C and Retinols/Retinoids from The Ordinary brand, and I experienced no irritation. None. Zilch. Nada. If you’ve ever felt the itching, burning, and peeling of retinol, you know this is HUGE. In fact, I’ve yet to experience any kind of irritation from any of The Ordinary’s super-potent serums starting at around $7, and I’ve tried a lot of them!
The Ordinary line is outstanding – you could build an entire line-up for a new facial routine and still spend less than the expensive brands out there for just one bottle. Read my full take on their products over here…” – Cass
🥇 Our Pick: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
The rest of our team shared tried & true beauty products that they’ve been using for years!